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Each week we produce a page of news that can be used for reference to the weekly shows here at murrayTALK. Please notice that the following group of articles is but a small percentage of the info available to the concerned PURPLE community. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view. We simply present this page each week as a convenience to our followers.
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November 2019 - Week 4


We cover issues of the week from some of the most recognized sources, but always from a PURPLE perspective. And we invite discussion of the same sort.

On each murrayTALK episode, our host Willam (Bill) Murray will express his OPINION of some of the top issues of the week. There'll be no shortage of topics ..

We promise stimulating and thought-provoking presentations, and we'll seek additional ways for the audience to contribute .. perhaps via Facebook and Twitter if we can figure out how to do it. We'll also be doing some shows in a VIDEO format.

For now we'll use the OPEN MIKE discussion forum and the panelists who call the show. Call in number: 516 / 531-9782

Stay tuned for more on this !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The New York Times


The timing of Thanksgiving

Americans like to fondly remember a time when Christmas marketing didn't begin until after Thanksgiving. But since at least the 1940s, the timing of Thanksgiving in the U.S. was specifically intended to kick off a national shopping spree.

In 1938, hoping to give U.S. retailers a boost during the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the observance of the celebration from the traditional last Thursday in November to the second-to-last Thursday.

The move caused an uproar — especially among fans of college football, which usually played its big games on Thanksgiving and had planned for the later date.

In the end, Mr. Roosevelt and Congress in 1941 formalized Thanksgiving for the fourth Thursday of the month, where it remains.

This year, Thanksgiving's relatively late arrival — this Thursday — is causing some trepidation in the $3.6 trillion U.S. retail industry. Retailers, who live and die by their holiday results and are struggling with shrinking profits and Amazon's dominance, need every day of post-Thanksgiving shopping they can get.


Winter weather
Yes, the travel situation is always bad around Thanksgiving. But folks, listen to us when we say it's really bad this year. A historic storm headed toward Oregon and California could carry winds equal to a Category 1 hurricane. That means Cali could be hit with flash floods and snow. Parts of the Rockies could see 2 to 3 feet of snow, and the Midwest about 8 to 12 inches, in the next few days. Then tomorrow, ferocious winds and rain will whip the Northeast, making for very un-festive airport conditions. The wind is so bad, the Macy's Thanksgiving parade balloons could be grounded. While all of this is going on, a record 31.6 million people are expected to travel by air, and AAA predicts the second-highest number of road travelers in more than a decade.


The Wall Street Journal


Dolly Parton and Mister Rogers are everywhere.

The soft-spoken children's television host, who died in 2003, and the enduring 73-year-old country-music star–one known for saying “I like you just the way you are,” the other for singing “I will always love you”—have risen to unexpected relevance in today's divisive era. In movies, on TV and in podcasts, they are emerging as a new variety of folk hero, embodying inclusiveness and consensus.

Fred Rogers and Dolly Parton are the focus of separate podcasts aimed at understanding how they transcend battle lines of culture, class and politics. “Finding Fred” tests the relevance of the Mister Rogers philosophy of kindness and acceptance in a reality where people are quick to shout each other down, while “Dolly Parton's America” explores reasons for her diverse fanbase. (Nelson Mandela listened to “Jolene” in prison.)

Reader's Comments:

Benjamin Jang, Canada

As a child, I grew up watching “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.” It wasn't as eye-catching or entertaining as other shows but with limited options, it sufficed. Now, as a parent with young children, I'm much more appreciative of Mister Rogers' message. My son loves “Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood” (characters from and based upon “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood”). The show continues his legacy and message. Too many children's shows focus solely on entertainment value and hard skills (learning to count, read, etc.). Mister Rogers focused on soft skills and wanted to address “tough” issues like anger and isolation. His ability to help children understand that their emotions, and life itself, can be complicated is missing from children's shows today.

Roy Farrow, Nevada
Golly, as Mr. Rogers might say, I just do not see anyone these days who spans the entirety of our population. The America of Fred Rogers doesn't exist anymore. The country has experienced a rapid “Balkanization” in the past 50+ years that renders unity on any major issue impossible. As for Dolly Parton, having once attended a performance of hers in hyperenlightened San Francisco, I observed the crowd snicker at her when she sang “Coat of Many Colors.” It was clear they couldn't phantom her sincerity.

Ron Cooper, Michigan
Our pastor recently completed a wonderful multisermon series on the lessons learned from Mr. Rogers, encouraging us all to be better “neighbors.” And I was recently a passenger in a car with my 26-year-old daughter, who has an incredibly eclectic, millennial music catalog. On came Ms. Parton singing “Jolene,” and my daughter drove while belting out the lyrics with a twang she did not acquire from either Connecticut or Michigan. Fred and Dolly…the gifts that keep on giving!


Can we go back to the neighborhood now?

Sara Stewart  saw "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" at the Toronto Film Festival and fought back tears. Tom Hanks portrays the children's show host Fred Rogers and it's "pretty darn close to a must-see," she wrote.

"But it was when I came back home to western Pennsylvania that I really began to reflect on how much we still need Rogers, a native of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and a longtime Pittsburgh resident," she observed. "We need his teachings more than ever, particularly in the complicated, deeply divided region he called home." 

She recounts moving to the small town of Indiana, Pennsylvania, from New York City four years ago. "We hiked in the woods and kayaked in the lake. I slowly began to recognize more and more faces around town. I felt I had a community.

"Then the 2016 campaign season happened. 

"I started noting frequent sightings of Confederate flags on cars. MAGA hats began to proliferate in alarming numbers; our Hillary Clinton sign disappeared from our front yard. By the time election night was winding down, I was in tears, convinced I'd unwittingly moved into a truly foreign land — one that didn't want my kind around."

But this weekend, the town of Indiana honors its most famous native son, Jimmy Stewart, with its annual "It's a Wonderful Life" holiday festival, something Rogers would appreciate, Stewart wrote. 

Another would be "a sign that's been popping up in front of houses around town for a while now. It's a small message, but a quietly hopeful one. The brightly-colored cardboard rectangle bears three versions of a single sentence, in English, Spanish and Arabic, that might have come straight from Rogers himself. 'No matter where you are from,' it reads, 'we're glad you're our neighbor.'"


The Washington Post


When a deep red town's only grocery closed, city hall opened its own store. Just don't call it ‘socialism.'

BALDWIN, Fla. — When Sean Lynch ran for mayor, he never anticipated that the job would involve hiring a butcher and tracking the sale of collard greens.

