Latest California news, sports, business and entertainment


US Korean War vet arrives home after detention

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A tired but smiling 85-year-old veteran of the Korean War who was detained for several weeks in North Korea landed a free man Saturday at the San Francisco airport.

Holding the hand of his wife and accompanied by his adult son, Merrill Newman thanked the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, North Korea, and U.S. Embassy in Beijing for helping to secure his release.

He told the assembled media that he was "delighted to be home" but declined to answer any questions after making a brief statement.

"It's been a great homecoming," he said. "I'm tired, but ready to be with my family."

Newman was detained in late October at the end of a 10-day trip to North Korea, a visit that came six decades after he oversaw a group of South Korean wartime guerrillas during the 1950-53 war.


Calif. health exchange shares data without consent

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The California health exchange is giving the names of tens of thousands of consumers to insurance agents without their knowledge.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that the state provided names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses to insurance agents.

Those consumers had researched coverage online but didn't complete an application and didn't ask to be contacted.

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, says the information was shared to ease the process for consumers. The exchange was set up in response to the federal Affordable Care Act.

It has been struggling with a surge in applications ahead of a Dec. 23 deadline to have insurance in place by Jan. 1.

Nearly 80,000 people have signed up in private health plans and an additional 140,000 people qualified for the state's Medicaid program through Covered California.


US inspectors recall prosciutto shipped to Calif.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is recalling 2,600 pounds of prosciutto (pro-ZHOO-toh) because of possible contamination with a potentially deadly pathogen.

The agency said Friday that it is recalling the whole boneless ham prosciutto shipped to California and Michigan that was manufactured by Santa Maria Foods of Brampton, Ontario Canada.

During a routine sample inspection, U.S. food officials discovered listeria monocytogenes (mon-oh-SYE-toh-jeens).

The inspectors learned that products already released for sale could also contain the pathogen, though there have been no reports of any related illnesses.

The products are labeled "Prosciutto x 4 Gold" and dated Nov. 14 and Nov. 15. They come in 50-pound boxes with four hams in each.

The pathogen can lead to listeriosis, which can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion and convulsions.


Modesto police shoot, wound armed suspect

MODESTO, Calif. (AP) — Modesto police say one of their officers has shot and wounded an armed man.

Police said in a statement that officers found two people loitering behind a business Saturday afternoon and one of them, who was armed, ran away.

One officer chased and fired on the man, hitting him once. The 19-year-old is expected to survive.

No officers were hurt.

Police did not say how the officer knew the man was armed, or whether he pulled or pointed the gun. The say investigators recovered a gun from the scene.

Police say the officer who shot the suspect has been put on administrative leave while internal affairs, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department and the district attorney's office investigate.

No names of those involved have yet been released.


Wreck in San Clemente kills 4, injures 1

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (AP) — Four people are dead and a fifth injured after a car collided with a tree in an early-morning accident and split in half in San Clemente.

Orange County sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said Saturday that three males and one female were ejected from the late model BMW and were pronounced dead at the scene.

A fifth passenger, a 24-year-old female, was not ejected and was expected to survive after being airlifted to a local hospital.

Hallock says speed and alcohol both played a role in the crash.

Three of the four dead were identified as 25-year-old Pablo Vargas Diaz and 27-year-old Lucia Garcia Solia, both of San Juan Capistrano, and 26-year-old Martin Junior Nieto of Laguna Niguel. Authorities have not released the name of the fourth victim.


Calif. jury awards woman in bus-truck crash $31.9M

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A Sacramento County jury has awarded nearly $32 million to a woman who was paralyzed and suffered brain damage in a 2010 traffic collision.

The Sacramento Bee reports Saturday that jurors found Silva Trucking must pay 56-year-old Debra Hackett $31.9 million.

Hackett was driving an 18-passenger bus on Highway 12 about 30 miles south of Sacramento when she collided with a big-rig that had jackknifed in front of her from the opposite direction.

She was made a paraplegic, suffered skull and facial fractures and traumatic brain injury. Hackett's husband was awarded $3 million.

Silva Trucking, which employed the truck driver, didn't dispute liability, the trial was held only to determine the penalty. A man who picked up the phone at the company said Silva would have no immediate comment.


