SEATTLE

Voters reject mandatory labels for modified foods

Voters in Washington state have rejected a ballot measure requiring mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.

The campaign over Initiative 522 drew millions of dollars from out of state and was one of the costliest initiative fights in state history.

The measure was failing 46 percent to 54 percent after more ballots were counted Wednesday evening, with the “yes” side trailing by almost 100,000 votes.

Had voters approved I-522, Washington would’ve been the first state to put in place labeling requirements for genetically modified foods.

The opposition raised $22 million to defeat the measure.

WASHINGTON

Number of poor in America said higher than official tally

The number of poor people in America is 3 million higher than the official count, encompassing 1 in 6 residents due to out-of-pocket medical costs and work-related expenses, according to a revised census measure released Wednesday.

The new measure is aimed at providing a fuller picture of poverty but does not replace the official government numbers.

Put in place two years ago by the Obama administration, it generally is considered more reliable by social scientists because it factors in living expenses as well as the effects of government aid, such as food stamps and tax credits.

Administration officials have declined to say whether the new measure eventually could replace the official poverty formula, which is used to allocate federal dollars to states and localities and to determine eligibility for safety-net programs such as Medicaid.

Congress would have to agree to adopt the new measure, which generally would result in a higher poverty rate from year to year and thus create higher government payouts for aid programs.

Based on the revised formula, the number of poor people in 2012 was 49.7 million, or 16 percent.

That exceeds the record 46.5 million, or 15 percent, that was officially reported in September.

LONDON

WikiLeaks staffer leaves Russia, travels to Germany

WikiLeaks staffer Sarah Harrison, a key ally of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, has left Russia for Germany, saying her lawyers had advised her against travel to Britain over fears she could be prosecuted if she returns to her native country.

Harrison arrived in Germany over the weekend, saying in a statement released by WikiLeaks late Wednesday that she left Snowden only after making sure “that he had established himself and was free from the interference of any government.”

The statement also said that lawyers had advised her to stay away from the U.K. over fears she would be prosecuted under anti-terror laws.

Harrison couldn’t immediately be reached for further comment, but fellow WikiLeaks staffer Joseph Farrell said she had decided to stay away from Britain “for the time being.”

– From news service reports