But in 2018, two years into his first term, the only grocery store in town shut down. People in Baldwin, Fla., a rural outpost in northeast Florida, were left with few options. They could leave town, driving 10 miles through road construction to nearby Macclenny, or battle 20 miles of freeway traffic through Jacksonville's suburban sprawl. Alternatively, they could cobble together a meal out of canned goods from the local Dollar General or head to a nearby truck stop for greasy, deep-fried fast food.

For many of Baldwin's roughly 1,600 residents, though, traveling for food wasn't really a choice. The town's median household income of $44,271 is well below the state average, and it's not uncommon for families to juggle their schedules around sharing one car. Senior citizens also make up a significant percentage of the population, and many no longer drive.

So Lynch came to his colleagues with a proposal: What if the town opened its own grocery store?

Abandoned by mainstream supermarkets whose business models don't have room for low profit margins, both urban and rural communities nationwide have turned to resident-owned co-ops or nonprofits to fill the gap. But Baldwin is trying something different. At the Baldwin Market, which opened its doors on Sept. 20, all of the employees are on the municipal payroll, from the butcher to the cashiers. Workers from the town's maintenance department take breaks from cutting grass to help unload deliveries, and residents flag down the mayor when they want to request a specific type of milk.

“We're not trying to make a profit,” Lynch told The Washington Post in a recent interview. “We're trying to cover our expenses, and keep the store running. Any money that's made after that will go into the town in some way.”

Though Lynch didn't know of any other municipally owned grocery stores when he brought the idea to the town council, Baldwin isn't alone. A similar experiment has been successful in St. Paul, Kan., which has had a city-run grocery store since 2013. David Procter, who directs the Rural Grocery Initiative at Kansas State University, told The Post that another city-owned grocery store will open in Caney, Kan., in the spring, and at least one other town in the state is considering following suit.

Many small-town grocers are reaching retirement age, and it's tough for communities with dwindling populations to attract new residents when there's no supermarket nearby. Consequently, Procter says, “food access becomes almost like a utility that you have to have for the town to exist.”

Notably, these experiments in communal ownership are taking place in deep-red parts of the country where the word “socialism” is anathema. “You expect to hear about this in a place like the People's Republic of Massachusetts,” jokes Brian Lang, the director of the National Campaign for Healthy Food Access at The Food Trust.

But in many rural, conservative communities struggling to hang on to their remaining residents, ideological arguments about the role of government tend to be cast aside as grocery stores shutter because of population decline and competition from superstores.

“Fundamentally, what you have is people that have lived in these rural communities all their lives, and they want these rural communities to survive,” Procter said. “And they realize that without access to food, they're not going to survive.”

By definition, a collectively owned, government-run enterprise like the Baldwin Market is inherently socialist. But Lynch, who has a nonpartisan position but governs a town where 68 percent of residents voted for Donald Trump in 2016, doesn't see it that way. From his point of view, the town is just doing what it's supposed to do: providing services to residents who already pay enough in taxes.

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If we can't polka together ...

Polka fans Bill Bishop and his wife made a 65-mile move five years ago from his "ultra-hip, ultra-Democratic Austin neighborhood" in Texas to "La Grange, a town of approximately 4,800 on the Texas prairie where the local DJ plays polka in the mornings (along with Tom T. Hall's not-quite-classic "Who's Gonna Feed Them Hogs"). And where Republicans are as plentiful as pearl-snap shirts .. we crossed from one political reality to another. In the 2016 Presidential election, there was a 50-point difference between the place we left and the community we had moved to."

Kicking off the second part of CNN Opinion's special report on the "Fractured States of America," Yaffa Fredrick drew a full picture of how the nation got this way: "Americans have sorted themselves into predominantly liberal and conservative enclaves. Social media has accentuated partisan division and enabled extremists to get their views out. And the political system has abetted the fracture by drawing voting district lines in ways that encourage members of Congress to resist compromise." 

For an example of the harmful effects of gerrymandering, read David Daley's account of how it changed Asheville, North Carolina, once a toss-up district that was sliced up to advantage conservative Republicans in Congress.

"Of course, this story is not unique to Asheville. All over the country, partisans have cracked cities in two, drawn districts that look like Donald Duck kicking Goofy and exploited new technology and advanced data to maximize gains. And the consequences for democracy continue to be catastrophic, locking in a new era of minority rule across multiple states, distorting the competitive balance of congressional delegations and placing public policy — and many politicians — beyond the reach of the ballot box."

As John Avlon pointed out in a piece on partisan media, "A new Pew survey shows that 73% of Americans now believe that Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on basic facts. That's a potential death sentence for a democracy that depends on reasoning together to solve common problems." 

For those confronting a politically fraught Thanksgiving dinner this week, our experts have an interactive guide to help.


The New York Times


Exonerated after 36 years

Three men who were arrested in 1983 and found guilty of murdering a 14-year-old boy in Baltimore were released on Monday. Prosecutors announced that the convictions had been in error and that another teenager had been the real killer.

Alfred Chestnut, Andrew Stewart and Ransom Watkins were high school students when they were convicted. Now in their 50s, they had always insisted that they were innocent.

Background: In examining old cases, the Baltimore authorities found numerous errors in the investigation. It has become increasingly common for prosecutors' offices around the country to re-examine convictions when evidence suggests that an error might have been made.

Quotable: “Today isn't a victory,” said Marilyn Mosby, the state's attorney. “Today it's a tragedy that these men had 36 years of their lives stolen.”


The Herald Standard


Sandusky sentenced 30 to 60 years a second time

By Phil Ray

BELLEFONTE, PA -- The trauma and raw emotions associated with the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case were as intense as ever Friday afternoon when the former Penn State assistant football coach for a second time was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

Sandusky -- facing resentencing on 45 charges stemming from his sexual abuse of 10 young boys between 1995 and 2008 -- appeared in a Centre County courtroom for the hearing that was ordered in February by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

He thanked Warren County President Judge Maureen A. Skerda, appointed by the Supreme Court to preside over the hearing, for having the opportunity to speak, but then said, "I am unable to admit remorse for something I didn't do."

Sandusky, 75, said he initially wasn't going to exercise his right to speak during the hearing, but he decided to do so after talking to a young woman who he knew from the past.

She had been abused as a young person and was part of his Second Mile Charity for high-risk youth.

The young mother happened to be visiting his wife, Dottie, when he called his wife this past week, and she related how her experience with the Second Mile turned her life around.

At the end of the conversation, she told Sandusky she loved him.

Choking up twice, Sandusky related nobody could take those good memories away from him.

Judge Skerda replied that a jury of his peers had found Sandusky guilty of multiple sexual abuse charges, leaving those youngsters with "a legacy of trauma that is relived with every (court) proceeding."

