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Stories for January 16, 2013

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White House Death Star Petition Wouldn't Pass New Threshold

Jan. 16, 2013
Dana Farrington / NPR

Eliciting an official response to your petition just got tougher. The White House now requires a petition on its We the People platform to get 100,000 signatures within 30 days in order to get an official response.

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City Heights Art Installation On Memory Finds New Home

Jan. 16, 2013
By Megan Burks

A City Heights art installation on childhood memory closed Jan. 4, but it isn't fleeting yet. An arts nonprofit in the neighborhood is now featuring the work in its formal gallery.

Report Shows Qualified San Diego Veterans Struggling For Employment

Jan. 16, 2013
City News Service

Veterans in San Diego County are younger and better educated than their counterparts elsewhere, and earn more money when working, but businesses could do more to help them find employment, according to a report released today by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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'Carefully Choreographed Dance': Armstrong's Complicated Media Past

Jan. 16, 2013
David Folkenflik / NPR

After a career of alternately charming, manipulating and strong-arming the media, former cycling champion Lance Armstrong is turning for redemption to a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey.

FAA Grounds All 787 Planes In The U.S. To Seek A Fix For Battery Issue

Jan. 16, 2013
Bill Chappell / NPR

The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered the U.S. fleet of Boeing 787 planes to be grounded, citing an incident in Japan earlier today in which one of the jet's batteries emitted smoke. The Japanese report came a week after a similar incident occurred in Boston.

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Schedule Of Childhood Vaccines Declared Safe

Jan. 16, 2013
Patti Neighmond / NPR

Childhood vaccines for diseases like measles, polio and whooping cough have repeatedly been proved safe and effective. Even so, some parents still worry that the schedule of vaccinations -- 24 immunizations by the age of 2 -- can be dangerous. That worry is likely misplaced, according to a yearlong review of all available scientific data.

Americans Among Hostages Seized By Militants In Algeria

Jan. 16, 2013
Krishnadev Calamur / NPR

Militants seized dozens of hostages, including Americans as we reported earlier, in a deadly raid on an Algerian gas facility Wednesday.

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SDSU Football Ditches Plan To Join Big East Conference

Jan. 16, 2013
City News Service

San Diego State University ditched plans for its football team to join the Big East Conference and to shift most of its other sports to the Big West, deciding today to stick with the Mountain West Conference.

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Violence-Riddled Chicago Hopes Gun Proposals Will Help Shield It

Jan. 16, 2013
Cheryl Corley / NPR

As President Obama unveiled his gun control proposals Wednesday, he highlighted mass shootings at schools in Colorado, Virginia and Connecticut. He also mentioned another group of children, not in school -- the ones on the street corners of Chicago.

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Manti Te'o Girlfriend Story Was A Hoax, Deadspin Says

Jan. 16, 2013
Bill Chappell / NPR

Manti Te'o, the Notre Dame linebacker who nearly won the Heisman Trophy this season, is at the center of what Deadspin calls a "hoax," in which the story of a lost love was created in order to bolster his personal myth. The site is questioning the existence of a girl Te'o has said inspired him to new heights. He has not yet responded to the story; we'll update this post with any new information as it emerges.

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Bill Would Protect Military Pay Threatened By Debt Ceiling

Jan. 16, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

Rep. Duncan Hunter of San Diego County has introduced a bill that would protect military pay if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling.

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The Decades-Old Gun Ban That's Still On The Books

Jan. 16, 2013
David Welna / NPR

When President Obama laid out his proposals Wednesday to reduce gun violence, he included a call for Congress to ban "military-style assault weapons."

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San Diego Gets Poor Marks For Tobacco Control

Jan. 16, 2013
By Kenny Goldberg

San Diego may be known as America's Finest City, but it doesn't rank very high in the latest tobacco control report from the American Lung Association.

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Could Some Midwest Land Support New Biofuel Refineries?

Jan. 16, 2013
Richard Harris / NPR

Millions of acres of marginal farmland in the Midwest -- land that isn't in good enough condition to grow crops -- could be used to produce liquid fuels made from plant material, according to a study in Nature. And those biofuels could, in theory, provide about 25 percent of the advanced biofuels required by a 2007 federal law.

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Tijuana Opens City's First Composting Center

Jan. 16, 2013
By Adrian Florido

A Tijuana nonprofit is opening the city’s first composting center with U.S. funding as part of an effort to reduce waste that affects both sides of the border.

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Some States Put Brakes On Driver's Licenses For Illegal Immigrants

Jan. 16, 2013
Craig LeMoult / NPR

Lucas Codognolla's hands shake as he waits in line at the Bridgeport, Conn., DMV for his turn to take the road test.

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Blue Star Families Launches Job Network For Military Spouses

Jan. 16, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

Blue Star Families has launched a professional network to make it easier for constantly-moving military spouses to find work in their new hometowns.

Border Patrol Saves Humanitarian Aid Workers

Jan. 16, 2013
By Michel Marizco

With temperatures dropping, people crossing the border illegally have been at risk of freezing to death in the wide open desert. The freeze has even affected humanitarian volunteers going out to help them.

