SEX WORKERS-VICTIM COMPENSATION
Calif. prostitutes may gain victim compensation
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California officials are considering whether to change a decades-old anti-crime regulation and allow prostitutes to receive money from a victim compensation fund if they're raped or beaten by a john or pimp.
Under the current system, those harmed in violent crimes can be paid for medical costs and related expenses. But prostitutes are excluded because their activities are illegal.
Jon Myers, deputy executive officer of the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, says California is the only state in the nation with such a provision.
The American Civil Liberties Union and organizations representing sex trade workers want the rules changed.
They say the current system blames women for the violence done to them.
The board meets Thursday morning to consider doing away with the rule or making changes.
SAN FRANCISCO AIRLINER CRASH-VICTIM
Report: Asiana crash victim was run over twice
WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal investigators say a teenage girl who survived the crash of an Asiana Airlines jet in San Francisco only to be fatally struck by a fire truck actually was run over by two rescue vehicles in the accident's chaotic aftermath.
Authorities in California revealed months ago that 16-year-old Chinese student Ye Meng Yuan was alive on the runway and covered in firefighting foam when she was hit by an emergency vehicle and suffered the multiple blunt injuries that killed her.
But documents released at a National Transportation Safety Board hearing in Washington on Wednesday reveal that the motionless girl was struck twice - once by a fire rig spraying foam and again 11 minutes later by a second truck that was being turned around to fetch more water.
Two other teen girls from China died in the crash.
GOOGLE-JET FUEL DISCOUNTS
NASA audit finds Google execs saved on jet fuel
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A government report has determined a fleet of aircraft owned by Google's founders and former CEO received improper discounts on jet fuel that saved the three billionaires up to $5.3 million.
The findings released Wednesday by NASA's Inspector General surfaced during a review of a government airfield lease for seven planes and two helicopters controlled by Google's founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and the Internet search company's former CEO, Eric Schmidt.
The aircraft are managed through a company called H211 set up by the Google Inc. executives. H211 has been paying $1.4 million annually since 2007 to lease hangar space from NASA at a former U.S. Navy base located four miles from Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.
The report said the improper fuel discounts stopped in September.
Amazon grocery delivery rolls into San Francisco
Amazon.com Inc.'s grocery delivery service is rolling into San Francisco.
The online retailer says it is expanding its AmazonFresh service into the city after testing it in Los Angeles and Seattle. The service provides same-day and early-morning delivery of more than 500,000 Amazon products including fresh groceries and local items.
Other companies have been expanding their online grocery delivery services for customers who want to avoid the supermarket. Competitors include FreshDirect, Instacart, Peapod and Safeway.
AmazonFresh shipping is free for orders over $35, but users have to pay $299 a year for the service. Amazon is giving customers in San Francisco a free 30-day trial.
AmazonFresh was launched in Seattle in 2007. It came to Los Angeles in June.
Facebook to join S&P 500, Abercrombie exiting
NEW YORK (AP) - Facebook will join the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index, replacing technology supplier Teradyne Inc., while Abercrombie & Fitch is downgraded from the benchmark index.
S&P Dow Jones Indices on Wednesday announced a broader reshuffling of several of its market trackers, effective after the close of trading Dec. 20.
Shares of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook Inc. have surged 86 percent this year and picked up nearly 4 percent in after-hours trading. The company is also joining the S&P 100 index.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. stock is down 31 percent in 2013 as teen retailers fade in popularity. It's being moved down to an index for companies with smaller market values, the S&P MidCap 400. The New Albany, Ohio-based company's stock shed almost 2 percent in extended trading.
Judges extend Calif. deadline for inmate reduction
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A panel of federal judges has extended California's deadline to cut its prison population until April 18.
The judges previously had moved the deadline to February while a court-appointed mediator works to find a long-term solution with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration and attorneys representing inmates.
The judges ordered that those talks continue until Jan. 10. But the one-paragraph order released Wednesday warns that they plan no further extension in the negotiations, "absent extraordinary circumstances."
The state now faces a spring deadline to reduce the prison population to about 110,000 inmates.
The state is pushing for a three-year delay in the court-ordered deadline to give rehabilitation programs time to work as an alternative to housing thousands of inmates in private prisons and county jails.
