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POSTED March 13, 2012 9:52 p.m.

CODA begins production of electric car in Benicia: BENICIA  (AP) — CODA Automotive’s assembly plant in Benicia has begun production of the carmaker’s all-electric sedan.

Benicia’s mayor was among those on hand on Monday, as the first sedan rolled off the assembly line.

Los Angeles-based CODA manufactures most of the vehicle’s battery system and body in China. The parts are then shipped to Benicia for final assembly.

The Benicia plant employs about 25 people.

The four-door sedan has an EPA-certified range of 88 miles per charge. It sells for $37,000, but qualifies for federal and state credits.

CODA has not said how many cars it plans to manufacture in 2012, but the number is expected to be low.



5 charged in UC Berkeley Occupy protest: BERKELEY  (AP) — Prosecutors have filed charges against five people in connection with an Occupy protest at the University of California, Berkeley in November in which police used batons on protesters.

The four students and a professor were charged last week in Alameda County with misdemeanor resisting arrest.

They were among 39 people who were arrested during the Nov. 9 protest over the university’s decision to remove Occupy tents.

Video footage showed law enforcement officials jabbing protesters with batons during the demonstration.

The four students are 37-year-old Jasper Bernes, 22-year-old Ricardo Gomez, 25-year-old Ramon Quintero and 21-year-old Zakary Habash. The professor is 54-year-old Celeste Langan.

Langan says it seems odd that charges were filed given what she saw as the use of excessive force by authorities.



Boy, 8, shot in Richmond road-rage incident
: RICHMOND  (AP) — An 8-year-old boy is recovering after he was shot when a driver opened fire at his family’s car in Richmond in an apparent road-rage incident.

Richmond police Lt. Bisa French says the boy was in good condition at a hospital on Tuesday morning.

The shooting occurred around 10:30 the previous night after the boy’s father inadvertently cut the driver of another vehicle off at the Hilltop Drive exit of Interstate 80.

French says the driver followed the victim’s vehicle, showing signs of road rage, before pulling alongside it on a city street and firing several rounds.

The 8-year-old was struck. The boy’s father, wife and another small child in the car were not wounded.



UC Berkeley chancellor to step down at year’s end: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley will step down later this year as head of the world-renowned campus after extending his planned tenure to deal with unprecedented cuts in state funding.

Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, 69, initially hoped to serve for seven years but decided to stay longer because of the extraordinary challenges posed to the campus by “the most extreme disinvestment by the state in UC’s history,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

“I wanted to make sure that we had successfully managed the university through the worst of the economic crisis,” Birgeneau later told reporters. “I think we have done that.”

Birgeneau, a distinguished physicist, plans to remain at the university to teach and conduct research after he leaves office on Dec. 31.

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