California

Business • Health Care
New Covid-19 mutation in California worries researchers
New Covid-19 mutation in California worries researchers
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

A corona mutation is circulating in California and other U.S. states that could be more contagious and dangerous. The data situation is still unclear, but some things seem worrying.

Now another mutation has emerged in California, it has already spread to other U.S. states and has also been detected in countries such as Australia, Denmark and Mexico. It was first discovered in December, reports the journal Science. Investigations suggest that this variant of Sars-CoV-2 could not only be more contagious but probably also takes more violent courses. According to this, intensive medical care and deaths occur more frequently - however, the data situation here is still very thin.

The researchers call the variants B.1.427 and B.1.429 - it occurs with slightly different mutations. Under a different naming scheme, it is also known as 20C/L452R.

B.1.427 / B.1.429 carries several mutations, but three seem to be particularly relevant. They affect the spike protein that the virus uses to dock with human cells. Mutation L452R, in particular, appears to increase infectivity. It apparently stabilizes the interaction between the spike protein and the receptor used by the virus. None of the three spike mutations are found in the virus variants from Great Britain, South Africa and Brazil.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Section of California's Highway 1 collapses into ocean
Section of California's Highway 1 collapses into ocean
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / CalTrans

A segment of Highway 1, California's major north-south state highway, has collapsed into the ocean after heavy rains caused a debris flow from the hillside above the road. The debris overwhelmed "drainage infrastructure, flowed across the highway, and eroded the road resulting in the complete loss of a segment of Highway 1" near Big Sur. No one was injured.

Regional News • Americas • United States
All 50 US states prepare for possible violence ahead of Biden's inauguration
All 50 US states prepare for possible violence ahead of Biden's inauguration
Credit: The National Guard / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

After the FBI issued a warning of potential violence in all 50 state capitals ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on January 29, state officials are preparing for potentialyl armed and violent protests. National Guard forces have been activated in California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Florida. Washington, DC is bracing for further violent protests following the attack on the US Capitol earlier this month.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Music
Phil Spector: Pop producer jailed for murder dies at 81

Spector, who transformed pop with his "wall of sound" recordings, worked with the Beatles, the Righteous Brothers and Ike and Tina Turner. "California Health Care Facility inmate Phillip Spector was pronounced deceased of natural causes at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at an outside hospital. In February 2003, actress Lana Clarkson was found dead at his house in Alhambra, California with a bullet wound to her head.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Kamala Harris to resign as senator on Monday
Kamala Harris to resign as senator on Monday
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Harris plans to leave her post as senator on Monday, two days before she is to be sworn in as the new vice president in Washington. That was announced by staff in her office. She is to be succeeded in office by California Democrat Alex Padilla.

Padilla will be California's first senator with Latino roots. He will take Harris' post for the remaining two years

Science • Animals
Gorillas at Californian Zoo have tested positive for Covid-19
Gorillas at Californian Zoo have tested positive for Covid-19
Credit: Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo Global

Gorillas can contract Covid-19. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) today announced confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in three gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in California. These are the first gorillas in the United States to be confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Music
Grammys postpone 2021 ceremony until March over Covid-19 concerns

The 2021 Grammy Awards, initially scheduled for January 31, have been postponed until March due to a steady rise of Covid-19 infections in California.

"The deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles, with hospital services being overwhelmed, ICUs having reached capacity, and new guidance from state and local governments have all led us to conclude that postponing our show was the right thing to do," so the Recording Academy and CBS in a statement. "Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those in our music community and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly on producing the show. We want to thank all of the talented artists, the staff, our vendors and especially this year’s nominees for their understanding, patience and willingness to work with us as we navigate these unprecedented times."

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Lori Loughlin released from prison after serving nearly 2 Months for role in college admissions scandal
Lori Loughlin released from prison after serving nearly 2 Months for role in college admissions scandal
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

The "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin has been released from a federal correctional facility in Dublin, California, after serving nearly two months for her role in the high profile college admissions scandal. The actress was released early Monday morning.

Loughlin's release comes as her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, continues to serve his five-month prison sentence at a federal facility in Lompoc, California.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Available ICU capacity in California falls to 0%
Available ICU capacity in California falls to 0%
Credit: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sara Eshleman / via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Across the entire state of California, the ICU capacity has fallen to 0% on Christmas day.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state had 2.5% ICU capacity on Monday. Wednesday, he reported it had fallen to 1.1%. On Christmas, one day after it became the first state 2 millionth infection, available capacity officially dropped to 0% in California.

Technology • Internet & Web
To avoid EU privacy rules, Facebook will move UK users to US terms
To avoid EU privacy rules, Facebook will move UK users to US terms
Credit: Illustration for Pendect by Ashley Winkler, Logo Facebook

In an effort to avoid the EU's privacy laws, Facebook will move all of its users in the United Kingdom into user agreements with the corporate headquarters in California. Google has done a similar move in February. 