107,000 enroll in health coverage in California
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - More than 107,000 Californians have enrolled for health care under the state's new health insurance exchange.
The new enrollment figures released Wednesday by the federal Health and Human Services Department cover the period ending Nov. 30.
California leads the nation in sign-ups among states under the Affordable Care Act. But the enrollment number still falls short of federal projections before the health insurance sign-up websites launched, when 221,000 enrollments were forecast for California by Nov. 30.
Covered California said this week that it also had a backlog of about 25,000 paper applications for enrollment.
In all, Wednesday's figures show that nearly 226,000 applicants have been found eligible to enroll in Covered California, with about 70 percent qualifying for financial assistance.
BART, unions to meet again over contract provision
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit and its two largest unions will be meeting again with a federal mediator over a key contract provision that has led to a lawsuit.
Representatives for the transit agency and the SEIU Local 1021 and ATU Local 1555 say they will meet on Thursday and Friday about a disputed Family Medical Leave Act provision that was stripped out of a contract the BART board approved last month.
The parties also will be meeting in Oakland with federal mediator Greg Lim who helped them reach a tentative agreement to end a contentious second strike in October.
The unions filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court last week claiming BART's board broke state law by approving the contract without the family medical leave provision.
BART says the provision was included in the contract by mistake.
Calif. Assembly Democrats urge $8B budget reserve
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Assembly Speaker John Perez is pledging to move cautiously in spending California's projected budget surplus and says lawmakers will ask voters to approve a revised 'rainy day fund' in November 2014.
The Los Angeles Democrat said Wednesday that having a voter-mandated savings plan and building an $8 billion budget reserve would protect the state from future "slashes and cuts" like those that devastated state programs during the recession.
The state's anticipated surplus is partly a result of temporary increases in sales and income taxes approved by voters last year before conditions began improving.
The priorities outlined by Perez on behalf of his Democratic members are the opening salvo in a budget debate that will last until June.
Gov. Jerry Brown will propose his budget next month and revise his projections in May.
Fire in Concord that led to health advisory out
CONCORD, Calif. (AP) - Fire officials say a blaze at a warehouse facility in Concord that smoldered for hours and prompted a health advisory is now out.
Contra Costa Fire Capt. Robert Marshall told the Contra Costa Times the blaze was extinguished around 11 a.m. Wednesday, nearly 12 hours after it began.
The fire burned a building housing a telecommunications company, blanketing the surrounding area in smoke and the smell of burning plastic.
The Contra Costa Health Department advised residents within a half mile of the fire to stay indoors. The advisory was lifted around 11 a.m. after a little more than two hours.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. No one was hurt.
California golf coach facing molestation charges
LIVERMORE, Calif. (AP) - A popular Northern California golf coach is facing dozens of child molestation charges stemming from the alleged sexual assault of multiple boys over a three-year period.
Alameda County prosecutors on Tuesday charged Andrew Michael Nisbet, of Livermore with 65 felonies, including lewd acts with a child and oral copulation of a child. Nisbet appeared in court, but did not enter a plea.
He is accused of sexually assaulting multiple boys between the ages of 12 and 17 from 2009 to 2012.
Livermore police spokesman Officer Steve Goard says the 31-year-old Nisbet was arrested Saturday without incident while he was working at a golf course.
Goard says Nisbet is well respected as the PGA's Northern California Section gave Nisbet its 2013 Junior Golf Leader Award for his work with young golfers.
Nisbet's attorney, Timothy Rien of Livermore, did not immediately return a call for comment.
49ERS STADIUM-WORKER KILLED
Elevator company cited in 49ers stadium death
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - California safety officials have issued more than $50,000 in fines against an elevator company whose employee was killed while working at the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara.
Sixty-three-year-old mechanic Don White was killed June 11 by an elevator counterweight.
The state's Division of Occupational Safety and Health cited Schindler Elevator Corp. on Tuesday for three serious violations, including its alleged failure to enclose counterweights in freight elevators with required guards.
In a statement, Schindler said it intends to vigorously contest the citations, noting that the state had initially found no violations in connection with the incident.
White was the first of two workers to die while working on the new $1.2 billion stadium. The stadium is slated to open next year.
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