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Dec 30, 2014

Union urges shipping executives to enter West Coast port talks

LOS ANGELES, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Brushing aside calls for
federal mediation in prolonged contact talks with employers at
29 U.S. West Coast ports, the union for 20,000 dockworkers urged
shipping executives on management’s board of directors to take a
more active part in negotiations.

The latest statement from the International Longshore and
Warehouse Union came as the two sides escalated finger-pointing
over chronic cargo backups at ports that handle nearly half of
U.S. maritime trade and more than 70 percent of imports from

Dec 29, 2014

Los Angeles police seek second suspect in sniper attack on officers

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Police in Los Angeles have detained one man as a possible suspect and are searching for a second on Monday in connection with an apparent sniper attack on two officers in their patrol car, police said.

The two officers were answering a radio call in south Los Angeles on Sunday night when they heard gunshots and saw muzzle flashes in their direction, prompting one of the officers to return fire, Los Angeles Police Department officials said.

Dec 25, 2014

CDC worker monitored for possible Ebola exposure in lab error

Dec 24 (Reuters) – A laboratory technician for the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been placed under
observation for possible exposure to the deadly Ebola virus due
to an apparent mix-up in lab specimens, the Atlanta-based agency
said on Wednesday.

The technician, who was working on Monday with Ebola
specimens that were supposed to have been inactivated but which
may instead have contained live virus, will be monitored for
signs of infection for 21 days, the disease’s incubation period,
CDC officials said.

Dec 23, 2014

U.S. West Coast port employers seek mediation in dockworker talks

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Shipping lines and terminal
operators at 29 U.S. West Coast ports requested federal
mediation on Monday in their contract talks with the union for
20,000 dockworkers, saying the two sides remain far from a deal
after seven months of negotiations.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union has so far
resisted previous calls by the National Retail Federation and
others for President Barack Obama to intervene in the talks
through mediation, saying the parties were making slow but
steady progress.

Dec 19, 2014

Overseas tip led FBI to recover stolen art worth up to $24 million

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An overseas tip investigators received six years after one of the biggest art heists in Los Angeles led to the return of nine stolen paintings, including works by Marc Chagall and Diego Rivera, collectively worth as much as $24 million, police and FBI said on Friday.

The paintings were recovered in an FBI sting operation in which a suspect, Paul Espinoza, 45, was arrested after he tried to sell the stolen artwork to undercover agents at a Los Angeles-area hotel in October for $700,000, authorities said.

Dec 18, 2014

FBI, Los Angeles police recover nine stolen paintings worth $10 million

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Federal agents and police in Los Angeles have recovered nine paintings worth millions of dollars that were stolen from the home of an elderly couple six years ago, including works by Marc Chagall and Diego Rivera, and FBI spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The paintings were recovered in an FBI sting operation in which a suspect identified as Paul Espinoza, 45, was arrested as he tried to sell the stolen artwork to undercover agents, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

Dec 18, 2014

U.S. shippers cite wide gap in labor talks with West Coast dockworkers

LOS ANGELES, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Negotiators for shipping
lines and terminal operators at 29 U.S. West Coast ports remain
far from a deal with union dockworkers after seven months of
contract talks, the companies said on Wednesday, again blaming
the union for waterfront cargo slowdowns.

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) statement came a day
before the companies were slated to resume face-to-face
bargaining with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union,
representing 20,000 West Coast dockworkers in the talks.

Dec 17, 2014

Sentencing reform clouds California’s inmate firefighting corps

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Battling one of California’s first major wildfires of the year, Kevin Black suddenly realized the only way to keep from being engulfed by flames roaring up a hillside toward his team was to finish the buffer line they were hacking through drought-parched brush.

“Either we get this line in, or we burn,” Black, 54, recalled shouting as he and his fellow crew members – all prison inmates clad in orange fatigues – hurried to cut a 6-foot-wide (1.8 meter-wide) fire break with hand tools in the thick scrub.

Dec 17, 2014

Early winter storms put dent in California drought

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A trifecta of early winter storms that swept California with heavy rain and snow in the past two weeks put a promising dent in a severe drought entering its fourth year, but the water shortage remains far from over, water officials said on Tuesday.

Depleted reservoirs and the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which normally constitutes the state’s largest natural store of fresh surface water, received a welcome boost from successive Pacific storms on Dec. 1-2, Dec. 11-12 and again on Monday and Tuesday.

Dec 16, 2014

Two potential witnesses sought in suspicious Los Angeles construction fire

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Arson investigators are asking for the public’s help in locating two potential witnesses seen on video footage captured near the scene of a suspicious Los Angeles construction fire that gutted an entire city block last week, fire officials said on Tuesday.

Both men are being sought for questioning about what they may have observed before the fire erupted, and neither is considered a suspect or even a “person of interest,” said Thomas Mangan, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

    • About Steve

      "Joining Reuters in 1994 as a member of the broadcast/online desk in Washington, Steve later moved to Los Angeles, where he spent 10 years covering the entertainment industry, and the past two years as a general news correspondent. Steve began his career at United Press International in Washington. He also spent three years on Capitol Hill as editor of a weekly news journal published by a congressional caucus, the Environmental and Energy Study Conference."
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