Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

U.S. government on China challenges

 March 13, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday, March 13th.

The U-S Government is making new deals with Pacific nations as tensions with China rise.

More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


A National City teacher will be in court today.. after being arrested twice last week on charges of child sexual abuse.

Jacqueline Ma was re-arrested Thursday, on more felony charges of child sexual abuse, a day after posting bail from her original arrest.

Last year Ma was named a county teacher of the year.


President Biden will be in town today, to meet with leaders from the U-K and Australia.

But local immigration advocates are using the opportunity to highlight issues they want to see changed, including getting rid of ICE and halting the building of the border wall in Friendship Park.

According to the White House, the three leaders will discuss the Australia-U-K and U-S partnership, known as “Aukus.”


San Diego T-V station K-U-S-I says it will appeal a one-point-five million dollar verdict in the lawsuit filed by its longtime anchor, Sandra Maas.

In her lawsuit, Maas claimed she was fired after she demanded she be paid the same amount as her male co-anchor.

She sued the T-V company for gender and age discrimination, and for violating California equal pay laws.

On Thursday, the jury decided Mckinnon Broadcasting did violate the laws…but did not discriminate against her.

The attorney representing K-U-S-I says he will first file a motion to have the verdict thrown out… and if that doesn’t work, the company will appeal.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.


Strained relations between the U-S and China have led the U-S to make deals with other Pacific nations.

The agreements with smaller countries are designed to expand American influence in the region, solidify existing relationships, and give the U-S military more footholds.

Jay Price reports for the American Homefront Project.

"[AUSTIN: And we’re pleased to announce today that President Marcos has approved four new EDCA locations… PRICE: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, in Manila, last month [February] unveiling a new agreement with the Philippines giving the U-S access to four bases there. AUSTIN: …And these efforts are especially important as the People’s Republic of China continues to advance its illegitimate claims in the West Philippine Sea. PRICE: THAT made a big splash. Getting less attention, though, has been a flurry of OTHER deal-making with tiny nations scattered across the Pacific.Three preliminary agreements renew – and expand – long-term deals with the governments of Palau, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia. And in February, the State Department opened a new U.S. embassy in the Solomon Islands. It says it’s discussing two MORE embassies in Tonga and Kiribati <> and negotiating a security agreement with yet ANOTHER island nation, Papua New Guinea. Derek Grossman is a senior defense analyst with Rand Corporation. GROSSMAN: We are definitely in the business now of trying to maintain the edge that we have influence-wise, in the Pacific Islands vis a vis China. PRICE: Many of these smaller nations are part of what’s sometimes referred to in geopolitical circles as “the second island chain.” A vaguely-defined group that’s farther from the Asian mainland – and Chinese missile launchers – than, say Taiwan and Japan, but close enough to help the U.S. project power into the region.And that’s why… SABLAN: We have to be friends with these island nations for that eventuality. PRICE: Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, who represents the Northern Marianas Islands in the U.S. Congress.“This second island chain” isn’t really a chain, it’s a patchwork that includes the Northern Marianas and another US territory, Guam – where, not coincidentally in January the Marine Corps activated its first new base in 70 years.Sablan called the recent diplomatic moves in his region an important deterrent to war.He cites speculation he’s seen from think tanks. SABLAN: Some people in think tanks already are exhibiting of whose first gonna get destroyed and then who’s the second wave, and you know, all of those things right? We need to strengthen it before we get there. PRICE: It’s unclear HOW MUCH this will cost.A State Department spokesperson said the US sends Palau, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia together more than $300 million a year now under deals called Compacts of Free Association. She declined to say how much it’s offering in negotiations to renew the 20-year compacts, but leaders of TWO of the countries have suggested the payments could increase 75% or more. The three nations already are so closely tied to the US their citizens can live and work here, and get benefits like Medicaid… GROSSMAN: In return, what we get as the United States is near exclusive military access to the freely associated states. PRICE: Again, defense analyst Derek Grossman. GROSSMAN: And that means…you know, we can set up basing on their territories, we can fly over their territories…We can use 200 nautical mile distance off their shores for military purposes. There are very few limitations. PRICE: Grossman says for their part, the island nations have little interest in the maneuvering between the U-S and China. Instead, they’re looking for help with things like bolstering economies damaged by the pandemic, and especially dealing with climate change, which they regard as a much larger threat than China. GROSSMAN: And they've come out, you know, kind of off to the side saying, we get it…We know that this is about competition against China. But we also need to make sure that our own national interests are preserved.PRICE: And now …they’ve got a little leverage. I'm Jay Price reporting."