"Like other companies, Facebook has had to make changes to respond to Brexit and will be transferring legal responsibilities and obligations for UK users from Facebook Ireland to Facebook Inc. There will be no change to the privacy controls or the services Facebook offers to people in the UK," so Facebook's UK arm.

Business • Jobs & Careers
Oracle moves its headquarters to Austin, Texas
Oracle Corporation headquarters in Redwood Shores
Oracle Corporation headquarters in Redwood Shores Credit: Rayhe (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Oracle Corporation has moved its headquarters to Austin, Texas. Oracle became the latest technology company to leave California in the face of the state's higher taxes, steeper cost of living and a broader shift to remote work.

"We believe these moves best position Oracle for growth and provide our personnel with more flexibility about where and how they work," spokesperson Deborah Hellinger told CNN Business.

Business • Markets
Wall Street begins trading water futures as a commodity
Wall Street begins trading water futures as a commodity
Credit: unsplash.com / Imani

The market new allows farmers, hedge funds, and municipalities to hedge bets on the future price of water and water availability in California.

RBC Capital Markets managing director and analyst Deane Dray has stated that "Climate change, droughts, population growth, and pollution are likely to make water scarcity issues and pricing a hot topic for years to come," and added that "We are definitely going to watch how this new water futures contract develops".

Regional News • Americas • United States
President-elect Joe Biden officially secures enough electors with California certification to become president
President-elect Joe Biden officially secures enough electors with California certification to become president
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. Images The White House (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

After California certified its presidential election on Friday, assigning 55 electors to vote for the Democratic candidate, President-elect Joe Biden has officially secured enough electors to become the 46th President of the United States.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla's formally approved Biden's win in California, bringing Biden's tally of pledged electors to 279.

Regional News • Americas • United States
New monolith sighted on top of mountain in California, San Luis Obispo County
New  monolith sighted on top of mountain in California,  San Luis Obispo County
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

After a monolith structure had been spotted in Utah and subsequently been removed by an unknown party, another mysterious metal monolith has appeared in the US. Local media has reported that the monolith stands atop a mountain in California and that unlike its Utah sibling, the monolith in California wasn't strongly attached to the ground and looked like it could be easily knocked over.

Law
United States government has seized 1 Billion in Bitcoin
United States government has seized 1 Billion in Bitcoin
Credit: unsplash.com / Bermix Studio

One of the most valuable Bitcoin wallets on the planet containing Bitcoins worth almost $1 billion dollars has been emptied on Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney David Anderson has stated that the money came from "criminal proceeds" linked to "the successful prosecution of Silk Road's founder in 2015" adding that "Silk Road was the most notorious online criminal marketplace of its day".

Regional News • Americas • United States
California Republican Party admits they have placed their own ballot boxes around state
California Republican Party admits they have placed their own ballot boxes around state
Credit: unsplash.com / Tiffany Tertipes

The Republican party in California has admitted responsibility for the placement of over 50 ballot drop boxes for mail-in ballots that are not official, but labeled as either "Official Ballot Drop off Box" or as "Ballot Drop Box."

Government officials say the receptacles are illegal and could lead to voter fraud, but the party says it will continue the practice.

Business • Economy
Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as Covid-19 affects its theme park business
Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as Covid-19 affects its theme park business
Credit: Joe Penniston (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a memo sent to employees on Tuesday, Disney announced it would lay off 28,000 employees across its parks, experiences and consumer products segment. Around 67% of the laid-off workers were part-time employees.

The company blamed prolonged closures and capacity limits at open parks for the layoffs. While Disney's theme parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have been able to reopen with limited capacity, both California theme parks have remained shuttered.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Californian governor bans sale of new gasoline-powered cars starting 2035
Californian governor bans sale of new gasoline-powered cars starting 2035
Credit: unsplash.com /

The Californian Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that by executive order new cars and light trucks that are powered by gasoline will be prohibited to be sold starting in 2035. This does not include cars that are already on the road at that time. Those will continue to be legal and can be resold.

Newsom stated that "this is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change".

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden calls Trump a "Climate Arsonist", after Trump rejects science
Orange sky over the San Francisco Bay Bridge due to the west coast wildfires.
Orange sky over the San Francisco Bay Bridge due to the west coast wildfires. Credit: unsplash.com/MILKOVÍ

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has called President Trump a "climate arsonist" after the president's California visit where he rejected science and blamed the wildfires ravaging the Pacific West on poor forest management and untamed vegetation, not on climate change.

"If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires?" Biden asked. "How many suburban neighborhoods will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms? If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?"

Climate & Environment
California wildfires turn Bay Area skies orange
Smoke from the North Complex fire settles over San Francisco, turning the daytime sky a dark orange.
Smoke from the North Complex fire settles over San Francisco, turning the daytime sky a dark orange. Credit: Christopher Michel / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The smoke generated by the wildfires raging across California has turned the Bay Area skies into a deep orange and has caused ash to rain down on San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland on Wednesday morning.

Wildfires are currently devasting large parts of California, Washington and Oregon.