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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.

Updated Feb. 8 at 2:45 p.m. ET

Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos is accusing American Media Inc., parent company of the National Enquirer, of extortion, saying it threatened to publish potentially embarrassing personal photos of him if he did not stop an investigation into how the tabloid obtained other private photos and texts of him and his girlfriend.

Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who made history as a player, manager and league executive, has died at 83 at his home in California.

Robinson, one of the game's most feared sluggers and a fierce competitor, starred in both of baseball's major leagues. He later became baseball's first African-American manager.

Pope Francis, for the first time, acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops, including a case in which some clergy used women as sex slaves. He said on Tuesday that he is committed to ending the problem in the Roman Catholic Church.

An Alabama police officer who shot and killed a man he mistook for the gunman in a mall shooting will not be charged with a crime, the state's attorney general announced Tuesday.

Emantic "EJ" Bradford Jr., 21, was killed by an officer whose name has not been released and is identified only as "Officer 1" on Thanksgiving night inside the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Ala.

Hollywood's biggest night, the Oscars ceremonies, will not feature an official host guiding the event this year, according to the president of ABC Entertainment which will broadcast the Academy Awards on Feb. 24.

Karey Burke told television reporters that the telecast would have "a pretty exciting opening" even without a host.

This is not the first time that the awards show went on without a host.

A growing number of European nations publicly backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as his country's interim president, ratcheting up diplomatic pressure on President Nicolás Maduro to step down from power.

Spain, Britain, France and Germany recognized Guaidó Monday after Maduro failed to comply with their demands that new presidential elections be held in the oil-rich South American country to forestall a violent end to the conflict over who should govern Venezuela.

A federal judge in Seattle has ordered the Defense Department to stop discriminating against naturalized citizens who volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army under a program to attract certain immigrants with specialized skills.

Updated Feb. 2 at 12:37 a.m. ET

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam apologized on Friday for appearing in a "clearly racist and offensive" costume in his 1984 medical school yearbook. The photo shows a person wearing blackface standing next to another person wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe.

Criticism from the right and left mounted Friday night, including calls for the governor to resign.

Northam, a Democrat, said in a statement: "I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now."

A federal appeals panel has blocked a San Francisco law requiring the beverage industry to post health warnings on advertisements for soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks.

In a unanimous ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law, approved by San Francisco voters in June 2015, is an unconstitutional infringement on commercial speech.

A federal judge in California blasted utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric on Wednesday, accusing the beleaguered company of putting profits before customer safety and not doing enough to keep trees away from its power lines, thus increasing the risk of wildfires.

The Trump administration began implementing a new hard-line immigration policy by sending a single asylum-seeker from Central America back to Tijuana, Mexico, to await his assigned court date later this year in San Diego.

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday

Four Houston police officers were shot and wounded, and a fifth was injured, in a drug bust gone awry in a southeast Houston neighborhood Monday afternoon. Two of the officers were struck in the neck, but are reported to be in critical but stable condition.

Two suspects who police said initiated a gun battle were pronounced dead at the scene, according to Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.

Updated 5:00 a.m. ET Tuesday

California residents who suffered catastrophic losses due to the November 2018 wildfires filed insurance claims totaling $11.4 billion, according to new estimates released by state insurance officials.

The announcement by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara represents a 25 percent hike — more than $2.3 billion — over the estimate in December.

Updated Jan. 25 at 9:05 a.m. ET

The Trump administration on Friday is implementing its plan requiring asylum-seekers, mainly from Central America, to remain in Mexico while their legal proceedings are conducted in the U.S. court system.

California state fire investigators say that a 2017 wildfire that killed 22 people in Sonoma county was ignited by a private electrical system and not by utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric.

Attorneys for utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric say a federal court proposal to require the company to enact a major fire-prevention program could cost as much as $150 billion dollars and the removal of 100 million trees from Northern California.

Updated at 8:21 p.m. ET

Mariano Rivera, the New York Yankees' closing pitcher who posted a record 652 saves over his 19-year career, is the first player to be unanimously selected for Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame.

