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Stories for December 20, 2013

Police Recover Heroin Packets Stamped 'Obamacare'

Dec. 20
Scott Neuman / NPR

Police in Massachusetts on Friday pulled over a suspicious automobile and after conducting a search, recovered more than a thousand small packets of heroin stamped "Obamacare" and "Kurt Cobain."

Proposed CA Law Would Turn Stolen Smartphones Into Bricks

Dec. 20
By David Wagner
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Proposed legislation in California would require smartphone manufacturers to include a so-called "kill switch" in their devices.

Congress Extends Visa Program For Iraqi And Afghan Interpreters

Dec. 20
By Jill Replogle
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On December 19, Congress extended the special visa program for Iraqi and Afghan interpreters and mandated improvements.

Filner Lands Top Spot On 2013 Worst Boss List

Dec. 20
City News Service
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The website eBossWatch named San Diego's disgraced former mayor Bob Filner America's worst boss of the year.

Man Who Shot Reagan Allowed Longer Stays Out Of Mental Hospital

Dec. 20
Scott Neuman / NPR
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John Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, has been granted more time outside the mental hospital where he's been confined for almost three decades.

San Diego County Unemployment Rate Falls In November

Dec. 20
City News Service

Latest unemployment figures for San Diego County show decline from previous months. November ties with May for lowest unemployment rates of 2013.

UC San Diego Study Finds Total Smoking Bans Help Smokers To Quit

Dec. 20
By Kenny Goldberg

Smoking bans do more than protect people against secondhand smoke - new research from UC San Diego finds they actually influence smokers to try to quit.

Medical Marijuana Regulation To Be Reviewed By San Diego City Council

Dec. 20
City News Service
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A draft ordinance to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego is slated to go before the City Council in February.

San Diego State University Aztecs Heading To Idaho Potato Bowl

Dec. 20
By Erik Anderson
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The San Diego State University football team is headed to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday.

Robot 'Olympics' Test Machines On Human Skills

Dec. 20
Greg Allen / NPR
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Under throbbing loudspeakers at a NASCAR track south of Miami, vaguely humanoid robots with two legs, four legs and tank treads take up garages that normally house race cars.

Audit Of Ex-Mayor Bob Filner's Paris Trip Released

Dec. 20
City News Service
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An audit of former Mayor Bob Filner's trip to Paris in June found no city funds were used on his behalf or that of his traveling companion, but that $24,641.86 was spent to send two San Diego police officers with him.

Sunday's Chargers-Raiders Match To Be Shown On TV

Dec. 20
City News Service

The Chargers announced Friday they've sold enough tickets for Sunday's game against the Raiders to appear on television in Southern California.

Group sues California over new transgender law

Dec. 20
Associated Press

Groups trying to overturn a new California law allowing transgender students to choose public school restrooms and sports teams that correspond with their expressed genders have filed a lawsuit claiming state officials are unfairly refusing to count signatures seeking a referendum.

Federal Court Strikes Down Utah's Gay Marriage Ban

Dec. 20
Scott Neuman / NPR
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A federal judge has struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage, saying it's unconstitutional.

Bankruptcy Casts Shadow Over Detroit's Plan To Fix Streetlights

Dec. 20
Quinn Klinefelter / NPR

Many neighborhoods in Detroit are in the dark -- not because of a power outage but because fewer than half of the city's 88,000 streetlights actually work.

Gov. Christie Signs New Jersey 'Dream Act' Into Law

Dec. 20
Scott Neuman / NPR
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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill on Friday that will give some students who are in the U.S. illegally a break on their tuition.

Year In Review 2013: Mayor Filner's Sexual Harassment Scandal

Dec. 20
By Marissa Cabrera, Tom Fudge, Amita Sharma, Claire Trageser

No doubt the biggest story in San Diego this year was the sexual harassment scandal that lead to the political demise of former Mayor Bob Filner.

Fallbrook bus crashes leave 1 dead, dozens hurt

Dec. 20
Associated Press

Three buses carrying commuters and casino gamblers skidded and crashed on rainy Southern California freeways in separate accidents, leaving one woman dead and dozens injured, authorities said.

Black GOP Hopefuls See Promise In Retirement Flurry

Dec. 20
Brakkton Booker / NPR
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It's not every day that three long-serving House members announce their retirements within hours of each other. It's rarer still that two of those seats have a distinct possibility of being filled by a black Republican after next year's election.

Makeover USA: Short, 'Dowdy' D.C. Considers High Heels

Dec. 20
Liz Halloran / NPR
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The powers that be in Washington are typically, though certainly not always, wrestling with weighty issues.

Roundtable: Use Medical Pot, Lose Your Kids; Somalis Appeal Conviction; Pope Francis Simply Appeals

Dec. 20
By Pat Finn, Mark Sauer
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In San Diego County, using medical marijuana can cost you your kids. Four Somalis convicted in San Diego file an appeal. Pope Francis seems to appeal to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

Korean War POW Remains Return To Widow In LA More Than 60 Years Later

Dec. 20
City News Service
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An Army sergeant who died as a prisoner of war in Korea nearly 63 years ago but whose remains were only recently identified was returned Friday to Los Angeles.

Man Arrested At San Ysidro Border Crossing For Throwing Molotov Cocktail

Dec. 20
Associated Press

A 39-year-old man has been arrested after authorities say he tossed a lit Molotov cocktail at Customs and Border Protection officers at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego.

