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January 9, 2014 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - A former bodyguard for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the first in a series of review hearings that the Obama administration is holding to speed up the eventual closure of the U.S. military prison for terrorist detainees, the Pentagon announced Thursday. Mahmoud Abd Al Aziz Al Mujahid, who allegedly underwent militant training at a secret camp in Afghanistan, is no longer a "significant threat" to the United States and is eligible for transfer from the prison at some point, the review board members decided.
January 9, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
The cockroach infestation that closed a Foster Farms chicken plant in Central California was the latest setback for the giant poultry company, which last year faced a salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 400 people. The U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended operations Wednesday at a Foster Farms plant in Livingston, southeast of Modesto, and the 250,000-square-foot plant remained closed Thursday as the poultry giant tried to remedy the problem. Several food safety experts said they were surprised that cockroaches prompted the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service to take action when it had failed to do so after last year's salmonella outbreak.
January 9, 2014 | By Matt Pearce, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
West Virginia's governor declared a state of emergency for five counties Thursday after a chemical spill contaminated the Elk River, affecting tens of thousands of people and forcing schools and eateries to close. [Updated, 7:25 p.m. PST Jan. 9: The governor has expanded the declaration to nine counties. ] Worried shoppers flooded into stores seeking bottled water after Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said on Twitter: "EMERGENCY: Do NOT use tap water for drinking, cooking, washing or bathing.
January 9, 2014 | By Christine Mai-Duc and Carla Rivera
Dozens of students gathered outside a South Los Angeles trade school Thursday, angry that the college where they had been taking classes -- and had paid thousands of dollars to attend -- had shut without notice. Authorities confirmed that accreditation and eligibility to provide federal financial aid had been withdrawn from Career Colleges of America amid ongoing financial problems. The school, opened in 1988, provides training in medical fields to about 800 students at campuses in South Gate, Los Angeles and San Bernardino.
January 8, 2014 | By Alana Semuels
NEW YORK - A top staffer for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was involved in a move to temporarily close lanes of the George Washington Bridge as political payback, recently released emails suggest, a move that enmeshes the Republican governor in a high-profile controversy as he considers a potential run for the presidency in 2016. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey closed all but one lane of the bridge in September, effectively gridlocking a New Jersey town whose mayor did not support Christie's reelection.
January 2, 2014 | By Marisa Gerber, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
Thick flames raced through a lumberyard in Pacoima on Thursday evening, prompting fire officials to ask for the shutdown of a nearby Metrolink station. The Los Angeles Fire Department got a call just before 8 p.m. and classified the blaze in the  11100 block of Sutter Avenue  as a greater alarm fire, according to department spokesman Brian Humphrey. Although no injuries or evacuations have been reported, Humphrey said the “greater alarm” description was triggered because of the number of firefighters deployed to the blaze: 87. The department asked Metrolink to stop the trains coming in and out of the Antelope Valley station, he said, because there were fire hoses crossing over the tracks.
December 21, 2013 | Samantha Schaefer
Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Gantt told his wife to remarry if he didn't come back from the war. She told him no. He had a hard enough time getting her to say yes when he proposed. He was it. In 1950, Gantt went missing during combat in the Korean War. He was presumed dead, but Clara Gantt, now 94, held out hope and never remarried. On Friday morning on the Los Angeles International Airport tarmac, the widow stood from her wheelchair and cried as her husband's flag-draped casket arrived home.
December 15, 2013 | By Jessica Garrison
One by one, hour after hour Saturday in a ballroom at Cal State Los Angeles, residents, elected officials and activists from southeast Los Angeles pleaded with an air district hearing board to shut down a Vernon battery recycler accused of endangering hundreds of thousands of people because of unsafe arsenic and lead emissions. "I'm a mother, asking you, please, do something," said Sandra Martinez. "I go days without sleeping, worrying about my child dying in his sleep from asthma.
December 7, 2013 | By Frank Shyong
California's winter weather is being blamed for the deaths of four homeless people, the closure of major roads and serious losses for citrus farmer in the middle of a harvest. The cold snap, part of a nationwide chill caused by a cold front from the Arctic, is expected to continue into the middle of next week in most areas. Rain, snow and snow flurries are expected through Saturday night, with sub-zero temperatures predicted overnight up and down the state. "The cold snap is just beginning here in Los Angeles, but it's pretty painful all across California," said Bill Patzert, a climatologist with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.
December 1, 2013 | From a Times Staff Writer
Numerous streets will be closed Sunday for the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade along Hollywood and Sunset boulevards. Buzz Aldrin, Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow from "Leave it to Beaver," Richie Sambora, Billy Ray Cyrus, LeAnn Rimes, William Shatner and Kenny Loggins are scheduled to make appearance at the parade or a concert set for Sunday afternoon. In addition to street closures, the Highland Avenue and Cahuenga Boulevard exits of the 101 Freeway will be closed Sunday afternoon and evening.
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