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Nation Briefly

700K calls about switch to digital TV

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Nearly 700,000 calls were received by a federal hot line this week from people confused about the nationwide switch from analog to digital TV broadcasts that occurred Friday.

The Federal Communications Commission said Saturday that about 317,450 calls went into the help line, 1-888-CALL-FCC, on Friday alone, the day analog signals were cut off.

About a third of the calls were about federal coupons to pay for digital converter boxes, an indication that at least 100,000 people still didn’t have the right equipment to receive digital signals.

Hiker falls to his death in Yosemite

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) – A male hiker fell to his death on Saturday while climbing Yosemite’s famed Half Dome, park rangers said.

The man fell from the granite monolith at 3:40 p.m. on Saturday, said Yosemite National Ranger Scott Gediman.

Gediman said there are indications the hiker was using the cable handrails that help climbers make the 17-mile round-trip, which begins in the Yosemite Valley and ascends 8,842 feet.

The weather on Saturday made for dangerous conditions, and some 30 other Half Dome climbers were being escorted down by rangers on Saturday evening.

The last death at Half Dome was a Japanese hiker who slipped off of cables on June 16, 2007, as other hikers watched in horror.

Saturday’s death was also witnessed by a number of other hikers, Gediman said, and an investigation has been launched.

The park estimates that about 50,000 hikers use the cable handrails to climb Half Dome each year.