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Richard Gonzales

Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.

Gonzales joined NPR in May 1986. He covered the U.S. State Department during the Iran-Contra Affair and the fall of apartheid in South Africa. Four years later, he assumed the post of White House Correspondent and reported on the prelude to the Gulf War and President George W. Bush's unsuccessful re-election bid. Gonzales covered the U.S. Congress for NPR from 1993-94, focusing on NAFTA and immigration and welfare reform.

In September 1995, Gonzales moved to his current position after spending a year as a John S. Knight Fellow Journalism at Stanford University.

In 2009, Gonzales won the Broadcast Journalism Award from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. He also received the PASS Award in 2004 and 2005 from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency for reports on California's juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.

Prior to NPR, Gonzales was a freelance producer at public television station KQED in San Francisco. From 1979 to 1985, he held positions as a reporter, producer, and later, public affairs director at KPFA, a radio station in Berkeley, CA.

Gonzales graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in psychology and social relations. He is a co-founder of Familias Unidas, a bi-lingual social services program in his hometown of Richmond, California.

A federal jury in Los Angeles Friday found that Elon Musk did not defame a British cave explorer when he called him a "pedo guy" in a tweet last year.

Ron Leibman, who won a Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway play Angels in America and an Emmy Award on the short-lived CBS show Kaz, died Friday afternoon at the age of 82.

Leibman's death was confirmed to NPR by his agent, Robert Atterman, CEO of Abrams Artists Agency. No other details were available.

The New York-born actor and stage veteran was also known for playing Dr. Leonard Green, the father of Jennifer Aniston's Rachel Green, on TV's Friends.

Utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric announced a $13.5 billion settlement agreement to resolve all claims associated with several Northern California wildfires that killed dozens of people and destroyed thousands of businesses and homes. The wildfires have been tied to the company's equipment.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday fired the retiring police superintendent, Eddie Johnson, who she accused of lying about an incident in which he was found asleep at the wheel of his car a few blocks from his home after having drinks on a mid-October night.

Her announcement, at a hastily called news conference, came after reading an inspector general's report and viewing bodycam video of the incident. Johnson had said that he had neglected to take his blood pressure medication and had been drinking earlier in the evening.

William D. Ruckelshaus, the nation's first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and a former deputy attorney general who was perhaps best known for defying President Nixon during the Watergate scandal, has died at the age of 87 at his home in Medina, Wash.

The Department of Homeland Security separated thousands of migrant families under its "zero tolerance" policy despite knowing that it lacked the information technology to record and track the migrants, according to a blistering report by an internal government watchdog released Wednesday.

Updated at 8:40 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked the release of President Trump's tax records sought by congressional Democrats. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform had subpoenaed Trump's New York accounting firm in April to produce those documents.

Cruelty to animals is now a federal crime under a new law signed by President Trump on Monday.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) is a bipartisan initiative that bans the intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impalement or other serious harm to "living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians."

The law also bans "animal crush videos," meaning any photograph, motion picture film, video or digital recording or electronic image that depicts animal cruelty.

Russia could find itself barred from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after international anti-doping regulators concluded that it has failed to comply with testing procedures by tampering with laboratory data and samples.

Updated at 7:17 p.m. ET

U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced a national plan on Friday to increase the federal government's role in reducing the number of Native Americans who are murdered or reported missing every year.

Barr announced the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Initiative after a meeting with tribal leaders and law enforcement officials at the Flathead Reservation in Montana, home of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt is returning home to San Francisco, where it was first conceived and created in 1987 as an artistic expression of defiance against the deadly disease that ultimately claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

The quilt is a vast patchwork of more than 50,000 brightly colored and hand-crafted 3-by-6 panels commemorating the lives of more than 105,000 people who died of AIDS or related illnesses. Its caretaker, the Names Project, has been based in Atlanta for the past 18 years.

The president of the United Autoworkers Union, Gary Jones, abruptly resigned Wednesday just as union leaders announced they would expel him and another top UAW official in an unfolding corruption scandal.

In a related development, General Motors (GM) filed suit against rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) alleging that the company bribed UAW officials in order to get favorable labor contracts and disadvantage GM.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reported that the UAW's International Executive Board unanimously voted to expel Jones.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed new regulations Tuesday on hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and curbed steam-injected oil drilling in his state, extractive methods long opposed by environmentalists.

Under the new initiatives:

  • New permits for fracking will be subject to independent scientific review by experts at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the permitting process will be audited by the state Department of Finance to study compliance with state law.

Updated at 9:02 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday the Trump administration's latest pro-Israel change in U.S. policy, saying the State Department is rescinding a 1978 department legal opinion that viewed settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank as inconsistent with international law.

President Trump has issued pardons for two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan and restored the rank of a Navy SEAL who was acquitted of murder in Iraq.

"For more than two hundred years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country," said White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham in a statement released late Friday. "These actions are in keeping with this long history."

