BUS PASSENGER ON FIRE
California teen in bus attack ordered to trial
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A Northern California teenager accused of setting the clothing of a gender-neutral teen on fire on a transit bus has been ordered to trial.
Richard Thomas was ordered to stand trial on aggravated mayhem, assault and hate crime charges in an Alameda County courtroom on Thursday.
The 16-year-old boy from Oakland faces a possible life sentence if he's convicted in the Nov. 4 attack on 18-year-old Sasha Fleischman, who identifies as neither male nor female.
Thomas' attorney William DuBois says Thomas waived his right to a preliminary hearing in part to avoid having bus surveillance video of the incident to be played in court before a trial.
Du Bois says homophobia played no role in the bus incident, which he characterizes as an ill-conceived prank gone horribly wrong.
No trial date has been set.
Sports medicine pioneer Frank Jobe dies at 88
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The orthopedic surgeon who was the first to perform an elbow procedure that became known as Tommy John surgery and saved the careers of countless major league pitchers has died. Dr. Frank Jobe (johb) was 88.
A Los Angeles Dodgers spokesman says Jobe died in Santa Monica after being hospitalized recently with an undisclosed illness.
Jobe performed groundbreaking elbow surgery on John, a Dodgers pitcher who had a ruptured medial collateral ligament in his left elbow. The injury previously had no solution until Jobe removed a tendon from John's forearm and repaired his elbow. John went on to pitch 14 years after the operation on Sept. 25, 1974, compiling 164 more victories without ever missing a start because of an elbow problem.
Jobe initially estimated John's chances of returning to the majors at less than 5 percent. He later said 92 to 95 percent of patients return as good, if not better, than before the surgery.
The surgery has since become common practice for pitchers and players at every level of baseball.
Some pitchers have signed multiyear contracts just months after they have the surgery in expectation of a high-level return.
Typically, full rehabilitation takes about a year for pitchers and about six months for position players. The procedure initially required four hours; now it takes about an hour.
SUBWAY FALL-BLIND LUCK
Blind man survives track fall as LA train arrives
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority says a blind man fell onto the tracks at a subway station as a train was arriving Thursday, but he escaped unharmed by lying flat as the cars screeched to a halt above him.
The 47-year-old Los Angeles man fell from the platform at the Wilshire and Vermont station in the city's Koreatown neighborhood as a Red Line train was approaching.
L.A. Metro spokesman Paul Gonzales says the train operator blew its horn, but by the time he could stop the train, the second car had passed over the man.
Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main says the man was not touched by the train, but he was taken to a hospital as a precaution.
This is at least the third time since September 2012 that a train on the Red Line has passed over a person. In the other two instances, the people were seriously injured.
Adams leads UCLA past Washington 91-82
SEATTLE (AP) - Jordan Adams scored a career-high 31 points, and UCLA wrapped up the No. 2 seed in next week's Pac-12 Conference tournament with a 91-82 win over Washington on Thursday night.
Adams scored 16 points in the first 12-plus minutes of the second half before having to sit with his legs appearing to cramp.
When Adams returned, it was Seattle-area native Zach LaVine taking over, scoring 11 of his 14 points in the final five minutes for UCLA. LaVine's closing punch included a three-point play off a Washington turnover with 1:24 left that gave the Bruins an 87-77 lead and finally put the Huskies away.
C.J. Wilcox led Washington with 20 points despite sitting for more than five minutes of the second half with foul trouble. Nigel Williams-Goss added 17 points.
Adams was extremely efficient, making 11 of 15 shots and 8 of 9 free-throw attempts. LaVine had just three points at halftime, but the Bothell, Wash., native came up huge in the closing minutes.
Ryan Anderson and Bryce Alford both finished with 12 points for the Bruins.
Washington saw its hopes for a bye in the conference tournament end.
The first half saw Washington shoot nearly 59 percent and the teams exchange the lead 17 times. Neither team led by more than seven points.
AP Exclusive: Man denies he's bitcoin creator
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto denied Thursday that he is the creator of bitcoin.
Newsweek published a 4,500-word cover story claiming Nakamoto is the person who wrote the computer code underpinnings of bitcoin, but in an exclusive two-hour interview with The Associated Press, Nakamoto denied he had anything to do with the digital currency.
The 64-year-old Nakamoto says he had never heard of bitcoin until his son told him he had been contacted by a Newsweek reporter three weeks ago. He acknowledged that many of the details in Newsweek's report are correct, including that he once worked for a defense contractor, and that his given name at birth was Satoshi. But he strongly disputed the magazine's assertion that he is "the face behind bitcoin."
Newsweek stands by its story.
