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BUSINESS
March 21, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
A Federal Reserve rule allowing banks to charge retailers 21 cents to process debit-card transactions has been upheld by a federal appeals panel, a blow to big merchants such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. A lower court judge invalidated the fee cap in July, ruling that the Fed's formula included costs that weren't allowed under the Dodd-Frank regulatory reforms that Congress passed in the aftermath of the financial crisis. But in a ruling Friday for a three-judge panel, Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington said the central bank's rules “generally rest on reasonable constructions of the statute.” GAS: See latest prices in Southland, nation Merchants, who had argued that they were entitled to a lower cap, expressed disappointment, while financial firms said they were relieved.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 20, 2014 | By Louis Sahagun
A state appellate court on Thursday cleared away a legal obstacle standing in the way of plans to build a community of 60,000 residents about 35 miles north of Los Angeles. The court essentially restored a permit issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that granted the Newhall Land and Farming Co. permission to alter a wild river. A three-judge panel of the California 2nd District Court of Appeal overturned a Los Angeles County Superior Court ruling that set aside a 5,828-page environmental impact report.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 20, 2014 | By Jill Cowan
The staggering backlog of applications for concealed weapons permits in Orange County has grown to almost 3,000 and some applicants said they've been told it may be years before their paperwork is fully processed. The flood of applications was triggered by a pro-gun appeals court ruling that relaxed the restrictions on who could carry weapons. Most counties in the state have opted to wait for a likely appeal, but Orange County has gone the other way - taking applications from those who claim they need to carry a weapon for their own protection or safety.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 20, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO - Law enforcement in California may continue to collect DNA from people arrested for felonies - even if they are never formally charged - and store the genetic profiles in a criminal database, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. An 11-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court decision that refused to shut down the state's practice of swabbing individuals for DNA upon arrest. The 9th Circuit said California's practice was "clearly" constitutional under a Supreme Court decision last year that upheld a similar, but narrower, program in Maryland.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 19, 2014 | By Richard Winton and Samantha Schaefer, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
Fourteen teens accused of throwing a clandestine party at an unoccupied La Habra Heights mansion -- and then looting it of everything from  collectible medieval armor to a mounted snow leopard -- are due in court Wedesday to face trespassing and burglary charges. The 9,000-square-foot home sustained more than than $1 million in losses and damage in the November incident, authorities said. Among the looted items were  collectible medieval armor, scuba gear, designer suits and the snow leopard, valued at $250,000.
NATIONAL
March 19, 2014 | By David Zucchino
FT. BRAGG, N.C. - His eyes red, his head bowed, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair strode uneasily to a courtroom lectern Wednesday and glanced up at a silver-haired military judge who will sentence him for offenses he admits he committed. Exactly two years had passed since a young Army captain who worked for Sinclair walked into the office of his commander in Afghanistan and revealed that she and the general had carried on an adulterous three-year affair in two war zones - prompting Army prosecutors Wednesday to ask the judge to dismiss Sinclair from the service.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 17, 2014 | By a Times Staff Writer
Singer Chris Brown is expected to appear in court Monday after authorities last week revoked his probation and arrested him.  Brown's arrest warrant specified no bail and a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Monday said she believed the singer, who was arrested Friday, remained jailed through the weekend. PHOTOS: Chris Brown's Hollywood Hills home The arrest warrant was for an alleged probation violation in connection with Brown's 2009 conviction for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna, authorities said.
SPORTS
March 17, 2014 | By Dylan Hernandez
PHOENIX -- Sometime in the relatively near future, perhaps even this year, Zach Lee could take the mound for the Dodgers in a regular-season game. Or Joc Pederson could step into the batter's box. If it happens, fans at Dodger Stadium might consider raising their plastic cups in a tribute to the man responsible: Frank McCourt. If not for the team's unpopular former owner, the Dodgers' two top prospects would be somewhere else. Lee might be counting down the days until the NFL draft.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 17, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told the Legislature on Monday that the closure of budget-strapped courts has deprived more than 2 million residents of accessible justice and left the state on the verge of a "civil rights crisis. " "A one-way, three-hour trip to a courthouse can't be fair in anyone's book," Cantil-Sakauye said in her annual address to state lawmakers. California court budgets in the last several years have been cut by about $1 billion, and Cantil-Sakauye has been pleading with legislators to restore more funding next year.
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