A.M. Splash: UC to Ban Smoking, Chewing Gum; Big Drop in Bay Area Foreclosures
- UC system to ban smoking, chewing tobacco (Bay Area News Group)
The University of California will ban smoking and chewing tobacco on all 10 campuses within two years, President Mark Yudof told campus chancellors this week. Nearly 600 other campuses nationwide have banned smoking, and many California universities either limit smokers to isolated parts of campus or keep them from lighting up at all.
- BART plans to order test batch of new cars in May (SF Chronicle)
BART plans to buy a slick new ride – 260 new rail cars – for about $1 billion in May. The cars will sport a sleek modern look, cleaner seats, digital information displays, even air conditioning that works on hot days. And if transit officials are pleased, and can come up with another $2 billion or so, they’ll buy another 515 cars.
- Sharp drop in Bay Area foreclosure filings in 2011 (SJ Mercury News)
Foreclosure filings dropped sharply last year in most Bay Area counties, according to a year-end report Thursday by RealtyTrac, as a robo-signing scandal forced banks to hold off on seizing homes of delinquent borrowers. Also behind the drop may be more short sales, in which homes are sold for less than what is owed on them, as well as a growing number of loan modifications under government programs.
- District Attorney to Decide on Mirkarimi Charges This Week (Bay Citizen)
San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi could face domestic violence charges by Friday, less than a week after he was sworn into office. George Gascon, San Francisco’s district attorney, said Wednesday he plans to “bring a case to court as quickly as possible,” an indication that he’s decided to file charges based on allegations that Mirkarimi grabbed his wife, Eliana Lopez, with such force during an argument that he left a bruise on her arm.
- HP’s PC business suffered big hit last quarter (SJ Mercury News)
Hewlett-Packard suffered a big drop in demand for its personal computers in the last quarter of 2011, two leading research firms said Wednesday, as competitors moved aggressively to capitalize on a period of confusion over HP’s plans for its flagship PC division.
- LinkedIn networking site expands to San Francisco (SF Examiner)
The online professional networking website LinkedIn has signed a new lease in downtown San Francisco, according to an announcement on Wednesday from Mayor Ed Lee’s office…LinkedIn signed a 57,000-square-foot lease at One Montgomery Tower, according to the Mayor’s Office. The company went public in May.
- Facebook shows relentless global growth (SJ Mercury News)
In country after country, Facebook is toppling the incumbent local social network in what seems like an unstoppable march to global dominance. After overtaking Microsoft’s Windows Live Profile in Portugal and Mexico in early 2010, Facebook eclipsed StudiVZ in Germany and Google’s Orkut in India later that year, and soon unseated Hyves in the Netherlands, according to metrics firm comScore. Now Facebook is poised to triumph in what has been viewed as its ultimate popularity contest, with comScore indicating the network is likely to dethrone Orkut in social media-mad Brazil when its December data is released.
- California considers first-in-nation energy efficiency standards for battery chargers (SJ Mercury News)
The California Energy Commission on Thursday will consider adopting first-in-the-nation energy-efficiency standards for battery chargers, a move the commission says could save the state enough electricity to power a city the size of Bakersfield…Plug-in products can account for up to 15 percent of the energy used in most households. But nearly two-thirds of the 8,000 gigawatt hours of electricity consumed by battery chargers in California each year is wasted, often as heat. Most devices continue charging even when the battery is full, and consumers tend to leave devices and appliances plugged in far longer than they need to.
- Record 29 Bay Area high school students are Intel semifinalists (SJ Mercury News)
Bay Area high school seniors snagged an astounding 29 spots among the 2012 Intel Science Talent Search semifinalists, it was announced Wednesday. The students — who set a record for the Bay Area — received recognition for research ranging from improving the way airplanes might fly to exploring galaxy formation.
- Amid Romney’s rise, Bay Area Mormons hope for more acceptance (Contra Costa Times)
With a Mormon leading the Republican presidential primary campaign and another in the running, many Mormons in the Bay Area and across the country are warily optimistic about the newfound attention. A first-of-its kind survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life finds that Mormons feel misunderstood, but they also believe that acceptance of their faith is on the rise.