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Morning Splash: Bail for Jailed Americans in Iran; Feinstein Says Campaign Fund Hit by Alleged Embezzler

| September 13, 2011
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An Iranian court Tuesday set bail of $500,000 each for two American men arrested more than two years ago and convicted on spy-related charges, clearing the way for their release a year after a similar bail-for-freedom arrangement for the third member of the group, their defense attorney said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she was “wiped out” by Kinde Durkee, a well-connected California Democratic political operative who served as treasurer for hundreds of state, local and federal campaign committees.

Durkee was arrested by the FBI on Sept. 2 on allegations of fraud surrounding the diversion of more than $670,000 from the reelection committee for a California state assemblyman, and a growing list of California Democrats, including Feinstein and Reps. Susan Davis and Loretta Sanchez, now appear to victims as well.

The University of California would raise student tuition by at least 8 percent – or as much as 16 percent – every year through 2016 under a plan that UC leaders will propose to the regents Thursday in San Francisco. Basic tuition could top $22,000 in just four years, not including other mandatory fees, books, room and board, if the regents adopt the idea at their November meeting as part of a multiyear budget plan. Undergraduate tuition is currently $12,192.

Microsoft Corp. will demonstrate a new version of its Windows operating system that can run handheld touch-screen computers, aimed at narrowing the lead of Apple Inc.’s iPad in the market for tablets. The software maker is taking the wraps off Windows 8 today at a conference for developers in Anaheim, California, following a preview of the design in June. The product is an attempt to vault Microsoft into a fast-growing market controlled by Apple and Google Inc.’s Android software.

Pledging to turn the troubled utility around “one customer at a time,” PG&E’s new CEO Anthony Earley said he intends to tackle two clear priorities as he starts his new job Tuesday: improving safety on the aging gas pipelines that crisscross Northern California and rebuilding the 106-year-old company’s battered reputation.

In a wide-ranging interview, Earley, 62, said he would work to quickly settle claims from the victims of the San Bruno pipeline blast that a year ago killed eight people and destroyed 38 houses. He also said the public will have to bear some of the $2.2 billion cost for upgrading PG&E’s gas system, and SmartMeters are here to stay. Atop the list, however, is restoring public trust.

San Francisco researchers have discovered that two chemicals commonly used in consumer products – bisphenol A and methylparaben – can interfere with the effectiveness of drugs used to fight breast cancer. The research by doctors from California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco is part of a growing body of evidence looking at the negative health effects of BPA, a plastic hardening chemical found in food containers, cans and even sales receipts, as well as methylparaben, a lesser-known preservative found in cosmetics and personal care products.

“All of us are in frantic mode,” said Contra Costa County’s Chief Probation Officer Phil Kader. He spoke as he passed out a tentative budget to the 14 criminal justice and social service professionals who attended a recent budget meeting of the Public Safety Realignment Executive Committee for Contra Costa County.

On Oct. 1, AB 109, known as the Public Safety Realignment bill, will shift responsibility for people convicted of non-serious, nonviolent, non-sexual offenses to counties. The legislation was prompted by a Supreme Court ruling that California’s overcrowded prisons violated the constitutional rights of inmates by denying them adequate health care.

…Exposure to violence, whether in the form of terrorist attacks, hurricane-force winds or gunplay in the streets is traumatic. But the absence of those things can be equally healing. The study concluded that “at one year after the attacks, indirect exposure alone was not associated with PTSD among individuals without a history of pre-Sept. 11 trauma, family psychiatric history, or both.”

In many parts of Oakland, however, long-term family trauma, family psychiatric history, not to mention substance abuse and community violence, are the norm. And not in single episode events like Sept. 11, but in such a sustained way that it often defines an entire world view.

“In the inner city, you have people witnessing a lot of traumatic events a lot of the time,” says Chandra Ghosh Ippen, who helps direct the Trauma Child Research Project at UC San Francisco. “So kids are stranded with their experience, and no one’s talking about it.”

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About the Author ()

Rachel Dornhelm got her start in radio at WHYY. After anthropology graduate school, Rachel lived in Uzbekistan working with youth near the drying Aral Sea. Rachel returned to radio full-time in 2001. Her work has appeared on WNYC, WBUR, Marketplace, NPR news magazines and KQED. Reach Rachel Dornhelm at rdornhelm@kqed.org.

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