Alex's Feed
May 20, 2015

Trial begins for Los Angeles officer accused of kicking woman who died after arrest

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A white Los Angeles police officer went on trial for assault on Wednesday over accusations she kicked a handcuffed black woman in a patrol car and ignored her pleas for medical attention during an arrest that ended with the woman’s death.

Officer Mary O’Callaghan is charged with assault under color of authority but not in the subsequent death of 35-year-old Alesia Thomas, who was being arrested for child abandonment.

May 19, 2015

Los Angeles gives preliminary approval to $15 minimum wage

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday to increase the minimum wage in the nation’s second-largest city to $15 an hour by 2020 from the current $9, in a victory for labor and community groups that have pushed for similar pay hikes in several U.S. municipalities.

The council’s 14-1 vote on the measure, which must come back before the panel for final approval, would require businesses with more than 25 employees to meet the $15 pay level by 2020, while smaller businesses would have an extra year to comply.

May 15, 2015

NASA finds Antarctic ice shelf a few years from disintegration

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The last intact section of one of Antarctica’s mammoth ice shelves is weakening fast and will likely disintegrate completely in the next few years, contributing further to rising sea levels, according to a NASA study released on Thursday.

The research focused on a remnant of the so-called Larsen B Ice Shelf, which has existed for at least 10,000 years but partially collapsed in 2002. What is left covers about 625 square miles (1,600 square km), about half the size of Rhode Island.

May 14, 2015

Former top sheriff’s officials indicted in Los Angeles jail scandal

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A federal grand jury indicted a former Los Angeles County undersheriff and a retired captain on obstruction and conspiracy charges in a long-running investigation of inmate abuse and corruption, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, who was the second-highest official in the Sheriff’s Department and is currently mayor of the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena, is accused alongside another former official of leading efforts to quash a federal probe of corruption and civil rights violations at two downtown jail complexes, acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura said.

May 13, 2015

California city takes away welcome mat from Airbnb, other rental services

LOS ANGELES, May 13 (Reuters) – Santa Monica, a prime
Southern California tourist destination, has approved
restrictions on short-term home rentals that will limit
companies such as Airbnb, in what the city’s mayor touted as
model regulation for other communities to adopt.

The Santa Monica City Council voted 7-0 on Tuesday to
prohibit housing unit rentals of less than a month, unless the
primary resident is also staying there and will pony up the same
14 percent occupancy tax hotels in the city must pay.

May 11, 2015

Blue whales, unused to dodging, at risk from ships: Stanford biologist

LOS ANGELES, May 11 (Reuters) – Blue whales are vulnerable
to cargo ship strikes because they are so used to being the
largest animal in the ocean that they often fail to avoid the
vessels, a Stanford University biologist has found.

The study published in the latest edition of the journal
Endangered Species Research is based on direct observation in
the waters off Southern California, where a team used GPS
technology and suction cups to track how the giant mammals
respond when a vessel is barreling toward them.

May 10, 2015

Tornado kills one in north Texas, several twisters touch down in Colorado

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – A tornado killed one person in a rural part of north Texas on Saturday and destroyed at least two houses, a local emergency official said, just days after a series of twisters tore through several Great Plains states.

The twister touched down about 5 miles (8 km) south of the town of Cisco, an area of farms and small ranches, where it traveled in a straight line and tore through several houses in its path, said Eastland County Judge Rex Fields, the local emergency management coordinator.

May 9, 2015

U.S. sports rank most homophobic among six English-speaking countries- survey

LOS ANGELES, May 9 (Reuters) – Homophobia in sports is worse
in the United States than in other English-speaking countries
and globally is more acute in team sports than other parts of
society, according to a survey released on Saturday.

The “Out on the Fields” study conducted by the sports and
entertainment market research firm Repucom found homophobia is
common in athletics in the United States, Canada, Australia, New
Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland, with gay and lesbian
athletes often hearing slurs from teammates while spectators
encounter similar language in the stands.

May 8, 2015

San Francisco prosecutors dismiss eight cases in police texts probe

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – San Francisco prosecutors reviewing thousands of arrests linked to 14 police officers who traded racist and homophobic text messages have dismissed eight criminal cases in an ongoing review, the District Attorney’s Office said on Friday.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón created a task force of prosecutors to examine the integrity of 3,000 arrests involving the officers, whose text messages surfaced in March as part of a federal corruption probe. On Thursday he named three retired judges to join the group, suggesting they would bring an independent view to the cases.

May 8, 2015

Man found guilty of murder in 1995 kidnapping and stabbing in California

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A Southern California man was convicted of murder on Thursday in a 1995 kidnapping and stabbing that gained international attention when his accomplice, who had become a professor in Europe, was arrested three years ago.

The case stems from the killing in Orange County of 24-year-old Gonzalo Ramirez, who was hacked to death with a meat cleaver.