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A.M. Splash: Cause of Berkeley Apt. Fire Discovered, BART Cellphone Blackouts, Caldecott Tunnel Breakthrough, Occupy SF Deadline Looms

| December 1, 2011
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The fire was apparently an accident, starting in the elevator machinery and quickly engulfing the historic four-story apartment building just south of the UC Berkeley campus, according to the Berkeley Fire Department’s initial findings.

BART on Thursday is expected to become the first public transit agency in the nation to prohibit cellphone black outs in stations except in the event of “extraordinary” threats. BART is the first to go there because it was the first to interrupt cellphone service at underground stations during an Aug. 11 blackout that angered free speech advocates around the world.

At 2:37 p.m. Monday, crews drilled through the Berkeley Hills from Orinda to Oakland, a major step toward completing theĀ fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel. Workers used a 130-ton tunneling machine called a roadheader to dig through the final 600 feet of bedrock.
Occupy SF members braced Wednesday for a deadline imposed by authorities for the removal of their encampment in the heart of the city’s financial district. The city has given campers in some 150 tents at the Justin Herman Plaza until Thursday morning to pack it in and move to a new site provided by the city.
California Republicans’ resounding “meh” toward their presidential options could mean that the eventual nominee must take a page out of John McCain’s something-for- everyone 2008 playbook, a political expert said Wednesday. Candidates have pushed their campaigns into overdrive as the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses loom just over a month away, yet a Field Poll released Wednesday shows the same proportion of California Republicans now is undecided on a preferred candidate — 26 percent, up from 16 percent two months ago — as is supporting front-runner Mitt Romney. Romney’s support fell from 30 percent two months ago.
A BART passenger who was injured in an encounter with transit officers, including Johannes Mehserle, outside an Oakland station in 2008 was being punished for his profanity-laced but constitutionally protected criticism of the police, his lawyer told a federal court jury Wednesday.
On the eve of World AIDS Day, 500 people gathered in the National Aids Memorial Grove in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The beauty of the setting were in stark contrast to the virus that is still raging around the world

The online parenting and pregnancy destination compiled some 300,000 baby names and combined those that sound the same but have different spellings (such as Sophia and Sofia) to create a true measure of popularity.

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