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Schwarzenegger vetoes deficit plan

Wed., Jan. 7, 2009

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed an $18 billion deficit-cutting package Tuesday that legislative Democrats characterized as the only “game in town.”

The Legislature has had three special sessions since the November election to address California’s worsening budget deficit, projected at $42 billion over the next 18 months.

But the latest package passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature did not meet the governor’s demands for making more cuts, streamlining government and creating economic stimulus, his spokesman Aaron McLear said Tuesday evening.

Time is running out for a midyear fix, with the state controller warning that California will be so short of cash it will have to start issuing IOUs in February to vendors and taxpayers expecting refunds.


Not-guilty pleas in Baghdad killings

Five former Blackwater Worldwide security guards pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal manslaughter and gun charges resulting from a 2007 shooting in a crowded Baghdad square that killed 17 Iraqi civilians and injured dozens of others.

The five – all decorated military veterans – stood silently in a line behind their lawyers as their not-guilty plea on all charges was entered in front of U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina in federal court.

They are charged with 14 counts of manslaughter, 20 counts of attempted manslaughter and one count of using a machine gun to commit a crime of violence.

Saying the case was complex, Urbina set jury selection to begin Jan. 29, 2010, with opening arguments Feb. 1 for former Marines Donald Ball of West Valley City, Utah, Dustin Heard of Knoxville, Tenn., and Evan Liberty of Rochester, N.H.; and Army veterans Nick Slatten of Sparta, Tenn., and Paul Slough of Keller, Texas.

Santa Ana, Calif.

Pelican affliction causes confusion

Pelicans suffering from a mysterious malady are crashing into cars and boats, wandering along roadways and turning up dead by the hundreds across the West Coast, from southern Oregon to Baja California, Mexico, bird rescue workers say.

Weak, disoriented birds are huddling in people’s yards or being struck by cars. More than 100 have been rescued along the California coast, according to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro.

Hundreds of birds, disoriented or dead, have been observed across the West Coast.

“One pelican actually hit a car in Los Angeles,” said Rebecca Dmytryk of Wildrescue, a bird rescue operation. “One pelican hit a boat in Monterey.”

In Orange County, an estimated 25 to 30 birds have been treated at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach in the last three weeks.

From wire reports

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