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In the Nation


Coyote-hunting contests are banned

California officials Wednesday banned coyote-hunting contests, which have sparked a clash between wildlife advocates and ranchers who offer cash and other prizes to sharpshooters who killed the most animals.

It was the first ban of its kind in the nation, according to Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote, which petitioned the state to end the contests.

The vote by the state Fish and Game Commission allows hunters to shoot as many of the predators as they wish year-round but stops the awarding of prizes.

Commission vice president Jack Baylis said the state also needs to limit how many predators a hunter can kill while allowing ranchers to manage their livestock.

California cattle ranchers lost more than $4 million in 2010 to coyotes and other predators, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. - AP

Pumpkin penalties

A New Hampshire college president says 170 students have been disciplined over violent disturbances at parties that coincided with a pumpkin festival two months ago. Keene State College president Anne Huot said two students were expelled, nine were suspended, and one withdrew. The town is debating whether to continue the festival, with nonprofits arguing it boosts fund-raisers and residents saying it has become costly mayhem. - AP


No flood woes so far A second day of much-needed rain fell across California on Wednesday, but the storm so far had produced few of the problems such as flooding and mudslides that threatened areas left barren by wildfires. Still, authorities kept watch on saturated slopes. Despite the storm's scale, experts said it would take many more similar storms to pull the state out of a three-year drought. - AP