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The nation's news, events, people and culture
Halliburton agrees to pay $1.1 billion in Deepwater Horizon spill

Halliburton has agreed to a $1.1-billion settlement stemming from its involvement in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that spewed more than 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and killed 11 people, attorneys for the company and plaintiffs said Tuesday.

The settlement seeks to put to bed most of the claims filed against the oil field services giant by individuals and businesses affected by the spill, including commercial fishermen and charter boat operators and individual fishermen or hunters in certain areas who depended on their catch for subsistence, attorneys with the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Deepwater Horizon litigation said.

“Halliburton stepped up to the plate and agreed to provide a fair measure of compensation to people and businesses harmed in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy,” attorneys Stephen J. Herman and James P. Roy said in a statement from the committee.

According to Halliburton, the agreement covers:

Claims against...

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Detroit, hoping to leave bankruptcy, warns of 'downward spiral'

Lawyers for the city of Detroit began their opening arguments Tuesday in what could be the final stage of the city’s bankruptcy trial, setting off a weeks-long hearing after which Judge Steven Rhodes will either approve or nix the city’s plan to emerge from Chapter 9.

The city began its arguments by emphasizing that alternatives to the bankruptcy plan would stall Detroit’s recovery and potentially cast it into a situation from which it could not recover.

“I don’t like the term 'death spiral,'” Bruce Bennett, an attorney representing the city, said in court Tuesday. “But Detroit is in a downward spiral.”

Bennett argued that raising taxes in Detroit, which has the highest taxes and worst services in the region, would not stabilize the city, although doing so could potentially reap more for creditors.

He also argued against selling the artwork in the Detroit Institute of Arts museum. Instead, he supported an element of the current bankruptcy plan, which calls for transferring the artwork...

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Shootings in Kansas City, Mo., leave 3 dead, 2 critically wounded

At least three people were killed and two others suffered critical injuries when gunfire broke out in a residential part of Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday, authorities said.

The shootings broke out near the intersection of Wornall Road and Woodbridge Lane around 12:50 p.m. Tuesday near the Blue Hills Country Club in the southern part of the city, according to a statement issued by the Kansas City Police Department.

Investigators believe the shooter or shooters are still at large, and are searching for a 2002 Toyota Highlander that was taken from the scene.

Three victims were found dead at the scene, and two others suffered life-threatening injuries, according to the statement.

A department spokesperson declined to say whether the victims were related, exactly where the shooting happened or what led to the gunfire.

Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for breaking news.

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South Carolina teen sues DMV over license photo

The family of a South Carolina teenager who was ordered to remove his makeup before taking a driver's license photo this year has filed a federal lawsuit against the state Department of Motor Vehicles, according to court records.

Chase Culpepper, a 16-year-old who identifies as male but wears makeup and women's clothing on a regular basis, was ordered to remove his makeup by DMV officials when he tried to obtain his driver's license in March.

The agency argued that Chase was, in effect, attempting to disguise his appearance by not appearing as a male.

The New York-based Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund called on the DMV to allow Chase to retake the picture in June, but the agency has not responded to requests to resolve the issue, according to the lawsuit.

The suit, which was filed by the teenager's mother on his behalf in federal court Tuesday, contends that the DMV's policies are unconstitutional and calls for a court order to allow Chase to dress how he wants for a...

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Uzi 'too much' for girl who accidentally shot instructor, report says

The mother of a 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed her gun instructor while learning to fire an Uzi told sheriff's deputies that the weapon was "too much for her" daughter and that it hurt the girl's shoulder, according to a report released Tuesday by the Mohave County Sheriff's Office. 

The girl’s father told a deputy that he, his wife and three children arrived at Last Stop in White Hills, Ariz., around 9:45 a.m. Aug. 25 and took a ride in a monster truck before being brought to the establishment’s Burgers and Bullets shooting range, the report said.

According to the report: The father said he shot the gun first. Then, instructor Charles Vacca began showing the girl how to fire the Uzi. After she fired off “a couple of rounds,” her father said, he suddenly heard several rounds fire and saw her drop the gun. She was holding her shoulder, so the family thought she was injured and crowded around her without realizing Vacca had been hit, he said.

The girl’s mother told a deputy that...

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Recline rage: Why airline seating is provoking mid-flight fights

For the third time in about a week, aisle rage erupted on Monday after a dispute over a reclined seat led a Delta flight to make an unscheduled stop. One passenger was taken off of the plane in Jacksonville, Fla., and the aircraft then completed its New York to West Palm Beach, Fla., trip, arriving about 90 minutes late.

If this had been a single event, few people outside of those delayed would have been concerned. But the incident seems to be the latest in a pattern of anger over seating space that has turned the once friendly skies into a 21st century version of the old college game about how many football players can fit into a Volkswagen.

According to Delta, Flight 2370 left New York’s LaGuardia Airport about 7 p.m.

