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Foxnews (sorry, I won't do it again)
SAN FRANCISCO – Californians accustomed to complaining about the slightest change in the weather welcomed a robust weekend storm that soaked the northern half of the drought-stricken state Saturday even as rain and snow brought the threat of avalanches, flooding and rock slides.And on the other side of the world…
In Willits, one of 17 rural communities that California's Department of Public Health recently described as dangerously low on water, City Councilman Bruce Burton said he was cheered seeing the water levels in a local reservoir and his backyard pond creeping up and small streams flowing again. The city in the heart of redwood country usually sees about 50 inches of rain a year and was expected to get about 4 inches by Sunday.
"It's guarded optimism. We are a long ways from where we need to be, but we have to start with some sort of a raindrop," Burton said.
The storm that moved in Thursday, powered by a warm, moisture-packed system from the Pacific Ocean known as a Pineapple Express, dropped more than 11 inches of rain on Marin County's Mt. Tamalpais and on the Sonoma County town of Guerneville by late Saturday afternoon, National Weather Service forecaster Bob Benjamin said. Meanwhile, San Francisco, San Jose and other urban areas recorded 1 to 3 inches of rain.
Dozens of bushfires are sweeping across southern Australia, fanned by hot weather and strong winds.BBC
Officials say an unknown number of homes have been destroyed and a firefighter has been injured in the state of Victoria.
Some residents have been ordered to leave and flames have spread to the outer suburbs of Australia's second biggest city, Melbourne.
Conditions in Victoria are at their worst since 2009, authorities said.
Then, wildfires killed 173 people and destroyed about 2,000 homes in a disaster dubbed Black Saturday.
Emergency crews are also fighting blazes in South Australia and New South Wales.
Hosts Russia won their first gold medal of the Sochi 2014 Olympics in the team figure skating event, watched in the arena by President Vladimir Putin.BBC
Buoyed by a second successive majestic performance from Evgeni Plushenko, the hosts sealed gold thanks to a similarly impressive Julia Lipnitskaia, just 15.
Russia had gold guaranteed even before the five teams' ice dancers concluded the event, Canada finishing second.
The United States were third with Italy fourth and Japan fifth.
"It's the first [gold] medal for Russia this Olympics. I love being first," said Plushenko.
Britain had earlier been eliminated in 10th place at the halfway stage, with only the leading five of 10 teams going through to the free programmes.
Convicted Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby has been released on parole after nine years in prison in Indonesia.Reuters
Corby was convicted and jailed for 20 years in 2005 for trying to smuggle marijuana into the tourist island.
Her case has attracted intense interest in Australia, with prolonged public debate over her guilt or innocence.
But many in Indonesia saw the former beauty student as a criminal who broke tough drugs laws.
The 36-year-old was granted parole on Friday in Bali but it was only implemented on Monday.
"The decision by Indonesia's minister for law and human rights is welcomed," Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Saturday.
Celebrity fight between rapper DMX, George Zimmerman called off (not a surprise)
(Reuters) - The celebrity boxing match between rapper DMX and acquitted Florida killer George Zimmerman has been called off, its promoter said on Saturday after threats were made against him.Reuters
The three-round match would have pitted Zimmerman, who was found not guilty in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed, black teenager Trayvon Martin, against the trash-talking musician with a history of arrests, most of them drug or driving offenses.
Damon Feldman, who has organized numerous bouts between celebrities, said on Twitter that the Zimmerman-DMX match was off after generating a public outcry this week.
"Done with George Zimmerman if you had a major payday sitting in front of you, I know no one else would walk away like I did ***Next!!," he said in a Tweet.
(Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear agency said on Sunday that Iran had agreed to start addressing suspicions that it may have worked on designing an atomic weapon, a potential breakthrough in a long-stalled investigation into Tehran's atomic activities.AlJazeera America
The development - although limited for now - marked a step forward in an international push to settle a decade-old dispute over Iran's nuclear program. Tehran says this is peaceful, while the West fears that Iran wants to develop atomic arms.
The deal could also send a positive signal to separate, high-stakes negotiations between Iran and six world powers which are due to start on February 18 in Vienna, aimed at reaching a broader diplomatic settlement with the Islamic state.