TAG: This story was produced by the American Homefront Project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans.


A vending machine in the South Bay is stocked with naloxone, making the life-saving medicine easier to get.

Health reporter Matt Hoffman says county officials hope to have a dozen of the machines up and running by the end of June.

The vending machine at the McAlister Institute in Chula Vista has one goal -- preventing opioid overdose deaths. It dispenses two nasal doses of naloxone, commonly known by the brand name Narcan. Carlos Cuervo is program manager for the McAlister institute and says anyone can use the vending machine free of charge. Cuervo It’s been up for about a week and over the last couple days we’ve seen a lot of use Carlos Cuervo, Mcalister Institute program manager Naloxone is an opioid antagonist or blocker so it goes to those receptors in the brain blocking the opioid and allowing you to breathe Naloxone only reverses opioid overdoses and is generally safe. However it's not a substitute for medical treatment, or getting help for addiction.If there is an opioid emergency people should call 9-1-1. MH KPBS News.


An audit of San Diego’s homeless services found some city facilities were unsafe, unclean and in disrepair.

The report found the shelter at Golden Hall had moldy showers and damaged ceiling tiles.

The tile repair took around 8 months to fix.

Investigators recommended finding a better process for inspections and timely repairs at city-owned shelters.

Councilmember Vivian Moreno sits on the city’s audit committee.

“The issue that these recommendations are aiming to improve affect the living conditions of human beings that the city is trying to provide shelter for. The auditors findings showed that some conditions in those facilities were not acceptable and potentially hazardous.”

City officials say they’re making progress on improvements.. and are committed to quickly addressing future safety issues.


California is getting a blast of rain from another atmospheric river, and climate watchers say the odds of a stormy winter next year are rising.

Environment reporter Erik Anderson has details.

The water over the western pacific is starting to warm after three years of cooler than average conditions.  Researchers say that ocean measurement is signaling an El Nino condition raising the possibility of rough weather next winter.  Federal forecaster Tom Diliberto says that could set the region up. Tom Diliberto National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “The jet stream, the area of fast moving winds about 30 to 40 thousand feet in the air, kind of serves as a storm highway. It kind of gets directed more often across the southern tier of the United States, which leads to there being more storms and more rainfall.” But Diliberto says weather patterns are complicated, and an El Nino only tips the odds in one direction. Erik Anderson KPBS News.


Coming up.... How honey bees communicate with each other. We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.


For the second time in less than two years, an elementary school in Oceanside is in danger of being closed.

Last time, it was a budget issue.

But, reporter Tania Thorne tells us this time, the problem is the ground the school sits on.

Reynolds Elementary school was slated for a full renovation. But engineers found soil liquefaction happening on the property. During an earthquake, that could make the buildings sink. The district is recommending the Board of Education close Reynolds Elementary and move the students to nearby campuses. Ashley Gerdo is a Reynolds Elementary parent. The superintendent, Dr. Vitale wanted to close our school down years ago, the property is worth more to them if they were to close it than to invest in it and there has been no transparency, no second opinion, She joined parents in a rally outside of the district offices on Friday. A special board meeting will be held this evening [Monday] to discuss the future of Reynolds. TT KPBS News.


Language communication is often taught to us by our elders.

And as sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge tells us, the same is true for honey bees.

Biologists who study bees have known that forager bees can find food in the wild and tell others in the hive where it is. The language they use is a dance, a waggle, as it’s called, that conveys the direction and the distance to the food. Biological scientist James Nieh, at UC San Diego, wanted to examine whether this behavior was instinctual or learned. So he created a colony where young bees were isolated from older ones. In the experimental colony because of how this works, they could never observe other bees waggle dancing because everybody was the same age. Those juvenile bees made a lot of mistakes in their waggle dancing. In fact they never really learned how to communicate the distance to the food. Nieh says it shows that bee behavior is greatly affected by the language they learn, and that allows them to quickly adapt to the different environments they have to live in. SOQ. 


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Monday.

Ways To Subscribe
Strained relations between the United States and China have led the U.S. to make deals with other Pacific nations. In other news, California is getting a blast of rain from another atmospheric river, and climate watchers say the odds of a stormy winter next year are rising. Plus, how honey bees communicate with each other.