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Latest California news and updates

Money Matters - Simplified


Baby skinny jeans a hit for Gap

San Francisco -- California-based clothing retailer Gap said skinny jeans for youngsters account for 40 percent of jeans sales for infant and toddler girls.

Skinny jeans for tots are now available at Gap stores and other retailers including American Eagle and J. Crew's Crewcuts, the New York Daily News reported Monday.

Mark Breitbard, executive vice president of GapKids and Baby Gap, said parents are spending less on their own fashions during the recession, but sales are still strong for children's apparel.

"People tend to put their kids first," Breitbard said. "They'll pass on something for themselves to make sure their kids are still looked after."

California grapples with whooping cough epidemic

Whooping cough, or pertussis, the highly contagious and sometimes fatal lung infection characterized by bouts of uncontrollable coughing spells, at times so fierce that kids can break their ribs, is beginning to haunt California.

Hairpiece company sues Hilton for $35M

New York -- California's HairTech International is suing Paris Hilton for $35 million, claiming the socialite violated her contract to wear only its hairpieces.

The New York Post said the civil lawsuit filed this week pertained to a 2006 deal Hilton made with the company to wear and endorse its brand of hair extensions exclusively.

Hilton's publicist and a lawyer for HairTech did not return messages seeking comment, the Post said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

Wells Fargo ordered to repay $203M

San Francisco -- A federal judge in California said Wells Fargo & Co. needed to repay $203 million to depositors for abusing bank overdraft fees.depositors

"The bank went to considerable effort to hide these manipulations while constructing a facade of phony disclosure," Judge William Alsup wrote in his ruling in the case.

Wells Fargo was found to have charged fees up to 10 times on one overdraft mistake, CNNMoney.com reported Wednesday.

The overdraft fee at the bank was $35 per incident during the period covered in the case, which was 2005 through 2007. During that period, Wells Fargo's revenue for overdraft fees in California was $1.8 billion.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Richele Messick said the bank planned to appeal the ruling.

Pop singer Robbie Williams gets hitched

Hollywood -- British pop star Robbie Williams has married actress Ayda Field in a Beverley Hills, Calif., ceremony, a report says.

The pair was married at Williams' home in front of about 75 friends and family members, People magazine reported Sunday.

Williams, 36, and Field, 31, met in 2006.

"At last, Rob is happy," the singer's father, Pete Conway, said in a report. "That's what you want for your kids and this is the happiest I've seen him. Ayda is so beautiful and so delightful and so lovely and just so right for him. They are brilliant together."

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

1 million pounds of tainted ground beef recalled

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is sending an alert about ground beef products that can cause serious illness because they may be contaminated with E. coli.

Stars tweet, blog, cheer for Prop. 8 flip

Los Angeles -- Numerous celebrities voiced their approval Wednesday of U.S. Judge Vaughn R. Walker's decision to declare California's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

Walker announced in San Francisco his decision to overturn Proposition 8, a measure that reversed a California Supreme Court ruling that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage violated the state constitution.

In a statement issued to the Advocate.com, a publication targeted to a gay audience, entertainer Liza Minnelli praised Wednesday's ruling.

Women charged in kindergarten grad fight

Victorville, Calif. -- Authorities in California said charges have been filed against two women accused of sparking a melee during a kindergarten graduation ceremony.

Prosecutors said Queiona Burt, 31, of Victorville, and Marina Ruth Vargas, 29, of Hesperia, argued during the June 23 ceremony at Victorville's Puesta del Sol Elementary about a Facebook comment regarding the Los Angeles Lakers, the Victorville Daily Press reported Wednesday.

The women started physically fighting and the situation escalated when several men joined the brawl, prosecutors said.

Burt and Vargas were charged with interference with peaceful conduct on campus and unlawful acts committed at school grounds and are due in court Aug. 25.

College to be first 'grid positive'

Oroville, Calif. -- A California college says it is set to become the nation's only grid-positive college, producing more energy from its own on-site solar power than it uses.

Butte College in Oroville, Calif., will add 15.000 solar panels to its existing 10,000 by May 2011 to become the largest solar-producing college in the world, a college release said Wednesday.

"Once this solar project is completed, Butte College will provide enough clean renewable energy to cover all of our electricity needs and generate slightly more than we use -- which will be a source of additional revenue for the college," Dr. Diana Van Der Ploeg, Butte College President, said.

New chip uses light to send, receive data

San Jose, Calif. -- U.S. microprocessor giant Intel says it has developed a chip that can send and receive information at incredible speeds using beams of light.

The California chip maker said the fingernail-size prototype can transfer 100 hours of digital music from one device to another in one second, the San Jose Mercury News reported Wednesday.

Eventually, such chips could transmit the contents of a laptop's hard drive in one second and the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress in two minutes, the company says.