Fighting prostitution
1:37 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Higher fines on Johns, pimps would benefit anti-prostitution programs

A volunteer shows a girl around the Genesis Project's facility.
Courtesy of the Genesis Project

SEATAC, Wash. – Critics of have accused the classifieds website of promoting child prostitution. The company has defended its policies but lawmakers in Olympia are considering new requirements for the site.

They are also considering more funding for anti-prostitution programs. And they plan to get the extra money from the Johns and pimps themselves.

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12:38 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

WHO's afraid of chicken? Some want mutant bird flu strain kept top secret

No laughing matter: Some worry a mutant strain of bird flu could turn this chicken into a weapon of mass destruction.
4blueyes Flickr

Seems silly to talk about weaponized chickens, but that’s exactly the kind of talk world leaders have become afraid of.

The latest debate raging among scientists is whether to publish the results of recent experiments done on the bird flu virus. Those experiments have created a super deadly version of the H5N1 virus that could potentially be loosed by chickens (or other birds) and kill many tens of millions of people.

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10:58 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Drunk drivers who kill could face stiffer sentences

Drunk drivers who cause deadly accidents in Washington rarely spend more than two years in prison. A bill working its way through the state legislature would increase the maximum sentence to eight years.

Prosecutors and people who've lost loved ones to accidents caused by drunk drivers say it's about time.

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8:59 am
Wed February 15, 2012

The Nation: Athens Is Burning

A message on a burning building in the center of Athens saying "Hungry? Eat your local Pasok politician" is seen during the demonstration against the new austerity measures in Syntagma Square on Feb. 12, 2012 in Athens, Greece. Greece's creditors have demanded further austerity measures before approving a new bailout from the European Union.
Vladimir Rys Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 5:44 am

Maria Margaronis writes from The Nation's London bureau.

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The Salt
8:55 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Organic food from Europe? Check your local grocery store soon

Edgar Jaime (right) and his brother Jose Luis unload organic vegetables from their farm in Santa Monica, Calif. Now that U.S. and European organic standards are equivalent, more American organic farmers will be able to export to Europe.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 4:46 pm

If you buy organic products, your options may be about to expand. The U.S. and the European Union are announcing that they will soon treat each other's organic standards as equivalent. In other words, if it's organic here, it's also organic in Europe, and vice versa. Organic food companies are cheering because their potential markets just doubled.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
8:47 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Virus Engineering And The Fear Of Science

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 8:02 am

Three weeks ago scientists around the world agreed on a 60-day moratorium on certain genetic experiments involving the bird flu virus H5N1. I heard the news while driving to work on Monday's Morning Edition.

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Other News
4:50 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Southern vocal music comes to Mercer Island

For Sacred Harp singing, the Pacific Northwest is home to a small but dedicated following. The unique vocal style comes from the south, originating in rural parts of Georgia and Alabama. This weekend, singers from around the northwest will be gathering on Mercer Island.

Stanley Smith, from Ozark Alabama, says the music grabbed him at a young age.

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Food for Thought
4:00 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Hard-blogging food writer Nancy Leson becomes lady of leisure

Yo Madame Pompadour! What's fer lunch?
Wikipedia/Photoshopping by Justin Steyer Wikipedia

When my Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson confided to me that she was taking a six-month leave of absence from The Times I predicted that she'd be climbing the walls within a month.  How wrong I was.

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Washington State Legislature
5:40 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

New teacher evaluation system passes senate in Washington

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 5:26 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington state senate has approved a new four-tier teacher evaluation system. The bill that passed Tuesday also creates a mechanism for firing under-performing teachers who don't improve.

School kids are graded A through F. But not teachers in Washington. For the most part they're still evaluated on a pass-fail system. But that's changing.

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Port of Seattle
4:55 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Short-haul truckers heading back to work after two-weeks out

Community members show their support of the truckers at a rally on Monday.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

The two-week work stoppage by several hundred drayage drivers at the Port of Seattle ended this afternoon at a hastily-called press conference. The truckers who haul cargo containers from port terminals to distribution centers and rail yards walked off the job Jan. 30.

Demeke Meconnan, one of the first drivers to walk, said they're headed back to work, but their campaign isn't over.

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