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By Alex Dobuzinskis and Dana Feldman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Waves up to about 20 feet (6 meters) high crashed along the Southern California coast on Wednesday, as heavy and potentially dangerous surf from a Pacific cyclone drew crowds of surfers and spectators to Los Angeles-area beaches, officials said. Large swells generated by Hurricane Marie began hitting the Southern California shore on Tuesday, causing coastal flooding in the Orange County town of Seal Beach after dark that inundated garages of 30 coastal homes. Marie was downgraded on Wednesday to a tropical storm as it moved north some 900 miles off Mexico's Baja Peninsula, veering away from the West Coast but still causing extreme surf, National Weather Service weather specialist Stuart Ceto said. Waves from the storm were the largest seen in Southern California since a pair of hurricanes swept through the Pacific within weeks of each other in 1997, he said.
Emotions connected to memories can be rewritten, making bad events in the past seem better and good things appear worse, scientists from Japan and the United States have found. The discovery of the mechanism behind the process helps to explain the power of current psychotherapeutic treatments for mental illnesses such as depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), they said, and could offer new avenues for psychiatric help. "These findings validate the success of current psychotherapy, by revealing its underlying mechanism," research leader Susumu Tonegawa told AFP in Tokyo. The team, formed from a collaboration between Japan's RIKEN institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, used optogenetics -- a new brain-control technology which utilises light -- to better understand what happens when we reminisce.
Americans may not be through with Mitt Romney after all. The two-time Republican presidential candidate has repeatedly stressed over the past year that he is not interested in a third shot at the White House. The survey of Iowa Republican voters conducted by Suffolk University and USA Today showed that if Romney was added to the pool of potential 2016 Republican contenders, 35 percent of respondents would place him first in the Iowa caucuses, the political contest that kicks off the primary calendar. Arkansas ex-governor Mike Huckabee came in a distant second, at just nine percent, with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie trailing at 6.5 percent and former senator Rick Santorum at six percent.
Groups of mostly former FedEx drivers in California and Oregon can move forward with lawsuits alleging they are owed unpaid wages and benefits under state and federal labor laws after a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Portland, Oregon, reversed a lower court's ruling, noting that FedEx drivers wear company uniforms, drive company-approved vehicles and are told where and when to deliver packages. The appeals court noted that the claims brought by the California and Oregon drivers are among similar cases filed against FedEx in approximately 40 states. Other courts have sided with FedEx, finding that drivers are independent contractors.
Moroccan international defender Mehdi Benatia completed his medical on Wednesday and signed a five year deal with Bayern Munich to seal his move from Serie A side Roma. "I had some great times at Roma but I've been waiting impatiently for this new chapter in my life," added Benatia. Bayern said that the two clubs have agreed not to disclose the fee for the French-born centre-back, although Italian media reports estimated that Roma will receive around 30 million euros (£23.9m, $39.6m). "He has the necessary qualities to play for Bayern," added Bayern's sporting director Matthias Sammer.
By Jeremy Wagstaff SINGAPORE (Reuters) - 'Open data' - the trove of data-sets made publicly available by governments, organizations and businesses - isn't normally linked to high-wire politics, but just may have saved last month's Indonesian presidential elections from chaos. The embrace of open data has had few tangible benefits, but created a buzz and fostered a culture that prodded Indonesia's election commission to tweak the way it handles vote results.
By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - The maker of the popular Grand Theft Auto video games said Lindsay Lohan's lawsuit accusing it of basing a character on her without permission is frivolous and an effort by the actress to attract attention. In papers made public on Tuesday in a New York state court in Manhattan, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc called Lohan's claim "so legally meritless that it lacks any good-faith basis and can only have been filed for publicity purposes." Take-Two wants to dismiss the July 1 lawsuit and have Lohan pay its legal fees. A lawyer for Lohan did not immediately respond on Wednesday to requests for comment. The 28-year-old "Mean Girls" star accused Take-Two and its Rockstar Games unit of basing the Lacey Jonas character in "Grand Theft Auto V" on her.
South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) rejected calls for his resignation Wednesday following a shocking report into the abuse of hundreds of young people in Rotherham. The report, commissioned by Rotherham Council and published Tuesday, revealed that some 1,400 minors were sexually abused in the Yorkshire town over a 16-year period. It detailed "utterly appalling" incidents of gang rape, kidnapping and trafficking of girls as young as 11, and blamed local authorities for a "blatant" failure to act over child exploitation, the full scale of which is still not known. Rotherham Borough Council leader Roger Stone resigned immediately after the report's publication and PCC Shaun Wright, who was head of children's services at the council from 2005 to 2010, faced mounting calls Wednesday to follow his lead.
Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer has agreed to invest in fast-growing messaging startup Snapchat at a valuation close to $10 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter. At least one other strategic investor has committed to joining the latest round of funding, the Journal cited two of the people as saying. If the deal goes through, Snapchat would join a select club of tech startups with valuations of $10 billion or more, including car-ride service Uber and rooms-to-let startup AirBnB. Snapchat is similar to a new crop of popular mobile messaging apps that compete with established Internet services such as Twitter Inc's and Facebook.