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Bay Area briefs
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Court leaders pull plug on $2B computer system


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California court leaders are stopping development of an ambitious computer project that was supposed to electronically connect courthouses in all 58 counties.

The California Judicial Council voted Tuesday to pull the plug on a controversial project was nearly 10 years in the making and was coming under increasing criticism for its rising cost.

The cost estimate to complete the project ballooned from $260 million in 2004 to $2 billion today.

Judicial Council member Judge James Herman says the branch will have spent about $556 million by the year's end on the project. Officials already have rolled out the system in some counties.

San Jose cops look for suspect in attempted kidnap

SAN JOSE (AP) — Police are looking for a man who reportedly tried to kidnap a 16-year-old girl off a San Jose street by using a stun gun.

The victim's mother told the San Jose Mercury News on Monday that her daughter was attacked as she was walking home from school in the Willow Glen neighborhood Friday evening. The woman asked the newspaper not to publish her name.

The mother says the suspect drove up in a red compact car, came behind the girl and stunned her with a Taser-like device under her ear. She says the girl became temporarily blind but started screaming and fighting, scaring the man away.

Police Officer Jose Garcia confirmed a report about the attempted kidnapping, but would not release details.

The mother says her daughter was checked out at the hospital and released.

Post office reopens after powder found

SAN JOSE (AP) — Authorities in California have reopened a post office in downtown San Jose after an evacuation was prompted by concerns about a white powder discovered in a package.

San Jose Fire Capt. Mary Gutierrez says the powder turned out to be a harmless herbal tea remedy from Taiwan that a man had ordered for his child.

Fire officials say two employees had complained of sore throats and headaches after being exposed to the powder around 8 a.m. Tuesday. Gutierrez says some of the powder was leaking from the package, and the workers may have inhaled it.

Those two, as well as a third employee in the area, were decontaminated by a hazardous materials unit as authorities investigated the scene.

Court won't reconsider bone marrow payments ruling

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court says it won't reconsider a ruling that allows bone marrow donors to be paid for their donations like blood donors.

In December, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a decades-old government practice that made such compensation a crime.

The court said a technological breakthrough makes the process of donating bone marrow nearly identical to giving blood plasma.

On Tuesday, the court declined the Obama administration's request to reconsider the ruling. The administration now has 90 days to petition the U.S. Supreme Court.

Department of Justice spokesman Charles Miller says the administration is reviewing its options.