Latest California news, sports, business and entertainment


Calif. police face trial in death of homeless man

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A violent confrontation with Fullerton police that led to the death of a homeless man is heading to court.

Opening arguments are scheduled to begin Monday in the trial of two of the six officers who were involved in the brawl with 37-year-old Kelly Thomas.

One of them, Manuel Ramos, is charged with second-degree murder, marking the first murder trial of a uniformed police officer in conservative Orange County's history. Another officer, Jay Cicinelli, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force.

The 2011 case garnered national attention at the time and fueled months of protests that led to the resignation of the police chief and a recall election in the small college town.

The six-week trial promises to re-ignite those passions.


Citrus growers brace for California cold snap

(Information in the following story is from: The Fresno Bee,

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Citrus farmers in California's Central Valley are bracing for a cold snap that could see temperatures drop below freezing.

The National Weather Service in Hanford has issued a freeze watch for the central and southern San Joaquin Valley starting late Wednesday and continuing through Saturday.

Meteorologist Jim Andersen tells the Fresno Bee temperatures are expected to fall into the high 20s and low 30s.

Anderson says the normal high temperature in Fresno this time of year is 59 degrees. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the high was 69 on Saturday.

Citrus growers are monitoring the weather to determine whether they should begin defensive procedures against the cold. But Bob Blakely of the California Citrus Mutual says it's still too early to tell yet what should be done.


3.9 magnitude quake strikes near Gilroy

GILROY, Calif. (AP) — A moderate earthquake shook the southern end of the San Francisco Bay area overnight.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude 3.9 quake was reported at 2:09 a.m. Monday four miles south of Gilroy in Santa Clara County.

A police dispatcher there says there were no reports of damage or injuries.

The USGS says the quake occurred at a depth of 3.7 miles. The epicenter was nine miles northwest of Hollister and 112 miles south of Sacramento.


Man found shot to death in car parked in Norwalk

NORWALK, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles County authorities are investigating the death of a man found shot to death in a car.

City News Service reports the shooting occurred late Sunday behind an oil change and brake service station in Norwalk.

While searching the area, deputies found the man with a gunshot wound sitting in the driver's seat.

Deputy Kim Manatt says the victim was declared dead at the scene.

Sheriff's homicide detectives are investigating.


Congress to hear testimony DC height restrictions

WASHINGTON (AP) — A House committee will hear testimony on whether century-old restrictions on building heights in the nation's capital should be relaxed.

The Height Act of 1910 generally requires that buildings in the District of Columbia be no taller than the width of the streets they face.

Congressman Darrell Issa (EYE'-suh) of California is chairman of the House committee that oversees the district. Last year, he asked the city government and an influential planning body to come up with recommendations about possible changes to the law.

The city government would like to see taller buildings to accommodate future growth. But the National Capital Planning Commission went against its own staff by recommending no major changes to the law.

Both sides are scheduled to testify at a hearing Monday.


Pilots' use of automation eyed in air crashes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Safety experts and government and industry studies say pilots are becoming so reliant on the computer systems that do most of the flying in today's airliners that on the rare occasions when something goes wrong, they can be unprepared to assume control of the plane.

Increasing automation has been a tremendous overall safety boon to aviation. But the automation has also changed the relationship between pilots and their aircraft, presenting new challenges.

The National Transportation Safety Board holds a two-day investigative hearing next week on the crash of an Asiana Airlines jet that was flying too low and slow while trying to land at San Francisco International Airport last July.

The board said the hearing will focus on "pilot awareness in a highly automated aircraft."


Male giraffe, 17, dies at zoo in East Texas

LUFKIN, Texas (AP) — A 17-year-old giraffe has collapsed and died at the East Texas zoo where he lived since 1999.

Officials with the Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin say the Maasai giraffe named Rafiki was discovered dead in his stall on Thanksgiving Day. Authorities believe the giraffe died suddenly.

Necropsy results are pending on Rafiki, who was the first giraffe to be exhibited at the Ellen Trout Zoo. The animal was born at the San Diego Zoo in August 1996.

A statement from Ellen Trout Zoo officials says Rafiki was on exhibit last Wednesday and behaved normally. Zoo director Gordon Henley Jr. says Rafiki was being treated for a slight limp due to age-related arthritis in his left foreleg.