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Stories for December 5, 2013

San Diego Law Enforcement Groups Push For Death Penalty Reform

Dec. 5
By Amita Sharma

By most accounts, California's death penalty process takes too long and costs too much, but public safety groups in San Diego County believe there might be a way to fix the state's broken death penalty process.

California Parents In Dark About New School-Funding System

Dec. 5
By Kyla Calvert

While only 9 percent of parents reported having heard a lot about California's new funding system, about 75 percent said they would be willing to helping direct spending plans once it was explained to them.

'Tis The Season For Christmas Plays

Dec. 5
By Beth Accomando
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Tis the season for holiday theater fare and two San Diego standards are back. The Globe presents "Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas" for its 16th year, and Cygnet stages the classic "A Christmas Carol" for the second time.

For Biden, All The World's A Stage For Possible 2016 Run

Dec. 5
Frank James / NPR
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Vice President Biden hasn't announced his 2016 presidential plans. It's far too early for that; we haven't even hit the first anniversary of President Obama's second inaugural, after all.

Review: 'The Punk Singer'

Dec. 5
By Beth Accomando
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“The Punk Singer” (opening Dec. 6 at the Digital Gym Cinema) is a documentary focusing on Kathleen Hanna, the dynamic lead singer of Bikini Kill. She was a feminist and activist who mysteriously stopped singing in 2005.

San Diego Homeless Need Blankets, Jackets As Temperature Dips

Dec. 5
By Susan Murphy
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San Diego’s downtown homeless shelter is in urgent need of blankets and jackets. Supplies are out, and a cold snap is forecast to hit the region this weekend.

San Diego Chargers Given 24-Hour Extension To Avoid Broadcast Blackout

Dec. 5
By City News Service

Around 3,000 seats remain for Sunday afternoon's contest against the New York Giants, and the NFL has given the San Diego Chargers an extra 24 hours to sell them to avoid a broadcast blackout.

Botanical Building To Get Facelift Before Balboa Park's 100th Anniversary

Dec. 5
By City News Service

The 99-year-old Botanical Building is planning to get a facelift in time for Balboa Park's 100th anniversary celebration in 2015.

Nelson Mandela Mourned, Celebrated In San Diego

Dec. 5
By City News Service
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Nelson Mandela, who led the struggle against South Africa's apartheid system and eventually became the country's first black president, has died at age 95 after a prolonged lung-infection.

Mayor Gloria Says Council Should Not Back Down From Barrio Logan Update

Dec. 5
By Claire Trageser
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Referendums attempting to overturn the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update are likely headed to San Diego voting booths.

California High Speed Rail Officials Respond To Setbacks

Dec. 5
Associated Press

The board that oversees California's embattled high-speed rail project is responding to recent legal and administrative setbacks and says it will file a new motion seeking blanket authority to sell $8.6 billion in state bonds.

Illinois Governor Signs Pension Rescue Plan

Dec. 5
Scott Neuman / NPR

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed into law a sweeping overhaul in the state's underfunded pension system that's aimed at closing a $100 billion shortfall.

Vacant El Cajon City Council Seat Draws 27 Applicants

Dec. 5
City News Service

The vacancy on the El Cajon City Council drew 27 applicants, who will be interviewed beginning next week, city officials announced Thursday

White House: President Briefly Lived With Kenyan-Born Uncle

Dec. 5
Scott Neuman / NPR
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The White House has acknowledged that as a student at Harvard Law School in the 1980s, the president briefly lived with his Kenyan-born uncle, after it first denied the two had ever met.

Camp Pendleton Marines To Collect 'Toys For Tots' At Surf Contest

Dec. 5
By Beth Ford Roth
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Camp Pendleton Marines will be on hand at this weekend's Western Surfing Association surf contest. They won't be there to catch waves, though, but to collect Toys for Tots gifts for children in need.

California Offers Tax Relief On Short Sales Of Homes

Dec. 5
Max Pringle / Capital Radio News
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The state of California announced Wednesday that there will be no tax penalties for homeowners who sell their properties for less than full value. The practice, also known as short selling, had become more widespread during the housing crisis

Some Stranded Whales In Fla. Moving Out To Sea

Dec. 5
Scott Neuman / NPR
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Wildlife officials in southwest Florida who are struggling to save dozens of beached pilot whales say there's hope that at least some of the animals might escape after they spotted at least 20 of them swimming in deeper water.

Report Shows Concerns Growing Over San Diego Street Gangs

Dec. 5
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
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A report released by the San Diego Association of Governments shows local officials are more concerned about gangs today than five years ago.

San Diego Businesses Join Fight Against Distracted Driving

Dec. 5
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
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It's against the law in California to drive while talking on the phone or text, but many are still doing so, which increases the risk of a collision four-fold. A UC San Diego campaign is targeting businesses to get the word out to employees about the risks.

