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POSTED January 23, 2012 7:06 p.m.

Catholic hospital chain cuts official church ties

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A major Catholic hospital chain has severed its official ties with the Roman Catholic Church as it seeks to maintain an unusual business model that includes both Catholic and non-Catholic hospitals.

Catholic Healthcare West said Monday that it also was changing its name to Dignity Health as a part of the overhaul.

The San Francisco-based not-for-profit is seeking to expand beyond its base in California, Nevada and Arizona and wants to signal to potential partners that it is not exclusively a Catholic organization.

At the same time, the chain said its 25 Catholic hospitals would continue to follow the Vatican's official healthcare guidelines, which include restrictions on abortion and birth control.

Its 15 non-Catholic hospitals will continue to follow the chain's "Statement of Common Values," which also limit abortion and fertility treatments.

Trial opens in traffic killings of SF man, sons

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco triple-murder trial is set to open for an alleged gang member accused of gunning down a man and his two sons in traffic.

Lawyers are scheduled to give their opening statements Monday in the trial of Edwin Ramos.

Prosecutors say Ramos opened fire at an intersection in July 2008, killing Anthony Bologna and his sons Michael and Matthew. They say Ramos mistook one of the sons for a rival gang member.

Ramos told police he was the driver but maintains that he had no idea the gunman in his car was going to shoot.

The killings sparked public outrage over the city's sanctuary policy because Ramos, an illegal immigrant, was never turned over for deportation despite a felony arrest as a juvenile. The city has since closed that policy loophole.

SF condo evacuated after rains loosen boulders

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco authorities have evacuated a condominium building at the base of San Francisco's Telegraph Hill after several boulders slid down the hill and crushed a parked car.

The boulders apparently were loosened by the weekend rain. They slid down the hill near Lombard and Montgomery streets on Monday morning. A parked car at the multistory condo complex was destroyed, but there were no injuries.

Jon Golinger, head of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers Association, said the boulders were as large as 5 feet across. He said the security guard's car helped protect the building.

San Jose kidnap victim  was sexually assaulted

SAN JOSE  (AP) — San Jose police say a man who was killed by officers after kidnapping his ex-girlfriend's daughter last week had sexually assaulted the girl.

Authorities issued a statewide Amber Alert after 42-year-old Tri Truong Le took the 11-year-old girl from her home at gunpoint Friday. The two disappeared for 11 hours before police tracked them to his townhome.

SWAT officers shot and killed Le, who tried using the girl as a human shield.

The San Jose Mercury News reports (http://bit.ly/xYKNz2) that Le was actually carrying a fake gun that was firing blanks. Police say it was made to look like a 9mm Beretta pistol.

The girl's mother told police that Le had physically abused her while they were together and that she had recently ended their relationship.

 

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