general news correspondent
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Feb 8, 2014

Woody Allen denies adopted daughter’s renewed molestation accusations

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Film director Woody Allen defended himself on Friday from newly published accusations by his now-adult daughter that he molested her as a child, calling the allegations “ludicrous” and the product of a bitter custody battle with his former partner, actress Mia Farrow.

An advance copy of Allen’s Op-Ed piece, to be published in the upcoming Sunday edition of the New York Times, was posted online five days after Dylan Farrow, 28, revived and elaborated on the decades-old accusation in her own words in an open letter on the Times’ website.

Feb 5, 2014

Drought forces California farmers to idle cropland

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Drought-stricken California farmers facing drastic cutbacks in irrigation water are expected to idle some 500,000 acres of cropland this year in a record production loss that could cause billions of dollars in economic damage, industry officials said.

Large-scale crop losses in California, the No. 1 U.S. farm state producing half the nation’s fruits and vegetables, would undoubtedly lead to higher consumer prices, especially for tree and vine produce grown only there. But experts say it is too soon to quantify the effect.

Feb 4, 2014

California wildlife officials seek cougar that mauled homeless man

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Wildlife rangers in Southern California were hunting on Monday for a mountain lion that mauled a homeless man at his roadside encampment over the weekend in a rare attack that left the victim in critical condition, fish and game authorities said.

The mauling of the 50-year-old man, believed to have occurred on Friday or Saturday in the Riverside County town of Perris, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles, marks only the 15th cougar attack on a person reported in California since 1986, the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

Feb 4, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman death comes amid rise in heroin abuse, trafficking

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The apparent heroin overdose death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman comes amid a sharp rise in trafficking of the illegal narcotic across the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years and growing abuse of the drug nationwide, federal officials said on Monday.

The increasing levels of U.S. heroin use, which has reached epidemic proportions during the past five years, stems from a corresponding spike in abuse of prescription opiate-based painkillers, such as oxycodone, Drug Enforcement Administration officials said.

Feb 1, 2014

California water allocation forecast hits record-low level

LOS ANGELES, Jan 31 (Reuters) – A worsening drought in
California will likely force a first-ever complete cutoff this
year in state-supplied water sold to 29 irrigation districts,
public water agencies and municipalities up and down the state,
officials said Friday.

Although the state Water Resources Department typically ends
up supplying more water than first projected for the year ahead,
its forecast for a “zero allocation” in 2014 is unprecedented
since the agency began delivering water in 1967.

Feb 1, 2014

Waxman retirement ignites scramble for California congressional seat

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Two prominent Southern California Democrats – a state senator and a former Los Angeles controller – have jumped into the race to fill a congressional seat being vacated by the retirement of veteran U.S. Representative Henry Waxman.

Several others are regarded as potential contenders for a highly coveted and safely Democratic seat in a campaign that political experts predict will be congested, competitive and very costly.

Jan 28, 2014

‘Marlboro Man’ who later warned against smoking dies of lung disease

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Eric Lawson, one of several actors who depicted the “Marlboro Man” cowboy in a long-running series of cigarette ads for Philip Morris and later appeared in an anti-tobacco message for the American Cancer Society, has died of lung disease.

He was 72, and died at his home in the central California town of San Luis Obispo of respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which the U.S. surgeon general has linked to smoking.

Jan 25, 2014

California jury clears singer Courtney Love of Twitter libel

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A California jury on Friday cleared singer-actress Courtney Love of libeling her former lawyer on Twitter in a defamation case believed to be the first to reach trial in the United States over comments published on the social media network.

The verdict was returned by the 12-member Los Angeles County Superior Court jury after about four hours of deliberations, capping a nearly two-week trial, said plaintiff’s lawyer Mitchell Langberg.

Jan 25, 2014

California jury clears singer Courtney Love of Twitter libel

LOS ANGELES, Jan 24 (Reuters) – A California jury on Friday
cleared singer-actress Courtney Love of libeling her former
lawyer on Twitter in a defamation case believed to be
the first to reach trial in the United States over comments
published on the social media network.

The verdict was returned by the 12-member Los Angeles County
Superior Court jury after about four hours of deliberations,
capping a nearly two-week trial, said plaintiff’s lawyer
Mitchell Langberg.

Jan 17, 2014

Firefighters make progress controlling California blaze

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Firefighters battling a blaze sweeping across acres of dry brush for a second day in the foothills near Los Angeles gained significant ground on Friday, helped by diminishing winds that allowed most of the evacuated residents to return home.

The blaze, which officials said started in a campsite on Thursday morning, has blackened more than 1,700 acres of drought-parched chaparral, destroyed five homes and damaged 17 other structures.

    • 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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