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The Vancouver, B.C., City Council has banned plastic straws, foam cups and takeout containers effective June 1, 2019. It's the first municipality in Canada to ban the single-use disposable items. Seattle has a similar ban on plastic straws and utensils, set to go into effect in July. The biggest opponents of the ban in Vancouver were bubble tea shops, who say no alternatives are available for their bigger straws. “Our industry depends on straws,” one shop owner said.
Rangeland Fire Protection Associations, Interagency Fire Center prepare for wildfire season.
Seattle City Council members would be wise to read Frédéric Bastiat's essay, "What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen."
“Faced with an increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary, the Open Society Foundations are moving their Budapest-based international operations and staff to the German capital, Berlin,” the Open Society Foundations (OSF) announced in a press statement on May 15. “Together with other international funders, Open Society will continue to support the important work of civil society groups in Hungary on issues such as arts and culture, media freedom, transparency, and education and health care for all Hungarians," the OSF said in its statement. “The decision to move operations out of Budapest,” according to the OSF, “comes as the Hungarian government prepares to impose further restrictions on nongovernmental organizations through what it has branded its ‘Stop Soros’ package of legislation.”
As the city’s median sale price for a single-family house hits $820,000, it is getting harder for young people — and everyone else — to find an affordable home in Seattle and nearby communities, as illustrated by The Seattle Times guest cartoonist, David Horsey.
State Supreme Court weighs validity of charter school law
Teachers unions and other groups have sued over the 2016 charter school law, which lawmakers enacted after the justices struck down a 2012 voter-approved initiative that allowed charter schools for the first time in Washington. The lawsuit argues that using public money to operate alternative, nonprofit charter schools over which voters have no direct control is forbidden by the state Constitution and diverts money needed by traditional public schools. A King County Superior Court judge upheld the new charter school law, and the challengers appealed.
Hawaii volcano erupts anew, sends huge ash plume into sky
Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupted from its summit before dawn Thursday, shooting a steely gray plume of ash about 30,000 feet into the sky that began raining down on a nearby town. The explosion came about 6 a.m. after two weeks of volcanic activity that included the opening of more than a dozen fissures that spewed lava into neighborhoods. At least 26 homes have been destroyed.
Surging northern pike population in Lake Roosevelt could threaten salmon, steelhead downstream
In most ways, heavy mountain snowpacks are positive. Melting snow brings much-needed water to farmers and recreationists alike. It protects against forest fires and replenishes watersheds. But in at least one way, the flood of water can do harm by carrying undesirable interlopers downstream – northern pike. Raging rivers flush the invasive predatory fish over Montana dams and into Idaho and Washington waterways. That’s how biologists believe the fish were first introduced to Washington waters in the 1990s.
Media/News Company in Nespelem, Washington
Rain and thunderstorms expected over Okanogan River flood
With the National Weather Service of Spokane issuing a forecast of slow moving storms that will carry up to .28 inches of rain over the already saturated Okanogan Valley, the Colville Tribal EOC has decided to work around the clock through the weekend. “We’re worried about rain, and we’re worried about flash floods coming in,” said Randy August, planning chief of the tribal response team established in preparation of flooding in the Okanogan River. “The river level may change abruptly. We want people to watch out for fast rises in the river and we want people to watch the slow moving thunderstorms. The water will not run off like it has in the past because the ground is already saturated.”
Iran on Thursday signed an interim free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, two days days after the United States imposed new sanctions and warned companies against trading with Tehran. EEU members Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan added Iran to their trade bloc, which has existing agreements with Vietnam, Uzbekistan and Moldova. Iran could become the sixth EEU member, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said. Thursday's three-year provisional agreement, which abolishes customs duties, will function as a test to determine if long-term Iranian membership is viable.