She stated in her review of the case that Sandusky had a career as a coach and that he had created an environment of loyalty and trust among young people, but Sandusky also had another side that resulted in his conviction for multiple crimes, including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

"I want the victims to understand that what happened to them is not their fault," Skerda said to Sandusky.

She then went on to impose the same 30- 60-year sentence that Sandusky received in October 2012 when he was before Judge John Cleland of McKean County, who presided over his three-week trial.

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The Washington Post


Trump administration's ‘Remain in Mexico' program to shuttle migrants from Tucson to El Paso

By Arelis R. Hernández, Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti

TUCSON — Concerned about the rising number of migrant families crossing from Mexico into the Arizona desert, Department of Homeland Security officials are preparing to bus border crossers more than 300 miles east into Texas so they can deposit them in Mexico instead of releasing them in the United States, according to two Trump administration officials.

Homeland Security officials said Friday that they will expand the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program to the Tucson region, one of the last major areas on the border that has not been diverting asylum seekers to Mexico to await their U.S. immigration court hearings.

Officials deployed the program after a modest uptick in family crossings in the Tucson sector at a time when the number of migrants crossing the border is declining almost everywhere else. Officials view MPP as their chief line of defense on the border and worried that smugglers had identified Tucson as a weak spot because officials have been unable to stand up shelters and court hearings on the border in Arizona.

DHS spokeswoman Heather Swift said DHS is “strengthening” MPP in Tucson and in the Del Rio, Tex., sector, which started sending migrants to Mexico last month. She did not respond to requests for additional details about the plans.

“The department is continually assessing MPP and making operational changes in response to emerging trends and threats, and we always consider additional return points and options,” Swift said in an email. She said smugglers “are sophisticated organizations that are constantly trying to get around the effective tools we have in place across the border.”

Officials estimate DHS will send at least one busload each day from U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Tucson sector to the Texas border city of El Paso, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the internal plans. Migrants will have interviews to determine if they would be at risk in Mexico, and if not, they will be sent to Ciudad Juárez to await their U.S. immigration court hearings. The first bus was scheduled to run to El Paso on Friday.

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The Trump administration is starting deportations under its new "safe third country" asylum agreement with Guatemala. Essentially, the deal allows the US to turn away legitimate asylum-seekers and redirect them to another approved country to make their case there. So far, it seems only one person has been deported under the new system, and a Homeland Security official says the program is being phased in. In other immigration news, the Trump administration has sent letters to dozens of residences in California, New Mexico and Texas, informing people that the government will survey their land for, you guessed it, the President's much-touted border wall. That's eminent domain at work -- the idea that the government may acquire private land for public use.



The New York Times


Democrats aim their criticism at President Trump

With polls showing a highly competitive primary race, the Democratic presidential candidates largely shied away from clashing directly on ideological differences in their fifth debate.

Instead they focused on President Trump. Much of the primary has turned on the difficult-to-define question of electability -- who can take the fight to Mr. Trump — and how much emphasis that should earn.

Highlights: Here are five takeaways from the debate and video of the key moments.

From Opinion: Our columnists and contributors ranked the candidates.

We heard from you: Times readers told us what they most wanted candidates to discuss. One issue stood out: climate change.


Democratic debate

A few things became clear in last night's Democratic debate in Atlanta: All 10 participating candidates support impeaching the President, and no one agrees on how to approach health care. In fact, health care was barely touched upon, even though it's a central concern leading up to the election. Instead, the candidates focused on who would be the most likely to build a winning contingency against Trump. Pete Buttigieg, who came in hot after rising in Iowa polls, was attacked on this front. Other candidates questioned the Indiana mayor's leadership and ability to attract diverse supporters. Nonetheless, he was one of the night's winners, according to CNN's Chris Cillizza. Also a winner? Kamala Harris, who established herself as a fighter for the average voter. Joe Biden didn't have a great night. He stumbled over questions about race and marijuana legalization, and when asked about domestic violence, he said we have to "keep punching" at a solution. Yikes.



The long days of homeless students

Darnell, 8, lives in a shelter and commutes 15 miles a day to school. He loves football practice but struggles to read. Sandy, 10, has moved seven times in five years. She loves school, but her teachers worry about her.

They are just two of the 114,000 homeless students in New York City. Our reporter and photographer followed them for one day, from sunrise to sunset, to capture how much effort, help and luck it takes for a chance at a decent education.

Voices: “I feel like a failed parent,” said Darnell's mother. “I should have been able to provide everything.”

Details: The number of school-age children in New York in temporary housing has ballooned more than 70 percent over the past decade.


The Wall Street Journal


Hot Shots

No one likes getting a flu shot or other injection. Soon, there may be an alternative. 

Companies are developing patches filled with hundreds of microneedles -- each a fraction of the width of a human hair and invisible to the eye -- that don't break the skin when pressed onto the arm. In theory, these microneedle patches will reduce anxiety for patients, allow for lower doses of vaccines and help drugs, such as an acute-migraine treatment, work faster. But microneedle makers still have to show that their products provide consistent doses, even though the outer layer of skin differs from person to person. 

What do you think? Would you try a microneedle patch, or are you content to stick (ahem) with traditional shots?




Israel may be heading for its third presidential election in 12 months. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried and failed to form a government after September's election, his opponent, former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, got the opportunity to take power and form one himself. But Gantz announced yesterday that his Blue and White party hasn't been able to gather the necessary coalition in four solid weeks of negotiations. Now, Israel is in unprecedented political territory. For the next 21 days, any member of the Israeli legislature, known as the Knesset, could potentially become Prime Minister, if they gather a political majority. If that fails, it would be back to the polls for an election-weary public.

The New York Times

Israel's leader is indicted

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on Thursday on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges, throwing his political future into doubt and deepening the country's governmental paralysis.

Mr. Netanyahu, who has twice failed to form a new government this year, has denied allegations that he gave or offered lucrative official favors to several news media tycoons in exchange for favorable coverage or expensive gifts.

Closer look: The long-running corruption cases against Mr. Netanyahu have created a legal quandary. A prime minister can remain under indictment and even stand trial while in office.

What's next: Will Mr. Netanyahu remain in power? Request immunity? Is a third election looming? Here are some possible scenarios.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now has a lot more to worry about than his country's election stalemate. The Israeli attorney general leveled charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust against Netanyahu in connection with three separate corruption cases. It's the first time in the country's history that a sitting PM has faced indictment in criminal investigations. The cases allege Netanyahu made expensive deals with rich and powerful friends, trading gifts and money back and forth for political favors. Netanyahu has ignored calls to step down and says the charges against him are an attempt at a coup.