Two other pitchers, the late Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina, and slugger Edgar Martinez were also elected.

Rivera received all 425 votes cast by the Baseball Writers Association of America. The stars all received at least 75 percent of the ballots cast. Players must be retired for five years to be eligible for the honor.

The U.S. State Department has identified the American killed Tuesday in a terrorist attack on a luxury hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, as Jason Spindler of Houston.

In a statement issued late Wednesday, Deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said,

As the Trump administration demands funding for a border wall to stop illegal immigration, a new study finds that for the seventh consecutive year, visa overstays far exceeded unauthorized border crossings.

The report released Wednesday by the Center for Migration Studies of New York finds that from 2016-2017, people who overstayed their visas accounted for 62 percent of the newly undocumented, while 38 percent had crossed a border illegally.

More than half of the workforce of the Internal Revenue Service, or about 46,000 employees, will be recalled to work for the tax filing season despite the partial government shutdown, according to a Treasury Department announcement.

The recalled employees will not be paid during the shutdown, now in its fourth week, although all federal workers have been promised back pay when funding is approved.

Almost 43,000 immigration court hearings have been canceled as a result of the partial government shutdown, freezing an already heavily backlogged system, according to a report by researchers tracking immigration data. Another 20,000 hearings will be canceled for every additional week the government is not operating.

Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET

President Trump, amid the longest shutdown in U.S. history, has channeled his wrath at the FBI, following a New York Times report that the agency launched an investigation into whether he had been working on Russia's behalf when he fired James Comey as director of the bureau in May 2017.

Trump took to Twitter on Saturday, beginning a stream of angry tweets around 7 a.m. He did not refute the Times' reporting but instead went after the integrity of the nation's main federal law enforcement agency.

SpaceX, the pioneering space technology company led by Elon Musk, will lay off about 10 percent of its more than 6,000 employees.

The news was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

In a statement, a company spokesman confirmed the layoff without specifying how many employees will be released.

The Congolese capital of Kinshasa is reported relatively quiet early Thursday morning as the nation's electoral commission waited until the wee hours to declare opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi the provisional winner of last month's long-delayed presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But runner-up Martin Fayulu is disputing the results, condemning the election results as "rigged, fabricated and invented," according to the Associated Press.

A federal judge in California dealt utility giant PG&E another setback Wednesday by proposing to restrict the beleaguered company from using unsafe power lines during the 2019 California fire season.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco, who is overseeing the utility after a 2010 gas pipeline explosion, said the company should be required to "remove or trim all trees that could fall onto its power lines" and reinspect its grid.

The utility has two weeks to respond as Judge Alsup set a new hearing for Jan. 30.

Mexican archaeologists have discovered what they say is the first temple of a pre-Hispanic fertility god known as the Flayed Lord who is depicted as a skinned human corpse.

The discovery is being hailed as significant by authorities at Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History because it is a whole temple, not merely depictions of the deity, which have been found in other cultures.

Experts found two skull-like stone carvings and a stone trunk depicting the god Xipe Totec.

Utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric is being accused of falsifying gas pipeline safety records by California regulators in the aftermath of a pipeline explosion that killed eight people in 2010.

The California Public Utilities Commission says it has opened a proceeding for what its staff says are "systemic violations of rules" governing pipeline safety. An investigation found that the utility falsified records over a five-year period.

A federal judge in Texas issued a ruling Friday declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, apparently setting the stage for another hearing on the health care law by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor invalidates what's commonly referred to as Obamacare nationwide and casts into doubt the survival of the law on the eve of the deadline for tens of millions of Americans to sign up for health care coverage in 2019.

Updated at 4:57 p.m. ET Friday

A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who crossed the southern border into the United States illegally earlier this month died of dehydration and shock after being apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol in New Mexico.

French authorities say the man suspected of launching a shooting attack on the Strasbourg Christmas market that killed three people and wounded 13 others was slain by police Thursday, ending an extensive two-day manhunt.

The suspect had evaded police since the attack Tuesday night, despite a massive search involving hundreds of police and soldiers.

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