Reports That Iranian Government May Release Two Detained UC Berkeley Graduates
The U.S. State Department is closely following reports that the Iranian government may soon release two University of California at Berkeley graduates who have been detained in Iran on espionage charges for more than two years.
Spokesman Noel Clay said the State Department is "encouraged" by what the Iranian government is saying about the possible release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 29.
According to a transcript of an interview with NBC's "Today Show," Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the network that he thinks Bauer and Fattal "will be freed in a couple of days."
"They will be free," he said.
Bauer, Fattal, and a third UC Berkeley graduate, Sarah Shourd, were arrested on July 31, 2009, after embarking on a hike in Iraq's Kurdistan region near the Iranian border.
Iran has accused them of espionage, but the hikers and their families say they aren't spies but instead were detained after they accidentally crossed an unmarked border into Iran.
Iran released Shourd, 32, who is engaged to Bauer, last September because she was in poor health. Shourd announced in May that she would not return to Iran for a trial because she is suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
San Jose City Council Approved Ordinances Limiting Medical Marijuana Collectives
The San Jose City Council Tuesday approved ordinances that will limit the number of medical marijuana collectives to 10 in limited commercial and industrial areas as part of final steps toward regulation in a nearly two year-long process.
The 8-3 council vote was based on staff recommendations that also called for implementing a first come, first served registration process and restriction of marijuana cultivation to on-site only.
Lauren Vazquez, a civil rights attorney and co-founder of the Silicon Valley chapter of Americans for Safe Access, a national medical marijuana advocacy organization, said the ordinances are too restrictive and limits access for patients.
The council's action may not have pleased everyone, but it was significant in pushing the issue closer to regulation.
Medical marijuana facilities are not currently allowed to operate in San Jose and those that have opened in recent years are doing so illegally and would not be grandfathered in under the ordinances, according to the mayor's office.
Components of the ordinances include a limitation on the number of collectives to no more than two per district and restricting the collectives from operating in sensitive retail areas, such as ground floors of shopping centers.
The matter is tentatively planned to return to the council for a second reading on Sept. 27. If all goes according to plan, the ordinance would go into effect a month later and the 10 collectives would be registered in December or January.
Novato Police Report Rocket Launcher Found In 15-Year-Old's SUV
A 15-year-old boy was arrested Tuesday for possession of a destructive device after a 4-foot rocket launcher was found in the backseat of the SUV he was driving, Novato police said.
The unlicensed Novato teen was stopped by a police traffic officer around 9:40 a.m. in the 1700 block of Novato Boulevard for playing music too loudly in the Dodge Durango, Cpl. Nick Frey said.
The teen was alone in the SUV and the officer spotted the AT4 rocket launcher in the backseat, Frey said. The weapon was unloaded.
The single-shot, recoilless weapon was developed in the early 1980s and is made in Sweden and the United States.
Police called the bomb squad from the University of California at Berkeley Police Department, which took possession of the rocket launcher and turned it over to a local military institution, Frey said.
The teen was booked into juvenile hall, Frey said. The boy's brother, a former member of the military, also responded to the scene Frey said.
Police are investigating how the teen and his brother came to be in possession of the rocket launcher.
San Jose Police Department's Bomb Squad Discovers Four Explosive Devices In 6th Street Home
San Jose Police Department's bomb squad discovered an additional four explosive devices and materials after responding to an explosive device found inside a home in the 400 block of North Sixth Street during an arrest Tuesday afternoon, police said.
Officers have arrested Mark Sedlock, 63, of San Jose. He was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of criminal threats and firearm and explosives violations.
Four Teenagers Arrested And Charged With Murder In Oakland's Fruitvale District
Four teenagers have been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the brazen daytime robbery and fatal shooting of a gardener in Oakland's Fruitvale District four months ago, police said Tuesday.
Sgt. Mike Gantt said 42-year-old Antonio Torres was shot to death during a robbery that occurred while he was working in the front yard of a client's home in the 1600 block of 34th Avenue at about 1 p.m. on May 20.
Gantt said it appeared that the four suspects targeted Torres because they wanted to steal his gold necklace and his iPod.
