BC-CA--California News Digest, CA

The supervisor in Los Angeles will be John Antczak. If you have a news tip or questions about the report, call 213-626-1200. The supervisor in San Francisco will be Terry Collins. He can be reached at 415-495-1708.

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SAN DIEGO — The image of two charred American bodies hanging from a bridge as a jubilant crowd pelted them with shoes seared the name Fallujah into the American psyche. The brutal house-to-house battle to tame the Iraqi insurgent stronghold cemented its place in U.S. military history. So it is no surprise that the city's recent fall to al-Qaida-linked forces has touched a nerve for the service members who fought and bled there. Some call the news "disheartening," saying it revives painful memories of their sacrifice, while others try to place it in the context of Iraq's history of internal struggle since the ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. As difficult as it is to see Islamist banners flying from government buildings they secured, they refuse to accept this as a permanent reversal. By Allen G. Breed and Julie Watson. SENT : 1,500 words, photos.


MONTEREY PARK, Calif. — Nearly a month ago, embattled Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca stood at a podium outside the department's headquarters and declared he wasn't retiring despite 18 of his current and former employees being indicted for various alleged crimes. On Tuesday, the 71-year-old reversed course and said he planned to step down at the end of the month, ending a 48-year career with the department that has been mired in recent years with allegations that inmates have been abused in his jails, poor hiring practices and discrimination against minorities in one of the communities his deputies patrol. Greeted by applause from his employees, Baca said he was leaving "on my terms" and wouldn't seek re-election for a fifth term to lead the nation's largest sheriff's department. By Greg Risling. SENT: 800 words, photos.




SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The lack of rain and snow in California has gotten so bad that divine intervention is being requested. The California Conference of Catholic Bishops is asking people of faith to pray for precipitation. In doing so, the bishops say a drought will affect people's livelihoods, health and quality of life. They offer a number of sample prayers, including one that begins, "May God open the heavens and let His mercy rain down upon our fields and mountains." By Don Thompson. SENT: 375 words.



SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco plans to start regulating employee shuttles for companies like Google, Facebook and Apple, charging a fee for those that use public bus stops and controlling where they load and unload. The influx of private shuttle buses, which transport thousands of workers to their jobs, have created traffic problems on the city's narrow streets, blocking public bus stops during peak commute hours. They also have become a symbol of economic inequality for people concerned about the tech industry's impact on the area's rising housing costs. By Jason Dearen. SENT: 480 words, photos.


SAN JOSE — A California judge has increased by $50 million the amount that paint makers will have to pay into a fund to remove lead paint from homes across the state. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James P. Kleinberg on Tuesday issued a final verdict ordering Sherwin Williams, National Lead and ConAgra to pay $1.15 billion after finding that the companies knew the paint was harmful to children. SENT: 160 words.


—DEPUTY SHOOTS TEEN — The parents of a Northern California teen who was fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy in October have added new allegations to their federal lawsuit against the county.

—CA-MASSACRE SURVIVOR ACCUSED — Police in Northern California say a woman who survived a schoolyard shooting in Stockton 25 years ago has now been charged with ordering her lover's murder.

—MENDOCINO-DROUGHT EMERGENCY — Mendocino County has declared a drought emergency after a historic run of dry weather throughout the state has increased concerns over the water supply.



SANTA ANA, Calif. —Jurors were set to return Wednesday for a second day of closing arguments in the trial of two former police officers charged in the death of a Southern California homeless man who died after a routine patrol call escalated into a violent confrontation that was caught on surveillance video. In the first day of closing arguments on Tuesday, attorneys provided dramatically different portraits of the 2011 death of 37-year-old Kelly Thomas, with one side telling jurors he was an angry felon with a history of unprovoked outbursts that left him on the street and the other calling him a victim of police brutality. By Gillian Flaccus. SENT: 800 words, photos.


LOS ANGELES — A judge who has heard from multiple victims of a Venice boardwalk auto rampage is set to consider final arguments Wednesday and rule whether a driver will stand trial for allegedly driving his car through crowds on the Venice Beach boardwalk last summer, killing a newlywed woman and injuring others. A lawyer for Nathan Campbell is expected to argue to dismiss a single count of murder in the death of Alice Gruppioni of Bologna, Italy, suggesting there was no intent to kill and her death was accidental. Some 30 witnesses including tourists from across the country and the world were flown to Los Angeles to testify at the preliminary hearing, where Superior Court Judge Antonio Barretto must determine if Campbell should stand trial on one count of murder, 16 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 17 counts of hit-and-run. SENT: 250 words. UPCOMING: 400 words, photos by 1 p.m.


ANAHEIM, Calif. — Anaheim has approved a settlement in a voting rights lawsuit that challenged its citywide elections as unfair to the city's Hispanic majority. Under the settlement, the plaintiffs' claims will be dismissed and Anaheim residents will vote in November on whether to change the city charter to a district system, which supporters and judges have said is more fair to minority voters, the city announced in a statement. SENT: 350 words.


— LA COUNTY SEAL — Los Angeles County is restoring a cross to its official seal, nearly a decade after one was removed from the original design. With photos.

— FREEWAY TANKER FIRE — A Los Angeles freeway underpass shut down nearly six months ago by a fiery tanker truck crash will reopen this week. With photos.

— GRIM SLEEPER — A judge says a Los Angeles police officer acted lawfully by posing as a busboy to collect DNA samples that led to the arrest of the alleged "Grim Sleeper" serial killer.

— GIRLFRIEND-KIDNAPPING — Los Angeles County prosecutors say a Palmdale man has been charged with assaulting his girlfriend with whom he has a child and keeping her against her will for nine days in his apartment.



SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter co-founder Biz Stone hopes to demonstrate that a picture can be worth even more than 140 characters of text. That's the concept behind a smartphone application released Tuesday by Jelly Industries. Using part of the wealth he accumulated at Twitter, Stone launched Jelly nine months ago without revealing precisely what he was working on. By Technology Writer Michael Liedtke. SENT: 700 words.



LOS ANGELES — Emmy-nominated actress Carmen Zapata, who started a foundation to promote Hispanic writers because jobs were so scarce, has died of heart problems, colleagues say. She was 86. Zapata died Sunday at her Van Nuys-area home, said Luis Vela, marketing manager for the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts in Los Angeles. By Sue Manning. SENT: 365 words, photos.


— PEOPLE-LILY TOMLIN — After more than four decades together, Lily Tomlin's longtime partner and collaborator is now her wife. With photos.



SANTA CLARA — Phil Dawson walked off the field in triumph, his left hand still raised in the freezing air. San Francisco's veteran kicker waited 15 years for his first playoff victory. And 11 years to return to the postseason after his lone previous trip after 2002 with Cleveland. By Sports Writer Janie McCauley. SENT: 830 words, photos.

See also:

—CALIFORNIA NEWS DIGEST, which moves weekdays at 1 p.m.

—CALIFORNIA NEWS DIGEST, ADD, which moves weekdays at 4 p.m.

—NEVADA NEWS DIGEST, which moves daily at 1:30 p.m.

Technical problems may be reported to 213-626-5833 in Los Angeles or 415-495-1124 in San Francisco.

Send Southern California stories by electronic carbon, fax 213-346-0200 or email losangeles@ap.org. Send Northern California stories by electronic carbon, fax 415-495-4967 or email sanfrancisco@ap.org.