Efforts to end years of hostile rhetoric and confrontation that could otherwise trigger a new war in the Middle East gained momentum with last year's election of a relative moderate, Hassan Rouhani, as new Iranian president on a platform to ease Iran's international isolation.
NC authorities say river has elevated arsenic from coal ash spill
North Carolina's environmental agency says it was wrong to declare the arsenic levels in the Dan River safe for people after a massive coal ash spill. An environmental group had said Friday that its tests indicated the water's chemical levels were high.AlJazeera America
The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Sunday a water sample taken two days after the spill was four times higher than the maximum level for people to have prolonged contact, such as swimming.
The drinking water from the nearest town downstream has not been affected. Officials say the water treatment plant in Danville, Va., is removing the arsenic and other toxins from the water.
Duke Energy says it permanently plugged the leak Saturday, six days after it was discovered.
Duke says up to 82,000 tons of ash from a coal-burning power plant mixed with 27 million gallons of contaminated water escaped.
Iran says warships will approach US maritime border
An Iranian naval officer said a number of warships have been ordered to approach U.S. maritime borders as a response to the stationing of American vessels in the Gulf, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.CNet
The move could be seen as an attempt by the government to appease hard-liners as the country tries to forge closer diplomatic ties with the United States and the West, analysts said. Iran is currently meeting with the U.N. nuclear agency to discuss the country's nuclear program.
"Iran's military fleet is approaching the United States' maritime borders, and this move has a message," the agency quoted Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad as saying.
Haddad, described as commander of the Iranian navy's northern fleet, said the vessels had started their voyage toward the Atlantic Ocean via "waters near South Africa," Fars reported.
Fars said the plan was part of "Iran's response to Washington's beefed up naval presence in the Persian Gulf."
Teen charged with child porn for allegedly tweeting nude selfies
Can the law offer education?USA Today
This might be the question that follows the tale of a 16-year-old Virginia girl who has found herself in more trouble than she ever might have imagined.
It all started when the teen allegedly decided to take some nude selfies and post them on Twitter.
She's certainly not the first to sext. But, as far as the police see it, her case warranted a charge of distribution of child pornography.
As WAVY-TV reports, police say that because she left nothing to the imagination, this constitutes child pornography.
Some local parents wonder how it can be that someone who is legally a child herself can be subject to such a charge.
But the police, who reportedly acted on a tip, insist that this is justice.
Indeed, Stephanie Williams-Ortery of the James City County Police Department told WAVY-TV that anyone who received such a picture and then sent it to someone else could also be charged with distribution of child pornography, regardless of their age.
Calif. company recalls 8.7 million pounds of meat
A California meat company is recalling more than 8.7 million pounds of meat in four states after processing "diseased and unsound" animals without federal inspection, federal officials said.S F Gate (Story is local, right here in Santa Rosa)
The Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said it has received no reports of illness linked to the meat from Petaluma-based Rancho Feeding Corp. The products were distributed to retailers in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas in the form of beef carcasses and boxes of beef oxtail, liver, cheeks, tongue and and other meats weighing between 30 pounds and 60 pounds, the service said Saturday.
Beef carcasses and boxes bear the establishment number "EST. 527" inside the USDA mark of inspection. Each box bears the case code number ending in "3" or "4." The products were produced Jan. 1, 2013, through Jan. 7, 2014.
Overflow crowd of beer lovers awaits Pliny the Younger
You don't call this stuff brewski.
The hundreds of people who lined up in the rain in downtown Santa Rosa on Friday morning - some arriving the night before with umbrellas, North Face parkas and a good bit of facial hair - came to pay tribute to craft beer.
Specifically, they sought this year's batch of Pliny the Younger, a super-hoppy, high-alcohol "triple IPA" that has silenced the whiniest of beer snobs and put the small Russian River Brewing Co. on the map. Some call it the best beer on Earth.
With a limited supply available, the annual release on the first Friday of February has become an affair akin to the revealing of an Apple gadget or a cult sneaker, a testament to a craft-beer explosion in which imperial stouts and sour ales have nudged into a marketplace once dominated by the likes of Miller and Bud.