By JASON DEAREN | Associated Press – Mon, Oct 1, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California investigators searched Monday for thieves who made off with an estimated $2 million in precious gems and gold from a mining museum in the Sierra Nevada foothills during a brazen daytime robbery.
But they didn't get away with the biggest prize of all — the nearly 14-pound Fricot Nugget, a giant crystalline gold mass unearthed in the Gold Rush era.
During their attempt to grab the massive nugget, the robbers triggered an alarm that alerted authorities who swarmed the museum but were unable to nab the thieves.
At least two robbers wearing hoods and armed with pickaxes threatened workers during the heist Friday at the California Mining and Minerals Museum in Mariposa, the California Highway Patrol said.
SACRAMENTO (Reuters) - The use of solitary confinement for prolonged periods of time in California's Pelican Bay State Prison constitutes cruel and degrading treatment in violation of international law, according to Amnesty International report released on Thursday.
The human rights group found that roughly 3,000 prisoners in the super maximum security Pelican Bay facility in Northern California and the Corcoran State Prison in the state's rural heartland were being held in "extreme" isolation, with no direct human contact, access to rehabilitation programs, sunlight or fresh air.
California's state prisons have been plagued by hunger strikes, occasional violence and overcrowding and remain at more than 50 percent above capacity, despite a massive shift of low-level offenders to county jails that began last year.