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The Associated Press (“AP”) is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from the AP. Founded in 1846, the AP today is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. The AP considers itself to be the backbone of the world’s information system, serving thousands of daily newspaper, radio, television, and online customers with coverage in text, photos, graphics, audio and video.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The secretary of state's office has officially certified one gun-related initiative to the Legislature and is starting review of signatures on another.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman certified the results for Initiative 594 on Wednesday. That measure would require universal background checks on all firearm sales in Washington. Nearly 347,000 signatures were submitted for the initiative, far more than the minimum requirement of 246,372.

Alex Garland

The president of Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish has resigned in the wake of the students' protest over the school's decision to force out a gay vice principal who married his partner.

Sister Mary Tracy submitted her resignation to school trustees on Sunday, effective immediately. In an email sent to parents, staff and others on Tuesday evening, the school said a search for her replacement will begin soon.

Matt Slocum / AP Photo

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will face the best defense they've met all season when they play Richard Sherman's Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.

It will be a matchup between the NFL's No. 1 offense, led by Manning, against the NFL's No. 1 "D," led by Sherman, when the AFC's Broncos (15-3) take on the NFC's Seahawks (15-3) on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Matt Slocum / AP Photo

Russell Wilson threw a 35-yard touchdown pass on fourth down and Seattle's top-ranked defense forced two late turnovers, lifting the Seahawks into their second Super Bowl with a 23-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC championship Sunday.

Seattle will meet Denver for the NFL title in two weeks in the New Jersey Meadowlands. It's the first trip to the big game for the Seahawks (15-3) since they lost to Pittsburgh after the 2005 season.

AP Photo/NOAA Fisheries Service, Candice Emmons

A conservation group is asking federal officials to protect endangered killer whales in the marine waters off the West Coast.

The Center for Biological Diversity on Thursday petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to designate critical habitat for orcas along the coast of Washington, Oregon and California.

Students and parents protesting the departure of a gay vice principal from their Seattle-area Catholic high school on Wednesday turned in a petition to the Archdiocese of Seattle asking the church to reconsider its policy on gay marriage.

The archdiocese responded with a statement saying they stand by the decision to replace the popular teacher, coach and vice principal.

Brennan Linsley / AP Photo

Some Washington lawmakers concerned about a possible pot-business freeze-out want to keep cities and towns from adopting marijuana-business bans.

Ten representatives in the House on Tuesday introduced a bill that would require cities and counties to cooperate with the state Liquor Control Board in terms of allowing licensed recreational marijuana gardens, processing facilities and stores within their jurisdictions. Local governments would have to treat those enterprises the same as any other business that attempts to locate within their boundaries.

AP Photo

Boeing is confirming an incident with a battery on a Japan Airlines 787, in a reminder of the problems that grounded the plane for three months last year.

Boeing says it appears that a single battery cell "vented," or released gas. It was discovered during scheduled maintenance on the ground at Tokyo's Narita airport on Tuesday. No passengers were on board.

Gary Stewart / AP Photo

Proceeds from the Barefoot Bandit's movie deal and a strip club sale helped federal prosecutors in Washington state collect more than $25 million last year.

The U.S. attorney's office in Seattle says it hauled in $22 million in criminal and civil actions, and the office in Spokane says it brought in $3.5 million more. They also worked on cases with other Department of Justice offices, which nationally collected about $8.1 billion.

Matt Rourk / AP Photo

With its latest update Friday, the Washington Health Department says there have been 11 flu deaths in the state this season.

Spokesman Marqise Allen says the number is not unusual, but the department urges everyone over the age of 6 months to have a vaccination. The swine flu has been the most common strain, and the current vaccine available covers the H1N1 virus.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A dry start to winter has left the snowpack in Washington far short of normal.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's snow survey office in Mount Vernon says as of Jan. 1, snowpack readings were 45 percent of normal for that time of year.

Courtesy Terri Chung

The sister of a Washington man imprisoned in North Korea welcomed an apology from Dennis Rodman after his comments suggesting the man may have deserved his arrest.

Rodman traveled to North Korea to celebrate the birthday of leader Kim Jong Un.

Kim Kwang Hyon / AP Photo

Dennis Rodman has apologized for comments about captive American missionary Kenneth Bae in an interview with CNN.

A day after the former basketball star sang "Happy Birthday" to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and led a squad of former NBA players in a friendly game, Rodman issued the apology Thursday through publicist Jules Feiler in an email message to The Associated Press.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

The Obama administration has issued new recommendations on classroom discipline that seek to end the apparent disparities in how students of different races are disciplined for breaking school rules.

