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A.M. Splash: Java Fix Questioned; BART Struggles with Demand; Indians’ Alcatraz Takeover Remembered; SF Schools Score Perfect in Audit

| January 14, 2013
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Oracle updates Java, but security experts say bugs remain (SJ Mercury News)

Oracle released an emergency update to its Java software for surfing the Web on Sunday, but security experts said the update fails to protect PCs from attack by hackers intent on committing cyber crimes. The software maker released the update just days after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security urged PC users to disable the program because of bugs in the software that were being exploited to commit identity theft and other crimes.

BART struggling to meet surging demand (SF Chronicle)

The recovering economy, high gas prices and growing environmental consciousness are driving record ridership on BART. But the surge in riders – about three times the increase that was expected – could also bring problems if the transit district doesn’t act to increase its capacity and rejuvenate its aging infrastructure. BART gives an average of 390,000 rides each weekday, an increase of about 6 percent over the prior year, agency officials said. BART’s budget had anticipated a rise of 1.8 percent.

Alcatraz pays tribute to Indian occupation (SF Chronicle)

The National Park Service does not usually approve of graffiti. “It’s a federal offense,” said Marcus Koenen, site supervisor for Alcatraz, the former prison that is now part of a national park. However, the government has made an exception for graffiti left behind during the Indian occupation of the island – and it helped restore signs painted by hand on a landmark water tower.

S.F. schools get perfect score in audit (SF Chronicle)

Good government doesn’t usually make the news, but we’ll make an exception for especially good government. The San Francisco school district just got back the results of its annual financial audit and not only did it pass (not unusual), but it also passed with squeaky-clean flying colors (very, very unusual, if not unheard of, among school districts).

Oakland police vow to intensify anti-violence efforts after four shooting deaths in six hours (Oakland Tribune

A bloody six-hour stretch of shootings Friday left four dead in what police say is the deadly result of ongoing battles between “several identified groups.” The surge in violence led an elected official Saturday to call on the city to declare a state of emergency. “These groups are involved in ongoing feuds with one another and continue to engage in retaliatory violence that we will absolutely not tolerate,” according to a statement released Saturday by Oakland Police Department spokeswoman Johnna Watson.

Apple reportedly cuts orders for iPhone 5 parts on weak demand (SJ Mercury News)

Apple has cut orders for LCD screens and other parts for the iPhone 5 this quarter due to weak demand, the Nikkei reported on Monday, in a further sign the U.S. firm is losing ground to Asian smartphone rivals. Shares of the Cupertino-based company fell more than 4 percent to $498.20 before the bell on Monday. They closed at $520.30 on Friday on the Nasdaq. The news also dragged shares of Apple suppliers such as Cirrus Logic Inc and Qualcomm Inc.

Chemical smell sickens 13 at San Jose Hilton (Bay Area News Group)

Thirteen guests and staff members were sickened Sunday by fumes from an unknown chemical on the 18th floor of the Hilton Hotel, but ultimately no one was hospitalized, a fire official said. The people complained of minor irritation to their throats and eyes at the hotel on Almaden Boulevard, though none of them wanted to be taken for further medical treatment, said San Jose fire Capt. Rob Brown. Air quality tests didn’t turn up anything that would have caused the complaints and by about 12:30 p.m. restrictions on movement to and from the 18th floor were lifted.

Many workers surprised by hike in payroll taxes (Sacramento Bee)

The first paycheck of 2013 contained a nasty surprise for many workers: a tax hike that shrank their take-home earnings by 2 percent or more. While the “fiscal cliff” compromise spared most Americans an increase in their income taxes, Congress allowed a temporary cut in payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare to expire. The tax increase comes at a time when worker paychecks are already under pressure from rising health care premiums and ongoing furloughs in the public sector. For many, it is big enough to offset any recent pay raise.

In California, It’s U.S. vs. State Over Marijuana (NY Times)

…[I]n a case that highlights the growing clash between the federal government and those states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, the United States Justice Department indicted Mr. [Matthew R.] Davies six months ago on charges of cultivating marijuana, after raiding two dispensaries and a warehouse filled with nearly 2,000 marijuana plants.

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