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KSBR News Briefs on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017

TV viewers alarmed by apocalyptic emergency alert

Some television viewers in southern California were startled when an apocalyptic emergency alert flashed on their screens.

The Orange County Register reports a Lake Forest woman says she was watching HGTV on her Cox Communications cable service yesterday when the alert flashed across the screen. Video shows the message included the voice of a man warning that "in the last days extremely violent time will come." The newspaper reports Spectrum cable customers also got the message.

A Cox spokesman tells the newspaper that viewers should have seen a typical emergency-broadcast test but a technical malfunction caused it to go on longer than it should have. He says the broadcast picked up an audio feed that bled into the alert.

The cable companies say they're investigating.


Off to Mexico? Prepare to wait at busiest US border crossing

The busiest border crossing in the United States will close this weekend to the more than 40,000 cars that pass through it daily to Mexico.

The closure between San Diego and Tijuana for work on a $741 million expansion project presents a monumental headache for border businesses, workers and tourists.

Travelers have been enduring hours-long waits on the Mexican side of the border to enter the U.S. with the constant addition of security measures since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The expansion is believed to be the largest renovation of a crossing along the nearly 2,000-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border. It has been in the works for years to ease congestion and boost cross-border commerce.

U.S. officials are warning people to avoid driving to Baja California from 3 a.m. Saturday until noon Monday, hoping to ease what is feared will be a massive traffic jam on the U.S. side as Mexico-bound cars are detoured to the much smaller Otay Mesa crossing to the east.


Man faces life sentence for killing 8 in Seal Beach salon

A 47-year-old man faces life in prison at his sentencing today for killing his ex-wife and seven others in a shooting rampage at the Seal Beach hair salon where she worked.

Former tugboat operator Scott Dekraai is scheduled to be sentenced in Santa Ana  for the 2011 killings to which he pleaded guilty three years ago.

His case has dragged on for years due to a scandal over authorities' use of informants to cull information from Dekraai and others housed in Orange County's jails.

While authorities can receive information from informants, they can't have snitches deliberately seek out information from inmates with legal representation.

Dekraai's public defender Scott Sanders began seeking records about informants after he noticed a jailhouse informant, who had chatted up a previous client, was speaking with Dekraai. Sanders accused authorities of trying to cover up a snitch program that had trained inmates to sidle up to high-profile defendants.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals removed the county district attorney's office from the case after finding deputies lied or withheld evidence about snitches.

The state Attorney General took over the prosecution and also recommended the death sentence. But when Goethals discovered that sheriff's authorities continued to refuse to turn over informant-related records, he removed capital punishment as an option, saying they had jeopardized the killer's right to a fair trial.


California hits Gatorade in court for "anti-water" videogame

Our state’s attorney general has reached a $300,000 settlement with Gatorade over allegations the company made "anti-water" statements in a cellphone game.

The settlement reached by Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Gatorade isn’t an admission of wrongdoing. Gatorade must also refrain from making statements "that disparage water or the consumption of water."

The dispute centers on a Gatorade-created cellphone application called "Bolt!" where users play Olympic runner Usain Bolt. A complaint filed by Becerra says the game encourages users to "keep your performance level high by avoiding water" and drink Gatorade instead.

Becerra says the marketing is misleading, unlawful and morally wrong.

Gatorade spokeswoman Katie Vidaillet says it was designed to highlight the benefits of sports drinks for athletes, and that parent company PepsiCo provides many water options.


Laguna Woods

The Laguna Woods City Council has directed its Ad Hoc Smoking & Tobacco Sales Regulations Committee to discuss whether the city should ban stores that sell only tobacco products.

Mayor Shari Horne says the Council had discussed the issue even though there is no current interest in those kinds of stores.

She says there’s a shopping center that’s being renovated and it has many openings for stores. And there’s concern about the health of residents.

She says the city already bans smoking in public places. It’s only allowed in private homes and cars and at least 20 feet from someone’s private door or window.