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NEWS FROM ACROSS CALIFORNIA

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POSTED April 17, 2014 8:53 p.m.

• ASTRONOMERS SPOT MOST EARTH-LIKE PLANET YET: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that’s similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it’s not too hot and not too cold for life.

The find, announced Thursday, excited planet hunters who have been scouring the Milky Way galaxy for years for potentially habitable places outside our solar system.

“This is the best case for a habitable planet yet found. The results are absolutely rock solid,” University of California, Berkeley astronomer Geoff Marcy, who had no role in the discovery, said in an email.

The planet was detected by NASA’s orbiting Kepler telescope, which studies the heavens for subtle changes in brightness that indicate an orbiting planet is crossing in front of a star. From those changes, scientists can calculate a planet’s size and make certain inferences about its makeup.

The newfound object, dubbed Kepler-186f, circles a red dwarf star 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. A light-year is almost 6 trillion miles.

he planet is about 10 percent larger than Earth and may very well have liquid water — a key ingredient for life — on its surface, scientists said. That is because it resides at the outer edge of the habitable temperature zone around its star — the sweet spot where lakes, rivers or oceans can exist without freezing solid or boiling away.

 

• WILLIAMS IN TALKS TO REPRISE ‘MRS. DOUBTFIRE’ ROLE: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fox 2000 is developing the sequel to the 1993 hit comedy “Mrs. Doubtfire,” which starred Robin Williams.

The follow-up will be penned by “Elf” writer David Berenbaum, the studio’s spokeswoman, Chelsey Summey, confirmed on Thursday.

While no deals are in place yet, Williams and Chris Columbus are in talks to join the production, Summey said.

The 62-year-old Williams would reprise his role as Mrs. Doubtfire, and Columbus would be back to direct and produce with his company 1492.

Williams starred in “Mrs. Doubtfire” as struggling actor Daniel Hillard, a father of three who disguised himself as Scottish nanny Mrs. Doubtfire to spend time with his kids. The former wife of Williams’ Daniel was played by Sally Field. Pierce Brosnan also starred.

 

• SAN DIEGO TEEN ARRESTED IN SOCIAL MEDIA THREATS: SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego police say a 17-year-old student has been arrested on suspicion of making threats via social media against a charter school teacher in Point Loma and a middle school in Clairemont.

The Los Angeles Times reports (http://lat.ms/1gLdJnJ) the boy was taken to Juvenile Hall Wednesday on a possible charge of making a terrorist threat after the postings were discovered by authorities.

The San Diego Police Department says a search of his family’s home found no weapons.

 

• DENTIST CONVICTED OF PATIENT ASSAULT: MERCED (AP) — A Central Valley dentist accused of groping four female patients while they were sedated is facing three years in prison after pleading no contest to sexual battery charges.

Sang Hyuk Park entered the plea on Wednesday in Merced County Superior Court just as jury selection was set to begin. Prosecutors tell the Merced Sun-Star the plea was part of a deal that requires Park to register as a sex offender in addition to serving three years in prison.

Investigators say Park sedated the women at his Merced office, found an excuse to dismiss his assistants from the room and then committed the assaults. The women, who ranged in age from late teens to late 20s, were groped between June 2011 and November 2012.

 

• EX-CALIF. MAN CONVICTED OF US NAVY BATTERY SWINDLE: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former Southern California man who fled the U.S. to live on his yacht has been convicted of selling the U.S. military more than $2.6 million in cheap, knock-off batteries that were used in aircraft carriers and submarines.

Federal prosecutors say Didier (De Nier was convicted Wednesday of conspiracy and wire fraud. His wife previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

De Nier was CEO of a company that sold the government 80,000 batteries that were used as emergency backup power for Navy vessels.

Authorities say De Nier and his workers removed “Made in China” markings and slapped counterfeit labels on the batteries indicating they came from approved manufacturers.

De Nier fled in 2012 and lived on his yacht in the Caribbean. He was arrested last fall in the Virgin Islands.

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