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News from around the Bay Area
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TECH COMPANIES LEAD BAY AREA BUYING BINGE: SAN JOSE  (AP) — Internet giants are buying up businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area and across the country by the hundreds.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that since 2010, Google has purchased nearly 200 small companies — at a rate of more than one deal every week.

Last year, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Cisco Systems were among the nation's top five purchasers of privately held tech firms, typically startups.

The newspaper cites data that show overall, Bay Area businesses closed 329 such deals last year, far more than any other region.

Analysts tell the Mercury News these investments signal a fundamental change in Silicon Valley's culture of innovation. Facing intense competition, companies are supplementing research and development efforts by simply purchasing a potential rival that's already started or completed the work.

NORTHERN CALIF. BEACHGOERS WARNED OF SNEAKER WAVES: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Forecasters are warning beachgoers along the Northern California coast to be careful of sneaker waves, large surf and strong currents.

The National Weather Service has issued a beach hazards statement through Tuesday afternoon for Sonoma County through southern Monterey County. Beach warnings were also issued further north around Fort Bragg in Mendocino County and Crescent City in Del Norte County.

Beachgoers are advised to always keep their eyes on the ocean. Fishermen are being told not to fish from rocks and jetties.

BUS DRIVERS TESTIFY BEFORE FACT-FINDING PANEL: OAKLAND  (AP) — Drivers for a major San Francisco Bay area bus system told a state advisory board that they are threatening to strike because of violence on buses and a proposal that would have them pay some of their medical insurance premiums.

The Contra Costa Times reports that drivers for the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District testified Monday before the 3-member panel created by Gov. Jerry Brown to help him decide whether to extend a strike ban by 60 days.

Brown banned the strike last week for 7 days so he could determine whether a longer cooling off period was warranted.

AC Transit management joined by advocates for the poor testified that a strike would cause serious problems Alameda and Contra Costa county riders, who make 181,000 trips a day.

NO ENDANGERED SPECIES STATUS FOR ASHY STORM PETREL: SAN FVRANCISCO. (AP) — Federal biologists have turned down Endangered Species Act protection for the ashy storm-petrel, a sea bird that breeds on islands off the California coast.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday that the bird is going through natural population fluctuations, but is not in a long-term decline.

The agency says a review of the scientific information shows that the bird's range remains the same, and predation by burrowing owls and gulls at a major breeding site on Southeast Farallon Island is not causing a long-term problem.

The review was prompted by a lawsuit from the conservation group Center for Biological Diversity, which challenged a 2009 finding that protection was not warranted.