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Jan 7, 2015

Charges dropped for California doctor who shot man after road clash

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – A California judge has dismissed attempted manslaughter and assault charges against a 71-year-old physician who shot a man who followed him to his driveway after a road-rage clash, a spokesman for prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Marin County Judge Kelly V. Simmons found on Tuesday that Dr. James Simon acted within the bounds of reason when he shot the man twice in the torso last July 17, said Barry Borden, a spokesman for the local District Attorney’s Office.

Jan 5, 2015

Bess Myerson, first Jewish Miss America, dead at age 90

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Bess Myerson, 90, the first Jewish Miss America and a frequent companion of the late New York Mayor Ed Koch who later fell from grace in a city scandal, has died after a long battle with dementia.

The Bronx-born Myerson, who served as Koch’s commissioner of cultural affairs and often appeared with him holding his hand, died on Dec. 14 at her Santa Monica, California, residence, Los Angeles County assistant chief coroner Ed Winter said on Monday.

Jan 2, 2015

Unauthorized immigrants line up for California driver’s licenses

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Thousands of immigrants lined up to apply for driver’s licenses in California under a law that went into effect on Friday, making the most populous U.S. state the latest to expand the privilege to people in the country illegally.

To handle the crush of new applicants, the Department of Motor Vehicles created special processing centers at four former businesses: a grocery store, a large dry cleaner, a movie theater and a restaurant.

Dec 27, 2014

Oregon mother calls daughter’s East Timor release ‘Christmas present’

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – The mother of an Oregon woman newly freed from two months of imprisonment in East Timor said on Friday that news of her daughter’s release was a “fantastic Christmas present,” but it remained uncertain how soon she could return to the United States.

Bernadette Kero, 64, of Klamath Falls, Oregon, said she last spoke to her daughter, Dr. Stacey Addison, two nights earlier, just after she was let out of prison in Dili, the capital of the Southeast Asian country also known as Timor-Leste.

Dec 26, 2014

U.S. police struggle to uncover threats on social media

SAN FRANCISCO/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. law enforcement agencies are a long way from being able to effectively track threats of the kind a gunman posted on Instagram before his execution-style murder of two New York City policemen last weekend.

Police need more data analytics and mining software to monitor social media sites such as Facebook (FB.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Twitter (TWTR.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), as well as trained personnel to make sense of what could be a deluge of data, say law enforcement officials and security experts.

Dec 24, 2014

Los Angeles judge denies Polanski bid to close 1977 child sex case

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A Los Angeles judge has declined a bid from attorneys for Roman Polanski to close the 1977 child sex case against the Oscar-winning director, a court spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The decision by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Brandlin on Tuesday is the latest defeat for the filmmaker in having the case dismissed without returning to the United States.

Dec 23, 2014

L.A. judge orders halt to smartphone app for medical pot delivery

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A judge in Los Angeles ordered a smartphone application company on Tuesday to stop arranging the delivery of medical marijuana to customers in the city in violation of a ban on such businesses, prosecutors said.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office filed a lawsuit on Dec. 2 seeking a preliminary injunction against the Nestdrop app in the latest salvo in an ongoing tug-of-war over medical cannabis in America’s second-largest city.

Dec 22, 2014

Court upholds cutback in California water drawdown to protect fish

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Federal officials acted properly when they curtailed water extraction from California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect fish and orca species at the expense of farmers and other water users in central California, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday.

The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2009 opinion by the National Marine Fisheries Service to force the cutbacks in water use, which have been in effect since then.

Dec 21, 2014

Protesters shut down part of Mall of America in Minnesota

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – More than 1,500 protesters against police violence shut down part of the Mall of America in Minnesota on Saturday, resulting in about 25 arrests during the final weekend before Christmas as shoppers scrambled to buy gifts at one of the nation’s largest shopping centers, officials said.

The protest and a smaller action at the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania were the latest in a series of U.S. demonstrations in recent weeks over grand jury decisions not to charge white police officers in the killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City.

Dec 19, 2014

Influential Rabbi Harold Schulweis dies at 89 in California

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Rabbi Harold Schulweis, a tireless innovator who implored followers to fight against genocide and see Judaism as a religion with universal significance, has died at age 89 at his Los Angeles home, his synagogue said in a statement.

Schulweis, who was regarded as one of the most influential rabbis of his generation, died on Thursday after a struggle with heart disease, his congregation Valley Beth Shalom said in a statement.