Cuteness Alert: Christmas Cats TV Is Streaming Live

Dec. 5
Bill Chappell / NPR
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If you love cats and adore Christmas, do we ever have the website for you. A project that takes the concept of "reality TV" in new directions -- eight solid hours a day of streaming video.

Beyond Good Cop/Bad Cop: A Look At Real-Life Interrogations

Dec. 5
NPR
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We see a lot of police interrogation on TV, but how closely do those high-adrenaline scenes resemble the real thing? According to Douglas Starr, not much. In his new New Yorker article, "The Interview: Do Police Interrogation Techniques Produce False Confessions?", Starr examines the Reid technique, the style of interrogation most widely used by police forces in the U.S.

La Jolla Symphony & Chorus Celebrates Life And David Chase

Dec. 5
Midday Edition
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The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus has flourished under choral director David Chase, who celebrates his 40th year this season.

Fast-Food Workers Cry Poverty Wages As McDonald's Buys Luxury Jet

Dec. 5
Allison Aubrey / NPR
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When you're making eight bucks an hour, which is pretty typical in the fast-food industry, it's tough to make ends meet.

Mexico Recovers Stolen Radioactive Waste After Day-Long Search

Dec. 5
By Michel Marizco

A container of radioactive waste stolen at gunpoint in Mexico was found Wednesday afternoon.

Report: California Continues Uneven Recovery

Dec. 5
Associated Press

A new report shows California's economic recovery has been a mixed bag with coastal regions seeing healthy job growth while inlands areas continue to struggle.

Medal Of Honor Still A Possibility For Rafael Peralta, Says Rep. Hunter

Dec. 5
By Beth Ford Roth
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Chuck Hagel is now the third Secretary of Defense to consider whether fallen San Diego Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta deserves the Medal of Honor. Rep. Duncan Hunter sent Hagel a letter in October asking him to reconsider the evidence of Peralta's bravery, and a Hunter spokesman says the secretary is "looking at it seriously."

U.S. Government Must Use More Renewable Energy, Obama Says

Dec. 5
Bill Chappell / NPR

President Obama is ordering federal agencies to use more renewable energy, in a memorandum issued Thursday. Under the new plan, each agency would have until 2020 to get 20 percent of its power from renewable sources.

San Diego Fast Food Workers To Join National Call For Higher Minimum Wage

Dec. 5
By Tarryn Mento
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As fast food workers across the U.S. rally in support of higher wages, San Diegans are planning to join in.

Ford Hopes New Mustang Will Get The World's Motor Running

Dec. 5
Bill Chappell / NPR
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Ford unveiled its new Mustang on Thursday, in a splashy event that was undermined a bit by leaked photos that showed the new model's design. And the Mustang will be sold around the globe for the first time since the car was introduced nearly 50 years ago.

Camp Pendleton Training Exercise To Be Heard 50 Miles Away

Dec. 5
City News Service

A training exercise planned at Camp Pendleton Thursday is expected to cause loud booms and be heard up to 50 miles away.

Early Morning Crash Causes Backup On San Diego's I-8

Dec. 5
City News Service

An early morning crash involving eight vehicles and a motorcycle sent three people to the hospital and caused a backup on westbound I-8 Thursday.

Poll: Governor's Approval Rating Reaches New High

Dec. 5
Associated Press

Gov. Jerry Brown's approval rating has reached a new high as he considers seeking re-election next year.

U.S. Economy Grew At 3.6 Percent In Third Quarter; Jobless Claims Dip

Dec. 5
Bill Chappell / NPR

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.6 percent in the third quarter, according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That's a rise from the second quarter, when the real gross domestic product tallied a 2.5 percent gain.

$559K Fine Set For Safety Failures In Deadly Arizona Wildfire

Dec. 5
Bill Chappell / NPR
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An Arizona employee safety agency has fined the state's forestry division $559,000 for its failures in handling the Yarnell Hill wildfire, which killed 19 elite firefighters from the city of Prescott this summer.

GOP Family Feud: 'Showboat' DeMint Takes on 'Tyrant' McConnell

Dec. 5
Liz Halloran / NPR
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Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell is more than a little aggravated with the Senate Conservatives Fund, and who can blame him.

White House Cites Pre-Existing Condition Case From Its Own Ranks

Dec. 5
Ari Shapiro / NPR
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It's Day 4 of the White House's new messaging push for the Affordable Care Act. Today the goal is to tell the stories of people with pre-existing conditions who are now entitled to coverage under the new health care law.

HealthCare.gov Now Allows Window Shopping, And A Do-Over

Dec. 5
Julie Rovner / NPR

One thing that's clear about the relaunch of the troubled HealthCare.gov website is that it can accommodate more people.