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Stories for June 18, 2013

Journalist Michael Hastings Dies In Car Crash At Age 33

June 18
Bill Chappell / NPR
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Michael Hastings, the journalist whose candid interviews of Gen. Stanley McChrystal led to the officer's eventual removal from his post, has died in a car crash. The news was announced Tuesday by BuzzFeed, which employed Hastings, 33. He was reportedly killed in an accident this morning in Los Angeles.

City Council Conservatives Call To Retain Cops

June 18
By Sandhya Dirks
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San Diego has lost 300 police officers in the past decade. Now, city politicians are jockeying to bring those numbers back up.

NSA Surveillance Triggered 2010 Terror Case Against San Diego Men

June 18
By Amita Sharma
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The case against four San Diego men convicted earlier this year of conspiring to send money to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab was triggered by the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance program.

Sprinter Ridership Declines Following Shutdown

June 18
By Alison St John
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North County’s transit agency is struggling to regain the ridership it had before the Sprinter light rail was shut down due to brake problems. The number of people using the train is significantly down from the same time last year.

Fake Border Crossing Is Amusement Park Attraction

June 18
Irina Zhorov
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An unusual amusement park attraction in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo offers visitors the thrills and chills of an illegal border crossing.

Tesoro Toll Road Seeks Permit In San Diego

June 18
By Alison St John
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Part of a toll road from Orange County that was rejected by the California Coastal Commission four years ago is before the Regional Water Quality Control Board in San Diego on Wednesday. Opponents of the Tesoro Extension say the project threatens the San Onofre State Park, a famous surfing spot.

Google Files First-Amendment Request With FISA Court

June 18
Bill Chappell / NPR
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Google has filed a legal motion asserting its "First Amendment right to publish aggregate information about FISA orders," asking the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to remove the gag order that keeps the company from issuing that information. Google and other big U.S. tech companies have been under fire after it was reported that they allowed the National Security Agency to mine customer data, in a government program called PRISM.

Boehner Seeks To Reassure House GOP On Immigration

June 18
Frank James / NPR
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Faced with the threat of mutiny for what seems like the umpteenth time during his speakership, John Boehner moved to mollify fellow Republicans on Tuesday, saying immigration legislation would need the support of a majority of the House GOP before it could be brought to a floor vote.

A Field Guide To Jimmy Hoffa Searches

June 18
Hannah Meisel / NPR
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The mystery of Jimmy Hoffa's final resting place was opened yet again Monday, when the FBI began digging up a field near Detroit in the hopes of finding the former Teamsters president, who was last seen on July 30, 1975.

Changes To Domestic Violence Response Protocol Included In Trailer Bill

June 18
By Hailey Persinger
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Several provisions in a bill awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's signature would wipe out many protections for domestic violence abuse victims, said Sacramento District Attorney Jan Scully in a written statement.

Home-Schooled Students Fight To Play On Public School Teams

June 18
Steve Walsh / NPR
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Legislative battles are being fought around the country over whether or not to let home-schooled students play on public high school teams.

Perk Backlash: Do Surprise Upgrades Make Us Uneasy?

June 18
Bill Chappell / NPR
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Whether it's a free upgrade on a hotel room or skipping ahead in the check-in line, many businesses give preferential treatment to some customers, hoping to make them more loyal. The practice often works -- but a new study suggests that when we get perks we didn't earn, negative feelings can result. And they can make a surprise deal a little less sweet.

Grid Managers Urge Residents To Conserve Energy This Summer

June 18
By Erik Anderson
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As we head into the summer months, electricity grid managers remind consumers to conserve power.

Patients Lead The Way As Medicine Grapples With Apps

June 18
Martha Bebinger / NPR
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Christine Porter is hooked on the MyFitnessPal app. In October, after deciding to lose 50 pounds, Porter started typing in everything she eats, drinks and any exercise she gets.

Obama's Unplanned NSA Discussion

June 18
Frank James / NPR
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You have to wonder if President Obama ever thought, when he first ran for the White House, that he would need to defend himself from accusations his presidency would be a mere extension of his Republican predecessor.