Hong Kong
The people of Hong Kong went to the polls this weekend in what was considered a de facto referendum on six months of violent unrest in the city. The results were abundantly clear: Pro-democracy candidates won the district council elections in a landslide, unseating several high-profile pro-government leaders and taking nearly 90% of the seats up for grabs. A record-breaking 71% of the city's population voted. Experts say the historic outcome is a sign that the people of Hong Kong are committed to democracy and political reform, and citizens are hoping the results will point a way forward from the city's current state of unrest. 


The offices of Mada Masr, one of the last independent news outlets in Egypt, was raided by security forces yesterday. Four of the publication's staff, including the editor-in-chief and news editor, were detained and later released. The raid was condemned by several international rights organizations, and is a worrying development in the country's ongoing political tensions. In September, a wave of rare anti-government protests swept Egypt as citizens demanded the resignation of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Sisi was elected president in 2014, but he has since secured legislative powers that extended his term in office longer than the Egyptian constitution allows. Mada Masr's journalism has exposed corruption, security violations and the inner workings of the government, even in the face of nationwide crackdowns on reporting freedoms. 



The US House of Representatives passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act yesterday, and Chinese officials wasted no time expressing their fury. If the bill were to become law, the US would have to confirm annually that China was maintaining the freedom and protection of semi-autonomous Hong Kong. (This is especially important given the ongoing protests there.) If it wasn't, the US could withdraw the city's special trading status, which would be a huge blow to the Hong Kong economy. Beijing threatened economic consequences and said if the US goes through with the law, it would further muck up the nations' tense trade relationship.

The Wall Street Journal


China's chief trade negotiator has invited his American counterparts for a new round of face-to-face talks. U.S. negotiators have indicated they're willing, but want China to make clear it would offer commitments on intellectual-property protection, forced technology transfer and agricultural purchases.

President Trump said China isn't “stepping up to the level that I want” on a deal. Touring an Apple plant in Texas on Wednesday with CEO Tim Cook, he also said he was “looking at” exempting Apple from a coming round of China tariffs, something administration officials have been discussing for months.

  • The administration gave some of Huawei's U.S. suppliers permission to resume shipping to the Chinese telecom giant.
  • The House passed legislation requiring the U.S. to re-examine its relationship with Hong Kong, putting formal support for protests there in the hands of Mr. Trump.


The Wall Street Journal

Venice officials struggle to rescue flood-damaged art and architecture

On Nov. 12, the worst acqua alta (“high water”) in decades flooded around 80% of Venice, causing damage that the city's mayor estimated at above $1.1 billion. Officials at artistic and cultural sites are assessing the effects, and authorities cautioned that the worst may not be known until the assessment is completed, which may take months. And while the water has retreated, it left behind salt that can corrode marble, mosaics, walls and columns.


New Lease on Life

For decades, landlords have examined tenants' credit files and pay stubs to verify their ability to cover the rent. Now, artificial intelligence is allowing them to predict something else: Willingness to pay.


The New York Times

Animal Cruelty Bill

President Trump signed a bipartisan measure that, for the first time, makes acts of animal cruelty a federal crime.



Best Tech Gifts

Augmented-reality swim goggles, anyone? Our annual list is out—and we have a few ideas for the futuristic-gadget lover in your life.


The Los Angeles Times

Holiday Shopping

Getting an even earlier head start on holiday shopping? Our gift guides can help, whether you're shopping for a foodie, a fashionista or a fitness fiend.


Shirtless Crime?

A Utah woman who was charged with a crime after her stepchildren saw her shirtless in her own home is fighting the case that could force her to register as a sex offender. She and her husband were both shirtless. Only she was charged.



Rise to the Bait 

Anglers are using drones to catch bigger fish farther from shore. "That's 21st-century fishing!" said one enthusiast.




China, Uber, Tiffany

Three major moves have dominated the business world
, so let's round them up:

•  China extended an olive branch on the trade front by rolling out new guidelines about intellectual property. There aren't too many details yet, but the measures could address longtime concerns from Washington and pave the way for a possible trade truce.

•  London stripped Uber of its license to operate in the city. The shocking decision is a huge blow to the company, given that London is one of its biggest markets. London's transportation agency concluded Uber is "not fit and proper" to operate due to lapses in passenger safety measures after it found 14,000 recent trips involved unauthorized drivers. Uber will appeal.

• French luxury group LVMH finalized a deal to buy New York jeweler Tiffany & Co., putting the value of the company at $16.2 billion. It's one of the biggest deals ever in the luxury sector, and the news sent Tiffany's stock soaring.


The Wall Street Journal


Limiting Facebook / Google

Facebook is discussing increasing the minimum number of people who can be targeted in political ads from 100 to a few thousand. Microtargeting has been criticized as enabling advertisers to single out groups for misleading or false messages not seen by the broader public.

Other tech giants are also considering limiting the level of detail used to target voters. Alphabet's Google said this week it would bar targeting political messages based on users' interests inferred from their browsing or search histories. And last month, Twitter said it would stop accepting most political ads. The moves reverse a yearslong trend of offering ever-more precision.

Tech giants are drawing up their own rules when it comes to political advertising, given the lack of consistent federal rules. Google and Twitter are rolling out new policies in the coming weeks. Digital advertisers are keen to see how they work and how intensely they are enforced. It's becoming even more urgent as political ads pick up ahead of the early Democratic nominating contests beginning in February.


The Wall Street Journal


With new electric pickup, Tesla targets Detroit rivals' profit engine

VIDEO on SITE: Tesla's electric pickup, dubbed ‘Cybertruck,' could be yours for as little as $39,900.

Elon Musk unveiled the next piece of Tesla's electric-vehicle vision: an angular pickup truck that would make the Silicon Valley company a competitor in what has long been one of mainstream car makers' most lucrative segments.

Mr. Musk boasted about his truck's toughness, including what he said was hard-to-break armor glass, though a demonstration with a thrown metal ball left side windows badly damaged.

Tesla was vague about when production would start—it has a history of struggling to deliver new vehicles—but began taking orders on its website with fully refundable deposits of $100.


Elon Musk says Tesla has gotten 146,000 orders for the futuristic "Cybertruck" since its unveiling. Guess a lot of people want to drive a car that looks like it was rendered in Minecraft.

"You can't stamp ultra-hard 30X steel, because it breaks the stamping press," Elon Musk said, explaining why Tesla's new Cybertruck everyone's talking about is so angular and weird-looking (or as Musk said, "planar").   


The Washington Post


Animal adolescence is filled with teen drama and peer pressure

By Duncan Strauss

There are no reported sightings of surly teenage elephants reluctantly sitting down at the family dinner table, trusty ear buds in place, occasionally trumpeting monosyllabic answers.

