Saturday, December 27, 2014

At 101, dedicated union rep is calling it quits

NEW YORK — At 101, Charlie Ponti has finally decided to retire for good — probably. On Dec. 31, he will officially finish up a 77-year stint with the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 153, where he started as a business representative and organizer and ended as the president of the local’s retirees […]

Can GOP shatter ‘Obama coalition’ in 2016?

ATLANTA — Republicans crowed in 2004 that freshly re-elected President George W. Bush had established a “permanent governing majority” for the GOP. Eight years later, Democrats were touting the enduring power of the “Obama coalition” to keep their party in the White House. But Democrats couldn’t sustain that coalition for this year’s midterm elections, leading […]

Saudi women drivers referred to terrorism court

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Two Saudi women detained for nearly a month in defiance of a ban on females driving were referred on Thursday to a court established to try terrorism cases, several people close to the defendants said. The cases of the two, Loujain al-Hathloul and Maysa al-Amoudi, were sent to the anti-terrorism […]

Court denies Polanski’s motion to dismiss 1977 sex case

LOS ANGELES — Roman Polanski lost his latest bid to have a California court dismiss his 1977 sex case when a judge rejected a motion for a new hearing. A nine-page order issued Tuesday by Superior Court Judge James Brandlin states that Polanski’s claims of judicial misconduct and his bid to dismiss the case cannot […]

GPS used to track some immigrants caught at border

WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department is experimenting with a new way to track immigrant families caught crossing the border illegally and then released into the U.S.: GPS-enabled ankle bracelets. Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this month launched a program to give GPS devices to some parents caught crossing the Mexican border illegally with their […]

Sony tries to save face with ‘Interview’ flip-flop

ATLANTA — Sony’s flip-flop on releasing “The Interview” shows the studio is working furiously to try to chart the right course through political and public-opinion minefields. Although analysts don’t believe the decision will have any effect on Sony’s image, it will at least give the movie-going public a chance to vote with their wallets and […]

Who hacked Sony becomes Internet’s new mystery

LOS ANGELES — Everyone has a theory about who really hacked Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. Despite President Barack Obama’s conclusion that North Korea was the culprit, the Internet’s newest game of whodunit continues. Top theories include disgruntled Sony insiders, hired hackers, other foreign governments or Internet hooligans. Even some experts are undecided, with questions about […]

Cosby not finding support in black community

WASHINGTON — Bill Cosby hasn’t been “America’s dad” for years. For some blacks, he is the cranky uncle complaining about young African Americans who, in his view, dress and behave in a way that drags down their race. The shift in perceptions of Cosby, from revered comedian to more of a public scold, may be […]

Jennifer Lopez to perform at Caesars Palace on NYE

LAS VEGAS — Caesars Entertainment Corp. officials say pop star Jennifer Lopez will perform one night only — New Year’s Eve night — at The Colosseum on the Las Vegas Strip. The company’s Monday announcement said the musical star will perform her greatest hits and feature 25 musicians on stage. Tickets to the 10:30 p.m. […]

Justin Lin to direct third ‘Star Trek’ film

LOS ANGELES — The USS Enterprise is about to get a little faster. “Fast & Furious” director Justin Lin is taking the helm of the third installment in Paramount’s “Star Trek” franchise. Lin’s rep confirmed the news Monday. Lin is no stranger to franchises. He directed several of Universal’s “Fast & Furious” films, including the […]

Depp, Cooper, Streep light up the big screen on Christmas

FAIRFIELD — There is still a stellar selection of movies to enjoy on Christmas Day even though Sony put the kibosh on a Dec. 25 opening for “The Interview” because of hackers, threats, privacy breaches and alleged terrorists. That’s worthy of an action flick in itself, but until then, join the likes of Johnny Depp, Cuba Gooding […]

North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Saturday proposed a joint investigation with the U.S. into the hacking attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, warning of “serious” consequences if Washington rejects a probe that it believes would prove Pyongyang had nothing to do with the cyberattack. The proposal was seen by analysts as a typical ploy by […]

2 car bombs rock southern Sweden’s city of Malmo

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Swedish police say two car bombs have shattered dozens of windows in a multiethnic district of Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city. Police spokeswoman Linda Pleym says no one was injured by Saturday’s pre-dawn explosions in Rosengaard, a district dominated by immigrants from Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia and Lebanon. One car bomb exploded at […]

Bombings kill 12 in Iraq

BAGHDAD — Bombs targeting commercial streets and an army patrol killed 12 people in and around Baghdad Saturday, Iraqi authorities said. Police officials said a bomb exploded on a commercial street in the town of Madain, about 14 miles southeast of the capital, killing four people and wounding nine others. In the northern Baghdad suburb […]

US sends 4 Afghans back home from Guantanamo

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Saturday that four Afghans from the Guantanamo Bay detention center have been returned to their home country in what U.S. officials are citing as a sign of their confidence in new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Obama administration officials said they worked quickly to fulfil the request from Ghani, in office just […]

Panama’s Noriega in prison 25 years post-invasion

PANAMA CITY — Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega is nearly forgotten, languishing in a steamy jungle prison near the interoceanic canal while the country enjoys democracy and economic prosperity a quarter-century after the strongman was toppled by a U.S. military invasion. The U.S. intervention known as Just Cause began 25 years ago on Saturday, on Dec. […]

