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Arizona travel boycotts hurting hotels

Early hotel data suggest that Phoenix-area hotels don’t appear to be hurting from the Arizona travel boycotts launched since the state passed its controversial immigration law in April. But experts say the statistics don’t yet paint a clear picture of the boycotts’ impact – and may not for months.

Arizona tourism watchers are waiting to understand the fallout from travel boycotts launched by a still-growing list of municipalities – such as Los Angeles and San Francisco – and organizations, such as the Presbyterian Church, which voted to boycott Arizona travel last week.

The boycotts mean that the groups have crossed off Arizona – and Arizona hotels – from their list for business trips, meetings and conventions. The law is set to take effect on Thursday.

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California a Race to the Top grant finalist

California made the list of finalists for a share of $4.35 billion in federal Race to the Top funds, landing among 18 states and the District of Columbia for the second round of grants, the Obama administration announced Tuesday.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he expected 10 to 15 of those finalists to receive the funding to overhaul their struggling schools. California is eligible for up to $700 million.

In making the cut this time, California improved markedly over the first round of finalists announced by the administration in March. Only two states, Delaware and Tennessee, were chosen in that round and California placed a dismal 27th out of 40 applicants.

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Print Email Font Resize Taxi strikes pedestrian near Union Square in San Francisco

A man was injured in San Francisco this morning when he was struck by a taxicab.

The man’s injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, said San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge.

Paramedics were dispatched to the intersection of Post and Taylor streets at 8:21 a.m. after receiving a report that a taxi had hit an elderly man.

The driver of the taxi remained at the scene and reported the accident.

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US says Wikileaks could ‘threaten national security’

The documents released by the Wikileaks website include details of killings of Afghan civilians unreported until now.

The records also show Nato concerns that Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency is helping the Taliban in Afghanistan, an accusation Islamabad has denied.

The Pentagon said it might take weeks to ascertain what damage had been done.

Calling their release a “criminal act”, spokesman Col Dave Lapan said officials were reviewing the documents to determine “whether they reveal sources and methods” and might endanger US and coalition personnel.

A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he was “shocked” at the scale of the leaks, but thought that “most of this is not new”

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Pigeons force Kings of Leon to abandon concert

Rock band the Kings of Leon have been forced to end a concert early after pigeons defecated on them from the rafters of a US venue.

The rockers abandoned the gig in St Louis after three songs when bass player Jared Followill was hit in the mouth and face by pigeon droppings.

Drummer Nathan Followill later apologised to fans via Twitter, saying “it was too unsanitary to continue”.

Their publicist added the band found it hard to carry on after the incident.

Opening acts The Postelles and The Stills had also come off stage after their sets were covered in excrement.

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North Korea warns of nuclear ‘sacred war’

North Korea says it will use its “nuclear deterrent” in response to joint US-South Korean military exercises this weekend.

Pyongyang was ready to launch a “retaliatory sacred war” at any time, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

Washington and Seoul say the war games are to deter North Korean aggression.

Tensions between the two Koreas have been high since the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

Although it is likely to be dismissed as the usual diplomatic brinkmanship, the rising tension will cause concern among governments in the region, he adds.

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Two US soldiers seized by Afghan Taliban

Two US soldiers have been captured by Taliban insurgents in eastern Afghanistan, reports say.

An Afghan official says the two men were seized in Logar province after an exchange of fire with the militants on Friday.
Taliban Conflict

* Mapping drone and militant attacks
* Q&A: Fighting the Taliban
* Who are the Taliban?
* Challenges for Afghan forces

Nato officials later said only that two US soldiers were missing and the search for them was under way.

The US military later offered a $20,000 (£12,956) reward for the information leading to the safe release of the men.

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Wireless industry group sues over S.F. law

A cellular industry group went to court Friday to quash San Francisco’s landmark ordinance requiring radiation levels to be publicly listed for every cell phone sold in the city.

The ordinance overwhelmingly approved last month by the Board of Supervisors “will confuse and mislead the public” by suggesting that the level of radiation emitted by federally approved phones has a relation to health risks, CTIA, the wireless industry’s association, said in its suit, which was filed in federal court in San Francisco.

San Francisco’s ordinance is the first of its kind in the nation. Beginning in February, stores selling cell phones will have to display the amount of radiation emitted by each phone alongside each model they sell.

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3.5 quake off Pacifica coast

A small earthquake struck off the coast of Pacifica this afternoon, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake, measuring 3.5, struck at 2:29 p.m., the agency said. Its epicenter was 3 miles northwest of Pacifica. There were no immediate reports of damage.

Pacifica police officials said they received a few non-emergency calls from people asking if what they had felt was an earthquake.

BART trains were running at reduced speeds while workers inspected tracks for damage. Ten-minute delays were expected throughout the system.

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Beasley “smoked too much marijuana” in Miami

USAToday

Evidently Michael Beasley, the overall No. 2 pick in 2008, burned bridges in Miami because he burned too much leaf.

Beasley was traded to Minnesota a few weeks ago to clear the team checkbook for the triplets.

Timberwolves general manager David Kahn told ESPN 1500 Twin Cities that the 6-10 forward struggled because he “smoked too much marijuana.”

Minnesota was able to pick up Beasley for two future second-round picks. Prior to playing a game in the NBA, Beasley was fined $50,000 for a marijuana incident at the Rookie Transition Program.

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