Luke Quiroz

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Canadian, World, Politics and Business News & Analysis

California drought prompts first-ever 'zero water allocation'

Officials Friday said that for the first time ever, the State Water Project that helps supply a majority of Californians may be unable to make any deliveries except to maintain public health and safety.<p>They also said they were cutting releases from large reservoirs in the northern part of the state …

Snorkeling

Gun flight: Smith & Wesson, Ruger quit California over stamping requirement

A new gun law proponents say helps law enforcement has driven Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger out of California, and affirmed the suspicions of firearms rights advocates that the measure is really about making handguns obsolete.<p>The two companies have announced they will stop selling their wares in …

Brown again asks judges for more time to reduce prison crowding

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown has again asked federal judges for more time to reduce crowding in California's prisons and, in an about-face, proposed to free inmates early if he misses an extended deadline.<p>California is under orders to remove thousands of inmates from state lockups by April 18, a …

Campaign organization pays state $300,000 of $11 million owed

SACRAMENTO — A campaign group that received $11 million in "dark" political contributions and now owes it to the state has paid only $300,000.<p>California's ethics agency on Friday announced receipt of the funds from the political arm of the Small Business Action Committee, whose president said the …

Campaign Finance

State's top court asked to intervene in bullet train financing

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gov.<p>Jerry Brown’s administration Friday asked the California Supreme Court to block two trial court rulings that could indefinitely delay construction of a high-speed rail line linking Los Angeles and San Francisco.<p>The California High-Speed Rail Authority asked the state high court …

San Francisco

Suit filed in '91 over aircraft settled

Nearly a quarter of a century after it began, one of the largest legal disputes in defense industry history was finally settled with two major weapons makers agreeing to pay the federal government $400 million in goods and services.<p>The U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington on Thursday …

General Dynamics

Two engineers who had concerns say new Bay Bridge span is safe

SAN FRANCISCO Two engineers who say their safety concerns about the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge were suppressed by Caltrans higher-ups told a state Senate committee Friday that they nevertheless believe the new eastern span of the structure is safe.<p>California Department of Transportation …

Irvine may issue subpoenas in Great Park audit

On the heels of preliminary findings in an audit of the Great Park that raised questions about the $200-million project's finances, Irvine may start issuing subpoenas to get some answers.<p>The City Council is set to vote on a resolution Tuesday that would allow its attorneys to subpoena people and …

Need a ride from LAX? Don't call uberX -- at least, for now

Passengers arriving at LAX will no longer be able to use the peer-to-peer ride-sharing service uberX — which connects private car owners with people seeking a ride — to call a car to pick them up at the airport.<p>Writing in a blogpost, Uber spokesperson Andrew Noyes said that airport authorities' …

Ridesharing

Aspen and Other Ski Areas Support a Bill That Could Dry Up Rivers

Changing Planet<p>Could Western water be in trouble with a proposed bill? Photo by Cheryl Zook/National Geographic<p>It’s ski season, and ski areas like Aspen (currently home to the Winter X Games) are good at getting PR touting their commitment to environmental sustainability – like this recent <i>Men’s</i> …

Yukon Government Opens Vast Wilderness to Mining

Indigenous leaders, conservation groups vow legal challenge.<p>Canada's Yukon Territory announced on Tuesday that it has opened one of the largest unbroken wilderness areas in North America to mining and mineral exploration.<p>The government's decree stunned indigenous leaders, who support a 2011 plan …

The toll of the anti-vaccination movement, in one devastating graphic

Aaron Carroll today offers a graphic depiction of the toll of the anti-vaccination movement. (H/t: Kevin Drum.) It comes from a Council on Foreign Relations interactive map of "vaccine-preventable outbreaks" worldwide 2008-2014.<p>A couple of manifestations stand out. One is the prevalence of measles …

A housing relief program with policies that 'throw people into the grinder'

Amal and Rizkalla Kamel survived the housing crisis and the recession with their home and finances intact; their personal collapse wouldn’t come until 2012.<p>That winter, Amal suffered two heart attacks in two months, drastically reducing his ability to work. At the same time, Rizkalla lost her job …

Illinois Village Leads Charge for Tougher Oil Train Rules

The Chicago suburb of Barrington, where traffic is blocked by 20 freight trains a day, filed petition for action on weak tank cars.<p><b>When a freight train rolls through Barrington, Illinois, gates with flashing lights lower to block all four of the village's cross-town thoroughfares—often at the same</b> …

Net neutrality is dead. Bow to Comcast and Verizon, your overlords

Advocates of a free and open Internet could see this coming, but today's ruling from a Washington appeals court striking down the FCC's rules protecting the open net was worse than the most dire forecasts. It was "even more emphatic and disastrous than anyone expected," in the words of one veteran …

DOJ reaffirms birth control stance

The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most employers provide contraception in their health plans, even if a company’s owners have religious objections.<p>In arguments filed late Friday, Justice Department lawyers told the court that …

Pumped up: Breastfeeding mothers fight for rights at work

When Bobbi Bockoras returned to work at a Port Allegany, Pa., glass factory in June 2013 after giving birth, she planned to pump breast milk during breaks so she could continue nursing her infant daughter Lyla.<p>The 31-year-old palletizer operator knew that pumping at work — in a clean, private, …

Jerry Brown ready to commit to a rainy-day fund

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown stepped out from behind the podium holding a green marker, ready to assume the role of professor.<p>As he laid out his new budget plan, he circled the spot on a chart showing California's budding surplus. Some people think "we should go on a spending binge," he said.<p>He …

After a building boom, solar energy's prospects now aren't as sunny

Five years after the Obama administration's renewable energy initiative touched off a building boom of large-scale solar power plants across the desert Southwest, the pace of development has slowed to a crawl, with a number of companies going out of business and major projects canceled for lack of …

What's the Chemical Behind West Virginia's River Spill?

Spill in the Elk River brings a "do not drink" advisory.<p><b>Nearly 200,000 people in West Virginia have been told not to drink, cook, or shower with the water from their faucets, after a large-scale chemical spill on a river near the state's capital on Thursday.</b><p>"I can't tell you that the water is …

How the NSA Almost Killed the Internet

Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and the other tech titans have had to fight for their lives against their own government. An exclusive look inside their …

Taiwan gets US submarine-launched missiles

Taiwan has received the first shipment of anti-ship missiles which it ordered from the United States for its submarines, strengthening their attack …

Associated Press News

Are the Xbox and unleaded gas helping keep you safe from violent crime?

Sharper policing strategies, stiffer prison sentences and newer technologies are again being credited as police officials proffer explanations for the two-decade decline in violent crime in America’s biggest cities.<p>But experts say the real reasons behind the downturn -- which included double-digit …

‘Polar Vortex’ Plunges Midwest, Northeast into Record Deep Freeze

Record-low chilling temperatures are predicted to blast parts of the Great Plains, extending to the Eastern seaboard, while a second winter storm is …

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Japan's State Secrets Law: Hailed By U.S., Denounced By Japanese

Earlier in December, the normally sedate Japanese Parliament disintegrated into chaos. Opposition party members screamed, pounded the speaker's desk and flapped papers in his face — but all in vain.<p>In a shocking display of brute force, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling party, the Liberal …