Jury rules for Indiana woman in firing over IVF

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — A federal jury ruled Friday that a northern Indiana Roman Catholic diocese discriminated against a former teacher in one of its schools by firing her after church officials learned she was trying to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization. The group of five women and seven men announced its decision in favor […]

Bergdahl investigation wraps up; top leaders get briefings

WASHINGTON — The Army has finished its investigation into how and why Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl disappeared from his base in Afghanistan and senior Pentagon leaders have been briefed, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, officials said Friday. Details about the probe’s conclusion have been closely held. But they are likely to lay out whether Bergdahl deserted […]

Texas eatery worker gets mink coat from customer

LIBERTY, Texas — A worker at a Houston-area fast-food restaurant has received a $10,000 mink coat from a customer who literally offered the fancy fur right off her back. Cheryl Semien says she was working at a Whataburger in Liberty when she complimented the driver about the beautiful fur coat she wore. The customer was […]

Sugarland, promoter settle with state fair victims

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. — Country duo Sugarland, concert promoter Live Nation and 16 other defendants have agreed to pay $39 million to settle claims stemming from the deadly 2011 Indiana State Fair stage collapse, lawyers for the victims and their families announced Friday. Seven people were killed and nearly 100 were injured in August 2011, when high […]

NY police officer suspended after videotaped punch

NEW YORK — A New York police officer seen on a smartphone video punching a teenage suspect during an arrest has been suspended. New York Police Department officials announced the suspension on Friday but didn’t name the officer. The arrest occurred Monday after police responded to a report of an assault in Manhattan. The video […]

Prepackaged caramel apples linked to 4 deaths

WASHINGTON — Health officials are warning consumers to avoid prepackaged caramel apples because they are linked to four deaths and more than two dozen illnesses in 10 states. Caramel apples are most popular around Halloween, and the outbreak started just before then, in mid-October. But the commercially produced variety can have a shelf life of a […]

Supreme Court won’t stop gay marriages in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday refused to block gay marriages in Florida, the latest of about three dozen states allowing same-sex weddings. In a one-paragraph order, the court decided not to step into the Florida case. A federal judge previously declared Florida’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional and said same-sex marriage licenses […]

Staples: Customer data exposed in security breach

PORTLAND, Ore. — Staples Inc. says nearly 1.2 million customer payment cards may have been exposed during a security breach earlier this year. The office supply retailer announced in October that it was looking into a potential credit card breach, adding to a long list of retailers recently hit by cyberattacks. Staples said Friday that an […]

Lava could reach Hawaii shopping center in 8 days

PAHOA, Hawaii — Lava flowing in a rural Hawaii town continues to slow down and is estimated to reach a shopping center in about eight days. Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira said Friday that could change and is based on the current advancement rate. The lava advanced about 130 yards from the previous […]

Putin: West wants to defang, declaw Russian bear

MOSCOW — Sternly warning the West it cannot defang the metaphorical Russian bear, a confident-looking President Vladimir Putin promised Thursday to shore up the plummeting ruble and revive the economy within two years. While he issued a litany of sharp rebukes against the West, Putin struck a conciliatory note on Ukraine, saying that the rebellious […]

Fairfield police log: Dec. 16, 2014

2:19 a.m. — Battery, 2000 block of CLAY BANK ROAD 7:58 a.m. — Trespassing, sub-100 block of PEABODY ROAD 8:12 a.m. — Forgery, 1000 block of WEBSTER STREET 9:44 a.m. — Hit-and-run, sub-100 block of DOVER AVENUE 9:50 a.m. — Reckless driving, sub-100 block of FALCON DRIVE 11:07 a.m. — Vehicle theft, 2200 block of VISTA HERMOSA 11:18 a.m. — Hit-and-run, 1200 block […]

Fairfield police log: Dec. 15, 2014

1:40 a.m. — Reckless driving, MANGELS BOULEVARD 7:26 a.m. — Vehicle theft, 100 block of HAWTHORN DRIVE 7:49 a.m. — Hit-and-run, 2200 block of PEACH TREE DRIVE 7:54 a.m. — Vehicle burglary, 3100 block of EVERGREEN DRIVE 8:14 a.m. — Grand theft, 2300 block of EMERSON PLACE 8:57 a.m. — Forgery, 1000 block of WEBSTER STREET 9:25 a.m. — Vehicle theft, 1000 […]

Suisun City police log: Dec. 16, 2014

11:39 a.m. — Fraud, 300 block of CANVASBACK DRIVE 1:33 p.m. — Fraud, 200 block of POTRERO STREET 3:01 p.m. — Hit-and-run, 800 block of GREENHEAD WAY 3:43 p.m. — Hit-and-run, SUNSET AVENUE / RAILROAD AVENUE 5:21 p.m. — Assault, 600 block of MAIN STREET 7:54 p.m. — Assault, 700 block of BELLA VISTA DRIVE

Suisun City police log: Dec. 15, 2014

9:21 a.m. — Vandalism, 900 block of YOSEMITE WAY 10:02 a.m. — Vehicle theft, 1700 block of CARSWELL LANE 4:53 p.m. — Reckless driving, WALTERS ROAD / GUNTER DRIVE