Pig-to-human heart transplant a transformative moment for medicine, expert says

SAN DIEGO — Physicians at the University of Maryland Medical Center stunned many people this week when they announced that they had successfully transplanted the heart of a pig into a 57-year-old man who was dying of a heart disorder. It was the first successful attempt to place a pig’s heart into a human. And it immediately raised hopes that such a procedure could eventually be used to treat large numbers of people who need a new heart to survive. The medical team used the heart of a pig that had been genetically modified 10 times in hopes of making the organ perform normally in the recipient...

The first transgender woman officeholder in Baja wants to make Tijuana more inclusive

TIJUANA, Mexico — The first transgender woman to hold public office in Baja California is determined to help develop a more inclusive language in Tijuana — and with it, a city government aimed at more awareness and acceptance of the broad spectrum of gender identities. But, are Tijuaneses — who live in a state where the federal government recently issued an alert about "high levels of violence against women," and a nation considered one of the worst in the world in terms of violence against homosexuals and those who are transgender — ready for such a shift? "'Either I kill myself or they'll ki...

Dog tracker has helped hundreds of families reunite with their runaway pets

JAMUL, Calif. -- Seven years ago, Babs Fry was devastated when a pregnant terrier mix dog she was fostering at her Jamul ranch disappeared without a trace. Then she got an email from a professional pet tracker offering some unusual dog recovery tips that blew Fry's mind. "I lost a dog and was very fearful and didn't think anyone would be able to catch her. Then I got a call from this woman and I thought she was crazy. But sure enough, 10 days later that dog was in a trap in my driveway." That was the beginning of a major life shift for Fry, a longtime Realtor who now dedicates all of her energ...

Ex-Marine commander faces discharge over amphibious vehicle sinking that killed 9 near San Diego

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — The former commanding officer of the the battalion landing team involved in the 2020 deadly assault amphibious vehicle sinking off the San Diego coast could be kicked out of the service months before he’s eligible for retirement. A board of inquiry into his involvement began on Camp Pendleton Tuesday — the second of several planned administrative boards for Marines after an investigation found they bore some responsibility for the tragedy that cost eight young Marines and a sailor their lives. A previously announced administrative separation board for an unnamed platoo...

Rabbi injured in Poway synagogue attack gets prison time for fraud schemes

SAN DIEGO — The founding rabbi of a California synagogue who rose to national prominence after he was wounded in an antisemitic shooting, and was then exposed as the perpetrator of a multimillion-dollar fraud, was sentenced Tuesday to 14 months in prison. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys had recommended home confinement for Yisroel Goldstein, citing his leadership in the weeks following the 2019 attack on Chabad of Poway, the immense physical and emotional trauma the former rabbi continues to battle, and his cooperation in the FBI's fraud investigation. But the judge rejected that punish...

In a historic first, aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln deploys under command of female captain

CORONADO, Calif. — A nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is steaming toward the western Pacific on a routine deployment and, for the first time ever, it's doing so with a female captain in charge. For the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, which left its berth at Naval Air Station North Island on Monday morning, the deployment marks the culmination of nine months of training and work-ups. It's also the first carrier deployment for a Marine Corps F-35C fighter squadron. The carrier's deployment to the region comes amid rising hostile rhetoric between China and Taiwan. Rear Adm. Jeff...

Judge says Navy violates rights of SEALs in denying religious waivers on vaccines

SAN DIEGO — A U.S. District Court judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction Monday in one of the ongoing federal lawsuits brought by service members challenging the Pentagon's coronavirus vaccine mandate, preventing the service from disciplining 35 sailors for refusing the vaccine. The case, brought by religious-liberty-focused law firm the First Liberty Institute, includes 35 Naval Special Warfare sailors, several of whom are based in Southern California. San Diego is home to the Naval Special Warfare Command including several Navy SEAL teams, special warfare combat craft crewmen and explo...

Poway synagogue shooter gets federal life sentence

SAN DIEGO — The man who opened fire on a Poway synagogue in a deadly antisemitic attack was sentenced in San Diego federal court Tuesday to life in prison, plus 30 years. The hearing marks the final chapter in the dual prosecution of John T. Earnest and adds to the life term that was handed down to him three months earlier in state court. Earnest, 22, pleaded guilty in September to a 113-count federal indictment that charged him with civil rights, hate crimes and weapons charges stemming from the April 27, 2019, attack on the synagogue at Chabad of Poway and arson at the Dar-ul-Arqam mosque in...

