SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — While much of California remains in the grips of extreme drought, spring storms have eased pressure slightly and reduced the number of rural communities considered at risk of running dry.
The U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday it has sued in court to recover $700,000 in alleged corruption proceeds traced to former South Korean President Chun Doo-Hwan. The money, seized from a California bank account, comes from the sale of a home in Newport Beach, California, that Chun's son bought in 2005 using funds allegedly traced to his father's corruption, the department said. Chun, a general who seized power in a 1979 coup, was convicted in South Korea in 1997 of receiving more than $200 million in bribes. He and his relatives laundered some of the money through shell companies in South Korea and the United States, the Justice Department said.
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City zoo is celebrating the arrivals of two baby western lowland gorillas.
By Shelby Sebens PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - Commissioners in an Oregon county have temporarily stopped accepting boxed medical waste from British Columbia over fears they may have been burning fetal tissue at a plant that converts waste to energy, officials said on Thursday. Marion County said it had stopped taking the boxes in response to an article it became aware of late on Wednesday in a Vancouver-based newspaper about the possibility the plant had accepted human tissue from outside sources. "We are outraged and disgusted that this material could be included in medical waste received at the facility," Commissioner Janet Carlson said in a statement at the time. On Thursday, the two-member Marion County Board of Commissioners directed staff to draft an ordinance excluding fetal tissue from medical waste allowed at the waste-to-energy facility, and stopped accepting all such waste until the ordinance can be passed.
By Alex Dobuzinskis LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A one-time follower of mass murderer Charles Manson who in 1975 tried to assassinate then-President Gerald Ford told a mental health examiner in a decades-old taped interview that an "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to set her apart from "the system." The Sacramento Bee won a release of the tape from a federal judge and posted portions of the recording involving now-65-year-old Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme on its website late on Wednesday. In 1975, Fromme aimed a semi-automatic pistol at Ford at an appearance in Sacramento and was restrained by a Secret Service agent. At one point, the psychiatrist asked Fromme about an "X" she marked on her forehead. Fromme and other followers of Manson marked their foreheads during Manson's 1970 murder trial.
An avian-borne virus outbreak on a California quail farm has fueled fears that the disease known as bird flu could spread, prompting investigators to continue their probe and five key export markets to bar imports of poultry from the state. A state diagnostic laboratory confirmed on April 18 that a quail flock in Stanislaus County, California, tested positive for low-pathogenic avian influenza virus. On Thursday, Hong Kong's Centre for Food Safety announced a ban on the import of all poultry and poultry produced from Stanislaus County. Taiwan, too, has blocked chicken imports from California, while Japan has banned poultry slaughtered and eggs laid in California on or after March 24, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
NEW YORK (AP) — The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands is taking on the United States and the world's eight other nuclear-armed nations with an unprecedented lawsuit demanding that they meet their obligations toward disarmament and accusing them of "flagrant violations" of international law.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. secretary-general is warning that the 3-year-old conflict in Syria poses a serious threat to the stability of neighboring Lebanon, as thousands of refugees stream into the small country and weapons and fighters are transferred out.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — When they moved from Georgia to the theme park playground of central Florida four years ago, Anthony and Candice Johnson found work at a barbecue restaurant and a 7-Eleven. Their combined salaries nevertheless fell short of what they needed to rent an apartment, so the couple and their two children have instead been hopping among cheap motel rooms along U.S. 192.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google's top social networking executive is leaving the Internet company after a nearly eight-year stint highlighted by an audacious challenge to Facebook.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government's move to regulate e-cigarettes is a leap into the unknown.
OPAL, Wyo. (AP) — Residents were allowed to return home Thursday, nearly 22 hours after an explosion at a natural-gas processing plant forced the evacuation of their small southwestern Wyoming town.
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — No charges will be filed over a fake Twitter account that purported to be a central Illinois mayor's lewd thoughts on sex and drugs.
SEATTLE (AP) — A federal agency is weighing whether to protect endangered orcas in the waters off the West Coast.
A former executive of Parker ITR Srl pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiring to rig bids for marine hose and was sentenced to two years in prison, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday. Romano Pisciotti, who is Italian, had been flown into the United States from Germany in early April in the first extradition on charges of breaking antitrust law, the department said. Marine hose is used to move oil between storage facilities and tankers. Five companies - Parker ITR, Bridgestone Corp, Trelleborg, Dunlop Marine and Oil Ltd, and Manuli Rubber Industries SpA, a Florida subsidiary of Manuli SpA - have pleaded guilty to price-fixing in the marine hose industry, the department said.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The widow and two children of a security screener killed in an attack at Los Angeles International Airport last year have filed a $25 million claim against the city of Los Angeles.
By David Adams MIAMI (Reuters) - A Miami judge on Thursday ordered a rare hearing to hear new evidence in the 1987 conviction of Krishna Maharaj, a British businessman who was found guilty in a grisly double-homicide at a downtown Miami hotel that his defense team blames on Colombian drug traffickers. Judge William Thomas cited new evidence presented by the defense implicating another person and perjured testimony by state witnesses, as well as the failure of prosecutors to turn over evidence that could potentially have exonerated Maharaj at trial.
CHICAGO (AP) — President Barack Obama's hometown of Chicago plans to name a high school after him.
NEW YORK (AP) — A film that will be shown at the National September 11 Memorial Museum when it opens next month unfairly links Islam and terrorism, clergy members said in letters demanding it be changed.
NEW YORK (AP) — Bernie Goetz (GEHTS) is headed toward a trial in his New York marijuana case after rebuffing a plea offer involving 10 days of community service.