Just in

‘Buck up,’ Inslee says, as he makes his case for new taxes

Gov. Jay Inslee wants to raise $1.4 billion in new revenue, including a new capital-gains tax, as part of his $39 billion two-year budget proposal. The plan drew some praise for boldness, but breaks his campaign pledge not to raise taxes.

Former Sheriff Sue Rahr named to Obama policing task force

Sue Rahr, who took over as executive director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission in 2012, captured widespread attention for shifting the academy’s focus from fashioning warriors in a military mold to training “guardians” of communities.

Mayor’s task force wants more tent cities for the homeless

Mayor Ed Murray’s Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness suggested Thursday that the city make it easier for more tent cities to operate legally, in addition to other recommendations.

Medicare cutting payments to hospitals in area over patient safety

In King County, nearly half of the area’s 13 hospitals will be sanctioned for patient-safety problems, including four Seattle hospitals.

State health exchange to turn over payment system to insurance carriers

The move comes in the wake of numerous complaints about problems with the exchange payment system, with many customers being told they were not insured despite signing up and paying for policies purchased in Washington Healthplanfinder..

New uniforms, new cars, new way of policing: SPD tests body cams

Twelve officers in the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct will participate in a six-month pilot program to test body cameras and the new policy by which they will be used.

Seattle district report: Ex-schools official shared bids, violated policies

Before a special-education consulting firm won a $150,000 contract with Seattle Public Schools earlier this year, the head of the district’s special-education department emailed the group copies of its competitors’ bids, a months-long district probe has concluded.

SPD unveils new navy-blue uniforms for officers

New navy-blue police uniforms and new patches featuring Chief Sealth were unveiled Thursday at a City Hall news briefing.

WSU report says water plan overvalues fish recovery

A recently completed cost-benefit analysis for each aspect of the 30-year Yakima Basin Integrated Plan — new and improved reservoirs, fish ladders, water conservation and habitat restoration — found that benefits will fall far short of earlier estimates by the Bureau of Reclamation.

Edmonds School Board reprimands Superintendent Brossoit

The Edmonds School Board issued a formal letter of reprimand to Superintendent Nick Brossoit after two incidents in which he crossed boundaries with his staff.

Seattle police officers getting a new look in the new year

Seattle police are ditching their two-tone blue uniforms and replacing them with solid navy-blue slacks and shirts.

Jerry Brewer

Seahawks’ offense shouldn’t concede that Sunday will be a defensive battle

As great as the Seahawks have been lately, imagine if they cleaned up a few of the things holding back their offense. And then imagine if that inspired Pete Carroll to have greater offensive ambition.

Bud Withers

2014-15 college bowl preview: Plenty to see here

Here you are, chronically behind in holiday shopping, and you’ve got the first five of 38 college bowl games to watch Saturday. And yes, there will be a quiz. Our preview.

Mariners announce the signings of three players to minor-league deals

An infielder and two pitchers, including one former Mariner, to join the squad in spring training

UW football gets verbal commitment from Tevis Bartlett

Tevis Bartlett, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound, three-star athlete from Cheyenne, Wyo., made a verbal commitment to the Huskies on Thursday, becoming UW’s 21st known recruit for the Class of 2015.

Ski report: White Pass expected to join Mission Ridge in opening Saturday

Erratic weekend weather forecast worries skiers, but there should be holiday options for skiing and snowboarding.

Boys swim preview: Lakeside’s Abrahm Devine looks to repeat as state champion

The Stanford-bound senior will focus on getting back to the state meet, where he won two titles last February. His technique has been a focal point since he has yet to begin weight training.

K.J. Wright gets four-year extension from Seahawks

K.J. Wright was signed to a four-year extension confirmed to be worth as much as $27 million, the Seahawks announced Thursday afternoon.

Sideline Chatter | Dwight Perry

Laundry list for NFL as flags fly at record pace

Penalty mark set to fall this weekend.

Prep boys swimming: Five swimmers and five teams to watch

Newport returns state meet placers Andrew Pana, Dave Makharvoks, Will Dittig and Aaron Elhajj.

Sounders pass on taking any action during MLS Re-Entry draft

Two former Seattle players picked up by other teams

Why the Seahawks extended LB K.J. Wright

The Seahawks covet Wright for many reasons, but near the top of the list is his savvy. Wright knows where to be, and he knows where to be at multiple positions. His versatility has been on display when he’s played at middle and weakside linebacker.

