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 Sudhin Thanawala. He can be reached at 415-495-1708.

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SAN DIEGO — It began with a retired Marine general listening to veterans reminisce about the terrifying day they fought the North Vietnamese Army on a jungle hillside and saw 75 percent of their unit be killed or wounded. Maj. Gen. John Admire was shocked to learn not one of the unit's survivors who fought while rescuing their fellow Marines had been recognized for their courage: One veteran still has shrapnel in his face from that fateful day of April 30, 1967, when he battled for eight hours after getting injured. Another suffered severe head wounds after taking over the machine gun from his bullet-riddled gunnery sergeant. Now 46 years later, those two men, Joe Cordileone and Robert Moffatt, will be honored with the Silver and Bronze Star medals, respectively, in a ceremony Friday at the Marine Recruiting Depot in San Diego. By Julie Watson. SENT: 575 words. Upcoming: Will be updated after 8 a.m. ceremony.


SAN FRANCISCO — Two men of Middle Eastern descent were reported buying pallets of water at a grocery store. A police sergeant reported concern about a doctor "who is very unfriendly." And photographers of all races and nationalities have been reported taking snapshots of post offices, bridges, dams and other structures. The American Civil Liberties Union and several other groups released 1,800 "suspicious activity reports" Thursday, saying they show the inner-workings of a domestic surveillance program that is sweeping up innocent Americans and forever placing their names in a counterterrorism database. By Paul Elias. SENT: 630 words.



SAN FRANCISCO — Web-based ride-hailing companies will have to make sure drivers undergo training and criminal background checks and have commercial liability insurance under rules approved Thursday by California regulators. The state Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously in favor of those rules and others for such companies as Lyft and Sidecar. Both companies rely on smartphone applications to connect riders and drivers who use their own vehicles. Commissioners said the rules were needed to ensure public safety. By Sudhin Thanawala. SENT: 600 words.


SAN FRANCISCO — After more than a decade of planning, the Golden Gate Bridge may soon have a median separating northbound and southbound traffic. The bridge's Building and Operating Committee agreed to purchase the $26.5 million barrier on Thursday, and the full board is expected to accept the recommendation on Friday, bridge spokeswoman Mary Currie said. SENT: 250 words.


— OBIT-COVEY — A tech executive who helped take Amazon.com public as the Internet retailer's chief financial officer has died when her bicycle collided with a van in Northern California.

— EVICTION SHOOTING — A man suspected of shooting a property manager during a bank repossession of his San Ramon home was an investment adviser facing financial trouble.

— CHINESE FLAG CONTROVERSY — The mayor of San Leandro has suspended the city's plan to raise China's flag to mark the founding of the People's Republic of China.

— NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES-ARSON — Fire officials say an arsonist set two wildfires in Northern California's Siskiyou County, and they're offering a $20,000 reward to find the suspect.

— BEEF RECALL — A Central California meat company is recalling more than 58,000 pounds of ground beef that may contain small pieces of plastic.



SANTA ANA, Calif. — A Saudi princess was scheduled to appear in a Southern California courtroom Friday to answer to charges that she took her maid's passport and forced her to work long hours for meager pay. Meshael Alayban, 42, was expected to be arraigned on one count of human trafficking, and faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted. Alayban took the maid's passport after the royal family traveled to Irvine and paid her a fraction of what she was promised, prosecutors said. UPCOMING: 300 words by 6 a.m. Hearing scheduled for 8:30 a.m. 500 words by 1 p.m., photos.


LOS ANGELES — A Southern California churchman who claimed to have "healing hands" was charged with sexually assaulting women parishioners, authorities said. Jorge Juan Castro, 54, of Norwalk was arrested last week and charged with rape, oral copulation and penetration by a foreign object, according to a Sheriff's Department statement.


— TOUR BUS CRASH — For the third time in less than a month, a tour bus heading to a Southern California casino has crashed.

— MALIBU FIRE SETTLEMENT — The California Public Utilities Commission has approved about $50 million in settlements with Southern California Edison and telecommunications company NextG, whose overloaded utility poles were blamed for starting the 2007 Malibu Canyon Fire.

