California: War of the Whirlybirds

War of the Whirlybirds

When word came last week that six enemy helicopters were approaching the city, Pasadena police scrambled one of their own choppers to warn the intruders away. Though no shots were fired and the opposing whirlybirds never came closer than a half-mile from each other, the aerial confrontation underscored a tense standoff between state and local officials in Southern California over efforts to control an infestation of Mediterranean fruit flies.

Despite assurances that the insecticide poses no threat to humans, many people object to the state's program of spraying malathion from helicopters over a 400-sq.-mi. area that includes Los Angeles and Orange...

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