President Trump is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep his personal tax records out of the hands of the House Oversight Committee, marking the second time in two days that he has challenged a subpoena for those documents.

The number of people apprehended by U.S. authorities, either attempting to cross the southwest border illegally or presenting themselves at a port of entry, declined for the fifth consecutive month, according to new figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Just over 45,000 people were apprehended in October, down from a spike of 144,000 in May — an almost 70 percent decline.

Authorities also report a significant demographic shift among those apprehended.

President Trump is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block New York prosecutors' subpoenas for his tax records, setting the stage for a legal showdown over the separation of powers and his personal finances.

The president's private lawyers are asking the high court to block New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s efforts to get eight years of Trump's tax records. A New York grand jury issued a subpoena directed not to the president personally, but to an accounting firm that has long dealt with his personal finances, Mazars USA.

A U.S. appeals court opened the door for Congress to gain access to eight years of President Trump's tax records, setting the stage for a likely review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declined to revisit an earlier ruling by a three-judge panel that allowed Congress to subpoena the president's tax records. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoenaed those records in March.

A day after increasingly tense clashes between police and protesters in Hong Kong, the U.S. State Department called on both sides to "exercise restraint" and seek "dialogue."

"‎We condemn violence on all sides, extend our sympathies to victims of violence regardless of their political inclinations, and call for all parties — police and protesters — to exercise restraint," said State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus in a statement issued late Monday.

The self-driving Uber SUV involved in a crash that killed a Tempe, Ariz., woman last year did not recognize her as a jaywalking pedestrian and its braking system was not designed to avoid an imminent collision, according to a federal report released this week.

The conclusions by the National Transportation Safety Board were published ahead of a Nov. 19 meeting in Washington, D.C., called to discuss the cause of the crash and safety recommendations.

Two former employees of Twitter were charged with spying for Saudi Arabia by snooping into thousands of private accounts seeking personal information about critics of the Riyadh government, according to court documents filed Wednesday in San Francisco.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday released its Oct. 16 order allowing T-Mobile to merge with Sprint in a $26.5 billion deal. The commissioners approved the deal last month on a closed-door, 3-2 party-line vote.

The merger was praised by Republican commissioners as a boon for rural America and by Democratic commissioners as a disaster for consumers. The merger still faces a legal challenge by a coalition of state attorneys general.

Novelist Ernest J. Gaines, acclaimed author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and other novels about the struggles of African Americans in rural Louisiana, died at his home in Oscar, La., Tuesday at the age of 86.

Gaines died in his sleep of cardiac arrest, according to The Associated Press, citing the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. He is survived by his wife Dianne Saulney Gaines, four stepchildren and nine siblings.

Updated on Nov. 18 at 6:50 p.m. ET

California authorities announced they seized more than $1.5 billion worth of illegal marijuana in fiscal year 2019, or the rough equivalent of the state's legal market for cannabis.

More than 953,000 plants were seized from 345 raided grow sites around the state. Authorities arrested 148 people and confiscated 168 weapons under California's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting program.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday that he wants to speed up Pacific Gas & Electric's bankruptcy case, calling on the beleaguered utility's executives, creditors and shareholders, as well as wildfire victims, to reach "a consensual resolution" to the negotiations before next year's wildfire season.

"We want to broker that mediation and are calling on all the parties to come in early next week to jumpstart those negotiations," Newsom said in a Sacramento news conference.

Starting Jan. 1, it will cost more money to be a Boy Scout.

The announcement, made public last week on the Boy Scouts official blog, Scouting Wire, comes in response to rising operating costs mainly associated with the group's liability insurance as it faces hundreds of lawsuits alleging past sex abuse of youths by scout leaders.

The Washington Nationals beat the Houston Astros 6-2 in Game 7 of the World Series in Houston.

It is the Nationals' first championship since the franchise moved to Washington, D.C., in 2005.

The Nationals are also the first team in MLB history to win the World Series by winning four games as the visiting team.

Washington won despite being dominated by Houston starter Zack Greinke for better than six innings. The Nationals scored all of their runs in the last three innings.

The head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Frank McKenzie says the body of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was buried at sea after last weekend's commando raid in Syria in which he detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and two young children in order to avoid capture.

McKenzie, speaking at a Pentagon briefing, said the two children are believed to have been under the age of twelve. In their initial reports, U.S. officials had said that there were three children.

Updated Wednesday at 2:05 a.m. ET

The Washington Nationals avoided elimination by beating the Houston Astros 7-2 in Game 6 of the 2019 World Series, forcing a Game 7 in Houston on Wednesday.

But even a Series-defining Game 7 could have a tough time matching the tension and drama of Game 6 which featured a controversial call that appeared to kill — at least temporarily — a Washington rally.

Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg was the winning pitcher, lasting eight and a third innings, striking out seven while allowing only two runs on five hits.

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