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SCIENCE
April 23, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
Climate change and extreme weather could set back decades of improvement in California's air quality, a new report by the state's pollution control officers says. A higher number of extreme heat days from global warming will boost smog formation and increase severe wildfires that release harmful smoke into the air, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the California Air Pollution Control Officers' Assn. "The achievements we've made to date could be put in peril,” said Jack Broadbent, air pollution control officer for the San Francisco Bay Area and president of the association, which represents the 35 air districts throughout the state.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 23, 2014 | By Robert J. Lopez
A 6.7 magnitude earthquake was reported off Canada's Vancouver Island on Wednesday night. But there were no tsunami concerns for the Pacific Coast, including California. The quake rocked the region around 8:10 p.m. and was located about 58 miles southwest of Port Hardy in British Columbia, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake was followed by two aftershocks of 5.0 and 4.2. There were no tsunami watches, warnings or advisories for the Pacific Coast, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
BUSINESS
April 22, 2014 | By Shan Li
The oil and gas industry creates about 49,000 jobs in Los Angeles County and billions of tax revenue in California. That's according to a new report conducted by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. and commissioned by the trade group Western States Petroleum Assn., which takes a look at the role of oil and gas on the Golden State economy in 2012. In the county of Los Angeles, more than 17,000 people are employed in oil and gas extraction, while an additional 12,000 work at gas stations, the report said.
NATIONAL
April 22, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the authority of police officers to stop cars and question drivers based on anonymous tips to hotlines. In a 5-4 decision, the justices ruled that such stops do not amount to an unreasonable search or seizure, even if the arresting officer did not observe the vehicle speeding or swerving. The decision affirms a ruling of the California courts. The case began in August 2008 when a 911 dispatch team in Mendocino County received a midafternoon report that a pickup truck had forced another vehicle off the road.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 22, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO--A bill barring the state's health insurance exchange from hiring individuals convicted of certain felonies failed to advance Tuesday. Under the proposal by Assemblywoman Connie Conway (R-Tulare), Covered California would not be able to hire people who have been convicted of certain crimes--felonies concerning breach of trust or dishonesty--for jobs where enrollees' financial or medical data could be accessed.  Conway, the Assembly Republican Leader, argued that by hiring people convicted of financial crimes, the health plan exchange could be putting users' private information at risk.
BUSINESS
April 22, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
California's immigrant-heavy economy looks strong through the lens of regional bank results, with two of Los Angeles' many Asian American banks near the top of analysts' national lists of bank stocks that investors should buy. According to financial information provider SNL Financial, BBCN Bancorp recently held the No. 2 slot, with six of seven analysts, or 87%, rating Koreatown's largest bank a "buy" or "outperform," meaning it would do better than...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 22, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - A raft of bills to set tougher ethics rules for California politicians cleared their first legislative hurdle Tuesday as the state Senate prepared for a daylong refresher course on standards of conduct. Lawmakers say better adherence to existing rules and tougher restrictions in the future are needed to win back the public's trust after three state senators were charged with crimes. Eleven proposals approved by a Senate committee included a ban on fundraising during the end of legislative sessions, when decisions on many key issues are made; a reduction in the value of gifts that officials may accept; and a prohibition on such items as spa treatments, golf games, concert and professional sports tickets, theme park admissions and gift cards.
BUSINESS
April 22, 2014 | By Andrew Khouri
New California foreclosure starts rose in the first quarter, although they remain at pre-bust levels. Default notices -- the first step in the state's foreclosure process -- jumped 6% from the previous quarter to 19,215, research firm DataQuick said Tuesday. New foreclosure filings rose 3.5% from the first quarter of 2013. DataQuick analyst John Karevoll said the rise from the fourth quarter, the lowest level since 2005, probably came from lenders working through their delinquent loan pipelines and not from more financial distress.
OPINION
April 22, 2014 | Patt Morrison
"Fracking" - now there's a word that just begs for a bumper sticker. Short for "hydraulic fracturing" - the process of breaking open rock with high-pressure liquids to get at otherwise untappable oil and natural gas - fracking conjures up a welcome energy boom for some, ecological disaster for others. Mark Zoback - Stanford geophysicist since 1984, member of the National Academy of Engineering's Deepwater Horizon investigation committee, personal "decarbonizer," fracking expert - sees the problems and the potential for California.
BUSINESS
April 21, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
With open enrollment for Obamacare wrapped up, insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross stayed ahead of the pack in California sign-ups and widened its lead over rival Blue Shield of California. Anthem signed up 425,058 people through April 15, or 30.5% of Covered California's exchange market under the Affordable Care Act, new data show. Anthem is a unit of Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., the nation's second-largest health insurer. San Francisco insurer Blue Shield of California trails Anthem with a 27.3% share, or 381,457 enrollees.
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