California’s disputed gender diversity law catapults a record number of women into corporate board seats

Despite ongoing legal challenges, California’s 2018 gender diversity law has helped propel a record number of women into corporate board seats in the San Diego region and statewide, according to a new study. Women directors at San Diego publicly traded companies rose from 12 percent to 31 percent of total board seats since the law — SB 826 — passed three years ago, said the California Partners Project, an advocacy group tracking the impact of the legislation. Across California, women now hold 29 percent of public company board seats, up from 15.5 percent in 2018. “I think it is hard to argue t...

‘Renting to foreigners is prohibited’: Honduran woman struggles to survive in southern Mexico

TAPACHULA, Mexico — Jyohana was not allowed to speak in the apartment building where she lived in Tapachula. If she did, she would have probably lost her home. That’s because the building where the 32-year-old Honduran woman has rented in the southern Mexican city for much of this year does not allow foreigners. It’s written into the rules and regulations. Finding housing in the small city with only three migrant shelters would be difficult enough for the thousands of asylum-seekers trapped there by Mexican immigration enforcement even without the rampant xenophobia in the region. The anti-mig...

Lawsuit settled against former No. 2 in San Diego DA's office, his daughter

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County has agreed to pay $125,000 to a man who filed a civil rights suit after discovering he was the target of a secret investigation ordered by the former assistant district attorney aimed at getting damaging information for use in a child custody battle. The settlement reached on Nov. 16 resolves a lawsuit filed by Nathaniel Moore against the county, former Assistant DA Jesse Rodriguez and Elizabeth Rodriguez, his daughter who is also a prosecutor. Elizabeth Rodriguez and Moore had a relationship for several years and are parents of a child born in 2017. He had sued in...

Mural depicting slain Black man Ahmaud Arbery defaced in San Diego

SAN DIEGO — A mural in North Park depicting Ahmaud Arbery, whose shooting death in Georgia resulted in a trial in which three men were convicted of murder last week, has been defaced. It is unclear when the portrait of Arbery on the boarded-up windows of the shuttered Pekin Cafe Chop Suey restaurant on University Avenue was defaced with light pink paint, which covered parts of the artwork. San Diego police Lt. Adam Sharki, a spokesperson, said the department became aware of the paint after a Union-Tribune reporter asked about it on Tuesday. Sharki said no one had reported the incident. Pamuela...

The majority of vaccine exemption requests were denied by Marine Corps

SAN DIEGO — Thousands of active-duty Marines remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 as of Monday, one day after the service's Nov. 28 deadline, the Corps said in a statement. Most of them will find themselves booted from the military if the service follows-through with its current vaccine policy. The service did not specify how many Marines haven't received the vaccine but said 95 percent of its active-duty members have received at least one dose. The Corps lags the other military branches in vaccine compliance rate, according to data from the Pentagon. Gen. David Berger, the commandant of the M...

Conservative ALEC political convention to meet in San Diego

San Diego will host hundreds of lawmakers, most of them Republicans, when the American Legislative Exchange Council holds its annual policy summit next month at the Manchester Grand Hyatt downtown. The three-day 2021 States & Nation Policy Summit is scheduled to begin Wednesday and end Friday. The event typically draws state legislators, including new ALEC members and recently elected lawmakers, national leaders and policy experts to share knowledge and experience in discussions of what organizers described as "critical issues facing the states and nation." A press release about the summit lis...

College classmates raised concerns about Poway synagogue shooter before 2019 attack

SAN MARCOS, Calif. — Not long before a 19-year-old North County nursing student opened fire in a Poway synagogue, a hate crime that killed a congregant and wounded three others, he espoused ideology that alarmed his classmates. John T. Earnest shared white supremist material with at least two of his Cal State San Marcos classmates, according to a newly obtained court filing. He studied Hitler. He had a copy of the manifesto of the man who shot up two New Zealand mosques in March 2019 — and he liked it. Two fellow nursing students took their concerns about Earnest to a professor, who reported i...