By Steve Gorman and Laura Zuckerman
(Reuters) – Dozens of conservation groups and nearly 100 scientists voiced opposition on Thursday to an Obama administration proposal they say would make it much harder for imperiled creatures to qualify for protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The proposed policy change, formally unveiled in December, stems from an ongoing dispute over the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, a small, rare bird whose range includes the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, and a previous fight over the flat-tailed horned lizard in the California desert.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California Congressman David Dreier, chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, said on Wednesday he would retire from Capitol Hill at the end of the year rather than seek reelection after three decades in office.
Dreier is the sixth member of California’s congressional team heading for the door after an overhaul of state political boundaries left many incumbents in both parties facing difficult or uncertain races in reconstituted districts.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Davy Jones, a onetime teen heartthrob as a member of the 1960s made-for-television pop band The Monkees, died on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack near his home in Florida, according to his longtime publicist. He was 66.
Jones was stricken while attending to horses he kept in Indiantown, Florida, about halfway between the Atlantic coast and Lake Okeechobee, spokeswoman Helen Kensick said, but she had no further details. Jones had lived with his third wife, Jessica Pacheco-Jones, in Hollywood, Florida, in recent years, she said.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Making a comeback as Oscar host after an eight-year absence, comedian Billy Crystal poked fun on Sunday night at his own reluctance to return and paid light-hearted tribute to leading nominees for the 84th annual Academy Awards.
In his ninth appearance as master of ceremonies, Crystal, 63, did his best to keep the live broadcast moving with a mix of one-liners, song and the kind of comic set pieces that have enshrined him as one of the most beloved of Oscar emcees.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Making his much-anticipated comeback as Oscar host after an eight-year absence, comedian Billy Crystal poked fun on Sunday night at his own reluctance to return as he paid light-hearted tribute to leading nominees for the 84th annual Academy Awards.
In his ninth appearance as Oscar master of ceremonies, Crystal, 63, opened the show with one of his signature film montages, inserting himself into footage from the biggest and most-honored movies of 2011.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. F-16 fighters intercepted a small plane that strayed into restricted airspace around President Barack Obama’s helicopter on Thursday in Los Angeles, and more than 20 pounds of marijuana was later found aboard the intruding aircraft, officials said.
The two F-16s were scrambled from March Air Reserve Base, east of Los Angeles, by North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command officials alerted to an airspace violation “in the vicinity” of Los Angeles International Airport, a NORAD spokesman said.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Country music veteran Glen Campbell, diagnosed last year with Alzheimer’s disease, had no trouble remembering words to his signature song as he gave a rousing performance of “Rhinestone Cowboy” at the Grammy Awards show on Sunday.
The 75-year-old entertainer took the stage with contemporary country stars The Band Perry and Blake Shelton, who preceded him with their own versions of two other Campbell hits, “Gentle on My Mind” and “Southern Nights.”
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Beach Boys, led by the band’s three surviving co-founders, played their landmark hit “Good Vibrations” on the stage of the Grammy Awards on Sunday in their first performance together in more than two decades.
The rendition of their landmark single by original Beach Boys Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine, along with newer members Bruce Johnston and David Marks, was an upbeat highlight of a show shadowed by the death of pop star Whitney Houston on Saturday.
LOS ANGELES, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Coroners on Sunday
completed their autopsy on the body of singer Whitney Houston
and confirmed that she was found in the bathtub of her Beverly
Hills hotel room, but said the cause of death would not be
determined until more lab tests were completed.
Ed Winter, assistant chief coroner for Los Angeles County,
revealed little about the autopsy at a news conference, but
said medical examiners found no visible signs of trauma or foul
LOS ANGELES, Feb 12 (Reuters) – From the New
Jersey church where Whitney Houston’s singing career first took
flight to the Beverly Hills hotel where her life abruptly ended,
family and fans of the pop diva expressed their grief on Sunday
with prayer, tears and raw anguish.
Houston’s only child, daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown,
18, was taken by paramedics from the hotel to nearby
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Sunday suffering from anxiety,
Beverly Hills police and fire officials said.