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Aug 21, 2014

Drought is slightly elevating ground in U.S. West, study finds

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A drought has robbed the U.S. West of 63 trillion gallons (238 trillion liters) of water, and with all that weight off the land the ground in the region has risen by several millimeters, according to a study released on Thursday.

The findings by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, were published in the online edition of the journal Science.

Aug 20, 2014

Northern California patient tested for possible Ebola exposure

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – Blood samples from a patient at a Northern California hospital, who is suspected of having been exposed to the deadly Ebola virus, will be tested by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials said.

There have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in the United States, though two American relief workers who contracted the disease in Liberia were flown back to America for treatment earlier this month.

Aug 15, 2014

Feeling lucky? Los Angeles mulls lottery system in local elections

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles city leaders are considering a lottery system to reward citizens for casting a ballot in local elections, in a measure to combat low voter turnout that officials and outside observers say could be a first for any U.S. municipality.

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission voted 3-0 on Thursday to recommend that members of the City Council move forward with the lottery idea, either by putting it before voters as a local initiative or by adopting it on their own, said commission president Nathan Hochman.

Aug 9, 2014

Former Manson Family killer Bruce Davis is rejected for parole

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Former Manson Family member Bruce Davis, who was sentenced to life in prison for two 1969 murders but was granted parole this year, was ordered on Friday to remain behind bars by California Governor Jerry Brown who rejected the decision to free him.

When the 71-year-old Davis was granted parole by a state board in March, it was uncertain whether he would step out of prison on that vote of confidence in him by the panel, because Brown last year reversed a similar decision.

Aug 6, 2014

Former U.S. surgeon general who warned of secondhand smoke perils dies

LOS ANGELES, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Former U.S. surgeon general
Jesse Steinfeld, who warned of the perils of second-hand smoke
and was famously not asked to return for the Nixon
administration’s second term after clashing with the tobacco
industry, has died at 87, his daughter said on Wednesday.

Steinfeld, a former official at the National Cancer
Institute who was named surgeon general in 1969, died on Tuesday
in California of complications from a stroke at an assisted
living center in Claremont, said his daughter Susan Steinfeld.

Aug 6, 2014

Geese stuck in drought-depleted California pond are rescued

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A group of about 50 flightless geese stranded at a California pond became easy prey for foxes and coyotes when drought conditions dried their watery home, but they have been rescued and sent to new homes, organizers of the effort said on Wednesday.

The geese, whose desiccated pond was between an interstate highway and a row of industrial buildings, were in desperate straights in the town of Woodland near Sacramento, said Jennifer Gordon, director of Carolina Waterfowl Rescue.

Jul 31, 2014

Spanish-style bull run nixed in California, other events planned

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A Spanish-style bull run that would have seen participants in shorts and red scarves scampering alongside the horned animals has been canceled in Southern California due to a permit denial, an organizer said on Thursday.

The cancellation follows a campaign by an animal rights group whose attorneys argue the bulls are terrified and harassed in the U.S. events, which have been held nine times since The Great Bull Run company began them in 2013.

Jul 27, 2014

New York Times backs sending federal marijuana ban up in smoke

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea as it compared the U.S. government’s stance on America’s most widely used illicit drug to the prohibition on alcohol from 1920 to 1933.

The post on the newspaper’s website is part of an editorial series that in the coming days will explore different aspects of marijuana use, from health effects to how the criminal justice system treats it.

Jul 25, 2014

Suspended California lawmaker Leland Yee faces new conspiracy charges

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A federal grand jury has returned conspiracy charges against California State Senator Leland Yee, adding to the suspended lawmaker’s legal woes after he was indicted earlier this year for corruption and taking part in a scheme to traffic guns.

Yee, 65, is one of three California state senators, along with Democrats Roderick Wright and Ron Calderon, who were suspended in March over ethics charges, costing their party a cherished two-thirds legislative majority in the Senate during an election year.

Jul 24, 2014

California man says he shot fleeing intruder who said she was pregnant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An 80-year-old California man who told a television station he shot to death a fleeing intruder even though she begged for her life and said she was pregnant was under investigation by police on Thursday in connection with the slaying.

Police have released few details about the Tuesday night shooting in the middle-class Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach, south of Los Angeles. A police spokeswoman said on Thursday detectives are still investigating and have not made any arrests.