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Ray King, Building A Brand Through Community Service

Jan. 16, 2013
By Monica Medina

Ray King can be quietly thoughtful and reserved when you first meet him. But ask him about his childhood in New York and soon he’s waxing poetic. And, it’s not hard to understand why.

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Obama's Gun Plan Could Impact Weapons Trafficking

Jan. 16, 2013
By Michel Marizco

Some of the steps outlined by President Barack Obama could have an impact on weapons trafficking across the border into Mexico.

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Americans Among Hostages Kidnapped By Al Qaeda Group

Jan. 16, 2013
By Aomar Ouali and Paul Schemm - Associated Press

In what could be the first spillover from France’s intervention in Mali, Islamist militants attacked and occupied a natural gas complex partly operated by energy company BP in southern Algeria on Wednesday. Two foreigners were killed and possibly dozens of others, including Americans, were taken hostage.

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How Mexico Reduces Gun Violence

Jan. 16, 2013
By Alisa Barba, John Rosman

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama outlined his package of proposals to “reduce gun violence” in the United States. But what do gun laws look like in Mexico?

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City Of San Diego To Open Tijuana Office In February

Jan. 16, 2013
By Adrian Florido

The mayor's staff in Tijuana will focus on encouraging binational economic development.

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Southwest Governors Say Yes To Medicaid Expansion

Jan. 16, 2013
By Jude Joffe-Block

The Republican governors of Nevada, New Mexico and now Arizona are all supporting Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, despite longstanding GOP opposition to the plan.

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Obama Unveiling Plans On Reducing Gun Violence

Jan. 16, 2013
Mark Memmott / NPR

At a White House event with children who wrote him letters after the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama is today announcing what he will do -- and wants to see done by Congress -- to reduce gun violence.

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Obama Unveils $500 Million Gun Violence Package

Jan. 16, 2013
Associated Press

President Barack Obama is announcing a $500 million package of executive actions and legislative proposals aimed at reducing gun violence a month after a mass shooting in Connecticut killed 20 elementary school children.

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Military Dogs To Help With Inauguration Security

Jan. 16, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

Military working dogs will play a key role at President Obama's inauguration next week.

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Saying No To The Inauguration

Jan. 16, 2013
Linton Weeks / NPR

As supporters of President Obama prepare for his toned-down but glammed-up second inauguration over the long weekend of Jan. 19-21, the president's detractors are making other plans.

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Before Obama's Plan Is Out, NRA Calls Him An 'Elitist Hypocrite'

Jan. 16, 2013
Mark Memmott / NPR

President Obama and Vice President Biden are due at midday to unveil the administration's plan for reducing gun violence. The National Rifle Association, which has made clear it opposes nearly all the things the administration is considering, is out in advance of the news with a video that accuses the president of being an "elitist hypocrite" for not supporting the idea of putting armed guards in all schools.

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Stolen Valor Act Of 2013 Introduced

Jan. 16, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

Rep. Joe Heck introduced this week the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, a measure that would make it illegal to "knowingly benefit" from lying about receiving military medals. He calls the bill "identical" to one that cleared the House of Representatives last year, but did not become law because the House and Senate couldn't agree on a final version of the legislation.

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Four More Die From Flu In San Diego County

Jan. 16, 2013
By Marissa Cabrera, Maureen Cavanaugh, Peggy Pico and City News Service

Four more deaths from influenza were reported in San Diego County Tuesday by the Health and Human Services Agency.

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South Bay Landmark Prepares To Come Down

Jan. 16, 2013
By Erik Anderson

An iconic fixture on San Diego's South Bay skyline is about to become a memory as the clock is ticking on the life of a massive old power plant.

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Interior Sec. Salazar Is Latest Member Of Cabinet To Announce Departure

Jan. 16, 2013
Mark Memmott / NPR

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar intends to step down at the end of March, his office confirms to NPR's Jeff Brady.

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On Demand: 'I Am Not A Hipster'

Jan. 16, 2013
By Beth Accomando

SDSU film school grads Destin Cretton and Ron Najor took their film "I Am Not A Hipster" to Sundance last year. Yesterday, their film was finally released to the public.

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After Tragedy, Nonbelievers Find Other Ways To Cope

Jan. 16, 2013
Barbara Bradley Hagerty / NPR

The Mile High Gliding facility at the Boulder Airport in Colorado is one of Carol Fiore's favorite haunts. And it's a perfect day for flying: clear, breezy and with a gorgeous view of the Rocky Mountains.

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Whole Foods Founder John Mackey On Fascism and 'Conscious Capitalism'

Jan. 16, 2013
April Fulton / NPR

Whole Foods has played a key role in propelling organic foods into the mainstream. The specialty supermarket chain has more than 300 stores and plans to continue expanding. But outspoken founder and co-CEO John Mackey is not the crunchy granola liberal one might conjure while perusing aisles of earnestly labeled blue corn chips and gently misted red peppers.