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Feb 6, 2015

U.S. measles outbreak prompts vaccine crackdown in New Mexico schools

By Steve Gorman

(Reuters) – One of New Mexico’s largest public school districts, spurred by a measles outbreak that has infected about 100 people in California, will start barring unvaccinated students from class unless they have a valid state exemption, the head of the school board said on Friday.

The move by the 14,000-student Santa Fe district came as legislators in California, Oregon and Washington state are considering laws to make it harder for parents legally to opt out of vaccinating school-aged children. Bills in several other states would loosen restrictions.

Feb 5, 2015

U.S. West Coast shippers invoke specter of port shutdowns

LOS ANGELES, Feb 4 (Reuters) – The chief labor negotiator
for shippers and terminal operators at 29 U.S. West Coast ports
raised the ante in contract talks with the dockworkers’ union on
Wednesday, warning that ports plagued by chronic cargo slowdowns
were days away from complete gridlock.

But union officials downplayed the potential for shutdowns,
suggesting management was exaggerating a crisis as a late-hour
negotiation ploy, and countered that the two sides were already
close to a settlement.

Feb 4, 2015

Contract negotiators for U.S. West Coast ports hit snag

LOS ANGELES, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Shipping companies and
terminal operators for 29 U.S. West Coast ports appeared to have
hit a snag on Wednesday in protracted labor negotiations with
the dockworkers’ union, calling a news conference to publicly
address the status of the talks.

The negotiations, joined in recent weeks by a federal
mediator, have coincided with chronic cargo backups hampering
freight traffic through waterfronts handling nearly half of U.S.
maritime trade and more than 70 percent of imports from Asia.

Jan 31, 2015

California truckers win $2 million in wage theft suit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Seven Los Angeles-area truckers have won a $2 million claim against an international shipping company accused of stealing their wages by improperly classifying them as independent contractors and charging them to lease its trucks to drive.

In a decision with implications for hundreds of companies and thousands of truckers in Southern California alone, a San Diego County Superior Court judge held that the seven plaintiffs should have been defined as employees of Pacer Cartage under California’s labor law, not as independent owner-operators.

Jan 27, 2015

Contract talks for U.S. West Coast ports clear major hurdle

LOS ANGELES, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Negotiators for major
shipping lines and the union representing 20,000 dockworkers
have reached a tentative agreement on the maintenance of cargo
chassis, overcoming a key hurdle in protracted contract talks
for 29 U.S. West Coast ports.

Settlement of the chassis issue, and the labor talks in
general, has been seen as crucial to resolving months of chronic
cargo backups hampering ports that handle nearly half of U.S.
maritime trade and more than 70 percent of imports from Asia.

Jan 1, 2015

Four slightly hurt by Rose Bowl ‘dust devil’ in California

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A freak funnel of wind struck a concession area outside the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena during a pregame event on Wednesday, tossing tents and canopies through the air and slightly injuring four people, a fire department official said.

The burst of wind, which a National Weather Service specialist called a “cold dust devil,” was caught in a video clip posted on YouTube showing vendors and bystanders, including a person dressed in a cow costume, yelling and running for cover.

Dec 31, 2014

Cold grips U.S., with snow forecast from Southwest to Rockies

By Steve Gorman and Mark Guarino

(Reuters) – An Arctic air mass over the Great Plains gripped much of the country in below-normal temperatures on Tuesday and ushered in winter storm warnings from the Rockies to the Southwest, with snow forecast even in Las Vegas, before the New Year’s holiday.

The chill extended to Southern California and was expected to persist through New Year’s Day, as the National Weather Service predicted that crowds camped out before dawn on Thursday in Pasadena for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade would likely brave a record freeze.

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.

    • 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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