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Obama, others launch effort to reduce college sexual violence

President Obama and other federal officials are scheduled to launch a campaign Friday aimed at encouraging more college students, especially men, to prevent sexual violence.

The effort will be known as "It's on Us" and will team with media companies, including video game makers, and celebrities to raise awareness of sexual violence on campus and increase prevention, according to White House officials.

The NCAA will also support the campaign and will start showing public service announcements this weekend, the officials said.

The campaign is part of the White House's focus on reducing sexual assault on college campuses. Obama and other officials appointed a task force to examine the issue earlier this year, and the group made several recommendations earlier this summer, including requiring campuses to publicly disclose more types of sexual violence and harassment.

Over the last three years, the U.S. Department of Education has launched more investigations, released more guidelines,...

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Gordo, the dog hit by a van during a police chase, is out of surgery

Gordo, the small white dog who was struck by a fleeing van during a police pursuit on live TV and won the hearts of viewers, was recovering from surgery Thursday night.

In a statement, Advanced Critical Care, Emergency and Specialty Services in Culver City said that Gordo was out of surgery and that the procedure "went well."

“Thanks to so many people who called, emailed, tweeted and texted good thoughts for this little guy,” the veterinary hospital's statement said. “And for the many who so generously opened their wallets and purses to assist Gordo’s owner, well, what can we say, but ‘we love you all.’ ”

No further details about Gordo's condition were released.

The mixed-breed dog was struck by an allegedly stolen Chevy Astro van about 9 p.m. Wednesday as the driver sped away from police in South Los Angeles. The chase went on for more than an hour.

The van lost its front tires at one point and threw off a shower of sparks, lighting up the night.

The pursuit ended about 9:10 p.m....

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San Diego school district to return armored military vehicle

The San Diego school district will return its armored military vehicle to the Department of Defense, school officials announced Thursday night.

The district joins a list of agencies returning excess military equipment amid a national controversy over local law enforcement agencies using such equipment.

The controversy erupted when police in Ferguson, Mo., used military equipment and tactics to quell protests after the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer.

Law enforcement agencies in Ferguson, like hundreds of others, had received military equipment at no cost under the Excess Property Program.

The San Diego Unified School District's police department had planned to use the vehicle, called a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle or MRAP, in the event that students and employees needed to be rescued from an "active shooter" on campus.

But Supt. Cindy Marten, in announcing the decision to return the vehicle, said that "some members of our community are not...

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Metro yanks Fox TV show bus ads branded as racist, offensive to women

An advertisement for the new Fox television show “Red Band Society” was abruptly pulled from Los Angeles Metro buses Thursday after activists complained it was racist and offensive.

The ads for the series that premiered this week show actress Octavia Spencer next to the words “Scary Bitch.” Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Mark Littman said the agency decided to remove the ad because that label “denigrates women.”

“That speaks for itself,” Littman said. “That was not acceptable.”

The ads, which have been up for five weeks, will be removed from 190 Metro buses as soon as possible, said Metro spokesman Dave Sotero.

The announcement was made Thursday at a Metro committee meeting where a few dozen protesters showed up to speak against the ads. Among them was Jasmyne Cannick, who said the nickname perpetuates negative stereotypes about black women.

“I don’t know if I find it more offensive because I’m black, or more offensive because I’m a woman,” said Cannick, 36. “I...

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L.A. Unified settles suit with student data software vendor

The Los Angeles Unified School District paid $3.75 million Thursday to settle a lawsuit with the vendor of a software system designed to track attendance, grades, schedules and other student data, officials said.

The agreement, which was disclosed by the district Thursday, came after a two-year court battle between L.A. Unified and two companies -- Maximus Inc. and Harris Education Consulting – that developed the student information system.

Known as the Integrated Student Information System, or ISIS, that program was intended to help L.A. Unified comply with a federal consent decree stemming from a lawsuit over alleged violations of the rights of special education students.

L.A. Unified spent $112 million developing the system, but never fully implemented it. Instead, the district switched course in 2012 and developed a new system using code developed by Microsoft and the Fresno Unified School District. That system, known as My Integrated Student Information System, or MISIS, had a...

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Doris Payne, 83-year-old jewelry thief, back in jail

Doris Payne, the 83-year-old jewelry thief with a criminal record that goes back to the 1950s, was back in jail Thursday.

Payne was being held at a jail in Indio on a violation of mandatory supervision, said John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney's office. She is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Payne pleaded not guilty to the violation and was due back in court on Oct. 2 for a hearing.

The 5-foot, 6-inch, 141-pound Payne made headlines last year when she was arrested for swiping a $22,500 diamond-and-white-gold ring from El Paseo Jewelers in a Palm Desert shopping center.

