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Dec 14, 2013

Veterans group to fight order to tear down landmark California cross

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A veterans association that built a massive cross overlooking San Diego as part of a war memorial plans to fight a federal judge’s order to tear it down, a lawyer for the group said on Friday.

Attorney Jeff Mateer said he hoped the U.S. Supreme Court, which last year declined to intervene in the 25-year legal battle, will step in now that there has been an order to dismantle the cross, and rule for his clients.

Dec 13, 2013

U.S. judge orders landmark California cross taken down

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A massive cross that serves as part of a war memorial on a San Diego hilltop must be dismantled because it has been found to violate a constitutional ban on government endorsement of religion, a federal judge grudgingly ruled on Thursday.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns marks the latest development in a long-running legal battle over the 43-foot-tall cross, a local landmark that has stood on top of Mount Soledad since 1954 and is visible for miles.

Dec 5, 2013

California Governor Jerry Brown would easily win re-election: poll

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California Governor Jerry Brown has earned the highest approval ratings of his current tenure and is on track to easily win re-election if he decides to run again next year, according to a Field Poll released on Thursday.

The statewide survey showed that 58 percent of registered California voters currently approve of the job Brown, a Democrat, is doing as governor, with 33 percent disapproving and 9 percent having no opinion.

Dec 4, 2013

Accused Los Angeles airport gunman due in court, prosecutors seek to deny bail

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A California man charged with opening fire at Los Angeles International Airport last month, killing a federal security screener and wounding three other people, was due in court on Wednesday as prosecutors seek to deny him bail.

Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, was taken into custody following the November 1 attack at Terminal 3 of one of the world’s busiest airports after police shot him four times, including in the face, wounding him critically.

Dec 3, 2013

Prosecutors want accused LA airport gunman held without bail

LOS ANGELES, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Prosecutors asked a federal
magistrate judge on Tuesday to deny bail for a California man
accused of opening fire at Los Angeles International Airport
last month, killing a security agent and wounding three other

Federal prosecutors said in court papers filed a day ahead
of an initial court appearance for Paul Anthony Ciancia that he
should be jailed without bond until trial because he represented
a flight risk and danger to the community.

Nov 22, 2013

California university students charged in racist bullying of roommate

By Dan Whitcomb

(Reuters) – Three California university students accused of taunting their black roommate with racial slurs and references to slavery, once trying to clamp a bicycle lock on his neck, have been charged with hate crimes in an incident that has roiled the campus.

The three freshmen have also been suspended from San Jose State University, in Northern California east of the tech hub of Silicon Valley, where student protests erupted this week after the accusations came to light.

Nov 22, 2013

Professor jailed after rejecting plea deal in U.S. murder case

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A professor at a Swiss university accused of helping arrange the 1995 murder of a man who she says raped her when she was a college student in California was jailed on Thursday after prosecutors said she was no longer cooperating with them.

Norma Patricia Esparza, 39, was handcuffed and led away to jail after a hearing in Orange County Superior Court at which prosecutors said she had rejected a plea deal. Under the terms of that deal, murder charges filed against her in December 2012 would have been reduced to voluntary manslaughter.

Nov 15, 2013

Bones found in California desert said to be those of missing family

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Two sets of skeletal remains found buried in the California desert earlier this week have been identified as the parents in a family that vanished nearly four years ago, and the remaining bones are likely their two young sons, police said on Friday.

Coroner’s investigators used dental records to identify the remains of Joseph McStay, 40, and his wife Summer, 43, who were reported missing from the San Diego area in February 2010 along with their two children, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.

Nov 12, 2013

California man pleads guilty in Miss Teen USA extortion case

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A California college student pleaded guilty on Tuesday to hacking into the webcams of teenage girls and young women, including this year’s Miss Teen USA, and secretly taking nude pictures of them to use in an extortion scheme.

Jared James Abrahams, a 19-year-old former high school classmate of Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf, pleaded guilty to hacking and extortion during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California.

Nov 11, 2013

California company recalls salads, wraps on E. coli fear

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A California company is recalling more than 180,000 pounds of prepackaged salads and sandwich wraps containing chicken and ham following an outbreak of E. coli-related illnesses in three states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

The recall was initiated after the Food and Drug Administration last week found a cluster of E. coli-related illnesses in California in which patients had reported eating the ready-to-eat salads with grilled chicken, the Agriculture Department said.