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Articles written by Brian Melley

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Wildfires torched up to a fifth of all giant sequoia trees

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lightning-sparked wildfires killed thousands of giant sequoias this year, leading to a staggering two-year death toll that accounts for up to nearly a fifth of Earth's largest trees, officials said Friday. Fires in Sequoia...

 

Officials: California oil pipeline split, apparently dragged

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — The pipeline that leaked tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the water off Southern California was split open and apparently dragged along the ocean floor, authorities said Tuesday. Coast Guard Capt. Rebecca...

 

Trump inaugural committee chair to be released on $250M bail

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The chair of former President Donald Trump's inaugural committee was ordered freed Friday on $250 million bail to face charges he secretly worked as an agent for the the United Arab Emirates to influence Trump's foreign policy....

 

Juror removed from Durst's murder trial for reading news

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — A juror was removed Tuesday from the murder trial of multimillionaire Robert Durst because she violated the court's order not to read about the case. Judge Mark Windham said he was removing the juror after she said she...

 

'Prime suspect' arrested in student's 1996 disappearance

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The "prime suspect" was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of murder in the 25-year-old disappearance of California college student Kristin Smart. Paul Flores, 44, who was the last person seen with Smart on the California Polytechnic...

 

Prosecutor: Missing student killed during 1996 rape attempt

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The suspect in the 1996 disappearance of California college student Kristin Smart killed her while trying rape her in his dorm room and his father helped hide the body, the San Luis Obispo County district attorney said...

 

Utility: Winds too weak to cut power before California fire

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Facing extreme wildfire conditions this week that included hurricane-level winds, the main utility in Northern California cut power to nearly 1 million people while its counterpart in Southern California pulled the plug on just...

 

Organizer arrested after driving car into California protest

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An organizer of a Southern California demonstration against racism was in jail Sunday on suspicion of attempted murder after authorities say she drove through a crowd and struck two counterprotesters. Tatiana Turner, 40, was...

 

10 now dead in massive Northern California wildfire

GRIDLEY, Calif. (AP) — Authorities said Thursday that at least 10 people have died in a massive Northern California wildfire and 16 people remain missing. Butte County sheriff's investigators found seven bodies on Thursday, a day after three other...

 

'There was no fighting this fire,' California survivor says

BERRY CREEK, Calif. (AP) — John Sykes built his life around his cabin in the dense woods of Northern California. He raised his two children there, expanded it and improved it over time and made it resilient to all kinds of disaster except fire. So...

 

California wildfire explodes, burning across 25 miles in day

OROVILLE, Calilf. (AP) — A Northern California wildfire burning for more than three weeks roared to life after being stoked by high winds, spreading at a ferocious rate across an estimated 25 miles (40 kilometers) of mountainous terrain and...

 

Big Oil loses appeal, climate suits go to California courts

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Big Oil lost a pair of court battles Tuesday that could lead to trials in lawsuits by California cities and counties seeking damages for the impact of climate change. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by...

 

Protesters fear rising costs if firm buys dot-org universe

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The company that controls the dot-org universe is trying to sell the online registry to an investment firm for more than $1 billion, drawing opposition from activists who protested Friday and others who fear costs would soar if...

 

Elon Musk cleared of defamation in 'pedo guy' tweet trial

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Elon Musk defeated defamation allegations Friday from a British cave explorer who claimed he was branded a pedophile when the Tesla CEO called him "pedo guy" in an angry tweet. Vernon Unsworth, who participated in the rescue of...

 

US: Saudis recruited Twitter workers to spy on critics

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Saudi government, frustrated by growing criticism of its leaders and policies on social media, recruited two Twitter employees to gather confidential personal information on thousands of accounts that included prominent opp...

 

Fires spare Reagan library but menace homes near Los Angeles

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — A wind-whipped outbreak of wildfires outside Los Angeles on Wednesday threatened thousands of homes and horse ranches, forced the smoky evacuation of elderly patients in wheelchairs and narrowly bypassed the Ronald...

 

Mountain skeleton may be man from Japanese internment camp

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — In the closing days of World War II, a Japanese American set out with other men from the infamous internment camp at Manzanar on a trip to the mountains, where he went off on his own to paint a watercolor and got caught...

 

Lights out: Power cut in California to prevent deadly fires

SONOMA, Calif. (AP) — More than a million people in California were without electricity Wednesday as the state's largest utility pulled the plug to prevent a repeat of the past two years when windblown power lines sparked deadly wildfires that...

 

Indictment: 'Party and play' sex and drug use turned deadly

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wealthy California political donor Ed Buck was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury for two overdose deaths in his West Hollywood apartment and charged with providing methamphetamine to three other men, one of whom...

 

Crew was asleep when fatal boat fire ignited, officials say

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California scuba dive boat was operating in violation of Coast Guard regulations when crew members were sleeping and a pre-dawn fire killed 34 people, leaving grieving families wondering if a required night watchman could have...

 

Probe to find cause of boat fire could lead to criminal case

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The captain and crew who leapt from a burning dive boat off Southern California saved themselves as 34 people perished below deck. Whether their escape from the Conception before dawn Monday was the only viable option, an act of...

 

US West struggles to hit goals of fighting fire with fire

KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — The thick scent of smoke hung in the midday air when a trail along the Kings River opened up to an ominous scene: flames in the trees and thick gray smoke shrouding canyon walls. Firefighters were on the jo...

 

US fighter jet crashes in Death Valley, 7 park visitors hurt

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A U.S. Navy fighter jet crashed Wednesday in Death Valley National Park, injuring seven people who were at a scenic overlook where aviation enthusiasts routinely watch military pilots speeding low through a chasm dubbed Star Wars...

 

Chinese billionaire indicted in US aluminum import scheme

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Chinese billionaire has been charged in Los Angeles in a complex scheme to avoid $1.8 billion in aluminum tariffs, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday. Zhongtian Liu, the founder of China Zhongwang Holdings Limited, and...

 

Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in killing of captive in Iraq

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A decorated Navy SEAL was acquitted Tuesday of murder in the killing of a wounded Islamic State captive under his care in Iraq in 2017. The verdict was met with an outpouring of emotion as the military jury also cleared Special Ope...

 

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