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Nation news briefs
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STATE REMOVES SIGNS OBJECTING TO TWIN TUNNELS: WALNUT GROVE (AP) — Activists opposed to California's $14 billion twin-tunnel plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are accusing state transportation workers who removed anti-tunnel yard signs of trying to silence them. The signs proclaiming "Save the Delta! Stop the Tunnels!" have disappeared over the past several days from yards fronting a state highway in Sacramento County. Transportation officials they were placed too close to the highway, violating state law. Caltrans spokesman Gareth Lacy says any private sign is forbidden within a state right of way. The state Natural Resources Agency, which oversees the tunnel project, says it's working with Caltrans and property owners to ensure that signs are placed in a way that follows the law and respects freedom of speech and property rights.

US BEGINS FLYING DEPORTEES TO MEXICO CITY: SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. immigration authorities have begun flying deportees deep into Mexico in an effort to discourage them from trying to return. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the first of twice-weekly flights from El Paso, Texas, to Mexico City left Thursday with 133 deportees aboard, all men. ICE spokeswoman Nicole Navas says the flights will accommodate up to 136 men and women but no children. Deportees fly from throughout the United States to Chaparral, N.M., for a short bus ride to El Paso.

2 PILOTS CALLED FOR ASIANA TO ABORT LANDING: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal investigators say two pilots called for the landing of an Asiana Airlines plane to be aborted seconds before the plane crashed at San Francisco International Airport. National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said Thursday the first call to abort was made about three seconds before impact. The second call came about 1.5 seconds later and was made by a different pilot. Investigators have said the plane came in too low and too slow, clipping a seawall at the edge of the runway. Two people died and 180 of the 307 passengers were hurt. Hersman also said there was no discussion of the flight's speed during the final approach until about nine seconds before impact.

DAD: SLAIN BOY NOT AUTISTIC AS MOTHER SAYS: MENIFEE (AP) — The father of an 11-year-old California boy who went missing and is believed dead says his son did not have autism, as his ex-wife and authorities have said. Terry Dewayne Smith Sr. told The Associated Press on Thursday that his son moved to California to be with his mother in 2011 and was not autistic. Authorities have arrested the half-brother of Terry Dewayne Smith Jr. on suspicion of murder. Authorities on Wednesday recovered a body matching the boy's description from a shallow grave behind the home in Menifee that he shared with his mother, half brother and other family members.

STOP FRYING EGGS, DEATH VALLEY OFFICIALS SAY: DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK (AP) — It gets so hot in Death Valley that you can fry an egg with sun power. That's what one Death Valley National Park employee did last week, when she took a frying pan to the pavement and posted the video online. Park visitors park were quick to imitate her, but they didn't use skillets and left gooey messes. The park then issued a plea on its Facebook page to crack down on the egg-frying fiasco. Death Valley highs have been hovering around 120 degrees, and on Wednesday the park marked the 100th anniversary of the world's hottest day on record — 134 degrees — set there in 1913.

CITY OKs WWII MEMORIAL FOR ‘COMFORT WOMEN’: GLENDALE (AP) — The Glendale City Council has approved creation of a memorial for women who were used as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II. Despite objections from Japanese-Americans, the council voted 4-1 on Tuesday to permit installation of the monument at Glendale Central Park honoring the so-called "comfort women" from Korea, China and other occupied nations. A survivor of the ordeal was expected to attend the planned July 30 unveiling in the Los Angeles suburb, which has about 10,000 Korean-American residents.

JUDGE CRITICAL OF AGENCY IN PRISON BATTLE: SACRAMENTO (AP) — A federal judge is increasing his oversight of California's troubled prison system after finding that a second state agency shares the blame with corrections officials for providing poor care to mentally ill inmates. U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ordered his court-appointed special master to review practices at prison mental health facilities operated by the Department of State Hospitals. The judge says more orders could follow depending on what the special master uncovers. The department is responsible for treating inmates at some of California's 33 adult prisons, including one in Soledad that inmate advocates say is poorly staffed and provides substandard care.