Google, Apple settle high-tech workers' lawsuit
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe have settled a class-action lawsuit alleging they conspired to prevent their engineers and highly sought technology workers from getting better job offers from one another.
The agreement announced Thursday averts a Silicon Valley trial that threatened to expose the tactics that billionaire executives such as late Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt deployed to corral lower-paid employees working on a variety of products and online services.
The trial had been scheduled to begin May 27 in San Jose, Calif.
Terms of the settlement aren't being revealed yet. An attorney representing the workers in the case says the details will be filed in court by May 27.
The suit was seeking $3 billion in damages on behalf of 64,600 workers.
SMARTPHONE KILL SWITCH
California smartphone 'kill switch' bill fails
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A bill that would force electronics manufacturers to install a shut-off function in all smartphones has failed in the state Senate but will likely be revived later this spring.
The legislation by Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco responds to a crime problem that is exploding across the country. In San Francisco, for example, the district attorney's office says more than half of all robberies last year included the theft of a smartphone.
Leno's legislation, SB962, fell two votes shy of a majority Thursday. It would have required companies to manufacture smartphones with technology that would make them inoperable when not in the owner's possession.
The wireless industry prefers a voluntary approach, but Leno says the technology must be mandatory to act as a deterrent to thieves.
LEGISLATIVE BROTHERS-CAMPAIGN FINES
Campaign agency levels fines against GOP brothers
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California's political watchdog agency is issuing fines totaling $40,000 to two brothers and their campaign committees for transferring money between their campaigns as both ran for state Assembly in 2008.
The California Fair Political Practices Commission leveled the fines on Thursday after hearing arguments in the case last week.
Commissioners unanimously accepted an administrative law judge's recommendation that Sen. Tom Berryhill of Twain Harte and his brother, former Assemblyman Bill Berryhill of Ceres, be fined for improperly transferring $40,000 between their legislative campaigns.
The brothers, both Republicans, have denied violating campaign finance rules.
At the time of the transfers, Tom Berryhill was seeking re-election while Bill Berryhill was running to represent a neighboring Assembly district.
Attorneys representing the brothers and Tom Berryhill's Senate spokeswoman did not immediately return telephone messages.
Water picture improves for some California towns
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.
In February, the California Department of Public Health listed 17 mostly rural water systems as having less than two months water supply in storage.
But in recent weeks that number has fallen to three as February and March rains improved the water picture slightly.
Still, the Sierra Nevada snowpack that provides a third of California's drinking water is at 32 percent of normal as the state heads toward the dry summer months.
And some towns are still at risk: Montague in Siskiyou County may not have enough water to last through the summer.
OAKLAND WOMAN SHOT-ARRESTS
2 arrested in fatal shooting of Oakland pet sitter
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say two men are in custody for the shooting death of a pet sitter who used her cellphone to record them during an apparent burglary in Oakland last year.
Alameda County prosecutors on Thursday announced that 22-year-old Stephon Lee of Richmond and 21-year-old Mario Floyd of Oakland face murder charges with special circumstances for the slaying of Judy Salamon just a few blocks from her home on July 24.
Police say the men allegedly argued with the 66-year-old Salamon over her cellphone before Lee shot her. Salamon who was driving, lost control of her car, which rolled down a hill before crashing into a parked car.
Neighbors say Salamon was an avid animal lover known as the "Pet Nanny," because of her affinity for taking care of neighborhood pets.
3 wounded in Fresno stabbing
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - Fresno police have made an arrest in a stabbing at an apartment complex that left three people wounded, in serious but not life-threatening condition.
Police say 24-year-old Jacob Velasquez was taken into custody at another apartment complex following the Wednesday night stabbing, which occurred near a public swimming pool area.
He was booked on three counts of attempted murder and one count of resisting arrest.
Sgt. Mike Smith tells the Fresno Bee the two female and one male victim were taken to Community Regional Medical Center.
It was not clear what prompted the stabbing.
Lazarus Alvarez, a neighbor, told the Bee he came face to face with the suspect after hearing the victims screaming. Alvarez said he told his girlfriend to grab his combat knife, and the suspect ran off.
