Drivers: Hands off your cellphones

Dec 28, 2016

The start of the new year also means: no hands on your cellphones when driving.


TONY BIZJAK with The Bee: "In Sacramento, where distracted driving has reached dangerous levels, drivers expressed mixed feelings this week about a new state law cracking down on cellphone use by motorists."


"Starting Sunday, drivers no longer will be allowed to hold their cellphones in their hands for any reason, including using any of a phone’s apps, such as music playlists."


"The whole idea is you don’t have the phone in your hand, period,” said Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, author of the new law, which he says should make it easier for officers to stop and cite drivers for illegal phone use."


Latinos only make up 6% of tech industry workers, but they will prove to be a pivotal demographic in battling policies of the incoming Trump administration. 


MARISSA LANG with The Chronicle: "They heard him when he called them criminalsthugsrapists. They saw the taco-bowl tweet on Cinco de Mayo and listened as hesought to discredit a federal judge of Mexican heritage."


"And now, with less than a month to go before Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, Latino tech workers are waiting to see what he’ll do next."


"Trump, who built his campaign around promises to erect a wall along the Mexico border and deport millions of immigrants living in the country illegally, has forced many in the Bay Area and beyond to take stock of their priorities and devise a plan for the next four years."


Also from Silicon Valley: A transgender techie finds herself leading the charge for equal health benefits for all workers.


MARISSA LANG with The Chronicle: "She had asked her partner not to send flowers, but a bouquet arrived anyway."


"It was from her colleagues. And the last thing Billie Lynn Ross wanted to do was walk down to the lobby to claim them."


"She had hoped to lie low that morning, to draw as little attention to herself as possible. But as she strode toward the reception desk of the Palo Alto building where she works, she realized that wasn’t going to happen."


State legislator John Benoit has passed away; he was a day shy of 65.


AP in Sacramento Bee: "Veteran California legislator turned Riverside County supervisor John Benoit has died, officials said Tuesday."


"Benoit, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last month, died Monday at his home in the Palm Springs area, a day before his 65th birthday, according to statements from his staff and from Riverside County."


"Benoit was a Republican who was elected to the Assembly in 2002 and the state Senate in 2008."


A young strategist who served as Kamala Harris' campaign manager is causing waves in California as the leader of the next generation of political players.


CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO with Sacramento Bee: "In a dimly lit church recreation room in Long Beach this spring, Kamala Harris had just finished speaking when the assembled pastors prepared a prayer for her. Harris, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate, and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, formed a circle with the ministers."


"Before the invocation started, Harris scoured the room. “Where’s Juan?” she repeated, motioning for her campaign manager. Juan Rodriguez, helping guide Harris’ run after advising her as attorney general, approached Harris’ husband, clasping his hand."


"Harris stepped back to make room for them, and the preachers commenced their prayer."


And in world news, Russian sports authorities have admitted to rampant steroid abuse and tainting the 'entire Olympic movement,' causing one of the largest scandals in sports history.


REBECCA R. RUIZ with Sacramento Bee: "Russian officials are for the first time conceding one of the biggest conspiracies in sports history: a far-reaching doping operation that implicated scores of Russian athletes, tainting not just the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi but also the entire Olympic movement."


"Over several days of interviews here with The New York Times, the Russian officials said they no longer disputed a damning set of facts that detailed a doping program with few, if any, historical precedents."


“It was an institutional conspiracy,” Anna Antseliovich, the acting director general of Russia’s national anti-doping agency, said of years’ worth of cheating schemes."


READ MORE related to World News: Carrie Fisher dead at 60, remembered as a 'funny' and 'fearless' Force in Hollywood -- BOB STRAUSS with Daily NewsEx-employee claims Versace store used 'code' for black customers; sues global retailer -- ANNIE SCIACCA with East Bay Times; John Kerry, tireless in his diplomatic efforts, often came up empty-handed -- TRACY WILKINSON with LAT


Scientists have created the world's smallest electrical wire out of diamonds; the width: 3 atoms wide.


LISA M. KRIEGER with East Bay Times: "Using microscopic bits of diamonds, scientists at SLACNational Accelerator Laboratory have created the world’s smallest electrical wire, measuring only three atoms wide."


"The tiny necklace holds big promise for the field of nanotechnology, offering a technique for the future construction of molecular-scale mesh material that could be useful for ever-smaller and more efficient electronics or fabrics that generate electricity."


“It’s the first time wires this size have been created,” said study co-author Nicholas Melosh, an associate professor at Stanford University and investigator with SIMES, the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences at SLAC, funded by the Department of Energy. The scientists reported their results in Monday’s issue of the journal Nature Materials."


The Cow Palace, a legendary time capsule of cultural history in the Bay Area, celebrated its 75th birthday this year.


PETER HARTLAUB with The Chronicle: "The Cow Palace marked its 75th birthday earlier this year, an event that you almost certainly didn’t celebrate, or even acknowledge."


"While other important local structures, landmarks and performance spaces are openly cherished (imagine a major Fillmore Auditorium anniversary passing without several surviving members of the Grateful Dead or Jefferson Airplane showing up), the Cow Palace’s legacy mirrors its San Mateo County address — just across the street from San Francisco’s heart."


"This is 100 percent wrong."


Lawyers' use of sensitive information is making them prime targets for hackers.


DOMINIC FRACASSA with The Chronicle: "Three Chinese stock traders are facing federal insider trading charges for allegedly hacking into the computer networks of two prominent law firms to steal confidential emails and other information related to active mergers and acquisitions."


"The Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York unveiled parallel charges Tuesday accusing Iat Hong, Bo Zheng and Hung Chin of netting about $4 million in illegal profits from stock trades based on nonpublic information from April 2014 to late 2015."


"The traders were also charged with attempting to breach five other law firms for the same purpose."


 The UN vote condeming Israel's West Bank settlements has forced San Francisco-based Airbnb into a pickle.


THOMAS LEE with The Chronicle: "Airbnb has attracted its fair share of criticism for listing Israeli homes in the Palestinian West Bank, land occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six Day War."


"Until recently, the San Francisco company could keep its distance from the controversy, as long as the situation remained at impasse. Given recent events, however, Airbnb and other companies that directly or indirectly do business in those settlements can no longer hide under the cloak of ambiguity."


"Last week, the U.N. Security Council overwhelmingly approved a resolution strongly condemning Israel for the West Bank settlements."


SoCal sees a jump in both sales and prices in the housing market.


ANDREW KHOURI with LA Times: "Southern California home prices and sales rose in November compared with a year earlier, according to a report released Tuesday."


"The six-county region’s median price reached $465,000 last month, up 5.9% from November 2015, real estate data firm CoreLogic said. Sales soared 24.1%."


"The strong sales jump, however, happened largely because new lending regulations last year delayed many deals that otherwise would have closed in November 2015, CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage said."

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