Hoopa, Aug 10 (AP/UNB) — They probably don't train people for this at the Sheriff's Academy.
A patrol car was struck by a falling bear in Northern California last weekend.
Authorities say a Humboldt County sheriff's deputy was driving on State Route 96 on Aug. 3, answering a report of a drug overdose in the community of Orleans, when the bear fell or jumped onto the car, apparently from a steep embankment.
The bear smashed the hood and windshield. The patrol car hit an embankment, rolled onto its side and burst into flames.
The deputy managed to escape without serious injury.
The fire was contained to about half an acre but the car was gutted.
However, the California Department of Transportation stated: "Don't worry, the bear also fled the scene."
Shijiazhuang, Aug 8 (Xinhua/UNB) -- A stone tablet dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1384-1644) has been discovered in northern China's Hebei Province, according to local authorities.
With a height of 1.38 meters and width of 48 cm, the tablet was found in Nanhe County and has a history of 441 years, according to the county's cultural heritage administration.
A total of 518 characters were carved on the tablet, which recorded the history of a Fan family, as well as the local conditions of central and southern Hebei in the Ming Dynasty.
"The tablet has great historical value for studying the migration history, social and economic development, as well as folk customs in the region," said local history expert Lan Jianhui.
Manhattan Beach, Aug 8 (AP/UNB) — A Southern California seaside community is in an uproar after a home was given a new paint job featuring two huge emoji on a bright pink background.
Manhattan Beach residents railed against the makeover during a City Council meeting Tuesday night, citing problems with spectators and asserting that it was done with bad intent.
One speaker called the paint job graffiti and another said it was an attack on neighbors.
The new paint job appeared after neighbors reported the home was being used for short-term rentals and the homeowner was fined $4,000.
"This all got started because a neighbor was trying to help the city enforce the rules," resident Dina Doll told the council.
The home in the city's El Porto neighborhood stands out dramatically on a steep street that descends toward a pleasant beach usually filled with surfers. Both bright yellow emoji are cross-eyed and have distinctly big eyelashes. One has a goofy expression with its tongue hanging out. The other has its mouth zippered shut.
Owner Kathryn Kidd told KABC-TV she didn't realize short-term rentals weren't allowed and she denied the redecoration is retaliation.
"Oh no, no. Never," she told the station, while acknowledging that it may not fit in the neighborhood.
"Some people may like it," she said. "Some people don't like it."
New York, Aug 7 (AP/UNB) — When author Angela Flournoy was asked to dress as her favorite literary character for a magazine shoot four years ago, she knew how to look the part: a wide and "severe hat," a fur stole and the kind of stare that dares you to stare back.
For a day she could pretend to be Sula Peace, from Nobel laureate Toni Morrison's novel "Sula," an ode to female friendship and how it can endure the most shameless betrayals.
"The thing that has always drawn me to Sula is that she is extremely complicated," says Flournoy, whose novel "The Turner House" was a National Book Award finalist in 2015, "and the narrative doesn't make any excuses for her bad behavior, or ever make her less worthy."
Toni Morrison died this week at age 88 and left behind countless writers for whom her characters were like close acquaintances and her stories like parables to guide them through their own lives. Edwidge Danticat, the prize-winning Haitian-American author, called her "a literary mother to generations of writers, especially black women writers like myself." To ask a writer about reading Morrison or how Morrison influenced their work is, in part, to ask why they became writers at all.
Jamel Brinkley, a National Book Award finalist last fall for the story collection "A Lucky Man," was a teenager when he read "The Bluest Eye," Morrison's 1970 novel about a black girl wishing for blue eyes.
"I remember feeling overwhelmed by what the novel had to say about racism, and about notions of beauty and ugliness," he told The Associated Press in a recent email. "I felt like I was encountering something I hadn't seen in written work before, but at the same time so much of the book's sound and character felt familiar and affirmative to me, from life. It felt like a book that demanded you rise to certain level and become its reader, and it took a while before I could become that person."
Julia Alvarez, whose novels include the best-selling "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents," praised Morrison for helping "many of us writers in the margins" find their way. George Saunders cited "Beloved," her surreal, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about an escaped slave, for opening up his ideas of historical fiction and helping to inspire the dreamlike novel "Lincoln in the Bardo," winner of the Man Booker Prize. "There is something about the scale of her work that inspires other writers to think in a more expansive way," he added, "she inspires with her incredible language and also the moral-ethical intensity of her work."
The layers of rhythms and allusions in Morrison's prose, from the Bible to black folklore, could make picking up a Morrison book the beginning of a lifelong education. Oprah Winfrey has told the story of complaining to the author that her books were difficult to get through. Morrison's response: "That, my dear, is called reading." Saeed Jones, a prize-winning poet whose memoir "How We Fight for Our Lives" comes out this fall, remembered repeated efforts to read "The Bluest Eye" and the Morrison novel "Tar Baby." In 10th grade, he managed to finish "Sula," a book he had to discover on his own because his school didn't assign any black writers.
"I'd never seen a black woman like her in a literary novel," he told the AP, referring to the title character. "She was sexy, troubled and troubling. I hung on her every move. I've read the novel perhaps eight times now and its influence in my work is clear. I love characters who trouble the water even at risk of drowning in the process. "
Morrison's books so moved some readers they became determined to meet her. When poet Nikki Giovanni finished "The Bluest Eye," more than 40 years ago, she was living on Manhattan's Upper West Side. She immediately headed to the midtown offices of Random House, where Morrison was an editor, and told the receptionist she wanted to see her. Morrison came downstairs, went out with her for coffee and remained her friend for the rest of their lives. As a writer, she calls Morrison a "light," one who inspired her peers to tell their stories and not worry what others said. As a person, she calls her a "bench," a source of rest and support.
"When my mother died (a decade ago) I was incredibly sad," Giovanni told the AP. "I called Toni and were talking. I told Toni, 'I don't know what to do.' And she said, 'Girl, you're a writer. Write.' And that's what she taught us — that we're writers."
Surrogacy — in which a woman agrees to carry a baby for another person or couple — is a legal swamp in America, and in this, veteran crime novelist Stuart Neville, writing under the pen name Haylen Beck, has found the makings of an emotionally wrenching psychological thriller.
"Lost You" begins when Libby, recently abandoned by her husband, decides to take her toddler Ethan to a Florida resort to celebrate the start of her new life as a published author. But the good times turn bad when she turns her head for a moment. Ethan jumps on an elevator, the doors close, and he's gone.
At first, she fears Ethan has been lost, but she soon realizes it's worse — that Ethan has been found.
The bulk of the book consists of a flashback in which readers learn how Libby and Ethan arrived at this moment. The story involves a shady company that arranges surrogate births, a barren Libby whose history has left her with a dangerously obsessive need to raise a child, an impoverished young Anna who agrees to carry Libby's husband's baby for money and a snarl of state laws.
Neville, an Irish novelist whose previous work has made the best-seller lists of The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, says he adopted the pen name Haylen Beck for this and a previous stand-alone thriller because he didn't want to confuse fans who have come to expect his books to be part of his Belfast crime series.
"Lost You" toys with readers' emotions, making them fearful for both Libby and Anna at times, fearful of both at times and uncertain until the very end about who — if anyone — is in the right. The story unravels at an anxiety-inducing pace, and shocking twists appear around every corner.