For MLB, changes in Cuba will take time to sort out

Fred Claire can see the day when Major League Baseball teams open academies for prospects in Cuba.

Penn State, BYU in volleyball final

Megan Courtney had 23 kills and defending champion Penn State beat top-seeded Stanford 25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21 on Thursday night to reach the NCAA women’s volleyball final in Oklahoma City.

Larry Stone

Seahawks adept at creating calm out of chaos

With NFC West title likely on line Sunday at Arizona, Seahawks turn down volume on big game

49ers release McDonald amid further legal trouble

Citing a pattern of behavior and off-field issues, San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke informed defensive lineman Ray McDonald that he was released Wednesday amid a sexual assault investigation by San Jose police.

Two more air-bag accidents on undelivered Boeing jets have workers concerned

Two new seat-belt air-bag accidents on Boeing airplanes being prepared for delivery have raised safety concerns among workers after an air bag incident last month killed a worker.

Juno Therapeutics prices IPO at $24

Shares from the Seattle biotechnology company’s widely anticipated IPO will start trading Friday on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol JUNO. At $24, the IPO price implies a $2 billion market capitalization.

Sunset Corporate Center sold

The office complex along the I-90 corridor in Bellevue was sold for $90.7 million Thursday to a New York Life Insurance Co. affiliate.

Costco reports federal probe about prescriptions for controlled substances

Costco said Thursday it has been informed by federal attorneys in several districts that they believe the company has violated civil regulations about the handling of prescriptions for controlled substances.

Group challenges Plum Creek’s ‘green lumber’ label

A watchdog group is challenging the environmentally friendly “green lumber” certification for Seattle-based Plum Creek Timberlands.

Group challenges timber producer's 'green' label

A watchdog group is challenging the environmentally friendly "green lumber" certification for Plum Creek Timberlands, one of the nation's biggest landowners and timber producers.

RVs back on the road in recession rebound

During the deep economic downturn, some RV factories were shuttered and those that survived cut their workforce. The survivors are now reaping the benefits of market demand back in pre-recessionary territory.

Ultra-luxury ‘suite in the sky’ on Etihad plane

Airline’s first Airbus A380 — with a three-room private suite — has arrived in Abu Dhabi, and will start daily service to London on Dec. 27. Etihad also showcased its first Boeing Dreamliner on Thursday, with a smaller high-end suite.

Amazon launches 1-hour shipping in Manhattan launched a service Thursday that promises one-hour delivery of household products to its Prime customers in Manhattan.

SpaceX delays space station delivery until Jan.

The space station astronauts will have to wait until next month for their Christmas delivery.

Uber suspends Portland pickups while rules drawn up

The agreement signals how Uber is compromising with local authorities to work toward mutual solutions after facing regulatory backlashes across the globe.

Why the Fed thinks US economy still needs its help

If you didn't know about the lingering damage from the Great Recession, the U.S. economy would appear remarkably strong.

Dish adds Netflix app to some of its set-top boxes

Dish is making it easier to watch video from an online rival, Netflix.

Fed rate wording boosts world stock markets

World stock markets powered higher Thursday, sweeping aside worries about a flagging global economy after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would remain "patient" in its approach to raising interest rates.

Sprint accused of billing for unwanted services

Federal regulators are accusing Sprint Corp. of illegally billing its wireless customers hundreds of millions of dollars in charges for text message alerts and other services that they didn't order.

Gauge of US economy rises 0.6 percent in November

An index designed to predict the future health of the economy posted a third straight solid gain in November.

How Kim Jong Un became the target of 'The Interview'

A few weeks ago, when a freshly stoned Seth Rogen sat down for a lunch interview about "The Interview," the likelihood of trouble seemed remote.

Napster co-founder to invest in allergy research

Napster co-founder Sean Parker missed most of his final year in high school and has ended up in the emergency room countless times because of his deadly allergy to nuts, shellfish and other foods.

Sony emails show a studio ripe for hacking

In the weeks before hackers broke into Sony Pictures Entertainment, the studio suffered significant technology outages it blamed on software flaws and incompetent technical staffers who weren't paying attention, even as hackers targeted executives to trick them into revealing their online credentials.