Would-be San Diego jewel thief gets lunch instead

(Information in the following story is from: U-T San Diego,

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Police say an armed robber who held up a jewelry store employee at an upscale San Diego mall ended up not with a sack of diamonds or cash but a sack lunch.

Police tell U-T San Diego the man pulled a gun on four employees who were leaving a Kay Jewelers store at Fashion Valley mall at Friday night.

The robber demanded a bag that one of the employees was holding, and when it was handed over he ran toward a Nordstrom department store and has yet to be caught.

The employee told police that the only thing in the bag he took was lunch.

Most of the mall's stores were closed at the time of the robbery.


Report: Occidental again underreports sex assaults

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A small liberal-arts college in Los Angeles is again coming under fire for claims it failed to report campus sexual assaults.

The Los Angeles Times reports Saturday that it reviewed two confidential federal complaints showing the college failed to disclose 27 sex assaults last year.

Occidental has previously said it hadn't reported two dozen alleged sex assaults in 2010 and 2011 — a possible violation of federal law.

Last spring, students and faculty filed complaints with federal education officials over Occidental's handling of sex cases.

Those complaints prompted two ongoing Department of Education investigations.

Occidental spokesman Jim Tranquada says the college has not seen the complaints.

The Clery Act requires campuses to disclose all reports of serious crime and all violations of Title IX (Nine), the federal anti-discrimination law.


Calif. man faces charge in Grand Junction slaying

(Information in the following story is from: The Daily Sentinel,

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A 25-year-old California man is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of a homeless man in Grand Junction.

The Daily Sentinel reports Joseph Conn was ordered Friday to be held at the Mesa County Jail on $500,000 bail, even though he's already serving a life sentence for the 2011 murder of a man in California.

Conn was transported to Mesa County on Thursday.

He is charged in the Aug. 1, 2010, slaying of 36-year-old Willard Michael "Mike" Bobbitt, a homeless man whose body was found under a bridge. Details of the case haven't been made public and Conn's warrant remains sealed.

Sacramento police arrested Conn and two others in January 2011 for the beating death of a man and the severe beating of his roommate. Conn was convicted of first-degree murder.


Suspect charged with tossing 2 cats in SF Bay

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Authorities have arrested a man suspected of grabbing two cats from a homeless woman and tossing them to their deaths in the San Francisco Bay.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that 33-year-old Eric Leroy Patterson tried to run from Animal Care and Control and San Francisco police officers before his arrest in downtown San Francisco Friday afternoon.

Authorities have been searching for Patterson since witnesses reported him as the person who grabbed a homeless woman's cat carries and the rest of her belonging of on Nov. 25. The witnesses said Patterson then tossed the carrier into the bay. The cats drowned before rescuers could pull the carrier from the water.

Patterson was booked into a city hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. He faces felony charges of animal cruelty.


Tahoe officials eye ferry service by 2016

TAHOE CITY, Calif. (AP) — Transportation officials at Lake Tahoe are hoping that by the summer of 2016 they'll have a pair of 120-passenger ferries shuttling tourists and locals alike from the south shore to the north shore in less than a half hour.

Officials for the Tahoe Transportation District outlined their plans this week for the project they described as an environmental asset as well as a transportation tool. The ferries would travel between marinas at South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City.

Project manager Alfred Knotts told the Lake Tahoe News it would be the equivalent of a light rail corridor for Tahoe.

It's estimated that during peak summer travel the boats would make eight trips a day. Cost of the boats and marina upgrades are estimated to be $33 million with an estimated $3.3 million in annual operating costs.


Rare Malayan tiger at Fresno Zoo pregnant

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A rare Malayan tiger at the Fresno Zoo is expecting.

The Fresno Bee reported Saturday that there are only about 500 Malayan tigers in the wild.

Fresno's Chaffee Zoo is one of 26 U.S. zoos to participate in an active breeding program.

Assistant curator Lyn Myers says the zoo's two tigers, Mek and Paka, bred in September.

Mek had a litter about three years ago at the San Diego Zoo.

She was moved to Fresno specifically to breed since she had already mated with Paka before.

The two animals are among six wild tigers were brought to the United States as part of a preservation project.