Since bitcoin's birth in 2009, the currency's creator has remained a mystery. The person - or people - behind the digital currency's inception have been known only as "Satoshi Nakamoto," which many observers believed to be a pseudonym.
Bitcoin has become increasingly popular among tech enthusiasts, libertarians and risk-seeking investors because it allows people to make one-to-one transactions, buy goods and services and exchange money across borders without involving banks, credit card issuers or other third parties. Criminals like bitcoin for the same reasons.
HIGHWAY PATROL AIRCRAFT
Calif. analysts doubt Highway Patrol aircraft need
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Legislative Analyst's Office says state lawmakers should not fund the purchase of airplanes and helicopters for the California Highway Patrol until the force justifies why it needs 26 new aircraft.
The recommendation came Thursday, when the office released its review of Gov. Jerry Brown's 2014-15 transportation budget proposal.
Brown's budget spokesman HD Palmer says currently, 19 of the CHP's 30 aircraft have flown more than 10,000 hours - when maintenance becomes costly and some aircraft risk being unsafe.
The CHP has said it wants to downsize to 26 aircraft, and lawmakers approved $17 million in the current budget to start the process by buying three helicopters and one plane. None has yet been acquired.
In his proposal for the budget year that starts July 1, Brown requested $16 million to replace two planes and two helicopters.
The office also suggested that the CHP could ask local law enforcement agencies that rely on CHP aircraft to reimburse CHP for some costs.
The aircraft are used for a range of missions, including patrolling electrical and water infrastructure, emergency response and enforcement of speed limits. Each aircraft costs about $2 million annually to operate and maintain.
Ex-symphony director accused of embezzling
LOS ALTOS, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say the former executive director of the Peninsula Symphony Association has been charged with embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Stephen Jay Carlton was arraigned last week in Santa Clara County Superior Court on charges of grand theft, embezzlement, forgery, identity theft and tax evasion.
The 45-year-old Carlton of Novato is accused of forging the signatures of board members on checks and taking out an unauthorized $25,000 loan in the Los Altos-based symphony's name.
Carlton allegedly took money from two symphony endowments worth a combined $422,000 that dwindled to just $770. The 65-year-old symphony was nearly forced to shut down but saved thanks to donations.
OC officers get $3.5M in discrimination case
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - A federal jury on Thursday awarded more than $3.5 million to three Westminster police officers who said they were denied promotions because they are Latino.
The jury deliberated four days before ruling for Jose Flores, Ryan Reyes and Brian Perez in their discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the Orange County city, Police Chief Kevin Baker and three former chiefs.
The jurors ruled that the city of Westminster should pay $260,000 in damages for retaliation and the chiefs should pay the rest.
However, Melanie Poturica, an attorney who represented the city and the chiefs, says the jury found no indication that the Police Department showed any pattern of discrimination against Latino officers and that discrimination was not a "substantial motivating factor" in the officers' failing to move ahead.
The 2011 lawsuit contended that the Police Department denied the officers special assignments such as SWAT or detective duties, and rejected their bids for promotion to sergeant while less experienced or qualified officers received the perks.
GOP candidate: Brown oversaw middle-class downfall
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari on Thursday blamed Gov. Jerry Brown for what he sees as California's decline over the past three decades, saying poverty and unemployment have climbed during the time that Brown was a member of the state's political elite.
In some of his most aggressive remarks to date about the Democratic incumbent, Kashkari says Brown's political legacy is "the destruction of the middle class of California."
Citing U.S. Census figures from 1980, when Brown was last governor, Kashkari says the state's poverty and unemployment rates have climbed precipitously since then, while its ranking in terms of a well-educated workforce has fallen.
California had Republican governors for 23 of the last 34 years, but Kashkari says the comparison is fair because Brown is seeking re-election based on his 40-year political career.
Brown's political spokesman, Dan Newman, says just the opposite is true. He credited Brown with California's economic turnaround after repeated years of multibillion-dollar budget deficits.
2 arrested after drug-laced candy found in car
SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (AP) - Border Patrol agents say two men tried to play them for suckers by smuggling drug-laced lollipops into Southern California - but the crooks were licked by perceptive agents.
The agency says a Chrysler sedan rolled up to a San Clemente border checkpoint around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Authorities say the passenger told authorities he had medical marijuana inside a prescription bottle.
Agents got permission to search the car and found three sealed boxes in the trunk. The boxes allegedly contained lollipops, hard candy and cookies laced with the active ingredient in pot.
Authorities say they also found 15 marijuana cartridges for e-cigarettes, three marijuana cigars and nearly 13 pounds of bulk pot.
The driver and passenger were arrested.
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