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WINDS EASE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BUT MORE ON WAY: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Santa Ana winds were headed toward Southern California on Monday, bringing the possibility of 55 mph gusts and summer-like temperatures just two days before Christmas, forecasters said.

The winds appeared to be right behind a phenomenon known as a standing mountain wave that brought gusts into the region early Monday, toppling trees and temporarily knocking out power to more than 1,000 homes and businesses in Los Angeles.

“We’re going into a Santa Ana event, and those start with north winds the day before,” National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Forwood said.

Some mountain ridgetop sensors reported gusts as high as 90 mph after the northern winds first struck late Sunday.

The Santa Ana winds were expected to arrive late Monday and last into Tuesday morning, with gusts as high as 55 mph in mountain passes and parts of the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys.

The Santa Ana winds were expected to push temperatures well above the average high of 68 degrees for this time of year. The temperature was expected to hit 80 degrees Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles.

A cooling trend could begin Wednesday as the winds dissipate, Forwood said. Dry weather was expected to continue through the holiday weekend.


MAN’S BODY FOUND FLOATING OFF VENICE BEACH: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities say the body of a man was found floating off Venice Beach.

Los Angeles County Lifeguards Capt. Kenichi Haskett says the man’s body was discovered around 2 p.m. Monday, and he was believed to have been in an inflatable boat that came ashore in the area.

Sgt. Amore Smith, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department, said homicide detectives were investigating the cause of the man’s death, but that doesn’t mean foul play is suspected.

Haskett said the man did not drown, and may have been in a boating accident. He was in the water during thick fog and high surf that reached up to 6 feet.


SHIPPERS SEEK US MEDIATOR IN PORT LABOR TALKS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — The association that represents shipping lines and cargo terminal operators at West Coast seaports says it’s asking for federal mediation in its ongoing contract talks with dockworkers.

The Pacific Maritime Association said in a statement Monday that after seven months of negotiations, dockworkers and their employers remain “far apart” on many issues and the parties need outside intervention.

Longshoremen have continued to work without a contract at 29 ports from San Diego to Seattle that are a vital trade link with Asia. Their employers say workers have deliberately slowed the pace of their work over the past few months.

A spokesman for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union says negotiators for the union have not requested federal mediation.  


GOVERNOR DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN 4 COUNTIES: SACRAMENTO . (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Marin, Mendocino, San Mateo and Ventura counties because of damage to roads and highways caused by recent winter storms.

Monday’s emergency proclamation tells the Department of Transportation to request immediate assistance through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program.

Rainstorms that swept across California beginning on Nov. 30 brought high winds, heavy rain and flooding.

The proclamation says the storms caused damage to roads and highways because of mudflows, debris, floods and erosion.


CONSUMER GROUP SUES AETNA, ALLEGES DISCRIMINATION:  SAN DIEGO (AP) — A consumer advocacy group has filed a class-action lawsuit against Aetna Inc. saying a new policy violates the privacy of people with HIV and AIDS by requiring them to get their medications from its mail-order pharmacy.

Consumer Watchdog filed the lawsuit Friday in federal court in San Diego. It says sending the drugs through the mail puts privacy at risk because packages could end up at the wrong address or be seen by others. It also says the mail is not a reliable way to ensure people get their medications on time.

The group alleges the policy also violates the federal health care law because it discourages people with HIV and AIDS from signing up for the company’s insurance.

Aetna spokeswoman Cynthia Michener said the policy is part of its ongoing strategy to keep health plans affordable and help with medication adherence. People can also opt out, she said.