US jobless aid applications decline to 289,000

Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, a sign of solid job security and growing confidence among employers.

Low prices a plus for gas stations, too

“It’s completely antithetical to what people believe,” says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service.

'Stand your ground' defense fails in Montana murder trial

Just days before he shot to death a 17-year-old German exchange student, Markus Kaarma told hair stylists he had been waiting up to shoot some kids who were burglarizing homes.

‘Prison Houdini’ set to make his first legal escape

The man dubbed Florida’s “prison Houdini” kept escaping instead of simply serving his original four-year sentence, turning it into nearly a life sentence.

Closing the book on a spy game that ex-CIA boss calls ‘a draw’

Rolando Sarraff Trujillo’s story is a chapter in a spy-versus-spy drama between the United States and Cuba that played on long after the end of the Cold War and years after Cuba ceased to be a serious threat to the United States.

Early quake warnings could be offered soon if money is found

Congress just approved $5 million to develop an earthquake early-warning system, but officials said they need $16.1 million a year to fully build the system and maintain it for California, Oregon and Washington.

Ports dispute means French fry rationing, spud airlifts in Japan

McDonald’s began limiting French fry servings at its 3,200 Japanese stores to the smallest of the usual three sizes, blaming a shortage of processed potatoes from the United States.

Sony examines ways to repair many relationships damaged by N. Korea’s cyberattack

The cyberattack has disrupted the web of executive, business and talent relationships that stitches together Sony’s core moviemaking operation.

Will Cubans’ health suffer in new U.S. relationship?

According to World Bank data, life expectancy for someone born in Cuba in 2011 was 79 years, slightly longer than that of an infant born in the United States the same year.

Australian leader: Siege may have been preventable

Australia's prime minister said Thursday that a deadly siege in a Sydney cafe may have been preventable, as the chorus of critics demanding to know why the gunman was out on bail despite facing a string of violent charges grew louder.

113th Congress just barely avoids distinction of least productive in history

The 113th Congress enacted 286 public laws, three more than the 283 in the previous Congress that served from 2011-12, the lowest tally since formal record-keeping began in 1947.

A look at 'Cuban 5' agents who were jailed in US

The "Cuban Five" refers to intelligence agents whose so-called "Wasp Network" operated in Florida in the 1990s. They were arrested in 1998 and later convicted on charges including conspiracy and failing to register as foreign agents.

Ebola: 11th Sierra Leone doctor dies; fire destroys supplies

One of Sierra Leone's most senior physicians died Thursday from Ebola, the 11th doctor in the country to succumb to the disease, a health official said.

How revived ties with Cuba came to be

Fresh off his 2012 re-election victory, President Barack Obama summoned senior advisers to a series of meetings, asking them to "think big" about a second-term agenda, including the possibilities of new starts with long-standing U.S. foes such as Iran and Cuba. Two years later, after painstaking secret diplomacy on separate but surprisingly similar tracks, efforts with Tehran and Havana are in full swing.

Want to go to Cuba? Not so fast

Most U.S. citizens still can’t visit — nor use their credit/debit cards — in Cuba, even though President Obama is restoring ties with the country.

EU court rules obesity can be considered a disability

By classifying obesity as a disability in certain conditions, the court raised the prospect of EU employers being obligated to make available larger desks, wider doorways and closer parking spaces to accommodate those whose weight limits their mobility.

Freed American endured years of declining health

Alan Gross spent five years wasting away in a Cuban prison, losing hope that he would ever be free and at one point apparently contemplating suicide. He dropped more than 100 pounds, developed hip problems and lost most of the vision in one eye.

US, Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

After a half-century of Cold War acrimony, the United States and Cuba moved on Wednesday to restore diplomatic relations -- a historic shift that could revitalize the flow of money and people across the narrow waters that separate the two nations.

$10 million in stolen Los Angeles art recovered

Authorities have recovered $10 million worth of art -- including paintings by Chagall and Diego Rivera -- that were stolen in one of Los Angeles' largest art heists.

AP Exclusive: Sydney hostage planned daring escape

The siege at the Sydney cafe had been going on for more than five hours and 82-year-old John O'Brien had become convinced the gunman was insane and they would likely all end up dead.

AP source: US probe links NKorea to Sony hacking

Federal investigators have now connected the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. to North Korea, a U.S. official said Wednesday, though it remained unclear how the federal government would respond to a break-in that exposed sensitive documents and ultimately led to terrorist threats against moviegoers.

