Southern California breaking news and trends

KPCC DIGEST AM (Sep. 13)—Bilingual brains, 'biblical' flooding, biggest fracking bill goes to Brown, death sentences for rape/murder

1. The bilingual brain doesn't switch, languages are always on (KPCC)

Researchers now believe that fluent bilinguals are always “on,” so to speak, with languages functioning in parallel, regardless of whether the language was used seconds earlier, or days ago.

These findings are encouraging to a bilingual movement that’s led to more schools offering dual language curriculum in California. Previously, policymakers have done more to discourage bilingualism than nurture it.

2. Evacuations as 'biblical' flooding rages in Colorado (NPR)

"As heavy rains brought wide ranging flood conditions across the state Thursday, the Front Range is bracing for more Friday," our colleagues at Northern Colorado's KUNC report, adding:

"The National Weather Service had described the water levels as 'biblical' Thursday. Reporter Luke Runyon noted on Twitter that it was an appropriate adjective given the state's recent run of drought and wildfire...State wide, the flooding has killed three."

3. 4 men given death sentences in India gang rape (KPCC)

An Indian court Friday sentenced to death four men for the gang rape and murder of a young New Delhi woman, ordering them to the gallows for a brutal attack.

Issuing his decision, Judge Yogesh Khanna said the attack "shocked the collective conscience" of India. "In these times, when crime against women is on the rise, the courts cannot turn a blind eye toward such gruesome crimes."

4. As talks continue, CIA gets some weapons to Syrian rebels (NPR)

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meet for a second day of talks in an effort to avert a possible strike by the U.S. military.

Meanwhile, news outlets are hearing reports of a "secretive Syrian military unit" hiding stocks of poison and munitions, a "covert CIA program" to supply "lethal aid" to the rebel Free Syrian Army, and new evidence about "mass summary executions."

5. California sues Whole Foods over sale of pesticides (KPCC)

California's pesticide regulator is suing Whole Foods Market, Inc. over four products the grocery retailer sells, saying they have not determined if the products are safe.

The suit seeks a court order requiring the grocer to explain why it's selling the products 365 Natural Pines Pellet Cat Litter, Purely Botanical Cat Flea Spray, Purely Botanical Dog Flea Spray and Enviroman Bugs R Done Bug spray, which do not comply with state safety laws.

6. Like the movie 'Up,' except the opposite (KPCC)

Before we even had a chance to tell you he was up, Jonathan Trappe is down: "Hmm, this doesn't look like France," says the American aviator on his Facebook page.

Trappe left from Caribou, Maine, on Thursday on a bid to fly across the Atlantic in a small boat hanging beneath about 300 helium-filled balloons (no one's ever made that trip using a "cluster balloon" rig). 350 miles in, Trappe is down on dry land in Canada.

7. The biggest Fracking bill in the nation (KPCC)

California lawmakers have sent legislation to the governor's desk that would enact the tightest rules in the nation on fracking, the controversial oil extraction practice.

Hydraulic fracturing -- a process that shoots water, sand and chemicals into rock formations to force petroleum out -- has been happening in California for a while. So Agoura Hills State Senator Fran Pavley found it alarming how little state regulators knew about the process when she asked them about it during a hearing.

8. New app tracks sexual predators (KPCC)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement launched a smartphone app to track sexual predators, traffickers and those who travel overseas for sex with minors.

The app — part of a federal effort called "Operation Predator" — has three main features: A tip section to report suspects anonymously, a news section, and an alert section, which already includes details about a "John Doe" case in L.A.

9. Where not to drive this weekend (KPCC)

No matter where you're headed this weekend, check in first with KPCC's mile-long list of potential hold ups, trouble spots and other slow going factors.

Our roundup of road work and transit snags begins with portions of Seal Beach Boulevard closed around I-405. There's also a tip sheet for drivers looking to join (or avoid) 110 Freeway traffic as the the Dodgers play the Giants on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

10. LBC's medical marijuana ordinance (KPCC)

Long Beach City Council members are looking at next steps after voting unanimously this week to move forward with an ordinance allowing a limited number of medical marijuana dispensaries within specific areas of the city.  

 The vote called on the city attorney to draft an ordinance that will limit the number of marijuana dispensaries and control their location through a new zoning effort - which the Planning Commission will have to approve.

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