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California cross-border airport clears key hurdle with backing from US immigration authorities

SAN DIEGO - U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it has reached an agreement with an investor group to clear the way for construction of the nation's first cross-border airport terminal connecting San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske said during a visit to San Diego on Thursday that the agreement requires the investor group to pay the salaries of U.S. border inspectors and the cost of inspection facilities on a pedestrian bridge between Tijuana's existing airport and the United States. He expects construction to begin on the U.S. side next month.

4th US Navy official charged in San Diego in widening international bribery scheme

SAN DIEGO - A fourth member of the U.S. Navy has been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery in a multimillion-dollar scheme involving a Singapore-based defence contractor accused of providing cash, vacations, electronics and prostitutes in exchange for classified information. "The camera is awesome bro!" Japan-based Petty Officer Dan Layug wrote in an email to the vice-president of a military contractor that is included in a complaint unsealed Thursday. "Thanks a lot! Been a while since I had a new gadget!"

Iraqi-American man convicted of killing wife in California

By Marty Graham SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - An Iraqi-American man was found guilty by a San Diego jury on Thursday of bludgeoning his wife to death in a killing that was first investigated as a hate crime because of a threatening note found at the scene. Kassim Alhimidi, 49, was convicted of first-degree murder by the seven-man, five-woman San Diego Superior Court jury after a two-week trial and single day of deliberations. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

California city evacuation lifted after military ordnance found

(Reuters) - An evacuation order was lifted in a California city on Thursday after a piece of potentially explosive "military ordnance" reported in its business district was rendered safe, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said. A sheriff's department bomb squad and a disposal unit from Vandenberg Air Force Base investigated the unidentified device, which was reported at around 3:30 p.m. in Solvang, a town of about 5,000 residents some 130 miles outside Los Angeles.

Jury begins deliberating in murder trial of Iraqi-American man

By Marty Graham SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Jurors began deliberating on Wednesday in the trial of an Iraqi-American man charged with murdering his wife in a case first investigated as a hate crime, following closing arguments in which prosecutors urged the panel to find him guilty. A defense attorney countered during his summation that there was no evidence tying 49-year-old Kassim Alhimidi to the beating death of his wife, Shaima Alawadi, in their home in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon.

San Francisco supervisor to propose legalizing short-term rentals on sites such as Airbnb

SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco lawmakers are considering making it legal for city residents to rent out their homes on sites such as Airbnb, but only if they have liability insurance and meet other requirements, a newspaper reported. Supervisor David Chiu introduced legislation Tuesday that seeks to lift a ban on short-term housing rentals, according to the San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1qXNLPc ). Other cities, including New York, have similar prohibitions.

Fine wines a winning game online at Underground Cellar

Underground Cellar is making a game of getting more than you asked for when it comes to great wine. Startup founder Jeffrey Shaw playfully described it as "wine roulette," only you can't lose and the payout is cabernet sauvignon, merlot, chardonnay or other varietals crafted by renowned vineyards. "I was a technology guy; I sort of fell into wine," Shaw said while exploring undergroundcellar.com on an iPad. Shaw was in college in Arizona when he helped create a company specializing in secure photo identification badges for employees.

Individuals targeted as San Francisco tech money protests intensify

By Sarah McBride SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Demonstrations against the grip on San Francisco held by wealthy technology workers took a personal turn on Friday with protesters taking aim at a Google lawyer they say personifies the tensions being stirred by abundant tech money. Jack Halprin, a landlord in the city's gentrifying Mission district, became the focus of the latest blockade of a tech company commuter bus, with protesters demanding Google ask Halprin to rescind eviction notices he has sent his tenants.

Rescued sailboat family returns safely to California aboard Navy ship

By Marty Graham SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A family of four rescued from their sailboat after their infant daughter became seriously ill at sea returned safely to San Diego on Wednesday aboard a U.S. warship that picked them up in the Pacific over the weekend, a Navy spokeswoman said.

Prosecutors say California woman posted rape ads in revenge scheme against new homeowners

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego woman distraught over losing out on her family's dream house carried out a perverse revenge scheme to have the home's new owner raped, prosecutors said. The defendant, Kathy Rowe, claims the scheme was a childish prank that got out of control and she intended no harm. Rowe, 52, began by carrying out mild hoaxes on the young husband-and-wife homebuyers — like putting a stop on their mail and sending religious missionaries to their doorstep, U-T San Diego reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/1lJ7fGW ).
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