ROBBER ATTACKS RIVERSIDE SHOP OWNER WITH HAMMER: RIVERSIDE (AP) — Detectives say security cameras captured a robber beating the owner of a Riverside tobacco store with a hammer and taking cash and other items.
The Press Enterprise reports 52-year-old Chaula Patadia was struck several times in the head in the assault Tuesday at Smoke Shop Plus near the University of California, Riverside. The mother of two is hospitalized in critical condition.
A delivery man called 911 after seeing Patadia emerge from the shop's back room bleeding from her head and ear.
Police say video footage shows a male suspect enter the store and walk around for several minutes before going behind the counter and beating Patadia with a mallet-like hammer until she lost consciousness.
He can be seen opening the cash register and stuffing bills into his pockets.
BUDWEISER INTRODUCING BOWTIE-SHAPED CAN: ST. LOUIS (AP) — Anheuser-Busch is introducing a new, bowtie-shaped beer can that mirrors its iconic Budweiser logo.
The St. Louis-based subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV said Wednesday that the new cans will be available in a special 8-pack nationwide beginning May 6.
The can has been in development since 2010. The beer maker says it made major equipment investments at its can-making facility in Newburgh, N.Y., to facilitate the 16-step process to create the cans.
Budweiser breweries in Los Angeles and Williamsburg, Va., will be the first to package the new cans.
Due to the new design, it holds 11.3 ounces of beer, compared with the traditional 12-ounce can. The company says the new can won't replace the traditional Budweiser can.
JUDGE RELEASES MAN IN PLACER COUNTY WILDFIRE: FORESTHILL (AP) — A judge has sided with the defense in the case against a Sacramento man accused of throwing a firework into a Placer County swimming hole, sparking a wildfire.
The 2012 Robbers fire burned more than 2,500 acres near Foresthill, injured an inmate firefighter and destroyed four structures after an ember from the exploding firework shot into the air and cleared a sheer rock face.
The Sacramento Bee reports that 28-year-old Bryon Craig Mason acknowledged throwing the firework. But a Placer County judge ruled earlier this month there was no evidence that a reasonable person would find it "highly probable" that a firework thrown in the swimming hole would spark a fire.
Judge Colleen Nichols released Mason from custody.
COURT REINSTATES CLASS ACTION AGAINST TRUMP U: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court has reinstated a class action lawsuit alleging that Donald Trump's university engages in deceptive business practices.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday said a lower court wrongly sided with Trump when it ruled that a former student who filed the lawsuit actually defamed the school with her accusations.
Tarla Makeeff, of San Diego, filed a lawsuit in 2010 alleging that Trump University failed to deliver on its promised education that cost her more than $30,000. The school filed a counter suit alleging that Makeeff's claims were defamatory and a lower court agreed.
But the appeals court said that the university's advertising blitz made it a public figure that had to prove that Makeeff's allegation were purposely malicious and reinstated the lawsuit.
WATCHDOG SAYS COAL-FREE PLAN TO COST $600M: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A city watchdog says Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan to reduce the city's dependence on coal by the middle of the next decade will cost more than $600 million.
Fred Pickel, the ratepayer advocate at the Department of Water and Power, planned to urge officials to look for ways to lower the costs on Wednesday.
A spokesman at the DWP did not return the newspaper's requests for comment on Pickel's projections.
The DWP currently gets 40 percent of its energy from coal-fired plants in Utah and Arizona. Last month, the utility voted to use a natural gas plant in Utah instead.
Officials say another plan to sell off the DWP's stake in the Arizona plant will make the utility coal-free by 2025.
EAST COAST TEST ROCKET LAUNCH SCRUBBED: WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (AP) — A private company hired by NASA to make supply runs to the International Space Station scrubbed a Wednesday test launch of an unmanned rocket, saying an important data cord linked to the rocket's second stage detached too soon.
The towering Antares rocket had been scheduled to blast off Wednesday afternoon from Wallops Island on Virginia's Eastern Shore when the countdown clock was halted at the 12-minute mark.
Barron Beneski, a spokesman for Dulles-based Orbital Sciences Corp., said another launch attempt would be tried no sooner than Friday afternoon.
Orbital crews were expected to examine the rocket through the night to determine how the ethernet cable came loose. Several other cables in the same area all remained attached to the rocket. Orbital officials had said initially they suspected high winds.
CALIF. COMPANY THINKS ITS BATTERY USED IN BOMBING : FREMONT (AP) — Officials at a Northern California battery company said Wednesday they believe a battery they manufacture was used in the Boston Marathon bombing.
Benjamin Mull, spokesman for Fremont-based Tenergy Corp., said that based on crime scene photos that have appeared online, the company believes one of its nickel-metal hydride batteries was used to make the bombs that detonated Monday near the marathon's finish line, killing three people and wounding more than 170.
"We're all deeply saddened by the events in Boston. Our thoughts and hearts go out to the victims and their families and the Boston community. We're all horrified and appalled that our off-the-shelf product would be used in such a horrific way," Mull said.
The company has reached out to Boston police and the FBI but hasn't heard directly from investigators, Mull said.
The company says the 1.25-volt battery seen in the photos is sold in retail outlets and is frequently used by hobbyists for various toys, including radio-controlled cars and trucks.
Tenergy has been selling the battery for several years and said it has sold "tens of thousands" of the particular battery in the past year.