He said it took a while to solve the case, but that in August an informant told police that he had overheard one of the suspects bragging about Torres' shooting.
Gantt said police detained that suspect last week and he confessed to being involved in the crime.
The suspect then provided information about the other three suspects. A warrant was issued for them last Wednesday, and they were arrested Thursday, Gantt said. Those three suspects have also confessed to being involved in the crime, he said.
The Alameda County District Attorney's Office has charged all four suspects with murder, according to Gantt.
He said a 19-year-old suspect, David Hall, was charged as an adult and the other three -- whose ages are 15, 16 and 17 -- were charged as juveniles.
Global And Local Leaders Converged On San Francisco For Diplomatic Gathering
Global and local leaders, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Gov. Jerry Brown, have converged on San Francisco this week in what is said to be the largest diplomatic gathering in California in more than 65 years.
More than 150 meetings spanning a two-week period that began Monday have attracted policymakers to the 23rd annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, conference, which will address issues such as transportation, energy, health, the environment, technology and women's empowerment.
Some 3,000 delegates from APEC's 21 member countries, which all have coastlines along the Pacific Ocean, are expected to attend, and the conference marks the largest set of diplomatic meetings held in California since the signing of the United Nations charter in 1945, according to the Bay Area Council, which is hosting the event.
The Bay Area Council, a business-sponsored public policy organization, worked with the White House and the Department of State to plan the meetings.
Chandra Alexandre, vice president of development for the Bay Area Council, said that although there have been discussions within APEC on the economic empowerment of women, the summit represents an unprecedented focus on the topic.
Clinton is credited with prioritizing the topic, and the creation of the dedicated forum for women's economic empowerment was agreed upon as a meeting of APEC senior officials in May.
Some 65 speakers will address the more than 600 delegates expected to attend the women's summit, and will touch on the themes of access to finance, access to markets, capacity and skills building, and women's leadership, Alexandre said.
Youth Detention Facility Escapees Arrested In Antioch
Three of four boys who walked away from an unlocked youth detention facility in Byron on Monday night were arrested in Antioch Tuesday afternoon, Contra Costa County sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said.
Antioch police arrested the three boys -- two 14-year-olds and a 15-year-old -- at a Walmart store at about noon, Lee said.
The fourth boy, a 15-year-old, is still outstanding, Lee said.
One of the boys left the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility, also known as the Byron Boys Ranch, located at 4491 Bixler Road in Byron, at about 8:20 p.m., Chief Deputy Probation Officer Paula Hernandez said.
Three other boys left about 20 minutes later, Hernandez said.
The facility, which is designed to rehabilitate low-level delinquent youths, is not locked or fenced, Hernandez said. It is in a remote part of unincorporated eastern Contra Costa County surrounded by fields.
Boys who are sent to the facility have generally committed nonviolent, misdemeanor crimes and are committed to the ranch as a way to keep them out of the criminal justice system and give them a chance to be rehabilitated, Hernandez said.
On Monday night, the sheriff's office sent out a precautionary emergency notification telling residents in Byron and Discovery Bay that the four teens had escaped and advising them to stay inside while deputies searched for them, Lee said.
The notification stated that one of the boys was believed to be dangerous, but Lee said Tuesday he doesn't believe residents were in danger.
California Department Of Fish And Game Hosted Ceremony For Plans To Restore Tidal Wetlands
California Department of Fish and Game officials hosted a ceremony Tuesday at a spot overlooking Hayward's Mt. Eden Creek to highlight a planned levee breach intended to restore tidal wetlands there.
The controlled breach, set for early Tuesday afternoon, marks a major step in the organization's South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, a more than decade-long effort to restore the Bay Area's wetlands.
Tuesday's event is the first in a series of eight levee breaches planned in the Eden Landing Ecological Reserve over the coming weeks, officials said.
Breaching the levees will open up about 630 acres of the ecological reserve's former salt evaporation ponds along the shores of Hayward and Union City, laying the groundwork for the return of animals such as fish, crabs and harbor seals and the eventual re-growth of pickleweed, marsh gumplant and other native plants, Fish and Game officials said.