DRUG CARTEL BUST
18 arrested in Silicon Valley drug ring probe
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Prosecutors in Silicon Valley say authorities have arrested 18 people and seized methamphetamine, cocaine and drug labs as part of an investigation into a major drug distribution ring with ties to a Mexican cartel.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office announced the arrests and seizures on Thursday. Prosecutors say the investigation was conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and began with the arrest of a low-level drug dealer in 2012.
They say it led to a drug lab in Elk Grove that was manufacturing millions of dollars of methamphetamine each month and also turned up marijuana, weapons and laundered cash.
Among those arrested was Esdras Avila Carrillo, of San Jose, who prosecutors say is believed to be a high-ranking member of the Mexican drug cartel connected to the operation. They did not name the cartel.
26 charged, 60,000 plants seized in pot bust
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Authorities in Northern California have charged 26 people and seized nearly 60,000 marijuana plants as a result of a yearlong operation targeting pot growers and distributors.
The results of the investigation, called "Operation Safe Counties," were announced Thursday by United States District Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, and Trinity County Sheriff Bruce Haney.
The investigation targeted individuals and groups in Shasta and Trinity counties involved in pot cultivation on public lands as well as those cultivating pot on private lands and distributing it throughout the United States. More than 2,100 pounds of processed marijuana, 70 firearms and more than $1 million in cash were also seized.
Sixteen defendants were charged by the U.S. attorney's office with felony drug offenses and 10 others were charged by the Shasta County district attorney with drug and environmental crimes.
School bill promotes racial side of Obama election
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A bill that passed the Assembly with bipartisan support encourages California to include lessons about the racial significance of Barack Obama's presidency in its curriculum.
The Assembly approved AB1912 Thursday on a 72-0 vote. The bill by Democratic Assemblyman Chris Holden of Pasadena asks state education officials to include Obama's election in seventh- through 12th grade social studies standards.
High school history students already learn about recent presidents. But Holden says lessons about Obama also should focus on what his election meant for racial equality and civil rights.
The bill now heads to the Senate.
The state Board of Education will next update academic standards during the 2015-16 school year and does not have to follow lawmakers' recommendations. Textbooks could be updated within five years, likely after Obama leaves office.
WEALTH GAP-CALIFORNIA CEOS
California bill attacks growing corporate wage gap
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A California effort to lead a national debate over the growing wage gap between corporate chief executives and average workers is moving through the Legislature with support from Democratic lawmakers, organized labor and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich.
The bill advanced Thursday by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee will have a difficult time succeeding because it requires a supermajority vote in the Legislature, and Republicans are opposed.
Nevertheless, Reich told the committee the bill would reward "responsible" companies and help the middle class and the economy as a whole.
SB1372 would punish companies that pay CEOs more than 100 times the median wage of their workers by imposing a higher corporate tax. Companies with less of a wage gap would be rewarded with a lower tax rate.
Netflix joining line-up of 3 US cable-TV services
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Netflix's Internet video service is about to join the programming line-up of three small cable-TV providers in the U.S.
The agreements with Atlantic Broadband, RCN and Grande Communications gives Netflix's subscription service a channel on the TiVo boxes that the three cable services provide their customers.
The deals represent a breakthrough for Netflix Inc. as it tries to make its Internet video service more like premium cable-TV channels such as HBO and Showtime.
Netflix subscribers typically have to buy a separate device, such as video game console or a player from Roku or Apple Inc., to stream video on to their TVs.
Atlantic and RCN are adding Netflix to their line-ups Monday. Netflix will join Grande next month.
Collectively, the three cable-TV services have about 820,000 subscribers.
CANDLESTICK PARK-PAUL MCCARTNEY
Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Pop legend Paul McCartney is set to return to Candlestick Park to offer a swan song to the San Francisco 49ers' former stadium.
McCartney's website posted a statement Thursday confirming that the former Beatle will perform on Aug. 14 at what is being billed as the last concert at Candlestick.
His appearance became contentious last month when McCartney's worldwide concert promoter, Barrie Marshall, mentioned he had visited the 49ers' new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara as part of negotiations about a possible opening concert there in August.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports city officials felt slighted, since San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee had personally invited McCartney to close the "Stick." The Beatles played their final paid concert there in 1966.
San Francisco's Recreation and Park Department Director Phil Ginsberg says the city's persistence helped seal the deal.
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The wife of a San Diego police officer accused of domestic violence is standing by her husband and thinks SDPD should do the same.