[For the Record, 8:50 p.m. PDT Sept. 18: A previous version of this post Payne was being held at Larson Justice Center in Indio. That is the name of the courthouse where she was taken into custody, she is being held at a jail in Indio.]

In April, Payne was sentenced to four years in custody -- two in county jail, two under mandatory supervision -- after pleading guilty to one felony...

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Firefighter rescued from three-alarm apartment fire in West Hollywood

A firefighter was taken to a hospital Thursday afternoon after flames ripped through a three-story apartment complex in West Hollywood, officials said.

The firefighter was rescued by a rapid intervention crew as the three-alarm fire swept through the apartment complex in the 1200 block of North Horn Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The extent of the firefighter’s injuries was not immediately known.

The fire broke out just after 4 p.m. on the second story of the apartment building.

The fire was reported knocked down about 4:45 p.m.

For breaking news in Los Angeles and throughout California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA. She can be reached at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.

 


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Former San Diego car dealer pleads guilty to hiding drug money

The former owner of a San Diego car dealership pleaded guilty Thursday to trying to conceal $719,000 in cash from a drug trafficker as payment for a Ferrari, a Porsche and two Lamborghinis.

John Frank Mussari Jr., 48, former owner of Mussari Motors Inc., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to evade a law requiring disclosure of cash transactions exceeding $10,000.

He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced in San Diego federal court on Dec. 5.

The name of the drug trafficker was not released by prosecutors.

When Mussari was arrested, he was trying to leave the drug trafficker's home in a Lamborghini, according to prosecutors. Agents found nearly $205,000 in cash in the car.

The drug trafficker purchased the cars over a four-month period, according to court documents.

As part of his guilty plea, Mussari admitted receiving $132,000 for a Ferrari, $147,000 for a Porsche, and $115,000 and $205,000 each for two Lamborghini. He also admitted receiving other cash...

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Massive Northern California fire outrunning firefighters

In a summer of destructive blazes across Central and Northern California, the King fire — burning out of control in the forest east of Sacramento — has officials particularly alarmed.

The fire exploded in a matter of hours into the second-largest in California this year, forcing the closure of Highway 50 and moving north toward Tahoe National Forest.

The arson fire has produced a massive smoke plume the length of Colorado and is pushing embers across canyons, reservoirs and rivers, outracing thousands of firefighters trying to control it.

The King fire is the latest in a series of major blazes to roar out of control in vegetation left tinder-dry by California’s three-year drought. On Monday, 150 structures were lost in the logging town of Weed, just west of Mt. Shasta, when a wildfire swept through. A fire destroyed 30 homes a day earlier in Madera County.

“These times are unprecedented here in California with respect to fire behavior,” California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection...

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L.A. school district will double staff helping with iPad rollout

In response to problems with providing iPads to all students, teachers and campus administrators, the Los Angeles school system will double the number of people who will help with technical and instructional issues.

Getting such aid to L.A. Unified schools and teachers was one key recommendation from a critical evaluation of the district's $1.3-billion technology program.

The technical assistance this year will involve about 120 employees at a cost of about $3.9 million to the general fund and about $5.3 million charged to school construction bonds.

The report, released Wednesday, found that the speed and size of the district’s effort created serious, widespread difficulties. They included technical glitches, inconsistent and incomplete training and poor communication within the district and with the public.

The result was reduced use of the iPads. And the curriculum being developed by Pearson, at a cost of about $200 per device for a three-year license, barely was being used at all....

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Suspension proposed for L.A. attorney over doctored celebrity photos

A Los Angeles attorney faces a possible six-month suspension for posting doctored photos on her firm's website that implied she mingled with high-profile politicians and celebrities, including President Obama, George Clooney and Kim Kardashian.

The photos -- more than 50 -- are published on lawyer Svitlana Sangary's website under a tab titled "publicity."

They appear to show Sangary with dozens of politicians and celebrities, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Leonardo DiCaprio and Dr. Phil.

But during a July trial, experts testified that "many, and perhaps all" of the photos were Photoshopped "to make it appear as though [Sangary] was in the presence of a celebrity," according to a report by a judge of the State Bar Court of California who recommended the six-month suspension.

In his 18-page decision, which was first reported in the legal newspaper The Recorder, Judge Donald F. Miles said Sangary had committed four counts...

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Earthquake: 3.0 quake strikes near Corcoran

A shallow magnitude 3.0 earthquake was reported Thursday afternoon six miles from Corcoran, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 3:59 p.m. at a depth of 2.5 miles.

According to the USGS, the epicenter was 16 miles from Lemoore, 17 miles from Hanford and 21 miles from Tulare.

In the past 10 days, there have been no earthquakes magnitude 3.0 and greater centered nearby.

This information comes from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service and this post was created by an algorithm written by the author.

Read more about Southern California earthquakes.

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