'Days Of Rambo Are Over': Pentagon Details Women's Move To Combat

June 18
Bill Chappell / NPR
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Women in America's armed services will have new options for what units they can join in coming years, the Pentagon says. The military said in January that it will end its combat exclusion that set a minimum size for units in which women could be deployed; the limit kept many women away from front-line combat units. The shift means women could join elite forces such as the Army Rangers and Navy SEALs.

FDA Backs Off On Regulation Of Fecal Transplants

June 18
Rob Stein / NPR
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Federal regulators are dropping plans to tightly control a procedure that is becoming increasingly popular for treating people stricken by life-threatening infections of the digestive system.

Early Poll For 52nd District Predicts Close Race Between DeMaio, Peters

June 18
10 News
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Less than a month since Carl DeMaio announced his intentions to run for the congressional seat currently held by Scott Peters, an exclusive 10News scientific poll shows that it could be another close race.

Measure Aims To Lift Sequestration Travel Ban For Military Bands

June 18
By Beth Ford Roth
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Budget cuts due to sequestration have put a damper on military bands' ability to travel for performances at community events. But a California lawmaker has introduced a measure that would make it easier to let the beat go on.

Where's Jimmy Hoffa? Everywhere And Nowhere

June 18
Alan Greenblatt / NPR
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For the better part of 40 years, the disappearance of former Teamsters President James Hoffa has been a source of fascination on par with Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and the aliens in Roswell, N.M.

San Diego County To Examine Adoptions Process

June 18
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
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The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has taken the first step to streamline the county's adoption process.

Council Announces Plan For Police Recruitment And Retention

June 18
By Sandhya Dirks
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For the past few years, San Diego has hemorrhaged police officers, often to nearby departments. Four City Council members have a plan to stop the bleeding.

How To Make Museums More Inviting For Kids With Autism

June 18
Jessica Naudziunas / NPR
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Last January, Noelle Murphy and her family were on their way to the Please Touch Museum for children in Philadelphia. Right before they arrived, 3-year-old Dylan had an accident.

Pentagon To Allow Women To Train For Navy SEALs, Army Rangers (Video)

June 18
By Beth Ford Roth
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The Pentagon is scheduled to announce a plan today that would allow women to train for military special forces units like the Navy SEALs and Army Rangers.

6 Things We Just Learned About The IRS Scandal

June 18
Tamara Keith / NPR
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Hundreds of pages of transcribed interviews reveal IRS employees in Washington were involved at an early stage in the improper targeting of Tea Party groups - but at least so far the trail stops well short of the White House.

Lawmakers Restore Medi-Cal To Include Some Benefits Cut During Recession

June 18
By Kenny Goldberg
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More Californians will soon be eligible for Medi-Cal coverage, but finding doctors willing to treat them may be a challenge.

San Diego Seniors Form Village To Help Each Other Age At Home

June 18
By Susan Murphy
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Hundreds of senior citizens in a San Diego community are taking aging into their own hands.

Women With San Diego Ties Named Astronaut Candidate

June 18
City News Service
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Jessica Meir, a 35-year-old biologist with San Diego ties, has been chosen by NASA for astronaut training.

SD Child Trafficking

June 18
City News Service
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``These children have suffered enough,'' Cox said. ``They shouldn't have to suffer more waiting for justice to be delivered.''

Why The FISA Court Is Not What It Used To Be

June 18
Nina Totenberg / NPR
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The furor over recently exposed government surveillance programs has posed an abundance of political challenges for both President Obama and Congress. Relatively unmentioned in all of this, however, is the role of the courts -- specifically, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, and how its role has changed since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Study: Teacher Prep Programs Get Failing Marks

June 18
Claudio Sanchez / NPR
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The U.S. spends more than $7 billion a year preparing classroom teachers, but teachers are not coming out of the nation's colleges of education ready, according to a study released Tuesday by U.S.News & World Report and the National Council on Teacher Quality.