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State news briefs
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CALIFORNIANS PUNCH SHARKS TO SAVE THEMSELVES: EUREKA  (AP) — Two Californians say they survived separate shark attacks over the past few days by punching the beast in the head.

Scott Stephens, of Manilla, says a great white pulled him underwater Tuesday at a popular surf spot off the coast of Eureka and let him go only after receiving the blows.

Doctors say Stephens suffered lacerations, but none of his vital organs was damaged. He talked about the ordeal Wednesday at a news conference reported by the Eureka Times-Standard.

Mariko Haugen, of Folsom, tells News10 she was swimming with her husband off Maui, Hawaii, over the weekend when she encountered a tiger shark.

She says her martial arts training prepared her and she punched it twice.

Haugen was not bitten but did require stitches for some scratches.

SOCCER PLAYER CHARGED FOR SHOVING REFEREE: SANTA BARBARA  (AP) — A University of California, Santa Barbara soccer player is facing a criminal charge for shoving a referee and he's been cut from the team.

A county prosecutor says 23-year-old Peter Fergus McGlynn shoved referee Reed Christy from behind during Sunday's soccer loss to UC Davis.

McGlynn was charged on Wednesday with misdemeanor battery against a sports official and he will be arraigned on Nov. 14.

Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg was arguing with Christy when McGlynn assaulted the referee.

The fifth-year senior defender was arrested by university police officers on the field and led away in handcuffs.

McGlynn apologized on his Twitter page, saying he's prepared to accept the consequences of what he called selfish and immature actions.

MOM  SAYS SHE SMOTHERED CRYING DAUGHTER: OAKLAND  (AP) — An Oakland mother has pleaded guilty to smothering her 2-year-old daughter because she was crying.

Tiffany Lopez had told police that she accidentally sat on Kamilah Russell during a game of hide-and-seek in their apartment in March 2010.

The 21-year-old woman said the toddler was hiding between couch cushions when she sat down and accidentally suffocated her.

The San Francisco Chronicle says Lopez last told investigators that she had become frustrated with the girl's crying so she used her hand to smother her.

She pleaded guilty this week to second-degree murder.

ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS SUE OVER MOJAVE WATER PLAN: SAN BERNARDINO (AP) — Environmental groups have filed a second lawsuit to stop a controversial plan to pump water from Mojave Desert aquifers to cities across the state.

The suit filed Thursday alleges San Bernardino County failed to provide an environmental review and violated its own groundwater ordinance.

The suit is being brought by Center for Biological Diversity, National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Club San Gorgonio chapter and the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society.

County spokesman David Wert says the county obeyed its groundwater ordinance and followed approved procedures.

STATE CANCELS CONTRACT WITH LEGISLATOR'S SPOUSE: SACRAMENTO AP) — California has canceled a prison medical care contract with a legislator's spouse.

The Los Angeles Times says David Walters is co-owner of Drug Consultants Inc. and the husband of Laguna Niguel Republican state Sen. Mimi Walters.

Riverside-based Drug Consultants provides prisons with medical workers.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation decision to end the contract comes after reports that subcontractors were owed $120,000 in back payments.

The department's health care office said in a Wednesday letter to Drug Consultants executives the firm failed to pay non-disputed claims.

ARSONIST TORCHES HOME, ELDERLY WOMAN BURNED: TEMECULA  (AP) — Investigators say an arsonist touched off a blaze that engulfed a Southern California home and burned an elderly woman.

The woman, whose name and age aren't being released, is hospitalized for third degree burns and smoke inhalation.

Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighters were dispatched to the Temecula home early Thursday.

It took about 40 minutes to extinguish the fire and damage is estimated at $150,000.