— COLD CASE SUSPECTS — Long Beach police have arrested two men for the 1995 robbery-killing of a pizza deliveryman.

— CEMETERY KILLING — San Bernardino police say a man has been found stabbed to death at a cemetery where he apparently had been sleeping.

— SOCCER PLAYER SHOT — A Southern California man has been convicted of gunning down a high school soccer player outside the teen's Los Angeles home.

— SCHOOL THREATS — Authorities say a Southern California man has been charged with making a series of phony threats that disrupted schools, hospitals and even a mall in the San Gabriel Valley.

— MINI GOLF COURSE DEATH — Authorities say a man fell 50 feet to his death while trimming a tree on a Southern California miniature golf course.

— FIREFIGHTERS BURNED — Two San Bernardino County firefighters have been burned while taking on a house fire.



SUNNYVALE — I used to cringe when I'd see people capturing precious memories with their smartphones. Although most smartphones have megapixel counts similar to what stand-alone cameras offer, they have been inferior in lens quality and manual controls. Images have never been as good ... until now. Over the past two months, I've shot more than 3,000 test photos in four states using nine camera phones, a point-and-shoot camera and a high-end, single-lens reflex camera. None of the smartphone cameras are good enough to replace a $1,000-plus SLR, but I'm surprised how well some of the phones did, particularly in low-light settings that challenge even the best cameras. Three phones stand out: Nokia Corp.'s Lumia 1020, Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy S4 Zoom and the new Apple iPhone 5S, which comes out Friday. By Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 1000 words, photos.



PHOENIX — The Los Angeles Dodgers soaked everyone in sight with champagne in the clubhouse. Many players raced back out for a celebratory dip in Arizona's Chase Field swimming pool. From last place to an NL West title in less than three months, they sure let loose. Burdened by high expectations and a horrible start, the Dodgers relieved their pent-up pressure with a joyful celebration after becoming the first team this year to clinch a playoff spot. Hanley Ramirez homered twice as they rallied to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-6. By Bob Baum. SENT: 1,020 words, photos.


LOS ANGELES — On nights when Jon Jones' four daughters are in bed, when he's done with his training and video games and frequent trips to the gun range, the UFC's light heavyweight champion sometimes spends hours searching for answers online. Mixed martial arts' premier pound-for-pound fighter is determined to win a mental game these days, even if he's mostly playing against himself. Nobody in the 205-pound division seems to have much of a chance against a dominant athlete who never stops trying to get better — and who's chasing nothing less than global stardom. By Greg Beacham. SENT: 800 words, photos.


SAN FRANCISCO — An America's Cup that continues to see remarkable performances by fast, space-age catamarans is nonetheless plodding along because of a convergence of wind, tide and safety concerns. Skipper Jimmy Spithill and defending champion Oracle Team USA sped around San Francisco Bay to win Race 12 by 31 seconds Thursday and prevent Emirates Team New Zealand from sailing off with the America's Cup. By Sports Writer Bernie Wilson. SENT: 1100 words, photos.


ALAMEDA — Oakland rookie cornerback D.J. Hayden has never played against Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. He figures the two will become well-acquainted Monday night in Denver. Hayden is the youngest and least experienced member of the Raiders' defensive secondary, and that has made him a target for opposing quarterbacks. By Michael Wagaman. SENT: 570 words.


SANTA CLARA — No matter that opponents are stacking extra defenders next to the line of scrimmage. The San Francisco 49ers are determined to run the football successfully, a key element of their offense that has been missing through the first two weeks of the season. But offensive coordinator Greg Roman doesn't believe in forcing the issue. By Craig Massei. SENT: 750 words.


SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Chargers offensive line could take a hit before it takes the field on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. Right tackle D. J. Fluker was unable to practice on Thursday, one day after suffering a concussion in practice. Fluker, the team's top pick in this year's draft, had started the first two games for the Chargers. SENT: 300 words.

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.