Alaska
11:48 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Remote Alaskan Volcano Shows Signs Of Activity

Originally published on Wed February 1, 2012 8:54 am

There's a new lava dome forming on top of Alaska's Cleveland Volcano, and the Alaska Volcano Observatory bumped up its aviation warning level to orange. That means the volcano is "exhibiting heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption".

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Economy
11:43 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Tentative labor deal averts Western Wash. refinery strikes

ConocoPhillips oil refinery at Cherry Point, Wash. Photo by Tom Banse

Originally published on Wed February 1, 2012 2:37 pm

The United Steelworkers union has reached a tentative deal with oil companies to avert a possible strike at dozens of refineries, including three important ones in the Northwest.

Negotiations over a new labor contract for refinery workers concluded mere hours before a late night deadline. The United Steelworkers and Shell Oil announced a tentative three-year deal that's intended to set the pattern for local agreements at unionized refineries nationwide.

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Environment
11:41 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Ribbon seal far from Arctic home in good shape

In this photo provided by NOAA, a ribbon seal is seen Friday, Jan. 20 on a dock in Marysville, Wash. The ribbon seal is commonly found in the frigid waters off the coasts of Alaska and Russia, but has recently been spotted in the Seattle area.
The Associated Press

EVERETT, Wash. — An Arctic ribbon seal rarely seen in Puget Sound has had its southerly sojourn interrupted for a medical checkup that shows the male is in good health.

Marine mammal experts from NOAA fisheries in Seattle threw a net over the white-striped seal on an Everett dock Tuesday and held him for a 20-minute examination.

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Global Health
9:28 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Jimmy Carter helps Seattle celebrate World Affairs Council

Former President Jimmy Carter at The University of Washington in 2006.
The Associated Press

There’s a lot of talk in recent years about Seattle being a global city. That vision goes back a long ways. Seattle’s World Affairs Council is celebrating its 60th birthday this week. 

Former President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter helped mark the milestone, in front of a sold-out Paramount Theater last night. 

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Food
4:30 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Kitchen appliances: Do they make 'em like they used to?

Save those owner's manuals.
Old Appliance Club

My heart says "No" but my head says "They make 'em better." Probably... I think.  

Although it's true that my kitchen stove, new just four years ago, began emitting un-ignited gas in a near-death fashion, I still think that today's appliances must be more reliable than those of decades past. Aren't they? 

My Food for Thought pard, Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson isn't so sure.

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Washington State Legislature
3:48 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Should public records requests be curbed in Washington state?

Some requests for large numbers of records are meant to harass government departments, officials complain.
striatic Flickr

OLYMPIA, Wash. — State lawmakers are exploring a plan that could limit how governments respond to requests for public documents.

A Senate panel heard arguments Tuesday on a plan that would permit agencies to get a court order if they can prove that a records request creates a "significant burden."

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The Associated Press

Labor contracts
2:43 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Oil refineries in Western Washington face possible strike

Bargaining is going down to the wire on new labor contracts at three of the five big oil refineries in the Northwest. Union members have been told to prepare to strike as early as Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
2:35 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

VIDEO: A Bunny That Thinks It's A Sheepdog

A rabbit tries to herd a flock of sheep.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue January 31, 2012 11:01 am

We'll get back to the serious news soon enough. But first, a video that, as The Awl tells us, is blowing up out on the Internet. We're not sure what it says about sheep, herding dogs or rabbits, but there's probably no need to over think this, so just watch:

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Global Health
2:32 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

More than a million condoms recalled in South Africa

Condoms like this one were given out during the African National Congress party's centenary celebrations in early Now a South African health official says that 1.35 million of them are being recalled amid charges some broke during sex.
Denis Farrell The Associated Press

The party may be over, but the trouble may just be starting in South Africa.

The health department in Free State province is recalling 1.35 million condoms that may not be up to snuff.

The affected condoms — a government brand called Choice — were distributed early this month as part of the festivities marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the African National Congress.

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