Government civil rights data show that black students without disabilities are more than three times as likely as whites to be expelled or suspended. Critics say that creates a "school-to-prison" pipeline because many students enter the criminal justice system for violations.

WSDOT

The Washington Transportation Department says crews have completed the second of four planned exploratory 5-foot-wide shafts being dug in front of a massive machine that got stuck last month while boring a tunnel under downtown Seattle.

Spokeswoman Laura Newborn says the shafts are being dug in hopes of identifying any metal in the path of the machine known as Bertha and removing as much of any such obstruction as possible.

Louie Balukoff / AP Photo

Sen. Paull Shin has announced his immediate resignation from the Senate following a recent diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

Vincent Yu / AP Photo

Ford CEO Alan Mulally says he will not leave the automaker for Microsoft and will stay at Ford at least through 2014.

Mulally is widely credited with saving Ford after being hired away from Boeing in 2006. But in recent months there have been numerous reports that he was in the running for the top job at Microsoft, where CEO Steve Ballmer has said he plans to leave the company sometime this year.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Washington state health officials say its own arsenic testing has confirmed that geoducks harvested from a Puget Sound bay are safe to eat and don't pose a health concern.

Officials say they're hoping the test results will help persuade China to lift a ban it imposed last month on the import of clams, oysters, mussels and scallops harvested from Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Northern California.

Ken Vensel

Public-service minded Washington residents helped the state rank ninth in the nation for volunteering last year.

According to a national volunteering report, nearly 2 million Washingtonians volunteered more than 250 million hours in 2012.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Boeing has told local political leaders that this week's vote by Machinists will determine the fate of some jobs on the new 777X airplane.

In a press conference Monday morning, local politicians gathered in Everett to discuss the importance of approving the contract. They said Boeing executive Ray Conner told them in a meeting that the union vote will decide whether the new 777X composite wing is built in the region.

AP Photo

Local political leaders in Washington state are gathering to discuss the importance of the 777X airplane.

Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson and others plan a press conference Monday to discuss Boeing ahead of a Friday vote by the Machinists union. Local Machinists leaders oppose the new contract offer, but Stephanson and others have urged them to approve the deal.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

Consumer activist and failed presidential candidate Ralph Nader has some words for Boeing.

In an open letter to Boeing CEO Jim McNerney on Thursday, Nader said the company's effort to squeeze worker pensions and pay is "unseemly." He cited McNerney's salary as one reason and the tax advantages the company is receiving as another.

Associated Press

Boeing says it has begun telling states whether they're still in the running to build its new 777X.

Boeing has gotten proposals from 22 states covering 54 locations that all want to build the plane. Boeing says it is narrowing the list down and is telling each location its status in the process. Boeing isn't releasing the list publicly.

Reddit

One woman's secret Santa this holiday season turned out to be one of the richest men in the world: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

The gift exchange happened through the website Reddit's secret Santa event, in which users swap presents across the country.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Some lawmakers say they didn't receive campaign contributions from Boeing until after voting on a tax break for the company.

Boeing's political committee had reported in records to the state Public Disclosure Commission that it gave the maximum donation of $900 to seven lawmakers a few days before the Legislature approved tax incentives valued at some $9 billion.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Washington residents who have started but not finished their applications for insurance through the state's new health care exchange are getting a deadline extension.

State officials announced Wednesday that anyone who begins an application before Dec. 23, will have until Jan. 1 to finish. Exchange spokesman Michael Marchand says they'll get as much help as they need to make that happen.

Associated Press

New figures from Washington's Liquor Control Board show a big jump in marijuana business applications as this week's deadline for submissions nears.

The board said Tuesday it has received 2,444 applications to grow, process or sell cannabis under Washington's recreational pot law passed by voters last year. As of a week ago, that figure was just under 1,700.

dalexeenko / Flickr

A new state audit has found Washington university credit cards were used to make more than $225,000 in purchases not allowed by state policies.

Most of the purchases were for alcohol or gifts. And the majority were made by people associated with the University of Washington.

WSDOT

The Transportation Department and contractors building a highway tunnel under downtown Seattle are trying to find out what has blocked their tunnel boring machine.

The machine called Bertha ran into something Friday and was shut down Saturday about 1,000 feet from the start.

Police in Kennewick, Wash., say a missing 14-year-old girl has talked with her mother and says she is in Mexico and is OK.

KNDO says police confirmed Tuesday that the mother of Elizabeth Romero spoke with her daughter by phone and the girl said she is in Jalisco, Mexico.

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