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Sep 6, 2014

Ex-lawyer for Aryan Nations dies during murder plot prison term

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Former Idaho attorney Edgar Steele, who once represented the Aryan Nations white supremacist group and expressed his own anti-Semitic and racist views, has died in California while serving a 50-year prison sentence for soliciting murder, a prison official said on Friday.

Steele, 69, was taken to a hospital near the federal prison where he was incarcerated in Victorville, California, and died on Thursday, said James Engleman, a spokesman for the high-security facility. A letter to the judge in Steele’s case said a preliminary finding for the cause of death was pneumonia.

Sep 4, 2014

Ex-fiancee of boxer Floyd Mayweather accuses him of online humiliation

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s ex-fiancee filed a lawsuit on Thursday accusing him of humiliating her after their breakup by posting online a copy of a sonogram from when she was pregnant with twins and saying she had an abortion.

The lawsuit filed by Shantel Jackson, 29, in Los Angeles Superior Court came little more than a week before the undefeated welterweight’s Sept. 13 rematch against Marcos Maidana.

Sep 4, 2014

Dutch national pleads guilty in U.S. to running online narcotics bazaar

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A Dutch national who created and ran an elaborate online marketplace for the buying and selling of narcotics has pleaded guilty to U.S. drug trafficking and money laundering charges, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Marc Willems, 45, of the Netherlands pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the two felony counts and admitted to launching “The Farmer’s Market,” which facilitated the sale of drugs like LSD, ecstasy and marijuana to users in the United States and dozens of other countries, the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Aug 30, 2014

Two California cities to give up military vehicles, amid local unease

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Two Northern California cities have made plans to rid themselves of armored vehicles built to withstand roadside bombs that their police got for free from the U.S. Defense Department, in a move that follows criticism of the police handling of protests in Missouri as too militarized.

Officials in San Jose and Davis took steps to jettison their so-called Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles this week.

Aug 28, 2014

Scientists solve mystery of moving Death Valley rocks

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A solution to the longstanding mystery of why rocks move erratically across an isolated patch of California’s Death Valley finally emerged on Thursday, when researchers published a study showing the driving force was sheets of wind-driven ice.

Trails from the movement of the rocks, which show them changing direction suddenly in their movement across the so-called Racetrack Playa, have long befuddled scientists and the general public. People wondered: How were the rocks moved?

Aug 28, 2014

U.S. to ease some deportations to Mexico under settlement

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. authorities have agreed to stop pressuring undocumented immigrants in Southern California to sign off on their own deportations under a legal settlement that may later allow some deportees to return from Mexico to seek U.S. legal residency, advocacy groups said on Wednesday.

The deal reached between the American Civil Liberties Union and federal officials stems from a lawsuit brought last year on behalf of other immigration rights groups and about 10 immigrants who accepted so-called “voluntary returns” to Mexico.

Aug 27, 2014

Surfers, spectators crowd Southern California beaches for giant waves

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Waves up to about 20 feet (6 meters) high crashed along the Southern California coast on Wednesday, as heavy and potentially dangerous surf from a Pacific cyclone drew crowds of surfers and spectators to Los Angeles-area beaches, officials said.

Large swells generated by Hurricane Marie began hitting the Southern California shore on Tuesday, causing coastal flooding in the Orange County town of Seal Beach after dark that inundated garages of 30 coastal homes.

Aug 21, 2014

Drought is slightly elevating ground in U.S. West, study finds

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A drought has robbed the U.S. West of 63 trillion gallons (238 trillion liters) of water, and with all that weight off the land the ground in the region has risen by several millimeters, according to a study released on Thursday.

The findings by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, were published in the online edition of the journal Science.

Aug 20, 2014

Northern California patient tested for possible Ebola exposure

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – Blood samples from a patient at a Northern California hospital, who is suspected of having been exposed to the deadly Ebola virus, will be tested by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials said.

There have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in the United States, though two American relief workers who contracted the disease in Liberia were flown back to America for treatment earlier this month.

Aug 15, 2014

Feeling lucky? Los Angeles mulls lottery system in local elections

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles city leaders are considering a lottery system to reward citizens for casting a ballot in local elections, in a measure to combat low voter turnout that officials and outside observers say could be a first for any U.S. municipality.

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission voted 3-0 on Thursday to recommend that members of the City Council move forward with the lottery idea, either by putting it before voters as a local initiative or by adopting it on their own, said commission president Nathan Hochman.