Coast Guard offloads $338 million worth of seized cocaine in San Diego

SAN DIEGO - Two months. Eight stops. About 20,000 pounds of smuggled cocaine, worth roughly $338 million.

On Monday, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter crew docked in San Diego and offloaded the hefty hauls that cutter crews intercepted from boats in the eastern Pacific Ocean carrying bundles of the illegal drug.

Coast Guard officials said that in eight different incidents between mid-November and mid-January, four of its cutter crews stopped and boarded eight boats in known drug routes at sea and seized nearly 20,000 pounds of cocaine. The incidents occurred off the west coasts of Mexico, Central and South America.

The work was in support of Campaign Martillo, which the Coast Guard said in a news release announcing the hauls is a regional initiative that targets trafficking "that threatens security and prosperity at the national, regional and international levels."

_The San Diego Union-Tribune

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More high school students than ever are coming out, but their despair remains acute

PHILADELPHIA - The proportion of high school students who identify as a sexual minority - lesbian, gay, bisexual or questioning - doubled in the past several years, according to a new study published Monday.

Yet those greater numbers have not necessarily meant they have found greater acceptance or peace. The study, based on data from a federal survey, found that those teens attempted suicide at a rate nearly four times higher than their heterosexual peers.

The research, published in the journal Pediatrics, was based on data from the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey from 2009 to 2017. The findings were based on survey information from Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, North Dakota, and Rhode Island, the only six states that continuously collected sexual orientation data for all those years.

These new findings, particularly the disproportionate rate of suicide attempts, dramatically point out the need for increased efforts to assist and support these young people, according to the researchers.

"Large disparities in suicide attempts persisted even as the% of students identifying as LGBQ increased. In 2017, more than 20% of LGBQ teens reported attempting suicide in the past year," said lead study author Julia Raifman, an assistant professor with Boston University's School of Public Health.

"It's critical that health and educational institutions have policies and programs in place to protect and improve LGBQ health, such as medical school curricula and high school health curricula that are inclusive of sexual minority health," Raifman said.

According to the study, 14.3% of U.S. teens identified as a sexual minority in 2017, compared with 7.3% in 2009. Adolescent girls in 2017 were twice as likely as boys to identify as a sexual minority.

The research also found that many more high schoolers are engaging in or at least experimenting with same-sex sexual contact. Their numbers increased from 7.7% of teens in 2009 to a little over 13% in 2017.

The sexual contact numbers were based on data from Delaware, Connecticut, Illinois and Rhode Island, the four states that continuously collected that information from 2009 to 2017.

_The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Record-breaking gust of wind looks like a mistake, forecasters say

LOS ANGELES - A potential record-breaking gust of 209 mph recorded atop a California peak is looking more unlikely after further study, National Weather Service forecasters said Monday.

The blast of wind from a cold storm moving south across the state was captured around 7:45 a.m. Sunday by an instrument at 9,186 feet atop Kirkwood Mountain, south of Lake Tahoe. If accurate, the wind would have shattered the record wind speed for the state of 199 mph set in 2017.

But forecasters now suspect the sensor wasn't working properly, said Cory Mueller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

"It doesn't seem realistic after looking at the wind sensor," he said. "It was reporting high winds when we were seeing lighter winds and higher humidity than we were actually experiencing. We believe the sensor wasn't working correctly."

The second-highest wind gust Sunday - clocking in at 125 mph - occurred at Alpine Summit at an elevation of 8,483 feet. Mueller said this reading appears to be accurate.

While perhaps not record-breaking, winds across much of the state were significant over the weekend. A window on the 41st floor of San Francisco's leaning Millennium Tower shattered Sunday amid strong winds, according to SFist. Strong overnight winds also toppled a tree, which landed on power lines in Altadena. On Monday, gusts knocked over a big rig on the 15 Freeway in Fontana.

Breezes from the chilly winter storm, which picked up much of its moisture from the Pacific Ocean as it moved toward Southern California over the weekend, are expected to linger until Tuesday morning.

_Los Angeles Times

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