President Orders Review Of Sexual Assault In Military

Dec. 20
Scott Neuman / NPR

President Obama has ordered a one-year review of the military's response to sexual assault within the ranks, saying his administration has "an urgent obligation" to respond to the problem.

Obama On Health Care Rollout: 'We Screwed It Up'

Dec. 20
Scott Neuman / NPR
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Just a few hours before he heads to Hawaii for a two-week vacation, President Obama is meeting with reporters at the White House Friday afternoon.

SeaWorld Runs Ads In Local, National Newspapers After Performers Cancel

Dec. 20
Associated Press

SeaWorld has set up a website and posted ads in a handful of newspapers around the nation in response to a critical documentary that inspired eight musical acts to cancel performances at the company's Orlando marine park.

Diaspora Sounds Alarm As Dominicans Face Statelessness

Dec. 20
Dana Farrington / NPR
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Politicians in the Dominican Republic have long courted Dominicans in the U.S. for votes. That relationship has strengthened in the past couple of years; in 2011, the Dominican government established seven representatives for its communities abroad.

Angelina Didn't Help Educate People About Breast Cancer Risk

Dec. 20
Maanvi Singh / NPR
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Remember when Angelina Jolie decided to have a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer? The Hollywood star revealed her experience in The New York Times in May.

Protesters Greet Scott Brown at New Hampshire Event

Dec. 20
Josh Rogers / NPR
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Scott Brown still knows how to make an entrance.

No Widespread Misconduct In Secret Service, Investigators Say

Dec. 20
NPR

"Although individual employees have engaged in misconduct or inappropriate behavior, we did not find evidence that misconduct is widespread," concludes a report from the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general. The IG's investigation was launched after the 2012 scandal over some agents' behavior while they were on a mission in Colombia.

They're Back! Chesapeake Oysters Return To Menus After Rebound

Dec. 20
April Fulton / NPR
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The history of the Chesapeake Bay oyster hasn't always been a pure one. So you could forgive a chef for being skeptical about the big bivalve comeback being staged in D.C. and the surrounding area this winter as oyster season gets underway.

ACLU Sues Feds Over Cavity Searches at US-Mexico Border

Dec. 20
By David Martin Davies
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The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the ACLU of New Mexico are suing the United States Customs and Border Protection over cavity searches to a U.S. citizen.

24/7 Library Kiosk To Open In San Diego County

Dec. 20
City News Service

The county of San Diego is scheduled to open Friday a library kiosk in Kearny Mesa that will dispense hundreds of books and movies to library card-holders.

San Diego Chargers Get Additional 24 Hours To Avoid Sunday Blackout

Dec. 20
City News Service

The National Football League Thursday gave the San Diego Chargers an extra 24 hours to sell 1,300 tickets so that Sunday's contest against the Oakland Raiders can appear on local television screens.

Big Sur wildfire nearing full containment

Dec. 20
Associated Press

Officials are optimistic that a wildfire in California's Big Sur region that has destroyed 14 homes and several other buildings will soon be put out.

Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal In New Mexico

Dec. 20
Mónica Ortiz Uribe / Fronteras Desk
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New Mexico's Supreme Court ruled Thursday gay and lesbian couples can legally marry.

Three Things to Know About San Diego’s Mayoral Runoff

Dec. 20
By Joe Yerardi
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As in the primary, inewsource will be following the money with a database and visualization we intend to update daily. Here are three things to know about money in the runoff.

Review: 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

Dec. 20
By Beth Accomando
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The new Coen brothers film “Inside Llewyn Davis” (opening December 20 at Landmark's Hillcrest Cinemas and Arclight La Jolla) is meticulously made, but is that enough?

San Diego Catholics Weigh In On Pope Francis

Dec. 20
By Angela Carone
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Pope Francis is one of the most talked about religious leaders in the world today. We spoke with local Catholics to see how they feel about the pope and how he's led the Catholic church so far.

Health Care Rules Relaxed Again, 'Backlash' Follows

Dec. 20
Mark Memmott / NPR
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Word from the Obama administration that Americans who recently had their health insurance canceled will be allowed to buy "catastrophic policies" mostly intended for young adults has upset the insurance industry, NPR's Julie Rovner tells our Newscast desk.

How Fraud Flourishes In Medicare's Drug Plan

Dec. 20
Tracy Weber, Charles Ornstein

With just a handful of prescriptions to his name, psychiatrist Ernest Bagner III was barely a blip in Medicare's vast drug program in 2009.

Shop On The Web Or In The Store; Each Has Risks

Dec. 20
Marilyn Geewax / NPR
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Back in ye olden days -- say, a decade ago -- many holiday shoppers worried about using credit cards to buy gifts online. They feared their information would end up in the hands of computer hackers.

When Obama Takes Questions Today, What Should He Be Asked?

Dec. 20
Mark Memmott / NPR
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Update at 10:02 a.m. ET. News Conference Set For 2 P.M. ET:

Power Laments 'Tyranny Of The Mob' In Central African Republic

Dec. 20
Michele Kelemen / NPR
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You don't have to venture far to see the misery caused by the latest crisis in the Central African Republic.

Deep-Dish Or Thin-Crust? Even Chicagoans Can't Agree

Dec. 20
Derek John / NPR
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The Daily Show's Jon Stewart recently ranted against Chicago-style deep dish pizza.