SAN FRANCISCO AIRLINER CRASH
NTSB hearing begins on SF airliner crash
WASHINGTON (AP) - Five months after a deadly Boeing 777 crash landed at San Francisco International Airport, the National Safety Transportation Board plans a two-day hearing examining whether the pilots were overly reliant on computer systems when they approached too low and slow before striking a seawall and tumbling across the runway.
The board said the hearing will focus on "pilot awareness in a highly automated aircraft." There are also plans to review the emergency response.
The crash left three Chinese teenage girls dead; one died during the crash, a second was run over by a fire truck on the tarmac, and a third died at San Francisco General Hospital. In addition, more than 150 of the 307 aboard the flight were injured.
US vet held in N. Korea says statement was coerced
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The 85-year-old U.S. veteran detained for weeks by North Korea says a videotaped confession he made while he was being held was delivered involuntarily and under duress.
Merrill Newman said in a statement issued Monday that he tried to demonstrate that the statement aired on North Korean state media was not his own by emphasizing its awkward phrasing and poor English grammar.
Newman says that the North Koreans treated him well, but his interrogator told him repeatedly that if he did not apologize for alleged crimes during the Korean War and during his visit to the communist nation he would be sentenced to 15 years in jail for espionage.
Newman was detained in late October at the end of a 10-day trip to North Korea. The visit came six decades after he oversaw a group of South Korean wartime guerrillas during the 1950-53 war.
$24.7B water plan unveiled by Calif. officials
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - California Water officials have released a draft copy of a $24.7 billion plan to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, in part by building two 30-mile tunnels to ensure stable water delivery to millions of Californians.
The joint federal and state Bay Delta Conservation Plan and environmental impact analysis released Monday includes plans for building the tunnels and completing significant habitat restoration work to improve the delivery of mountain snowmelt to Central Valley farms and cities throughout the state.
At the heart of the plan are the twin tunnels with a 9,000-cubic-feet-per-second capacity that would replace the delta's current pumping system that endangers fish and other wildlife.
But critics of the plan say it would actually harm fish and agriculture by siphoning off more water from the estuary.
Legal battle over Nazi-seized masterpiece revived
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal appeals court has resurrected a Jewish family's long legal battle to regain ownership of a $20 million masterpiece seized in Nazi Germany during World War II.
In a ruling Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a California law allowing lawsuits over art ownership disputes dating back as far as 100 years. The decision reversed a lower court ruling that invalidated the law.
At issue is an impressionistic painting by Lilly Cassirer exchanged in 1939 for about $360 and a visa to flee Nazi Germany.
The Spanish government ended up with the painting, and Cassirer's grandson filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court in 2005 to recover it. The case now returns to a Los Angeles trial court.
Covered California has backlog of 25,000 requests
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California's health insurance exchange has a backlog of 25,000 paper applications that must be processed by Dec. 23 for the applicants to get health insurance starting in the new year.
Roy Kennedy, a spokesman for Covered California, said Monday some of the applications were from insurance agents who were unable to access the online portal in the first few days after the exchange opened on Oct. 1. He says the agency has added staff to help.
Still, the California Association of Health Underwriters says those workers are only entering basic information, and insurance agents are being asked to check the site several times a day for clients whose applications need to be entered.
Insurance companies also must bill the customers and receive payment by Jan. 1.
Study finds prison realignment boosts auto thefts, property crime, as violent crime stays steady
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A new study finds that auto thefts have gone up significantly and other property crimes also have increased after California started a new program that has led to more jail inmates being released early.
The study by the Public Policy Institute of California is the first independent review of crime trends driven by the state's drop in prison population.
The study released Monday finds that violent crimes did not increase as a result of the program, known as realignment.
But property crime increased as inmates who previously would have gone to state prisons were instead sent to county jails. The jails often free them early due to their own problems with overcrowding.
The nonpartisan institute blames the law for a nearly 15 percent increase in vehicle thefts in the first year after it took effect in October 2011.
That's about 24,000 additional car thefts each year.
DEPUTY KILLS TEEN
California deputy in teen shooting to resume duty
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) - A Northern California sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a 13-year-old boy is returning to duty.
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports Deputy Erick Gelhaus will be on a desk assignment while the Sonoma County district attorney reviews an investigative report and determines whether he committed criminal wrongdoing.
Gelhaus has been off patrol since shooting Andy Lopez seven times on Oct. 22 after mistaking a BB gun the boy was carrying for an assault rifle.
Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas said Friday that Gelhaus underwent mental health screening and was cleared to come back to duty this week.
The shooting has led to numerous protests, and Duenas says Gelhaus has received threats.
Lopez's family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking damages. Their lawyer didn't return calls Friday seeking comment.
HUMAN REMAINS FOUND
Human skull found at Sonoma County park
WINDSOR, Calif. (AP) - Sonoma County Sheriff's officials are scouring the site where human remains were discovered over the weekend.
Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas said deputies were back at Shiloh Regional Park in Windsor on Monday morning, a day after a man walking with his two children reported finding a skull and a tennis shoe in a creek bed there.
Deputies confirmed it was human. They also spotted other skeletal remains under leaves in the area.
Duenas says investigators will attempt to determine whether there was any foul play in addition to trying to identify the remains.
No change from recount in tight Assembly election
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Los Angeles County elections officials say a partial recount of ballots has brought no change in the outcome of a special legislative election last month.
Elizabeth Knox, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Registrar, said candidate Susan Shelley suspended her request for the recount after a new tally Monday in the Nov. 19 special election to fill the vacant Assembly District 45 seat.
The official canvass shows Shelley, a Republican, losing to Democrat Matt Dababneh (dah-BOB-nay) by 329 votes among nearly 30,000 ballots cast in the district that includes portions of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Shelley sought a recount only from Los Angeles County, which has the vast majority of district residents.
She did not respond to telephone and email messages Monday.
Dababneh's victory restores Assembly Democrats' two-thirds majority.
GAME CONSOLE SHOOTING
Suspect in PlayStation 4 killing pleads not guilty
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A San Francisco man has pleaded not guilty to fatally shooting another man who was trying to sell him a Sony PlayStation 4 gaming system.
Ronnie Collins entered his plea during his arraignment Monday in a San Francisco courtroom to murder and other charges including two counts of attempted robbery with firearm enhancement allegations.
Prosecutors say the 21-year-old Collins shot and killed 22-year-old Ikenna Uwakah of Daly City, inside the victim's car during the botched transaction near a park in San Francisco's Bayview District on Dec. 1.
Collins allegedly responded to an ad about the recently released video game system Uwakah and his girlfriend had posted both on Instagram and Craigslist.
Collins remains in jail on $5 million bail and is due back in court on Jan. 3
SF police looking for alleged puppy thief
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - San Francisco police say they are on the lookout for a man who allegedly pepper-sprayed two homeless people before stealing their 6-week-old puppy near Buena Vista Park.
Officer Gordon Shyy says the victims were asleep in a van parked on Buena Vista Avenue West at about 6 a.m. Friday when someone began loudly knocking on the door.
The man told the victims that he was a police officer, Shyy says, but when they opened the door and asked to see his credentials, he pepper-sprayed them and grabbed the puppy.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the victims, a woman and a man, were temporarily blinded and didn't see where the man fled.
Police are also looking for the dog, which is an American pit bull and Rhodesian Ridgeback mix.
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