Archive for the ‘Local OC/LA News’ Category

Dan Gainor
CNS News
November 21, 2011

Vandalism, violence, burning and shutting down the nation’s fifth busiest port weren’t enough for Occupy Oakland. On Friday, the General Assembly for the group voted unanimously for “a coordinated shutdown of ports on the entire West Coast on December 12.”

According to a statement from Occupy Oakland, this move is in “response to coordinated attacks on the occupations and attacks on workers across the nation.” “We call on each West Coast occupation to organize a mass mobilization to shut down its local port.”

Occupy Los Angeles had already called for action against one shipper at that port, stating, “occupation will take place at at least one facility owned by SSA Marine, a shipping company belonging to Goldman Sachs, (coordinated with a possible port shut down by the port truck drivers).”

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Laine Doss
Miami New Times
November 15, 2011

The Christian media is swarming with accusations that Senomyx, a San Diego-based research and development company, whose clients include food heavy-hitters Nestle, Campbell’s Soup, Kraft Foods, and PepsiCo, is conducting research with HEK293, originally derived from human embryonic kidney cells.

These accusations began with an action alert issued by Largo, Florida-based Children of God for Life, a nonprofit, pro-life organization focused on the “bioethical issues of human cloning, embryonic, and fetal tissue research.” In the alert, Debi Vinnedge, executive director of Children of God, calls for the public to “boycott products of major food companies that are partnering with Senomyx, a biotech company that produces artificial flavor enhancers, unless the company stops using aborted fetal cell lines to test their products.”

On the company website, Senomyx describes research to find new ways to improve food flavors by taking advantage of the mouth’s taste receptors. If you recall junior high school biology, the mouth can really taste only five flavors — sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and glutamate. The company is using isolated human taste receptors in the form of proteins to identify flavors and enhance them.

Gwen Rosenberg, vice president of investor relations and corporate communications for Senomyx, described the process as “basically a robotic tasting system.” She depicted rows of little plastic square dishes with hundreds of tiny indentations in each dish. A protein is placed in each indentation, then a flavor. If the protein reacts to the flavor, the results are charted. If the new flavor (of which the company has more than 800,000) is successful with the protein test, the company then conducts taste tests with (live) adult humans.

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Jillian Berman
Huff Post
November 11, 2011

In one southern California county, prisoners will soon have to pay for the privilege of staying in jail.

Riverside County, California will start charging prisoners $142.42 per day of their prison stay, CNN Money reports. The county’s board of supervisors approved the measure on Tuesday as a way to save an estimated $3 to $5 million per year. Not every prisoner will be forced to pay up, however. The county will review each prisoner’s case individually to determine if they can afford the fee.

The fee comes as the California correctional system continues to struggle with budget woes. Last month, in an effort to save money, the state transferred responsibility for lower-level drug offenders, thieves and other convicts to counties. The “prison realignment” is one of many measures the state has taken in recent years to close its budget gap. The California Supreme Court is considering this week whether the state broke the law when it used re-development funds to close a shortfall a few years ago, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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Mark Walker
North County Times
November 9, 2011

A Marine found dead in his barracks room at Camp Pendleton early Sunday was beaten to death, a spokesman for the investigating agency said Tuesday.

Ed Buice of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service said Lance Cpl. Mario Arias Jr. died from injuries he suffered at the hands of another Marine sometime late Saturday night or shortly after midnight. That Marine then jumped from a third-floor balcony of the barracks and suffered what Buice described as “significant” injuries.

Authorities are refusing to release that Marine’s name and rank until charges are filed, Buice said.

“The pace of the investigation depends on his recovery,” Buice said during a telephone interview from the agency’s headquarters at Quantico, Va.

Arias’ death is considered a homicide and the Marine who leaped from the balcony is the sole suspect.

Authorities will not say where he is being treated or give more specifics about his injuries.

At Camp Pendleton, two sources have told the North County Times that the suspect was apparently drinking when he was confronted by Arias about his alcohol use.

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TERENCE CHEA, LISA LEFF and TERRY COLLINS
Associated Press
November 3, 2011

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – A day of demonstrations in Oakland that began as a significant step toward expanding the political and economic influence of the Occupy Wall Street movement, ended with police in riot gear arresting dozens of protesters who had marched through downtown to break into a vacant building, shattering windows, spraying graffiti and setting fires along the way.

“We go from having a peaceful movement to now just chaos,” said protester Monique Agnew, 40.

The far-flung movement of protesters challenging the world’s economic systems and distribution of wealth has gained momentum in recent weeks, capturing the world’s attention by shutting down one of the nation’s busiest shipping ports toward the end of a daylong “general strike” that prompted solidarity rallies across the U.S.

About 3,000 people converged on the Port of Oakland, the nation’s fifth-busiest harbor, in a nearly five-hour protest Wednesday, swarming the area and blocking exits and streets with illegally parked vehicles and hastily-erected, chain-link fences.

Port officials said they were forced to cease maritime operations, citing concerns for workers’ safety. They said in a statement they hope to resume operations Thursday “and that Port workers will be allowed to get to their jobs without incident. Continued missed shifts represent economic hardship for maritime workers, truckers, and their families, as well as lost jobs and lost tax revenue for our region.”

Supporters in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and elsewhere staged smaller-scale demonstrations; each group saying its protest was a show of support for the Oakland movement, which became a rallying point when an Iraq War veteran was seriously injured in a clash with police last week.

The larger Occupy movement has yet to coalesce into an organized association and until the port shut down had largely been limited scattershot marches, rallies and tent encampments since it began in September.

Organizers in Oakland had viewed the day as a significant victory. Police said that about 7,000 people participated in demonstrations throughout the day that were peaceful except for a few incidents of vandalism.

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David Kravets
Wired
October 10, 2011

California Gov. Jerry Brown is vetoing legislation requiring police to obtain a court warrant to search the mobile phones of suspects at the time of any arrest.

The Sunday veto means that when police arrest anybody in the Golden State, they may search that person’s mobile phone — which in the digital age likely means the contents of persons’ e-mail, call records, text messages, photos, banking activity, cloud-storage services, and even where the phone has traveled.

Police across the country are given wide latitude to search persons incident to an arrest based on the premise of officer safety. Now the nation’s states are beginning to grapple with the warrantless searches of mobile phones done at the time of an arrest.

Brown’s veto message abdicated responsibility for protecting the rights of Californians and ignored calls from civil liberties groups and this publication to sign the bill — saying only that the issue is too complicated for him to make a decision about. He cites a recent California Supreme Court decision upholding the warrantless searches of people incident to an arrest. In his brief message, he also doesn’t say whether it’s a good idea or not.

Instead, he says the state Supreme Court’s decision is good enough, a decision the U.S. Supreme Court let stand last week.

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VAUHINI VARA
Wall Street Journal
October 9, 2011

California Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday finished signing the California Dream Act, under which California students who are undocumented immigrants will qualify for state-funded financial aid for college.

The controversial bill is the highest-profile act to expand undocumented students’ access to higher education after a federal Dream Act, which would have given undocumented students a path to short-term permanent residency status, failed last year to attract enough support in Congress.

“The Dream Act benefits us all by …