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Jan 17, 2014

California governor declares drought emergency

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency on Friday, a move that will allow the parched state to seek federal aid as it grapples with what could turn out to be the driest year in recorded state history for many areas.

The dry year California experienced in 2013 has left fresh water reservoirs with a fraction of their normal reserves and slowed the normally full American River so dramatically that brush and dry riverbed are showing through in areas normally teeming with fish.

Jan 17, 2014

A new university bets on a hybrid online-learning model

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Offering a twist on the learn-from-anywhere convenience of Internet classes, a new university is asking freshmen to take a large leap of faith.

Minerva Schools of KGI, a radically experimental university in San Francisco, is sifting through applications for its first class, starting this fall. The school is an alliance between Minerva Project, a venture-backed for-profit company, and Keck Graduate Institute, one of California’s Claremont colleges.

Jan 16, 2014

Latest perk on Google buses: security guards

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – First, San Francisco-based commuters to Google Inc got buses with plush seats and free WiFi. Now, they are getting security.

In recent days, men with earpieces have closely monitored passengers boarding Google commuter buses at the site of at least one bus stop in San Francisco’s Mission District. Their presence comes a few weeks after Google buses were targeted by protesters who blame tech-industry employees for rising city rents.

Jan 13, 2014

U.S. venture funds raise more in fourth quarter, but less for year

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 13 (Reuters) – U.S. venture funds raised
$4.85 billion last quarter, up 53 percent from the same period a
year ago, but full-year 2013 fundraising fell 15 percent
compared to the year before.

For the full year, venture capital firms raised $16.7
billion, the weakest annual total since 2010, according to data
from the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson
Reuters released on Monday.

Jan 9, 2014

Uber cuts prices up to 34 pct for no-frills UberX car service

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Uber, the red-hot rides
start-up known for jacking up town-car fares, is taking the
opposite approach with its no-frills UberX service.

Fares on UberX, which offers rides in ordinary cars at lower
prices than the company’s high-end town car service, will be cut
in 16 cities, Uber said in a blog post Thursday.

Jan 6, 2014

Google, other big companies to pay to use San Francisco bus stops

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google Inc and other big technology companies that rely on private commuter buses to ferry workers around will now pay the city of San Francisco fees to use city bus stops, the city announced at a news conference on Monday.

Companies using commuter buses, which some see as a symbol of unwelcome gentrification in San Francisco, will end up paying the city around $1.5 million over the next 18 months as part of a pilot program, Mayor Ed Lee said.

Jan 6, 2014

Arrest made in San Francisco Chinese consulate arson: FBI

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Monday charged a 39-year-old man with arson in connection with a fire at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco last week, but law enforcement authorities are not treating the incident as an act of terrorism.

Yan Feng turned himself into local police on Friday, two days after the Chinese consulate in San Francisco sustained fire and smoke damage, Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent David Johnson said at a news conference on Monday. Feng currently faces two criminal charges, including arson.

Jan 2, 2014

Ride service Uber, brash darling of Silicon Valley, stalks new markets

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 2 (Reuters) – Uber Chief Executive Travis
Kalanick knows the value of a good controversy.

After his upstart company, which lets people summon rides at
the touch of a smartphone button, provoked a flurry of social
media outrage in December over pricing policies that can result
in exorbitant fares, Kalanick addressed prospective New Year’s
Eve customers.

Jan 2, 2014

Arsonist strikes Chinese consulate in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO/BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese consulate in San Francisco sustained fire and smoke damage after an arsonist struck it, the consulate said on Thursday, but no injuries were reported.

The consulate said the arsonist struck on Wednesday night, carrying two cans of gasoline from a van parked on the street and then setting an embassy gate ablaze. The San Francisco Fire Department said it responded two minutes after the fire was reported and quickly got the blaze under control.

Dec 20, 2013

University of California need not disclose venture returns: court

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The University of California is under no obligation to obtain and disclose information on the investment performance of venture capital funds in its portfolio, a California court ruled Thursday in a decision that could broadly affect how public-records laws are interpreted.

The suit, filed last year in California state court in Oakland by Reuters America, a unit of Thomson Reuters Corp, argued that the state Public Records Act requires disclosure of investment-return information for the university system’s $11.23 billion endowment fund.