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State news briefs
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ELDERLY WOMAN ROBBED, PUNCHED BY TEENS IN ROBBERY: SAN BERNARDINO  (AP) — Authorities say two teenagers pretending to look for a lost dog attacked a 90-year-old woman in her San Bernardino home before demanding cash and stealing her car.

Sheriff's officials said Tuesday they're still seeking 18-year-old Andrew Landeros in the attack, and 18-year-old Eduardo Adan May is in custody.

The woman told authorities the two came to her door Thursday morning, asking if they could get into her back yard to look for a lost dog.

After she led them in, they put a shirt over her head and beat her to keep her quiet while they robbed the home. She was later able to walk to her neighbor's home to get help.

9 TEENS CHARGED WITH ROBBING HOLLYWOOD PEDESTRIANS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nine teens are facing robbery charges after they allegedly took cell phones, a wallet and a skateboard from people walking on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, said Tuesday all nine have pleaded not guilty in the July 13 incident at the busy intersection of Hollywood and Highland.

Police believe the so-called "bash mob" was organized through social media.

Bash mobs are like a flash mob but instead of dancing a choreographed number in public places, a bash mob converges to steal and vandalize.

Three girls and two boys, all 16, and four 15-year-old boys were charged.

Police have been trying to stay one step ahead of such mobs, and have recently issued warnings ahead of possible bash mobs.

CA STATE WORKERS CHARGED WITH TAKING KICKBACKS: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Attorney General Kamala Harris says two state employees and a business owner are charged with defrauding the state by taking bribes, forging documents and misappropriating taxpayer money.

A complaint filed Tuesday says the employees took kickbacks in exchange for accepting inflated office supply bids from Michael Mathison's company, Veteran Toners Services.

Harris says 42-year-old Stephanie Clark of Fair Oaks and 62-year-old Danny Gray Compson of Yuba City took money orders, gift cards and vacations. Clark works for the Department of Fish and Game and Compson for the Department of Transportation.

Mathison tells The Associated Press the allegations are "all false." He said the truth will come out in court.

RARE CORPSE FLOWER TO BLOOM AT UC SANTA BARBARA : SANTA BARBARA  (AP) — An Indonesian flower famous for its foul odor is expected to unfurl its putrid blossom within the next week at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The school says its greenhouse will be open to the public during the one-day blooming of the so-called corpse flower.

Unlike other flowers that rely on bees for pollination, this one counts on flies. It attracts them with the smell of rotting flesh, and they in turn spread its sticky pollen.

Its nauseating scent comes from two sulfur-producing chemicals within its leaves.

The UCSB plant is 4 feet tall and growing rapidly. A live webcam of the plant can be found on the school's website.

COYOTE DRAGS 2-YEAR-OLD GIRL AT S. CALIF. CEMETERY: CYPRESS  (AP) — A 2-year-old girl is recovering after she was bitten and dragged by a coyote at a Southern California cemetery.

Klarissa Barrera, of Long Beach, was given a rabies shot and treated for a 2 1/2-inch gash on her calf.

She was attacked 10 feet from her mother Thursday as the family visited a relative's grave at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cypress.

Michelle Luper says the coyote bit her daughter on the back and dragged her toward some bushes. Luper says she screamed and lunged, and the coyote let go.

State wildfire officials later shot and killed three coyotes at the cemetery.

Experts say coyote attacks on people are rare and this was the first reported in Orange County this year.

FBI PROBING SAN DIEGO FUR SHOP VANDALISM: SAN DIEGO (AP) — A terrorism task force that includes the FBI is investigating vandalism at San Diego's only fur shop and the homes of the store owners.

U-T San Diego says animal rights activists claimed responsibility for attacks last week on the Furs by Graf store and the homes.

Authorities say attackers painted the words "killer" and "murderer" on the store and used paint, acid and other materials on it and the homes.

The Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility last week on a website. Group spokesman Jerry Vlasak says he understands the attacks were committed on behalf of the group, although it has no formal membership.

The local Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes the FBI, San Diego police and the county Sheriff's Department, are investigating.

POLL: OBAMA'S JOB APPROVAL SLIPS IN CALIFORNIA: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — A new Field Poll finds that support for President Barack Obama has slipped 10 points in the last five months among California voters.

In a poll released Tuesday, Field said just 52 percent approve of the job the president is doing, down from 62 percent in February.

Obama's popularity surged after his re-election last November, and 57 percent say they still have a favorable overall opinion of him.

Field says the biggest decline is among typical supporters such as registered Democrats, independents, women and voter under age 40. The poll did not ask why respondents felt the way they did.

It was based on telephone interviews with 846 registered voters from June 26 to July 21 and has a sampling error rate of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

CLOSURE OF 7 SACRAMENTO SCHOOLS UPHELD: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — A federal judge has upheld a decision by Sacramento City Unified to close seven elementary school campuses.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller ruled Monday that the case brought by parents was not warranted based on the evidence presented in court.

The plaintiffs filed suit last month, complaining that district officials chose to close campuses in low-income and predominantly minority neighborhoods that are "without political influence or organization" and, instead, keep schools open in predominantly white neighborhoods.

Officials have said the closures are necessary to help balance the budget.

District board president Jeff Cuneo has said there simply aren't enough kids to justify operation of the campuses.

The 47,000-student school district has seen a 10 percent enrollment decline in the past decade and anticipates further declines.

MAN CHARGED WITH TRYING TO STEAL NEWS CREW CAMERAS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Prosecutors say a man has been charged with trying to steal cameras from Los Angeles television news crews who were covering 'Justice for Trayvon' demonstrations following the acquittal of George Zimmerman.

Spokeswoman Jane Robison says 28-year-old Shareef Abdullah has pleaded not guilty to trying to steal the cameras when a small group of demonstrators became unruly in Los Angeles.

Abdulla allegedly swiped a $7,000 camera on July 13 from a Telemundo cameraman, who chased him down and took the camera back.

Later that night, Abdullah is accused of threatening to shoot a CBS news crew if they didn't hand over the camera, and he fled with it.

He was arrested July 16.

Protesters were upset by Zimmerman's acquittal in the shooting death of 16-year-old Trayvon Martin.