Australian leader: Siege may have been preventable

Australia's prime minister said Thursday that a deadly siege in a Sydney cafe may have been preventable, as the chorus of critics demanding to know why the gunman was out on bail despite facing a string of violent charges grew louder.

Canada man finds woman for free trip around world

A Toronto man who made headlines last month by offering a free round-the-world air ticket to a woman with the same name as his ex-girlfriend has found Ms. Right.

Pakistan buries victims of school massacre

As they buried their children Wednesday, the families spoke of their dreams. One boy had just gotten high marks on his midterm and hoped to become a pilot. A 13-year-old wanted to become a doctor. Another kid just loved playing video games with his cousins.

Sony cancels 'The Interview' amid terror hack threats

Under the threat of terrorist attacks from hackers and with the nation's largest multiplex chains pulling the film from their screens, Sony Pictures Entertainment took the unprecedented step of canceling the Dec. 25 release of the Seth Rogen comedy "The Interview."

Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

The three prisoners who escaped from Alcatraz in one of the most famous and elaborate prison breaks in U.S. history could have survived and made it to land, scientists concluded in a recent study.

Editorial: The must-do list for Superintendent Larry Nyland

The state’s largest school district is desperate for stability at the top, but it also needs to shake things up to improve lopsided academic outcomes.

Guest: We’re failing teenagers when it comes to sexual health

Mental health, sexual violence, HIV and reproductive issues are leading causes of death and disability among adolescents.

Movie review

‘Foxcatcher’: You’ve never seen Steve Carell like this before

A movie review of “Foxcatcher,” a strange and mesmerizing three-man character study, starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.

Restaurant review

Quality Athletics is changing the sports-bar playbook

Review of sports bar Quality Athletics. Don’t worry, though, there’s a great burger.

Rising-star conductor Macelaru at helm of Seattle ‘Messiah’

An interview with Cristian Macelaru, who will lead Seattle Symphony, the Chorale and soloists in the orchestra’s 2014 performances of Handel’s “Messiah.”

Theater review

‘Judy’s Scary Little Christmas’: TV spoof could be spiffier

A review of “Judy’s Scary Little Christmas,” a fantasy musical satire at Seattle’s ArtsWest.

Bellevue teen an evangelist for classical music

A talk with Bellevue teen David Zhao, who began playing piano at 5 and created a nonprofit organization called Instruments for Change to introduce more youth to the joys of classical music.

Dec. 18 TV Picks: ‘The Colbert Report’s’ final show

TV picks for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, include “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central, “The Taste” on ABC and “Project Runway: All Stars” on Lifetime.

Hayrides, TV’s ‘Rudolph’ and bonsais | Weekend Preview

Activities for the weekend of Dec. 19-21, 2014, include Winter Wonderland Hayrides, “Rudolph’s” 50th Anniversary celebration and a Bonsai Solstice. Films opening include “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies” and “Annie.”

Movie review

MacLaine & Plummer add charm to ‘Elsa & Fred’ remake

A movie review of “Elsa & Fred”: Michael Radford, director of the Oscar-winning “Il Postino,” made this late-career vehicle for Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.

At a Theater Near You

‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ ‘Hoop Dreams,’ ‘The Nutcracker’

Art-house screenings during the week of Dec. 19 include “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Grand Illusion, “Hoop Dreams” at the Northwest Film Forum and a filmed version of the Bolshoi Ballet’s staging of “The Nutcracker” at several theaters.

Movie bargains: ‘The Book of Life,’ ‘Wild,’ ‘St. Vincent,’ ‘Elf’

Here are some Seattle-area theaters offering discounted ticket prices during the week of Dec. 19.

Ciscoe Morris

Add cheery color to your winter garden; how to use biochar

Garden writer Ciscoe Morris on winter-blooming camellias and the pros and cons of using biochar, a charcoal-like substance left over from the process of making biofuel.

NEW - 06:15 AM

Dear Carolyn

For toddler’s issues, look to a trusted resource

Advice columnist Carolyn Hax: Parents need to take a deep breath and consider all possibilities.

How to enjoy holiday travel with your dog

Fifty-three percent of Americans surveyed would rather spend time with their dog than their family during the holidays.