But adolescent elephants do exhibit other behaviors many parents of human teens would recognize, said Cynthia Moss, a researcher who has studied and written books about elephants in Kenya's Amboseli National Park for nearly five decades.

“They're naive, they have a lot to learn and they make mistakes,” Moss said.

This is particularly true for males, she explained: They raid crops. They get speared. They die. “It's just like young human males who drive too fast,” she said, “and the insurance companies know very well to make them pay higher insurance rates.”

These sorts of low-judgment, high-risk actions, and many other youthful traits that traverse species, are explored in a recent book, “Wildhood: The Epic Journey From Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals” by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, a Harvard evolutionary biologist, and Kathryn Bowers, a science journalist.

The authors make clear that, in a fundamental sense, adolescent animals and teen humans encounter the same sorts of challenges — and that what may strike elders of any species as nutty, exasperating behavior is not only inevitable for most creatures in that stage of development but truly valuable.

Other scientists who have studied adolescents — human and nonhuman — echo their findings. Those elephants that charge right into harm's way? Their behavior is wholly in keeping with the adolescent modus operandi.

Human “adolescents frequently put themselves in danger deliberately, ” Natterson-Horowitz and Bowers write, adding: “Adolescent risk-taking is seen throughout the animal world.”

The result, unsurprisingly, is that adolescence can be pretty dangerous for animals, ranging from fish to birds to mammals. For the youths that have big bodies but little life experience, there's a “spike in mortality … they are easy prey,” Natterson-Horowitz said.

One reason is that they engage in behaviors that are risky but beneficial, Bowers said in an interview. An example is a practice called “predator inspection,” or approaching predators rather than fleeing. The trade-off for the danger of proximity is that adolescent animals watch, smell and learn, accumulating all kinds of information that can keep them safer as adults.

“The idea that adolescents are hard-wired to take these risks can put a new spin on the knuckleheaded antics of our own human teens,” Bowers said.

Teens seem driven to chase novelty and test boundaries in their own version of predator inspection, Bowers said: chalking up as many experiences as they can — the good, the bad, the ugly — before they leave the nest.

But before anyone leaves any nest (“dispersal,” in scientific parlance), there's considerable time spent roving in battalions — marked by peak levels of peer pressure — and flirting with disaster. Indeed, scientists have documented and observed that adolescents of all stripes are more inclined to make perilous moves while with peers.

Laurence Steinberg, a psychology professor at Temple University, worked on two related studies — one involving mice, half of which were adolescents, drinking ethanol-spiked water, and another in which human teens played a video game that reproduced driving conditions. The results were strikingly similar.

“We found that in the presence of peers, adolescent mice drank more than they do when they're alone,” said Steinberg, who has published several books on adolescence. “But we didn't find any such peer effects in adults, which is identical to the kinds of things we were finding in human experiments.”

Steinberg said the teenagers in the simulated driving study also took more risks when others were around, regardless of whether they interacted with their peers. Just knowing there were other teens watching appeared to prompt the one behind the wheel to act more carelessly.

These findings dovetail with what Steinberg says is another multispecies adolescent hallmark: the desire to socialize.

“For the most part, human adolescents like to be with other adolescents. Juveniles in other species like to be with other juveniles. If I say that teenagers are social animals, I think the word ‘animal' is just as important in that sentence as the word ‘social.' ”

Anyone who has seen a pod of dolphins swimming alongside a boat zipping across the sea or watched videos of dolphins interacting with one another might conclude that these playful critters are highly social. Ann Weaver, an animal behaviorist who studies bottlenose dolphins in the intercoastal waterway off the coast of St. Petersburg, Fla., would agree.

“We just got off the water,” Weaver said in a recent interview. “We were out there for about three hours, and almost all the dolphins we saw were small gangs of teens.”

Asked to compare the behaviors of dolphin gangs and gaggles of teenage people, Weaver thought for a moment. “They are at their most physically fit, they're the strongest they're going to be and they do everything with exaggeration,” she said, adding that she considers adolescence on the water “a contact sport.”

Dolphins are featured in “Wildhood,” in which Natterson-Horowitz and Bowers go deep and wide in addressing the raft of species-spanning equivalents. But they focus on four individual animals — a king penguin, a spotted hyena, a humpback whale and a gray wolf — as they advance through adolescence. And this voyage, the authors find, hinges on mastering four fundamental skills: staying safe, negotiating social status, navigating sexuality and living as adults.

As moored in science as their book is, Natterson-Horowitz and Bowers acknowledge it was partially shaped by their personal experience. Each was raising an adolescent — the human variety — while working on the book.

“Having an adolescent at home, with all the drama and the ups and downs, particularly the moodiness — and social media was just coming into the picture — guided us in terms of what we wanted to look for, what we wanted to better understand in the wild to bring back to our homes,” Natterson-Horowitz said.

“We were deeply informed by the need to answer those question for ourselves as parents, and then hopefully for other people who are raising adolescents.”


The Washington Post


Sumatran rhinos are extinct in their native Malaysia after last living female dies

VIDEO ON SITE: ‘This is what extinction looks like': British conservationist meets last Sumatran rhino in Malaysia Bella Lack, a 16-year-old conservation activist, shared her encounter with the last male Sumatran rhino in Malaysia, which died in May.

By Kim Bellware

A 25-year-old female Sumatran rhino has died at a sanctuary in Borneo, marking the extinction of the species in its native Malaysia.

The rhino, named Iman, had cancer, and state officials in Malaysia described the death as natural, according to the Star, an English-language newspaper in Malaysia. The paper reported that before her death, Iman had nearly died several times due to blood loss from her uterine tumors but was nursed back to health each time.

Iman's death is a blow for the species, already among the most endangered in the world. Sumatran rhinos are “critically endangered,” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's "red list," meaning the species is just one category removed from extinction in the wild. Still, investments in breeding programs and scientific advancements with reproductive technology offer outside hope.

There are fewer than 80 Sumatran rhinos — sometimes called “hairy rhinos” — left in the world, with some estimates as low as 30 , according to the World Wildlife Fund. Once native to rainforests throughout Asia, Sumatran rhinos now only live in the wild in Indonesia.

Repopulation efforts are complicated by a mix of human-driven factors such as building into the rhinos' native habitats and the animals' loner nature coupled with their long gestation periods, according to Terri Roth, vice president of conservation and science at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

Courtship for Sumatran rhinos isn't easy, either.

“What's made breeding these rhinos so difficult is because they are so solitary; you can't house males and females together, or else they'll fight, and the pairing has to be timed to when the female is ovulating,” Roth told The Washington Post on Saturday. “What's happened with the wild population, and such fragmented forests, is that they don't come into contact often enough.”

