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Despite setbacks, Marine's drive to form Afghan water polo team continues

The U.S. combat role in Afghanistan may be finished but the highly unofficial drive by a Marine reservist to form an Afghan water polo team continues.

Starting in 2008, when he was working as a civilian contractor in Kabul, Warrant Officer Jeremy Piasecki has had the quixotic dream of introducing his beloved sport to Afghanistan.

Piasecki lives in Fallbrook in northern San Diego County. He was on the water polo team at Corona del Mar High in Newport Beach and later the team at Orange Coast College. He coached a high school team in Lake Elsinore and a swim team in Fallbrook.

He remains convinced that water polo is just the thing to boost Afghanistan's sense of national unity by rallying around a sports team.

There have been problems. A paucity of swimming pools. Lack of money for travel. Afghan unfamiliarity with the sport. And refusal in 2011 by the U.S. Embassy to grant visas to players to travel to the U.S. for training for fear the players would seek to defect.

Still, under the...

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San Francisco police detain 2 in dismembered body case

Police have detained two people in a gruesome case involving human body parts that were found stuffed in a suitcase and scattered over a three-block radius in downtown San Francisco, authorities said late Friday.

Officers detained a man they had earlier identified as a person of interest at about 7:30 p.m. Friday, shortly after police received an anonymous tip that the person had been spotted in the Tenderloin District, according to Officer Grace Gatpandan, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Police Department.

A second person was detained there as well. Both were taken to the Hall of Justice to be questioned, Gatpandan said, but neither has been arrested.

Earlier Friday, police released photos taken from surveillance video of a man they were looking for. He was wearing a pinstriped baseball hat, a blue and orange jacket, and light blue jeans. Police described the man as white, in his 50s or 60s, about 5 foot 7, and possibly a transient.

The body parts were said to belong to an...

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Police search for 3-month-old girl abducted in Palmdale

Police are searching for a 3-month-old girl allegedly abducted from Palmdale by her father after a violent confrontation with the child's mother.

The father, 28-year-old Ellsworth Jerome Young, drove away with his daughter in a blue Honda Element with a broken driver's side taillight and Washington state license plate AFD 9769, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The vehicle also has damage to the driver's door.

Young was last reported in Bakersfield around 6 p.m. Friday.

The girl's mother told police that Young punched her in the face Friday morning, causing a black eye, before driving off with their child. The woman said that Young had a semi-automatic pistol, and that he had forced her to perform sex acts, according to an email alert issued by the LASD.

Twitter: @jackdolanLAT

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Former Marine gets 11 years in prison for DUI crash that killed three

A former Marine was sentenced to 11 years in prison Friday after being convicted of killing three friends in a drunk-driving accident. The three victims were fellow Marines stationed at Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton.

Jared Ray Hale, 28, was convicted Dec. 10 of one felony count each of driving under the influence causing bodily injury and driving with a blood-alcohol limit of .08% or more causing bodily injury, including sentencing enhancements, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney’s office.

The incident happened around 2 a.m. on Feb. 12, 2012, after a night of drinking at Hennessey’s Tavern in Dana Point, when Hale crashed his car into a tree near Golden Lantern, according to the statement.

Jeremiah Callahan, 23, of Nebraska, and Christopher Arzola, 21, of Massachusetts, died at the scene. Jason Chleborad, 22, of South Dakota, died at a nearby hospital hours later.

Hale lost consciousness in the crash and was treated for brain trauma and a fractured arm....

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Two shot, one fatally, in South Los Angeles

A 14-year-old boy was killed and a 19-year-old man injured in a shooting in South Los Angeles on Friday afternoon, police said.

The victims were gunned down around 5:40 p.m. in the 11200 bock of Figueroa Street, according to Officer Jeffrey Dohlen of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The deceased victim, who was not identified, was pronounced dead at the scene, Dohlen said.

Two suspects, both male, were still at large early Friday evening, Dohlen said.

There have been seven other murders within a mile of that location in the last year, according to the Los Angeles Times' Homicide Report.

Twitter: @jackdolanLAT

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L.A. officials pledge to help raise funds for immigration relief efforts

Los Angeles leaders said Friday they hope to raise $10 million to help immigrants in the country illegally apply for President Obama’s deferred action programs, which would offer some protection from deportation.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said it’s important that the nearly half a million people eligible for immigration relief in the Los Angeles area apply for the programs. The mayor announced the plan during an event at his home with immigrant advocates and a top immigration enforcement official.

“It will make our communities and our streets safer,” said Garcetti, who added that the goal is to help at least 100,000 immigrants apply.

The plan is a joint effort between the city of Los Angeles and the California Community Foundation, a philanthropy group that often works on immigration issues. The group’s director, Antonia Hernandez, said her organization has already raised $5 million from organizations including the Weingart Foundation and the California Endowment. Much of the money will be...

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