A passenger on the flight, Aaron Klipin, told reporters in Florida that another passenger got into an argument with a woman sitting a row ahead who wanted to recline her seat so she could knit. The passenger behind was trying to nap on a tray table and began screaming...

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8 teens still missing after 32 escape Nashville youth detention center

Authorities are still sweeping the Nashville area in search of eight teens who remain at large after they escaped a youth detention center late Monday.

Officials said 32 teen boys, ranging in age from 14 to 18, crawled under a fence at the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in North Nashville about 11 p.m. Monday shortly after a staff shift change.

By noon local time Tuesday, all but eight had been located, some turned in by parents and other family members, said Rob Johnson, a spokesman with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

The incident began when dozens of detainees left their dorm rooms, which are not locked according to policy, Johnson said.

“They all came out, and then somehow they were able to get outside the building,” which is normally secured, Johnson told The Times.

After running around the outdoor yard for a few minutes, the boys found a weak spot in the fence and crawled out.

Authorities with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Tennessee Bureau of...

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More than 30 teens escape Nashville youth detention center

Authorities early Tuesday were hunting for 17 escapees from a Nashville youth detention center after more than 30 teens fled from the facility hours earlier.

Officials said 32 teens, ranging in age 14 to 19, crawled under a fence surrounding the yard at Woodland Hills Youth Development Center at about 11 p.m. Monday, according to Tennessee Department of Children's Services spokesman Rob Johnson. 

"Apparently they were able to find a weak spot at the bottom of the fence and they were able to go underneath it," Johnson told The Times. 

Two juveniles were found right away and others were found throughout the night, Johnson said.

Local police, Children's Services Department officials and members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol were continuing the search for the teens still at large, he said.

"They're urging anyone who might see any of these kids to call law enforcement to apprehend them," Johnson said. 

Teens held at the detention center have committed at least three felonies, Johnson said....

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Ferguson fundraiser mystery solved -- or is it?

Two online fundraising pages that raised more than $400,000 for the police officer who killed an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo., were shut down this weekend so tax lawyers could decide how best to handle the money, an official told the Los Angeles Times.

Mystery has surrounded the pages on the crowdsourced fundraising site GoFundMe since Saturday, when both were suspended by their creators without an explanatory note to donors. And some mystery persisted Monday night.

"Support Officer Darren Wilson" and "Support Officer Wilson"  -- two separate pages with similar names -- raised $235,750 and $197,620, respectively, for the Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown, 18, on Aug. 9, touching off protests and unrest.

The first page, “Support Officer Darren Wilson,” had raised the most concern because its creator was anonymous and had not received certified status from GoFundMe.

Missouri state Rep. Jeffrey Roorda, a Democrat who is helping to handle Wilson’s fundraising efforts,...

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Fundraising Web pages for Ferguson cop still closed; it's unclear why

Organizers have remained silent on why donation pages raising more than $400,000 for the police officer who killed an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Mo., were shut down without explanation over the weekend.

A related Facebook page has been deleting comments from those who raise questions about the accountability of the donations. 

On the crowdsourced fundraising site GoFundMe, "Support Officer Darren Wilson" and "Support Officer Wilson" -- two separate pages with similar names -- raised $235,750 and $197,620, respectively, for the Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9.

A similar page for Brown's family, run by the family's attorney, Benjamin Crump, had raised $316,194 as of Monday afternoon.

The shooting prompted weeks of unrest and demonstrations against the overwhelmingly white police force in mostly black Ferguson, sending Wilson into hiding as local and federal investigations seek to determine whether he wrongfully killed Brown.

The online donation...

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Five killed in single-engine plane crash in Colorado

Five people were killed in a single-engine plane crash near Denver on Sunday, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Piper PA-46 was making its final approach into Erie Municipal Airport when it crashed in a field north of the main runaway just before noon, said Peter Knudson, an NTSB spokesman.

The names of those killed in the crash have not been released, Knudson said.

Those on board were flying to Erie, Colo., from Centennial Airport, which is located in the suburbs south of Denver.

Knudson said NTSB investigators were at the scene and working with local officials to determine the cause of the crash. Only after the investigation is complete will the wreckage be moved, Knudson said. 

Follow @kurtisalee on Twitter 

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Family calls for federal handling of contested Ohio shooting

Family and supporters of a 22-year-old African American man shot and killed by police in an Ohio Walmart continued to push for answers more than two weeks after the incident.

John Crawford III was shot by police Aug. 5 after police in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek responded to a customer’s 911 call saying a man was brandishing a weapon. Crawford was, in fact, holding an air rifle sold in Walmart stores, according to police.

Police say that Crawford did not put down the gun when requested by officers, who opened fire.

In response to the incident, Ohio Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine appointed a special prosecutor who will present evidence to a grand jury in mid-September to determine if charges should be filed against the officers.

Beavercreek police have released video and audio records from police dashboard cameras and dispatchers. The recordings do not depict the shooting but capture the police response from outside the store.  

Crawford’s relatives say they remain frustrated by what they...

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