Latest California news, sports, business and entertainment


Claim filed for girl run over after plane crash

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The parents of a teenage girl who was run over and killed by two emergency vehicles after an Asiana Airlines crash have filed a claim against the city of San Francisco, saying rescuers were reckless and poorly trained.

In a claim filed this week, attorneys for the parents of 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan say firefighters who first saw the girl after the July 6 crash should have examined her and moved her somewhere safe.

An autopsy revealed Yuan was alive before the vehicles hit her. Firefighters told investigators they assumed she was dead and hurried on toward the damaged aircraft.

In all, 304 of the 307 people aboard the plane survived after the airliner slammed into a seawall at the end of a runway during final approach for landing.


Brown meets with drought task force, pledges help

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown says he is meeting with his recently formed drought task force as California faces a serious water shortage, but says "governors can't make it rain."

Brown told reporters Thursday that he will work with farmers to take whatever steps he can to get more water to parched fields.

Reservoirs have dipped to historic lows after one of the driest calendar years on record. The first Sierra snow survey of the year recorded just 20 percent of average water content.

The Democratic governor is weighing an official drought declaration. He says he will do "everything that is humanly possible" to allow flexible use of the state's water.

Several communities already have imposed mandatory water reductions. This week, Mendocino County became the first to request state drought assistance.


Head of Los Angeles DWP to step down

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is stepping down after three years.

Mayor Eric Garcetti's office announced Thursday that General Manager Ron Nichols would leave the DWP at the end of the month.

His resignation comes as the DWP faces questions about $162 million it spent on a computerized billing system plagued with problems. The utility is also being audited over $40 million unaccounted for by two affiliated nonprofit institutes.

Nichols wrote in a letter to city leaders that he is leaving for "personal reasons."

Nichols said he wanted to stay on until the new mayor had completed his transition into office.

Garcetti thanked Nichols and said his administration would continue to reform the DWP to cut costs, improve customer service and increase transparency.


Obama unveils first 5 'Promise Zones'

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is identifying five communities, including Los Angeles, that will benefit from a program of tax incentives and government grants, a year after he unveiled the plan in his 2013 State of the Union address.

Obama named the new "Promise Zones" Thursday at a bipartisan White House event. It's an example of administrative action Obama can take without Congress.

Thursday's zones are in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. They're the first of 20 the administration intends to announce over the next three years.

Obama says anyone who works hard in the U.S. should have a chance for success.

Among those attending were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who is a frequent Obama critic. McConnell says he supports the designation for eight hard-hit Kentucky counties.


Trial begins in slain photographer case

(Information in the following story is from: The Oakland Tribune,

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The murder trial is underway for two men charged in the shooting death of an ex-Oakland Tribune freelance photographer who was hit by a stray bullet.

The Tribune reports that attorneys for 37-year-old Donel Posten and 38-year-old Joe McNeely each said during opening arguments Wednesday that their clients opened fire in self-defense.

Alameda County prosecutors say 54-year-old Lionel "Ray" Fluker was a passerby who was caught in the crossfire when a bullet hit his forehead as he was driving home in East Oakland in April.

Investigators determined the bullet that killed Fluker came from the gun of McNeely, who was known as Anthony Lister at the time of his arrest.

Fluker took freelance photos for the Tribune from 1995 to 2007.


Calif. doctor pleads guilty in RX trafficking case

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A California doctor known as the "Candy Man" and linked to a dozen drug deaths has pleaded guilty to illegally prescribing powerful painkillers to his patients.

Federal prosecutors say 64-year-old Julio Gabriel Diaz pleaded guilty Thursday to 11 counts in an Orange County courtroom. He returns to court June 2 to face a sentence of up to 200 years in prison.

Diaz was arrested at his home in Santa Barbara County two years ago. Authorities say Diaz supplied prescription drugs to addicts and others who had no legitimate need for the narcotics.

Court records say a dozen deaths — 11 of which were overdoses — have been linked to Diaz, but he hasn't been charged in connection with the deaths.


Jury gets case in California homeless death

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A jury has started deliberations in the case of two police officers accused in the death of a homeless man who died after a violent struggle during his arrest in California.

The jury got the case Thursday after closing arguments ended in the five-week trial.

Former Fullerton police officer Manuel Ramos has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

Former police corporal Jay Cicinelli has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and excessive force.

The two defendants are accused of killing 37-year-old Kelly Thomas, who was taken off life support five days after the confrontation in July 2011.

Surveillance video that captured the incident was a key part of the trial.

It is rare for a police officer to be charged with murder for actions taken on duty.


Former Northrop CEO Thomas Jones dies at 93

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thomas Jones, who led Northrop Corp. to the top rank of aerospace companies during the Cold War while weathering serious scandal, has died. He was 93.

His son, Peter, tells the Los Angeles Times that Jones died Tuesday of pulmonary fibrosis at his Los Angeles estate.

Jones was Northrop's chief executive for 30 years, beginning in 1960.

He gambled on huge projects. His technology investments helped Northrop win the B-2 stealth bomber contract. But the $1 billion F-20 jet fighter program was cancelled without a sale after several crashes.

During his tenure, Jones pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon and the company was hit with allegations that it paid $30 million in bribes to foreign officials. Northrop also acknowledged falsifying tests on nuclear missile components.


PCs cap worst-ever sales year with another 4Q drop

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A new report says personal computer sales slipped even further during the holiday shopping season, capping the worst annual decline in the PC industry's history.

The research firm Gartner Inc. estimates worldwide PC shipments for the three months ending in December dropped 7 percent from the same time in 2012. It marks the seventh consecutive quarter of decreasing PC sales.

For all of last year, PC sales plunged 10 percent. Shipments of desktop and laptop computers have never tumbled so dramatically. The numbers released Thursday show annual PC shipments have now backtracked to where they stood in 2009.

The PC slump is driven by the growing popularity of less expensive and more convenient mobile devices controlled by touch-screen technology instead of keyboards and computer mice.


OutKast to head Coachella with Muse, Arcade Fire

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rap duo OutKast will headline the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April, ending a half-decade hiatus for one of hip-hop's most popular and important acts.

OutKast joins Arcade Fire and Muse as headliners for the festival that plays over two weekends in Indio, Calif. Other acts scheduled include Pharrell Williams, Beck, Queens of the Stone Age and Lorde. The reunited The Replacements will also appear.

Andre "Andre 3000" Benjamin and Antwan "Big Boi" Patton came out of Atlanta with a unique sound two decades ago and became one of rap's top-selling and most-lauded acts, winning the Grammy Award for album of the year for double album "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below." They haven't released an album as OutKast since 2006's "Idlewild," a soundtrack.