Female Sumatran rhinos gestate a single calf for about 15 months and go long stretches without being pregnant. Infertile periods also mean reproduction issues can crop up in males and females, Roth said, noting that Iman already had uterine tumors by the time she was captured in 2014.

Though poaching has long been a threat to rhinos, Sumatran rhinos live deep in the forests and don't travel in herds, making it somewhat more difficult for poachers to get to them. Disruption of their habitat due to palm oil harvesting and general development has been the bigger threat, according to Roth, who also directs the zoo's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife.

“Locally, the populations [in Indonesia] have increased, so more and more, people are going into the forests for firewood or to build,” she said. “It's difficult to balance the needs of the people and the wildlife needs.

Iman's death comes less than six months after Tam, Malaysia's last living male Sumatran rhino, died at about 30 years old from what was believed to be old age (Sumatran rhinos live to their late 20s to mid-30s). Tam had lived at the same sanctuary as Iman in Borneo, though the two never successfully mated.

The remaining Sumatran rhinos in captivity are all in southeast Asia; the Cincinnati Zoo was the last U.S. facility to have a Sumatran rhino. Harapan, a male born at the zoo, was sent to the Sumatran Wildlife Sanctuary in Indonesia in 2015 so he could have a chance to breed.

Roth knows firsthand what it's like to say goodbye to a Sumatran rhino you've cared for.

“They're incredibly sweet. That really surprises people — they think of rhinos as these big powerful beasts,” she said. “They're pretty solitary in the wild; if you capture them, they'll be eating out of your hand in 24 hours.”

Susie Ellis, executive director of the Texas-based conservation nonprofit International Rhino Foundation, offered condolences to the Sabah government and the Borneo Rhino Alliance. She pointed to the possibility that Iman's legacy might endure with the help of science: The Borneo Rhino Sanctuary previously harvested Iman's egg cells with the hope of one day creating a viable Sumatran rhino embryo.

“There is limited knowledge about Sumatran rhino reproductive physiology, and converting cells in a laboratory into viable embryos is complex,” Ellis said. “Still, there is hope for the survival of Sumatran rhinos.”



The Wall Street Journal

All about robocalls

Patty Campbell, North Carolina
We no longer answer our landline phone. If the callers don't leave a message, we block the telephone number. If they leave a message that is a solicitation, we block that, too. We have received solicitation calls from our own number, as well as from numbers with our area code. It's annoying to manage all these calls but it's better never to listen to them.

Barbara Wickwire, Florida
With the exception of safety notifications, all robocalls are scams. It defies the imagination that we are able to send a man to the moon but cannot put a stop to these prolific and invasive telephone calls.

Marty Rosenthal, California
The volume seems to have dropped off lately. I like to answer, tell them to “hang on a second,” then put them on hold and walk away.

Joe Harris, Georgia
I recently retired. As a “sport,” I actually press the button and speak with the scam artists. After I have engaged them, I ask if their mother knows what they do for a living. Usually I then receive an expletive-filled rant, at which time I ask them if they kiss their mother with that mouth. Then they all hang up.

Wallace Stummy, New York
All the robocalls I get during the day in downtown New York City are in Mandarin. As an Asian American who fled communism with my family decades ago, I have to wonder how the scammers might have figured that out, and how and whether the Chinese communists might be involved and trying to gather data about us. State-sponsored scams are a known source of income for the North Korean regime, and maybe for the cyberspies and future cybersoldiers in China. I'm grateful that Apple's latest system update allows sending unknown callers directly to voicemail. The risk I face is just a small fraction of the systemic risk our entire system faces and hasn't solved, only patched ad hoc. I don't see any sign that we could prevent a cyber Pearl Harbor, or that we even take that risk seriously.


The New York Times

Late-night comedy

The hosts noted the White House visit by Conan, the military dog who participated in the raid that killed the Islamic State's leader: “When Trump said, ‘Sit, stay and rollover,' every Republican in Congress started doing it,” Jimmy Fallon said.



Dept of Justice


Two Gardena Police Officers Convicted of Operating Unlicensed Firearms Business, Selling Weapons to Convicted Felons

from Nicola T. Hanna- United States Attorney, Central District of California

– Two Gardena Police officers were found guilty by a jury today of federal criminal charges for scheming to purchase “off-roster” firearms not available to the general public and then illegally reselling the firearms for profit.    

Carlos Miguel Fernandez, 44, of Norwalk, and Edward Yasushiro Arao, 49, of Eastvale, were found guilty of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license and of substantive counts of engaging in an unlicensed firearms business. Fernandez also was convicted of an additional conspiracy count, selling firearms to a convicted felon, and of making false statements about the sales on federal firearms licensing paperwork.

According to evidence presented at their six-day trial, Fernandez, whose Instagram handle was “the38superman,” advertised firearms for sale – guns being offered by both himself, Arao and others – on his Instagram account. The vast majority of posts on the account contained images of firearms. Arao, who was the CEO of Ronin Tactical Group, which was a federal firearms licensee (FFL), similarly advertised off-roster guns on the company's Instagram account that he then re-sold in his individual capacity. Additionally, both defendants marketed firearms at gun shows. Neither defendant was licensed individually to engage in the business of dealing in firearms when the illegal gun sales alleged in the indictment took place.

The evidence presented at trial demonstrated how the defendants exploited their position as police officers to ensure the success of their illegal gun selling business.  Specifically, Fernandez purchased “off-roster” firearms – mostly Colt .38-caliber handguns that were not available to the general public, but which could be legally purchased by law enforcement officers – and sold dozens of these weapons through private-party transfers. Similarly, Arao obtained “off-roster” weapons by transferring them to himself individually from the inventory of Ronin Tactical Group. Through messages on Instagram and other means, Fernandez and Arao negotiated the prices and terms of firearm sales, and they accepted payment for the guns once they were delivered.

For example, between May 2016 and December 2017, Fernandez negotiated and arranged the sale of 10 firearms to a convicted felon, Oscar Maravilla Camacho Jr., 36, of Salinas. With respect to every sale, Fernandez communicated directly with Camacho Jr. about the firearms purchases and understood that Camacho Jr., as a felon, could not legally buy the weapons. Nevertheless, Fernandez transferred the weapons to Camacho Jr. in violation of federal law.

United States District Judge S. James Otero scheduled a March 2 sentencing hearing, at which time Fernandez will face a statutory maximum of 35 years in federal prison and Arao will face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

Six other defendants in this case have pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges for distribution of cocaine, conspiracy to dispose of firearms to a felon, and making false statements that led to the straw purchase of several firearms.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated this case. The Gardena Police Department provided its full cooperation during the investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Katherine A. Rykken of the Major Frauds Section and Veronica Dragalin of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section.


