Updated at 8:09 a.m. ET

Investigative journalist Svetlana Alexievich has been awarded this year's Nobel Prize for Literature, the Swedish Academy announced Thursday. Alexievich is the first writer from Belarus to win the prize.

Alexievich won "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time," according to the citation for the award.

This Adoptee Went Back To China But Couldn't Connect

18 hours ago
Lydia Nasser in China: “This was just me standing alone, Lydia and China.”
Courtesy of Lydia Nasser

Lydia Nasser celebrated her 19th birthday on July 17, but she doesn’t actually know when she was born.

“I could’ve been born anywhere between the 15th and like the 20th," Nasser explained. “Sometimes it’s funny thinking about that. It never affects me in a bad way, it’s just a question mark in my life.”

Nasser doesn’t know her birth date because when she was 2, her parents adopted her from China and brought her back to Washington state, where she has lived ever since.

Seattle Public Utilities says its dams are about three-quarters full.
Flickr photo/Konstantin Stepanov (CC BY 2.0)

Way to go, Seattle and Tacoma and Everett. You’ve cut your water use by 14 percent over the past eight weeks. That handily beat the goal of the region’s city water managers of a 10 percent reduction.

The bad news, the cities said Wednesday, is that typical fall rains still haven't arrived (despite the drizzle outside) to end the drought gripping Washington state.

The gym chain Planet Fitness has found itself in the middle of a national debate over how to accommodate transgender people in single-sex spaces like bathrooms and locker rooms.

Earlier this year, Yvette Cormier complained to her gym in Midland, Michigan, after seeing a transgender woman in the women’s locker room. Cormier took it upon herself to “warn” other customers of the transgender-friendly policy. The gym canceled her membership, and now she’s suing.

Paper or plastic? If you're at a restaurant in the coastal city of Fort Bragg, Calif., that's what your food is likely to be served on these days.

The drought-stricken city, located about 170 miles north of San Francisco, recently declared a "stage 3" water emergency, which makes it mandatory for businesses and residents to reduce water usage.

Flickr Photo/Eierschneider (CC BY 2.0)/

Jeannie Yandel talks to Dr. Stanley Herring, co-director of UW Medicine's Sports Health and Safety Institute, about the safety of high school football players and other teen athletes. Herring is also medical director of Spine, Sports and Orthopedic Health at UW Medicine and a team doctor for the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Mariners. 

Herring said he would allow a child to play football, or another sport, only under these terms: The program has well-trained coaches; there is an emergency medical action plan in place; coaches, parents and athletes were educated about the risk of all injuries – not just concussions; and there was a plan for practices and games that limited unnecessary exposure to injury.

Flowers at a memorial for the 2014 Seattle Pacific University shooting.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Jeannie Yandel talks with Seattle Pacific University student Chris Howard about his experience dealing with the aftermath of the 2014 shooting at SPU in light of the recent school shooting at Umpqua Community College in  Roseburg, Oregon.

The signs read: "Take 'em down! Renoir sucks!" and "We're not iconoclasts[;] Renoir just sucks at painting!"

Led by Max Geller, a handful of people protested Monday outside Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

Their grievance?

The fact that paintings by renowned French Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir are hanging in the museum.

KUOW Photo

After the massacre at an Oregon community college, the local sheriff made a stand about the gunman. "You will not hear anyone from this law enforcement operation use his name,” said Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin.

But Mark Memmott, NPR's supervising senior editor for standards and practices, told KUOW’s Ross Reynolds that “the ‘who’ is an important part of the story.”

Lacey Scroggins was in a writing class last week at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., when a man burst in and started shooting people. When it was over, 10 people, including the shooter, were dead, and Lacey was covered in blood.

She survived, and she and her family credit one of the victims for that. She wasn't ready to tell the tale herself, so she asked her father to stand in.

This September alone, three high school football players died after injuries sustained on the field. The latest, a 17-year-old quarterback from New Jersey, suffered a ruptured spleen during a game just over a week ago.

In some high schools across the U.S., deaths such as these — and an increased focus on the risk of head injury and concussions — have raised concerns among parents and diminished interest in the sport. At others, like the Maplewood Richmond Heights High School in suburban St. Louis, the football programs have disbanded altogether.

Community members gather for a candlelight vigil for those killed in a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015.
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

We'll bring you the latest on investigations into the Roseburg, Oregon, shooting and last week's fatal Aurora Bridge crash. Plus: Shell’s Arctic oil abandonment as seen from the Aleutian Islands. Where did all the I-405 drivers go? And now that the Seattle Mariners have named Jerry Dipoto as their new general manager, will they finally put the right pretty Lego castle pieces in place and leave them there?

Bill Radke figures out the week’s news with former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, journalist Erica C. Barnett, former state lawmaker Bill Finkbeiner, KUOW’s John Ryan reporting from Alaska, Seattle Times reporters Lewis Kamb and Geoff Baker, Northwest News Networks’s Chris Lehman and WSDOT tolling director Craig Stone.

Author Walter Mosley and his father in front of their home in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.

People usually remember as far back as the generation that raises them, says writer Walter Mosley.

Mosley had come into KUOW’s studios to speak with KUOW’s Ross Reynolds. It was 1992, and his third book, "White Butterfly," had just been published.

Easy Rawlins, Mosley’s main character, emerged from those memories. Easy was a fixer, a guy who does favors for people.

For more than 10 years, disease had slowly eaten away at He Quangui's lungs, leaving him, for the most part, bedridden.

But He was no smoker — he was a Chinese gold miner. He was stricken with silicosis, a respiratory illness caused by inhaling silica dust. An estimated 6 million Chinese miners suffer from the debilitating disease pneumoconiosis — of which silicosis is one form.

Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a 43-year-old Polish priest who revealed his homosexuality, and a same-sex relationship on the eve of gathering of bishops from around the world, has been stripped of his doctrinal responsibilities for what the Vatican says are "very serious and irresponsible" actions.

"The decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the synod assembly to undue media pressure," the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement.