The Latest | Southern California breaking news and trends

KPCC DIGEST (Oct. 6)—Chemical weapons, nuclear sabotage, multiple commando raids, futuristic architecture, snack bootlegging

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1. Destruction of Syria's chemical weapons system begins (NPR)

In Syria, a team of international weapons experts has begun the process of destroying the country's chemical weapons arsenal.

"The inspectors used sledgehammers and explosives to begin the work," NPR's Deborah Amos reports for our Newscast unit. "They are on a tight deadline to destroy more than 1,000 tons of nerve gas and banned weapons within a year."

2. Iran says 4 have been arrested in nuclear sabotage plot (NPR)

Iran arrested four people it says were intent on sabotaging facilities in its nuclear program. The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says the four are being questioned.

As for who Iran might hold responsible for the alleged plot, the AP reports that Ali Akbar Salehi told the semiofficial Fars news agency, "hostile countries." Decoding the possible meaning of that statement, the AP says, "In Iranian official terminology, hostile countries are usually a reference to Israel and the United States."

3. Repositioning the IUD in the contraceptive market (NPR)

IUDs are highly effective forms of contraception, but fear of side effects, lack of training for doctors and costs can keep women away. Health organizations and private companies are trying to break down misconceptions and broaden access.

More than 99 percent effective, the World Health Organization says they are "the most widely used reversible contraceptive method globally." But few women in the U.S. use them, in part because IUDs have a checkered past of medical complications, deaths, and lawsuits.

4. A 'Pirate' victory for snacks (NPR)

Pirate Joe's ( or _Irate Joe's), the grocery store sued for selling Trader Joe's items in Canada, has won a battle in its legal fight with the supermarket chain. A Seattle judge granted the Vancouver store's motion to dismiss a trademark infringement lawsuit.

The store owner says his "blatant and unambiguous" admission that the products come from Trader Joe's — and his customers' awareness that there are no such stores in Canada — mean that he isn't harming the Trader Joe's brand.

5. Solar Decathlon: Futuristic architecture competition kicks off in OC Great Park (KPCC)

If your electricity or gas bill is getting you down, then take a trip to Irvine this week for a glimpse at solar-powered "net zero" homes of the future. The biennial Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build and operate affordable, attractive and energy-efficient homes.

6. Karen stalls in Gulf; maximum winds fall to 30 mph (NPR)

Karen, once feared to hit the U.S. Gulf Coast as a hurricane, has stalled out and weakened into a tropical depression. NWS says the storm is "drifting" at 2 mph, moving toward Louisiana's southeastern edge. As of early Sunday morning, it was about 165 miles west-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Forecasters say that heavy rain and a storm surge may cause localized flooding in low-lying areas along the coast, but no widespread weather warnings or watches are in place.

7. About 2,000 march in Hollywood immigration rally (KPCC)

About 2,000 supporters of immigration reform marched through Hollywood on Saturday as part of rallies nationwide to push for congressional action, while California's governor signed a series of bills on the topic, saying he was not going to wait on Washington.

8. Sandy Hook Elementary will be torn down (NPR)

In a referendum marked by a large turnout and an emphatic result, the people of Newtown, Conn. voted 4,504 to 558 to demolish Sandy Hook Elementary, the scene of a mass shooting last December killing 20 children and six staff members, and build a new school.

Saturday's vote asked citizens to decide whether to take nearly $50 million in state money to fund the demolition, and the planning and construction of a new school on essentially the same site.

9. U.S. captures Al-Qaida leader after raids in Libya and Somalia (NPR)

U.S. forces carried out two commando raids on suspected terrorist in Northern Africa Saturday.

In Libya, an al-Qaida leader indicted in the U.S. for the 1998 attacks on two U.S. embassies in East Africa was captured in a daytime raid; In Somalia, a Navy SEAL team aborted their mission after what was reportedly a fierce firefight to capture a leader of the militant group al-Shabab, which claimed credit for the bloody attack on a Nairobi shopping mall last month.