CALIFORNIA BOY, 9, IS YOUNGEST TO REACH ACONCAGUA SUMMIT: BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A 9-year-old boy from Southern California has become the youngest person in recorded history to reach the summit of Argentina's Aconcagua mountain, which at 22,841 feet (6,962 meters) is the tallest peak in the Western and Southern hemispheres.
Tyler Armstrong of Yorba Linda reached the summit on Christmas Eve with his father Kevin and a Tibetan sherpa, Lhawang Dhondup, who has climbed Mt. Everest multiple times. They were in fine spirits Friday as they left Aconcagua, whose sheer precipices and bitter cold have claimed more than 100 climbers' lives.
"You can really see the world's atmosphere up there. All the clouds are under you, and it's really cold," Tyler said, describing the summit to The Associated Press. "It doesn't look anything like a kid's drawing of a mountain. It's probably as big as a house at the summit, and then it's a sheer drop."
Only 30 percent of the 7,000 people who obtain permits to climb Aconcagua each year make the summit, said Nicolas Garcia, who handled their logistics from down below. No one under 14 is usually allowed, so the family had to persuade an Argentine judge that Tyler could safely accomplish the feat.
SOUTHERN CALIF. TEMPERATURES SET RECORD HIGHS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern Californians should keep that beach umbrella handy and hold off on buying new snow skis — at least through the end of 2013.
The region saw multiple record, or near-record, high temperatures Friday.
The National Weather Service's Bonnie Bartling says downtown Los Angeles hit 85 degrees at 1:21 p.m., breaking a record set 66 years ago. Long Beach Airport hit 84 degrees, breaking the record of 78 that was recorded in 1972. Burbank tied its record high of 84, set in 1956.
A red-flag warning for high fire danger across much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties is expected to be in effect from Saturday evening through Sunday because of forecasts for northeasterly Santa Ana winds.
2ND VICTIM OF SAN DIEGO PARKING LOT SHOOTING DIES : SAN DIEGO (AP) — The second victim of a shooting in the parking lot of a San Diego shopping mall has died.
U-T San Diego says the death of 22-year-old Salvatore Belvedere was announced Friday by the county medical examiner's office.
Belvedere and 22-year-old Ilona Flint were shot shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday as they sat in a car at the Westfield Mission Valley mall.
Belvedere was shot in the upper chest. Flint was shot in the head and chest. She died at the scene.
Authorities haven't released a motive for the attack but Belvedere's brother, 24-year-old Gianni Belvedere, was Flint's fiance.
NO DEATH CAUSE FOR MAN FOUND IN BOOBY-TRAPPED HOME: BODFISH (AP) — Authorities aren't saying what killed a rural Kern County man who was found dead in his booby-trapped house.
A sheriff's official says Friday that the coroner's division hasn't released a cause of death.
Paul Morningstar of Bodfish was in his 60s. Authorities checking on his welfare last week found his body and homemade bombs, including one that had gone off.
Morningstar set traps because he was paranoid and thought somebody was trying to kill him.
Ted Brummer says his neighbor, who made and sold bicycle repair tools, had other eccentricities. He had no visitors, once called Brummer a murderer for spraying weedkiller and blamed former President George H. Bush for 9/11.
REPORT FAULTS CA TOXIC WASTE REGULATORS : LOS ANGELES (AP) — California regulators have allowed hundreds of toxic waste polluters walk away from contaminated sites and dozens of waste facilities to operate with expired permits while reducing enforcement, it was reported Friday.
The Department of Toxic Substances Control also has drastically reduced fines against polluting firms and reduced the number of cases it sends to prosecutors, the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1il4wE3) said, citing interviews and records from courts, the department and other agencies.
However, the Times review concluded that:
* A quarter of California's 118 major hazardous waste facilities are operating on expired permits.
* Hundreds of companies have walked away from contaminated sites, leaving the cleanup costs to taxpayers. The department has acknowledged that it did not even try to collect $140 million in such costs from 1987 through last year, although it has now recovered about $16 million under a new billing procedure.
* The department has drastically reduced its use of fines in recent years. Companies agreed to pay a total of $2.45 million a year on average from 2008 to 2012 — half the average of the previous five years.
* The department has sharply reduced the number of cases it submits to prosecutors for possible criminal charges — an average of four per year in the past five years compared to more than 40 a year in the previous five years.