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CARMICHAEL, Calif. (AP) — The doctor isn't in, but he can still see you now.

Remote presence robots are allowing physicians to "beam" themselves into hospitals to diagnose patients and offer medical advice during emergencies.

A growing number of hospitals are using telemedicine robots to expand access to medical specialists, especially in rural areas where there's a shortage of doctors.

Dignity Health, which runs Arizona, California and Nevada hospitals, began using the telemedicine machines five years ago to quickly diagnose patients suspected of suffering strokes.

The San Francisco-based health care provider now uses telemedicine machines in emergency rooms and intensive-care units at 20 California hospitals.

Earlier this year, Santa Barbara-based InTouch Health launched the RP-VITA, a remote presence robot approved for hospital use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Read more...

BREA, Calif. (AP) — The Olinda Alpha landfill in suburban Southern California has declared war on nuisance birds. But rather than use high-tech scarecrows, the massive dump in Brea has hired a falconer to fly his birds of prey to scare away the seagulls.

It's part of an explosion in falconry for profit in recent years, with one-time hobbyists launching their raptors into the skies above vineyards, farms, landfills, shopping complexes and golf courses nationwide.

Recent changes in federal guidelines have created a niche industry in the past five years.

Since 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has granted 99 special permits to use captive-bred birds of prey for "bird abatement." Companies from California to Texas promise a no-kill, natural solution to cities, wineries and landfills harassed by gulls, grackles and starlings.

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie seldom makes a political miscalculation.

But when the likely 2016 presidential candidate tried to dump Tom Kean Jr. as state Senate Republican leader, he suffered a rare defeat — and alienated his political mentor, the popular former Gov. Tom Kean Sr.

The elder Kean, who is 78, tells The Associated Press Christie's maneuver surprised and disappointed him.

The question of the governor's loyalty has come up before.

His 2012 Republican National Convention speech was panned as self-serving. Christie's allegiance to Mitt Romney was questioned again when the governor embraced President Obama days before the election.

Obama's win — and Romney's loss — gives a Republican like Christie an open shot at the party's presidential nomination in 2016.

Read more...

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