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Gregoire plugs spuds in China, Vietnam

OLYMPIA — Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire is asking diners in Asia if they want fries with that.

As part of her trade mission to China and Vietnam, the governor has been handing Washington potato products at supermarkets and Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in different cities. Potatoes are one of the many state exports being promoted on the tour.

Today, Gregoire visited a Mitsubishi plant in Hanoi that supplies parts for Boeing 737s, and helped open an elementary school that Boeing funded. Gregoire says the 11-day trip has been a success, with important contacts made and a number of agreements signed.

She wraps up the trade mission Thursday, after visiting a new shipping terminal near Ho Chi Minh City. And she’ll do another promotional event to plug Washington spuds.

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U.S. Gulf Coast prepares as Alberto brings wind, rain north

UPDATED: 9:03 p.m.

Florida and Mississippi launched emergency preparations Saturday ahead of the arrival of Subtropical Storm Alberto, a slow-moving system expected to cause wet misery across the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast over the holiday weekend.