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L.A. moviegoers say seeing 'The Interview' is standing up for freedom

A slow trickle of moviegoers gathered in West Hollywood Thursday morning to check out "The Interview," the comedy about North Korea that has wound up in the center of a real-life geopolitical imbroglio.

Some said they were simply observing a Christmas ritual by taking in a comedy at the cineplex. Others said they were there to make a statement in support of free speech and against Guardians of Peace, the hacking group that threatened to attack theaters that screened the film.

"It's a basic issue of freedom of choice," said Cliff Reston, 57, of Hollywood, who attended with his wife, Toni. "This is a movie I probably would have watched on demand in a year – it’s not a genre that rises to the top for me. But once it became a cause celebre, it seemed worth doing."

About a dozen people milled quietly outside the Sundance Sunset Cinemas before the 11:45 a.m. screening, the first of the day.

"I would have come anyway – I have nothing else to do," said writer Jason Bargueno, 33, who was away...

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Winds as fast as 65 mph knock out power across L.A. County

Thousands of residents across Los Angeles County woke up Christmas morning without power after unusually high winds tore apart trees, blew away holiday decorations and prompted the California Highway Patrol to issue an advisory to freeway drivers.

In Los Angeles, winds as fast as 40 miles per hour knocked out power to about 11,500 customers in areas such as Westwood, Northridge, Hollywood, downtown and Century City, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

About 3,300 customers in Los Angeles were still without power at 12:45 p.m. Power crews have been working on repairs and are expected to get most of the power restored by mid-to-late afternoon, DWP officials said.

More than 740 customers in Inglewood had a power outage from 3:18 a.m. to 4:21 a.m., said Southern California Edison spokeswoman Lauren Bartlett. Hundreds of people also lost power early Thursday morning in the Park-Windsor Hills and Hawthorne areas.

At 10 a.m., power outages were still affecting more...

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Memorial honors five homeless people who died

A list of four homeless people who died on the streets of Glendale was originally planned to be read at a memorial service, but one more name was added at the last minute because of a sudden death during the weekend.

Rosemarie Avalos died overnight while at a bus stop at San Fernando Road and Central Avenue and, like other transients who lost their lives, was living on the fringes for years.

“These are typically chronically ill people that have been living on the streets for quite a while,” said Natalie Profant Komuro, executive director of Ascencia, the largest homeless services provider in Glendale. “They typically have chronic health problems, and addiction that makes them very vulnerable to the cold. So when you look at the names of the people that died, that’s typically their story.”

Komuro, her staff and a handful of local homeless individuals gathered at Cerritos Park Monday afternoon for a vigil.

Avalos’ name was read aloud, as were the names of others who died on the streets of...

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Man dies during struggle with border agents at San Ysidro crossing

San Diego police are investigating the Christmas Eve death of a 40-year-old man during a struggle with border agents at the San Ysidro crossing.

The man, whose name was not disclosed, entered the United States from Mexico through the pedestrian walkway at about 7 p.m., according to homicide Lt. Paul Rorrison.

During a computer check, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found that he had an outstanding felony warrant. Agents attempted to arrest the man, who was not handcuffed, but he "jumped over the processing counter and attacked an agent," Rorrison said.

Other agents attempted to subdue the man. One used a Taser, Rorrison said.

The man ''became unresponsive and stopped breathing," Rorrison said. He died despite attempts at CPR.

Four agents received "moderate injuries" and were taken to the hospital. Their names were not released.

The San Diego County medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

Twitter: @LATSandiego

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Lindbergh beacon atop L.A. City Hall shows Santa the way

The Lindbergh beacon, the revolving light atop City Hall that was turned on for the first time by President Calvin Coolidge in 1928, was lighted again Wednesday night in time for Christmas.

"I want to make sure  Santa will get to the children of Los Angeles tonight and that everyone  knows L.A. is a place that honors all traditions and all faiths," Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

The beacon will remain on through Jan. 5 to mark the 12 days of Christmas "and to signify that L.A. is a beacon of tolerance of the world's peoples, cultures and faiths," Garcetti wrote on his Facebook page.

After Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic in 1927, receiving a bushel of gifts, the aviator suggested to civic leaders in Los Angeles that they contribute to the advancement of aviation rather than give him more presents.

The city decided to place the 1,000-watt light on the new City Hall to help pilots identify Los Angeles and also mark the 27-story building as a potential hazard to them.

When pilots...

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Armed robber steals two English bulldog puppies

A gunman robbed a Pico Rivera pet shop of an undetermined amount of cash Wednesday and stole two English bulldog puppies worth $2,500 each, according to the Sheriff's Department.

The man walked into Mr. Bulldog on Whittier Boulevard about 2 p.m., said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Sergio Escobedo.

Miriam Guillen, manager of the store, told KABC-TV Channel 7, that the robber walked toward the kennels, and a dog tried to jump on him. "That's when he shouted, 'I'll shoot your dog too. Hurry. I want the dogs,' " she said.

Escobedo said the robber took the two 10-week-old puppies and left the store through the back door, which opens onto an alley.

He said the dogs were still drinking goat's milk.  

This was the fourth time in six years that Mr. Bulldog had been robbed, Escobedo said.


Twitter: @gottliebjeff

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