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State news briefs
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EX-UCI PROFESSOR PLEADS NOT GUILTY IN OC ARSONS: SANTA ANA  (AP) — A former University of California, Irvine professor has pleaded not guilty to charges he set a series of fires at his son's high school and elsewhere after the boy committed suicide.

City News Service reports that 49-year-old Rainer Reinscheid entered the pleas Tuesday to nine arson-related felonies and a misdemeanor count of resisting an officer.

Prosecutors say Reinscheid set the fires at University High School, an administrator's home and a park. Authorities believe he was upset because his son hanged himself after being disciplined for theft from a school store.

Police also seized emails where Reinscheid expressed fantasies of attacking students and administrators, but no charges were filed for those.

REPORT OF GUNMAN AT LA VA CENTER TURNS UP NOTHING: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal authorities say an officer fired shots at a Veterans Affairs clinic but no one was injured, and that shooting wasn't related to the fruitless search for a possible gunman in a different building at the sprawling San Fernando Valley facility.

Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Nikki Baker says a federal police officer fired shots while responding to a panic button in the nursing home building at Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center in North Hills.

The shooting happened not long after a search for a possible gunman began in a different building shortly after 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Baker says there were conflicting reports about the gunman, and surveillance will be reviewed in the ongoing investigation.

Officers found no weapons or gunman after searching the 220,000 square-foot facility.

STUDY: LOS ANGELES SMOG POLLUTION ON THE DECLINE: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles skies are less smoggy, a sign that emission-control strategies are working, new research has found.

Scientists analyzing air quality from a recent aircraft campaign and historical data found that ozone pollution in the Los Angeles region declined over the past few decades. Air chemistry also changed, leading to a drop in levels of a compound that contributes to eye irritation.

The improved air suggests California's policies to reduce emissions had an impact, according the researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Pollution comes from vehicles, industries and natural sources like plants.

"This is good news," the study's lead author, Ilana Pollack, said in a statement. "LA's air has lost a lot of its 'sting.'"

Scientists have studied origins and levels of pollution in the Los Angeles basin since the 1960s.

ANGER FOLLOWS ACQUITTAL IN DEATH OF MODEL: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Friends and family members of a strangled model erupted in tears and screams on Tuesday when a jury acquitted a woman described by prosecutors as a female James Bond.

Onlookers in the courtroom who knew victim Juliana Redding screamed obscenities and called defendant Kelly Soo Park a murderer.

They appeared ready to pounce on Park and were held back by deputies as she turned and was led through a rear entrance.

SAN DIEGO SURFER COMMITTED SUICIDE: SAN DIEGO (AP) — Authorities say a surfer whose shark-bitten body washed ashore in San Diego committed suicide.

The county medical examiner's office announced Monday that Brandon Beaver drowned himself.

The 42-year-old San Diego man went missing off Tourmaline Surf Park Beach around sunset on May 8.

U-T San Diego ( says lifeguards found his wet suit wrapped around his surfboard.

His body had shark bites when it was found in the surf the next day.

However, the medical examiner's office determined that the bites were made after Beaver's death.

ASA SET TO LAUNCH LATEST SATELLITE TO STUDY SUN: LOS ANGELES (AP) — NASA is preparing to launch its latest sun-monitoring satellite on a mission to improve space weather prediction.

The Iris satellite will observe a little-studied region of the sun that emits ultraviolet light. Scientists hope examining the sun's lower atmosphere would help them learn more about how this region drives solar wind and powers the corona, the sun's outer atmosphere seen during eclipses.

Iris carries a UV telescope that can take high-resolution images every few seconds. It's scheduled to be launched on June 26 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base on California's central coast. Once in orbit, it will circle about 400 miles above the Earth.