Dept of Justice


Former Marijuana Warehouse Employee Convicted of Planning $2 Million Armed Heist with Corrupt L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy

from Nicola T. Hanna- United States Attorney, Central District of California

– A former employee of a marijuana distribution warehouse was found guilty by a jury today of federal criminal charges that he conspired with a corrupt Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy to rob his former employer of $2 million dollars' worth of marijuana and cash through an armed robbery staged to look like a legitimate law enforcement operation. 

Christopher Myung Kim, 29, of Walnut, was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, conspiracy against rights, deprivation of rights under color of law, and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. 

According to evidence presented at his four-day trial, at approximately 3 a.m. on October 29, 2018, LASD Deputy Marc Antrim, 42, of South El Monte, and six co-conspirators, robbed a marijuana distribution warehouse in downtown Los Angeles. Antrim, who was assigned to the LASD station in Temple City, was arrested by federal authorities for his role in the robbery and agreed to cooperate with the government.  Antrim, who was dressed as an armed deputy, flashed his badge and a fake search warrant to gain access to the warehouse and detain the warehouse's security guards in a cage in the back of an LASD Ford Explorer.

Days before the robbery, Kim had supplied Antrim with inside information about the robbery, including key details about the warehouse's layout, operation and security. Kim also gave Antrim the warehouse's blueprints, noting where security guards likely would be stationed and which rooms Antrim and their co-conspirators should “hit” to ensure that the most valuable items were stolen.

During the two-hour robbery, Antrim and the fake law enforcement team absconded with more than 1,200 pounds of marijuana, two large commercial safes containing more than $600,000 in cash and money orders, and other items of value from the warehouse.

Hours after the robbery, Antrim drove a rental truck to a storage facility in Walnut, where Kim had rented a storage unit the day of the robbery. Antrim and co-conspirator Kevin McBride, 44, of Glendora, delivered $1.5 million dollars' worth of stolen marijuana and marijuana products to Kim to resell for profit. The next day, Kim and others unloaded the stolen marijuana from the storage unit into Kim's white Lexus RX, a Subaru SUV, and a U-Haul moving truck.

Kim had worked at the warehouse for years, but a dispute with its owners left him “bitterly disgruntled,” according to court documents. Evidence admitted at trial, including Kim's social media communications, showed that Kim left his job just weeks before the robbery and conspired with Antrim to orchestrate the raid both for profit and to get revenge against his own bosses.

Antrim, who was arrested on November 8, 2018 on a federal criminal complaint, pleaded guilty on March 4 to multiple felonies in connection with the armed robbery.  His sentencing is scheduled for March 16. Five other defendants, including McBride, also have pleaded guilty for their involvement in the robbery and will be sentenced early next year.

United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips scheduled a February 10 sentencing hearing, at which time Kim will face a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 years in prison.

The jury acquitted Kim of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. LASD's Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau provided substantial assistance to the federal investigation.

This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lindsey Greer Dotson of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and Joseph D. Axelrad of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.



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Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch - 2019 Archives

The LA Police Protective League, the union that represents the rank-and-file LAPD officers, presents a weekday digest of local news, which often includes the union's perspective.

The articles are often from local newspapers and national other sources,

Thay constitute but a small percentage of the information available daily to the community policing and neighborhood activist public.

But most of the material includes issues of some interest to the Los Angeles community-policing community.
Law Enforcement News

Arizona K-9 Killed By Fleeing Suspect
An Arizona police K-9 was fatally shot while trying to catch a fleeing suspect early Friday night. Fox News reports investigators unleashed K-9 Koki after Joe Ruelas, a suspect wanted for aggravated assault. But during the pursuit, Ruelas shot Koki, officials said. Two officers fired back at Ruelas, who ran out of sight, according to Fox News. He was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. El Mirage Police Chief Paul Marzocca wrote in a statement that Koki, who had served with the EMPD for four years, was ‘a true hero.' "The loss of Koki is no different than the loss of a Police Officer," Marzocca said in the statement. "Today the El Mirage Police Department mourns Koki, we lost a brother last night." 

Police Seek Man Accused Of Touching Boy On The Street In Highland Park
Investigators are searching for a man accused of touching a 13-year-old boy after striking up a conversation with him on the street in Highland Park. Los Angeles police issued a community alert Tuesday, seeking the public's help finding the perpetrator in the Nov. 2 incident. The man approached the teen as he was walking in the area of San Pascual Avenue and Hough Street around 6:30 p.m., officers said. After starting a conversation with the child, he began rubbing the boy's lower back with his hand, according to LAPD. The man then left the area on foot. Police describe him as a Latino man around 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighing roughly 170 pounds. He had gray, buzzed hair with some facial hair, possible a mustache. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a white T-shirt with dark pants, officials said. Anyone with information can contact LAPD Detective Jackman at 323-561-3328. 

LAPD To Release Details Into South LA Suspected Kidnapping Case
Los Angeles police are expected to release new details on Wednesday into a case involving disturbing video that captured a woman screaming for help in a South Los Angeles neighborhood. Earlier this month, police say a woman was taken against her will near the intersection of Obama Boulevard and Third Avenue in Leimert Park. Chilling footage from a neighbor's Ring doorbell camera surfaced of the woman screaming for help several times. "Somebody help me please!" the woman is heard screaming. Police say the getaway car was a white early 2000s Toyota Matrix with black rims. They are expected to share photos of the getaway car Wednesday, two weeks after the incident. The press conference by LAPD is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

5th Grade LAUSD Teacher Identified As Suspect In Silver Lake Hit-and-Run Crash
Los Angeles Police Department detectives have identified a 5th grade Los Angeles Unified School District teacher as the suspected driver in a Silver Lake hit-and-run crash that left a man seriously injured. Police arrested Molly Jane Hoene, 52, in the city of Palm Desert Tuesday morning in connection to the Oct. 25 crash. Her bail was set at $50,000. The victim, a homeless man, was struck head-on while riding his bicycle in the 3000 block of Berkeley Avenue by what police identified as a early model red Mini Cooper with a red-and-white roof. The man suffered a broken leg, broken arm and fractured spine, police said. The damaged Mini Cooper was later towed to the Route 66 Collision Center at 6820 San Fernando Road in Glendale. The owner of the shop called authorities after seeing reports of the crash on television, police said.

