Calif. Bans Soda at Schools

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed legislation Thursday to ban carbonated soft drinks in state high schools in an effort to stem teenage obesity.

"California is facing an obesity epidemic," said Schwarzenegger, a former Mr. Olympia and longtime health advocate. "Today we are taking some first steps in creating a healthy future for California."

Schwarzenegger, who signed the legislation at the start of a day-long summit on health and obesity, said that 1 in 3 children in California is obese.

The law allows milk, drinks with at least half fruit or vegetable juice, and drinking water without sweetener. It would be phased in from 2007 and take full effect in 2009.

10-Year Fugitive Surrenders

LAS VEGAS -- A woman accused in a multimillion-dollar armored truck heist surrendered after more than 10 years on the run.

Heather Catherine Tallchief is accused of driving an armored truck loaded with cash away from the Circus Circus casino in October 1993. Tallchief, speaking to reporters before surrendering, acknowledged her role.

"I truly feel this is the right thing to do," Tallchief said. Her attorney said her boyfriend, also accused in the heist, "brainwashed" her into participating. The boyfriend, Roberto Solis, 60, is still a fugitive.

Lawyer Robert Axelrod was with Tallchief when she surrendered at U.S. District Court in Las Vegas. He said she was tired of hiding and wanted her 10-year-old son to have a normal life.

* NEWARK -- Three mice infected with the bacteria responsible for bubonic plague apparently disappeared from a laboratory two weeks ago, and authorities launched a search though health experts said there was scant public risk. The mice were unaccounted for at the Public Health Research Institute, which is on the campus of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and conducts bioterrorism research for the federal government.

* TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Gov. Jeb Bush (R) told Florida's child-protection agency to rescind a gasoline-saving measure that suspended required monthly visits to many of the state's nearly 50,000 foster children. The Department of Children and Families has been battered by scandal in recent years, including a foster child's 2001 disappearance that went unnoticed for a year because caseworkers did not make required checks.

* NORWALK, Ohio -- Michael and Sharen Gravelle, who are under investigation for having some of their 11 adopted children sleep in cages defended their actions, saying the homemade "enclosures" were meant to protect youngsters who set fires and injured each other. No charges have been filed, and the children are in foster care.

* BOSTON -- A woman who falsely accused her ex-boyfriend of rape was sentenced to three years in prison for committing perjury. Prosecutors said Rebecca Harland, 33, identified her attacker as Scott Smith to get back at him because he had left her.

* Store-bought swordfish contained mercury levels above the legal limit in an environmental study. A University of North Carolina lab found elevated mercury concentrations in 24 swordfish samples from supermarket chains including Safeway, Shaws, Albertsons and Whole Foods.

-- From News Services