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JUDGE SAYS SF COMMUNITY COLLEGE CAN REMAIN ACCREDITED: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco judge has ruled that a private commission can't revoke the accreditation of one of the nation's largest community colleges until a trial can be held to determine if the action is lawful.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow said Thursday that closing City College of San Francisco, which has around 80,000 students, would be catastrophic. The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges moved to strip certification from the college that would take effect in July, citing a failure to improve financial and governance problems.

San Francisco's city attorney filed a civil suit in August, claiming the commission allowed political bias and conflicts of interest to influence its decision to revoke the college's accreditation.


HIGH NUMBER OF GRAY WHALES COUNTED OFF CALIFORNIA: DANA POINT  (AP) — A December record has been set for the number of gray whales spotted along the California coast during the annual southern migration.

The Orange County Register reports  Friday that the Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project counted 368 gray whales last month — breaking the December 2012 record of 182.

Most of the whales were swimming from the Bering Sea to Baja California in Mexico.

Every year more than 20,000 gray whales swim to Baja to mate and give birth. Observers say the whales seem to be having more calves in recent years.

Gray whales were hunted to near-extinction by the early 1900s but rebounded after they were declared endangered in 1973. They did so well that they were de-listed in 1994.


1 PERSON DEAD IN FATAL CRASH ON SF-AREA HIGHWAY: DALY CITY  (AP) — The California Highway Patrol says one person is dead and another injured following a multiple vehicle accident on a major San Francisco Bay Area highway.

The CHP says the incident was reported around 5:30 a.m. Friday after one of the drivers involved in a crash between a car and an SUV on northbound Highway 280 in Daly City apparently got out of their vehicle.

The CHP says that SUV driver then hopped over the median and was trying to cross southbound on 280 when they were struck by at least one vehicle that kept driving.

Authorities say that the SUV driver was declared dead at the scene.


ATU LOCAL 1555 TO VOTE ON REVISED BART LABOR DEAL: OAKLAND  (AP) — One of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit agency's largest unions is scheduled to vote on a revised labor deal to resolve months of heated negotiations.

Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1555 is expected to vote Friday on a four-year contract to settle a dispute over paid medical leave for employees that arose in November after the ATU, SEIU Local 1021 and BART management previously reached a deal ending a second strike in October.

The BART board on Thursday approved the new deal that dropped a controversial clause granting union members up to six weeks of paid family medical leave that BART said was mistakenly included and would cost $44 million if one-third of the agency's workers took advantage of it.

Instead, workers will get an extended bereavement leave and potential bonuses.

The SEIU will vote on the contract on Jan. 13.


9TH CIRCUIT OFFERS ONLINE AUDIO ACCESS TO HEARINGS: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The public can now listen to hearings from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals online.

The court said Thursday it will offer online audio access to all of its proceedings beginning with its hearings next week in Pasadena. It's the first time a federal appeals court has provided the service.

The court is one of the few federal courts that have allowed television coverage of some of its hearings. It is based in San Francisco and covers nine Western states.


AUBURN BANK EMPLOYEE ARRESTED IN EMBEZZLEMENT CASE: AUBURN  (AP) — A 34-year-old Northern California man has been arrested for investigation of embezzlement from the bank where he worked.

Jesus Valenzuela was booked into Placer County jail on Thursday. Police say they received a report from Tri Counties Bank in Auburn last month claiming Valenzuela had stolen about $8,000 from the bank over a six-month period.

Police say they eventually contacted Valenzuela and allegedly obtained a confession.