Black Market Guns: Over 200 Mislabeled Packages Containing Illegal Full Auto Glock Conversion Switches Recovered At LAX
The ATF is scrambling to hunt down thousands of illegal machine gun conversion switches being illegally imported into the United States from China, hundreds of which were recently found and recovered in deceptively labeled packages at the LAX port of entry. The cheap devices convert a semiautomatic handgun into a fully automatic handgun, typically a Glock, and the ATF says they pose a major threat to public safety. “What it does is it makes a semiautomatic pistol into a fully automatic handheld machine gun,” said special agent Carlos A. Canino of ATF Los Angeles. “Gang members are buying these, gang associates are buying these, it's a concern for the LA area.” The switches are easily fastened to a Glock handgun and convert it from semiautomatic, meaning one pull of the trigger per bullet, to fully automatic, legally, a machine gun, where one pull of the trigger empties the entire magazine until ammo is expended or the trigger is let go.
FOX 11

LA Prosecutors Warn Shoppers Of Fake, Recalled Items During Holidays
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and District Attorney Jackie Lacey warned people Tuesday to be alert for counterfeit and recalled products when shopping for the holidays. "Holiday shoppers need to be vigilant," Feuer said. "It's all too easy to buy counterfeit or recalled items online that rip you off financially and pose a threat to the safety of you and your family." The city and county's top prosecutors said people need to be extra vigilant when looking to purchase such items as phone chargers, helmets, toys and car seats. "The sale of counterfeit goods not only undermines our economy but also may place hazardous items in the hands of our children," Lacey said. "Counterfeit toys, car seats and mobile phone chargers may sound harmless, but they do not go through the same vigorous safety checks as legitimate items. As a result, they may endanger the health and safety of our loved ones." Feuer and Lacey warned that counterfeit items, like fake phone chargers, rarely meet industry safety standards necessary to protect users.
FOX 11

L.A. County Renews $10,000 Reward In Unprovoked Westmont Fatal Shooting
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors renewed a $10,000 reward Tuesday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever gunned down a 42-year-old man in an unprovoked attack in the unincorporated Westmont area last summer. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas recommended extending the reward, which was set to expire Dec. 1 but will now be available for at least another 90 days. Investigators say Corey Devaughn Pickett was visiting a friend about 11:30 p.m. on July 12 in the 1000 block of West 94th Street, near Vermont Avenue and the border with Los Angeles, when his brother drove up in a new Maserati. When Pickett and his friend went out to the driveway to check out the luxury car, a four-door sedan coming from Budlong Avenue made an abrupt stop and two young men jumped out and fired about 20 rounds at the men. Pickett was struck by eight bullets and died at the scene. His friend took a bullet in the back, but the wound was not life-threatening, authorities said.

2 San Fernando Valley Men Arrested On Suspicion Of Trafficking Meth, Heroin
Two men were arrested after investigators found several pounds of methamphetamine inside their San Fernando Valley residence, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday. In August, detectives received information that Gilberto Jimenez, 39, and Edward Rodriguez, 54, were allegedly selling meth. After a three-month investigation, officials determined the men were working together to house and distribute the drugs, the Sheriff's Office said in a news release. Deputies said the men ran the operation out of Rodriguez's home on Remington Street, which is in Pacoima, in Los Angeles County. But the case was investigated by a Ventura County task force dedicated to apprehending traffickers impacting the region. Investigators say a search warrant served at the residence last Friday turned up 8 pounds of meth and one and a half pounds of heroin. Both men were subsequently arrested outside Rodriguez's home on suspicion of possession of meth and heroin with an intent to sell, the Sheriff's Office said.

U.S. Mortality Rates Continue To Increase Due To Drug Overdose, Alcohol Abuse

Drug overdose, suicide and alcohol abuse were among the reasons why life expectancy was shortening for Americans a new study published Tuesday found. According to the study, adults ages 25-64 have seen the largest increase — 6% — in mortality rates. The United States had been making steady progress, with life expectancy increasing to 78-years-old over the last half century, but the pace slowed over time, and began to decline in 2014. “The implications for public health and the economy are substantial, making it vital to understand the underlying causes,” the researchers said. The researchers found that other high-income countries continue to see a steady rise in life expectancy. 

Public Safety News

Father, 2 Sons Rescued By Helicopter After Going Missing While Hiking In Angeles National Forest
A father and his two sons were rescued after going missing while hiking in the Angeles National Forest early Sunday morning, authorities said. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue responded to a call at about 2:30 a.m., about hikers who had been missing for over three hours near Glendora Mountain Road and East Fork Road, officials said. A Montrose Search and Rescue helicopter located the family near East Fork Road around 9:30 a.m., according to Deputy Michelle Sanchez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Information Bureau. The three were found safe, Sanchez said. The father and two sons were hoisted on board the helicopter and taken to be reunited with the rest of their family, according to the Montrose Search and Rescue Team.

Safety Measures In Place As Major Winter Storm Arrives In Southern California
Officials with the California Department of Transportation spent Tuesday preparing the Cajon Pass for the upcoming winter storm by deicing the roadways. It was one of several measures around the region undertaken to prepare for the rain, snow and cold, authorities said. Tanker trucks, filled with 4,000 gallons of water mixed with the deicing solution, traveled along the middle lanes of the 15 Freeway, Highway 2 and Highway 138, spraying the solution to make sure all lanes were covered, spokeswoman Terri Kasinga said. The solution helps to keep the road temperature higher and it helps to break up the ice and snow that accumulates on the roadway, she said. “When cars drive over, it helps break up the ice even more,” she said.
Los Angeles Daily News

Local Government News

LA County Supervisors Adopt Rent Control Ordinances In Unincorporated Areas
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday adopted two permanent rent stabilization ordinances to take effect April 1 in unincorporated areas of LA County. The votes on the ordinances, which cover both rental properties and land leases in mobile home parks, were 4-1, with Supervisor Kathryn Barger dissenting. Under the new regulations, rent increases for non-luxury units will be limited to the annual change in the Consumer Price Index, with a maximum of 8%. Properties exempt from the caps on rent include units built after 1995, condominiums, single-family homes and public housing. The rental ordinance also prohibits evictions without just cause. The mobile home ordinance limits increases on space rentals to 75% of the CPI with an 8% maximum.

L.A. Is Ready To Open 30 Homeless Shelters — But City And County Are At Odds Over Who Should Pay
It took months to get off the ground, but Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's plan to build a homeless shelter in every City Council district has taken off. Nine are now open with a total of more than 500 beds. And, after some resistance, 14 of 15 council members have committed to having at least one shelter in their district — everyone but Councilman John Lee in the West San Fernando Valley. In all, 30 shelters are in some stage of development for a total of 2,300 new beds, including about 900 that the city plans to fund from other sources. But the unanticipated success of Garcetti's A Bridge Home program has put the city at odds with Los Angeles County over who should pay for it, leaving further expansion of the shelter program in doubt at time when residents have become increasingly frustrated with an explosion of homeless encampments.
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