The levees were built by salt-making companies and as part of flood control projects over the past two centuries.
Over the past decade, the project has restored some 3,000 acres of the South Bay's salt ponds using state, federal and private funding, including American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants, according to Fish and Game officials.
Federal Immigration Officials Spreading The Word About Resources For Foreign Victims Of Trafficking
Federal immigration officials are crisscrossing the country this month to spread the word about resources available to foreign victims of trafficking, violent crimes and domestic violence.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officials held a news conference at USCIS' San Francisco office Tuesday to discuss two visas available to such victims and to urge the public to be aware of potential human trafficking victims in their communities.
Immigration officials define human trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery in which victims are transported and forced into prostitution, hard labor or domestic servitude.
Often, traffickers prey on impoverished women and children, luring them into a life of slavery with promises of paid work in the U.S., federal officials said.
Once ensnared, many victims do not know how to escape, said Lynn Boudreau, assistant center director at USCIS' Vermont Service Center.
The federal agency is partnering with community groups, law enforcement and immigration officials in the Bay Area and nationwide to reach out to potential trafficking and violence victims and educate them about their options.
Foreign trafficking and crime victims can apply for a T or U Visa, created under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, USCIS officials said.
The T visa is geared specifically toward victims of trafficking, while the U visa is meant to aid victims of violent crime or domestic violence, Boudreau said. Both visas provide victims with immigration protection, allowing them to remain in the U.S. for three years.
During that time, T or U visa holders may apply for permanent resident status, she said.
Class Action Lawsuit Filed In San Mateo County Superior Court Against Nail Salon Chain
A class action lawsuit was filed in San Mateo County Superior Court Tuesday against a popular nail salon chain accused of wage theft and other violations against their employees, an attorney with the Asian Law Caucus said.
Natalie Salon, a chain with locations in Redwood City, San Mateo, Palo Alto, Los Gatos and Menlo Park, is being sued by four current and former employees with the assistance of the San Francisco-based Asian Law Caucus, which held a news conference Tuesday to announce the lawsuit.
Vicky Tran, who worked at various Natalie Salons for about five years, said she often worked for more than 10 hours a day, but never got paid overtime and often had to delay her lunch meal until very late in the day.
Kao said the Asian Law Caucus got involved in the case after one of the employees came to a free clinic the group held and told them about the alleged violations.
Of the roughly 96,000 licensed nail salon workers in California, it is estimated that more than half are Vietnamese, and the vast majority are women who are recent immigrants with limited English proficiency and lack of knowledge about their rights.
The lawsuit seeks reimbursement for all employees at the salons who may have lost wages over the past four years and seeks to stop the allegedly unlawful practices at the salons, Kao said.
Police Officer Crashed Patrol Car Into San Leandro Liquor Store
A police officer responding to a report of a robbery crashed a patrol car into a San Leandro liquor store on Monday night, police said Tuesday.
The robbery was reported at 9:43 p.m. at the Three Ring Liquor store at 15257 Hesperian Blvd.
San Leandro police Lt. Jeff Tudor said two suspects, one of whom was armed with a handgun, attempted to steal alcohol from the store.
The store clerk locked the front door in an attempt to detain the robbers, but the armed suspect broke a window and fled.
The clerk detained the second suspect, Markus Brown, a 23-year-old Oakland resident, inside the store, Tudor said.
San Leandro police arrived and arrested Brown on suspicion of robbery.
However, one of the patrol cars responding to the scene crashed through the store's front windows, police said.
Police are still investigating what caused the crash, Tudor said. No injuries were reported.
San Leandro police are still searching for the second suspect, described as a black man in his early 20s who is 6 feet tall with a medium build. He was wearing a white shirt and jeans at the time of the robbery.
San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast
The San Francisco Bay Area is expected to be mostly cloudy this morning before becoming partly cloudy, with patches of fog in the morning. Highs in the mid 50s to lower 60s are anticipated.
Partly cloudy skies are likely this evening, before becoming mostly cloudy tonight with patchy fog after midnight. Lows in the mid 50s are expected.
Thursday is expected to be mostly cloudy with patchy fog in the morning before becoming partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s are likely.
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