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Berkeley Responds to Student Protests With 'Escape' Door

Yeah, that didn't go over well

(Newser) - Last year, student protesters stormed the chancellor's suite at California's UC Berkeley, staging a sit-in outside Chancellor Nicholas Dirks' office and later marching to his actual residence. In a response that may have made student-administration relations worse, the university has now installed an emergency exit near Dirks' office,... More »

6.5K Hurt in Deck Collapses Since 2003

Dry rot is the usual culprit

(Newser) - An estimated 6,500 people have been rushed to emergency rooms with injuries from collapsing balconies, while 29—including six college students in Berkeley this week—have been killed since 2003. One reason, experts say, is balconies are particularly vulnerable to dry rot. "It's all about creating a... More »

Berkeley Complex Builder Paid $6.5M in Balcony Suits

And Segue Construction has one lawsuit that's still being litigated

(Newser) - A spokesman for the Bay Area contractor that built the Berkeley apartments where a balcony collapsed Tuesday , killing six, says the company has "a very good reputation" and has "never had an incident like this before," but a series of recent lawsuits suggests otherwise, the San Francisco ... More »

Dry Rot Blamed for Balcony Disaster

Wood in 8-year-old building was crumbling away

(Newser) - In what should be a wake-up call for property owners, investigators believe the horrific balcony accident that killed six young people and injured seven in Berkeley, Calif., yesterday was caused by a "classic case of dry rot"—even though the building was less than 10 years old. A... More »

Berkeley Balcony 'Disintegrates,' Killing 6

Ireland's foreign affairs minister says a number of young Irish students died

(Newser) - The fourth-floor balcony of an apartment building, crammed with Irish students celebrating a 21st birthday, collapsed early this morning in Berkeley, killing six and leaving seven others with injuries police are describing as "very serious and potentially life-threatening," Reuters reports. "We don't know what happened,"... More »

Wireless Group: Radiation Warnings Will 'Stoke Fear'

Industry association says Berkeley's cellphone warning violates First Amendment

(Newser) - Last month, the city council in Berkeley, Calif., unanimously approved a measure that would require all cellphones sold within the city to come with a warning notice that informs consumers about radiation exposure. But a wireless industry trade group is now suing the city, saying that the warning violates sellers'... More »

Police Officer Kills Teen 2 Miles From Ferguson

St. Louis County Police say suspect was armed, pointed gun at cop

(Newser) - The town of Berkeley, Mo., is roughly 2 miles from Ferguson and today finds itself dealing with some Ferguson-like protests after a police officer shot and killed a black teen who was allegedly armed last night. Per a statement posted to Facebook by St. Louis County Police, the officer, doing... More »

Berkeley Protesters Block Highway, Stop Train

More than 1K crowd I-80, Amtrak tracks in 3rd night

(Newser) - Protests against the grand jury decisions not to indict the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner continued for a third consecutive night in Berkeley, Calif., yesterday, with more than 1,000 people blocking traffic. Protesters thronged both sides of Interstate 80 as well as train tracks in... More »

Garner Protests Marred by Violence, Stolen Champagne

Business windows smashed as others call for peaceful protest

(Newser) - Protests over the killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown continued last night in the Bay Area , beginning peacefully but eventually leading to looting, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Some of the hundreds of demonstrators climbed on police cars, kicking their sirens; others smashed the windows of a Radio Shack;... More »

Berkeley to Dispensaries: Give Free Pot to the Poor

City council votes for 2% giveaway

(Newser) - It might sound like a slogan from the student radicals the city was famous for in the '60s, but Berkeley, Calif., really is giving free pot to the poor. The city council voted unanimously on Tuesday to order medical marijuana dispensaries to give at least 2% of their pot... More »

Hotel Evacuated After Toxic Suicide

Woman, 80, used dangerous chemical in room

(Newser) - The landmark Berkeley City Club was evacuated yesterday after an 80-year-old resident used a toxic chemical to kill herself in her room. Police in the California city say Hazmat teams and bomb squad technicians were called in after a note was found outside the woman's third-story apartment warning of... More »

Sheriff in Oakland Wants Surveillance Drone

Alameda County seeks it for rescues, SWAT operations, pot busts

(Newser) - It's beginning to look like surveillance drones are destined to become a routine part of police operations in the US. Alameda County—home to Oakland and Berkeley—is the latest to sign on, with Sheriff Greg Ahern planning to buy a small, unmanned drone to help with things like... More »

Berkeley Schools Invest in Attendance—and It Works

Brings in extra $1M in funding

(Newser) - Berkeley schools' superintendent had enough cash in hand to hire three new teachers a year ago—but he chose to take a risk. Bill Huyett opted to spend $250,000 on new administrative staff dedicated to making sure kids showed up at school. Looks like it worked: After nine months,... More »

Chief Sends 10 Cops to Find Son's iPhone

Michael Meehan says other theft victims get same treatment

(Newser) - Berkeley's police chief is in hot water for sending 10 officers to find his son's stolen phone—with four of them spending two hours each of overtime on the case. But Michael Meehan says anyone else would have received the same assistance, and anyway, it's the field... More »

Cop Shoots Gunman Near Berkeley Protests

Man shot in biz computer lab a half-mile from Occupy demonstration

(Newser) - As students and demonstrators began to gather at the University of California at Berkeley yesterday, a police officer shot an armed man inside a business computer lab on the other side of campus. Police say the suspect, who was taken to a local hospital for surgery, was shot after he... More »

Berkeley Cops Clash With Student Occupiers

Video shows them lashing out at crowd with batons

(Newser) - Things got ugly at UC Berkeley yesterday, when students tried to set up an Occupy encampment on campus against university orders. No sooner had students set up their tents than dozens of cops in riot gear descended on them, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. When students linked arms around the... More »

Protesters Face Down Berkeley Riot Cops

Activists win concessions after 7 hours on ledge

(Newser) - A tense day of protests against massive budget cuts at UC Berkeley ended with protesters claiming victory. Eight activists who spent seven hours chained together on a fourth-floor ledge as riot police faced off with protesters below came down after reaching an agreement with campus officials, the San Francisco Chronicle... More »

Berkeley May Anoint Army WikiLeaker a 'Hero'

Council will vote on Bradley Manning resolution next week

(Newser) - Bradley Manning is a traitor to some, but he might just be an official American hero to Berkeley. The city council will vote next week on a resolution praising the imprisoned Army private who's accused of delivering classified military documents to WikiLeaks, reports the San Francisco Chronicle . "If he... More »

New Trials Set for US Hikers in Iran

Courtroom showdown set for February 6

(Newser) - The two young American hikers charged with entering Iran illegally will go on trial in February, officials have announced. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 28, were supposed to go on trial early this month with companion Sarah Shourd, but authorities decided instead to free Shourd because of health concerns.... More »

First Muslim College in US Opens

Zaytuna is located in Berkeley

(Newser) - The first Muslim college in America quietly began classes this week, amid the continued fervor over the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero and a certain pastor bent on burning Korans. The location of Zaytuna College in Berkeley probably explains its relatively untroubled beginnings, though some conservatives have attacked the... More »

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