9:11am

Thu March 22, 2012
Morning News Roundup

Connecting the Dots: Top news stories for Thursday, March 22, 2012

A new paper released by Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs suggests that U.S. policies regarding immigration unintentionally encourage immigrants to stay in the country, whether or not they entered legally. Despite swelling budgets for border control and immigration security, the number of temporary workers entering the country hit 517,000 in 2010, the highest number in history... 

As California continues to lead the nation in numbers of immigrants, it also leads in dual-language immersion schools. According to the California Department of Education, there are 318 such programs across the state (up from 201 in 2006). Most common are Spanish immersion programs, followed by Mandarin. While not all of them succeed, schools find that most immersion students thrive academically and the programs often have lengthy waiting lists...

The population of Asian Americans across the country has been growing faster than any other ethnic group over the past decade -- particularly in California and the Bay Area. In Daly City, for instance, 58.4 percent of residents are of Asian descent, according to U.S. Census data released Wednesday, of whom 33.3 percent identify as Filipino...  

California is also booming in what used to be an anomaly in the business world: women-owned firms. A report by a division of American Express estimates that there are over a million female-owned businesses across the state, compared to a total of 8.3 million in the nation...

Good news for the faltering economy: unemployment claims have hit the lowest point in four years. The Labor Department announced today that the weekly application numbers have fallen to 348,000, the lowest since March 2008...

But even those who are employed struggle to pay for the suddenly skyrocketing price of gas. The average price nationwide this month is $3.88 per gallon, with people in many states (including California) paying over $4. One reason for the sudden jump is due to the global demand for crude oil from developing nations in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East...

Some places across the Bay Area are doing away with cars entirely -- or at least parking spots. This summer, to follow in San Francisco's footsteps, several curbside parking spots in Oakland will be transformed into mini-plazas, or "parklets," where pedestrians and cyclists can park their bikes, have picnics, or just take a seat next to some fresh greenery.  

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