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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 28, 2014 | Robin Abcarian
Good news for Wazers: On Thursday, a California appellate court ruled that looking at a smartphone map while driving is not against the law. A three-judge panel of California's 5th District Court of Appeal threw out the distracted driving ticket Steven Spriggs got two years ago for looking at his cellphone map while stuck in highway traffic in Fresno. The court unanimously concluded that the state Legislature meant only to prohibit “talking and listening” - and not any other cellphone activity - when it passed a distracted driver law in 2006.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 26, 2014 | By Jason Felch
Thirty-one current and former UC Berkeley students filed two federal complaints against the university Wednesday alleging a decades-long pattern of mishandling sexual assault investigations by campus administrators. The complaints allege that officials for years have discouraged victims from reporting assaults, failed to inform them of their rights and led a biased judicial process that favored assailants' rights over those of their victims. The reports were filed with the U.S. Department of Education, which investigates violations of Title IX, the federal anti-discrimination law, and the Clery Act, a federal law that requires campuses to accurately report incidents of serious crimes, including sexual assault.
WORLD
February 25, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko and Carol J. Williams
KIEV, Ukraine - Hoping to reach a consensus that would heal some of Ukraine's wounds, the country's acting president on Tuesday delayed the seating of an interim government for at least two days, even as opposition colleagues appealed to the Hague criminal tribunal to try fugitive ex-President Viktor Yanukovich on charges of crimes against humanity. Reports of mounting discord among ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine and gunshot wounds suffered by a top aide to Yanukovich further heightened a sense that Ukraine's stability is threatened as politicians jockey for position before the May 25 presidential election.
NATIONAL
February 25, 2014 | By Matt Pearce, This story has been updated throughout to reflect new developments.
They arrested the wrong Cody Williams, and then kept him in jail for more than a month. The Clay County, Fla., Sheriff's Office punished a deputy Tuesday for the wrongful arrest of 18-year-old Cody Lee Williams, who didn't even share the same middle name as a man accused of having sex with a young girl. “Other than the name, there's no other similarities," Kris Nowicki, Cody Lee Williams' attorney, told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. “Cody Williams had never met this girl and didn't know anything about her. " According to the Florida Times-Union , which first reported on the story, a girl younger than 12 told investigators that she had sex with an older boy named Cody Williams on Halloween in 2012.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 22, 2014 | By Ben Welsh and Thomas Suh Lauder, Los Angeles Times
Crime reports are up significantly for the latest week in four L.A. neighborhoods, according to an analysis of LAPD data by the Los Angeles Times' Crime L.A. database . Three neighborhoods reported a significant increase in violent crime. Reseda (A) was the most unusual, recording seven reports compared with a weekly average of 2.3 over the last three months. Vermont Knolls (D) was the lone neighborhood with a property crime alert. It recorded 22 property crimes compared with its weekly average of 12.5 over the last three months.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 22, 2014 | By David Ng
For more than two decades, the mile-long stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood known as Theatre Row has served as home to the city's densest plot of live theaters, drawing audiences to a diverse array of stages run by scrappy companies. On busy nights, spectators can see works by new playwrights, revisit classic dramas or take in comedy shows. Weeknights often find the area filled with students attending acting classes and auditions. But in the last several months, an array of challenges has mounted, and many observers believe Theatre Row's existence - and the cultural viability of the larger neighborhood - is threatened.
NATIONAL
February 21, 2014 | By Evan Halper
With the shooters who attacked a Silicon Valley power station last April still at large and Congress increasing pressure on utilities to do more to protect such facilities, electricity companies are looking at a new security technology popular among urban police forces. Sensors that can immediately track, within 10 meters, the location of gunfire will soon be tested at two power stations. An executive at the Bay Area firm that manufactures that technology, ShotSpotter, said public safety concerns preclude him from disclosing exactly where.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 20, 2014 | By David Colker
Screenwriter Eric Bercovici knew he was not the first choice to adapt "Shogun," the blockbuster 1975 novel by James Clavell about an English seaman marooned in 17th century Japan. Bercovici, who worked on the Paramount lot, read the novel anyway. "I knew right away how to adapt it," he said in a 1981 Los Angeles Times interview. "But damned if I would tell them. " Other writers fell by the wayside, and he was called to meet with Clavell, who had creative control over a proposed TV miniseries based on the book.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 20, 2014 | By Sheri Linden
There's an endemic problem in the world of dark crime comedies: filmmakers getting stuck in a self-reflexive loop, more interested in quoting the genre's movie-quoting movies than in telling a story. Between the inevitable nods to Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie, fresh riffs are hard to come by. Dutch director Arne Toonen doesn't invent any in "Black Out," but he does corral the requisite collection of "colorful" characters, from the dumb to the deranged, in the desperate adventures of a reformed hood who gets dragged back into the criminal underbelly on the eve of his wedding.
WORLD
February 20, 2014 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - A Chinese mining tycoon, his brother and 34 others who allegedly terrorized parts of Sichuan province for 20 years through a mafia-style gang were charged Thursday with murder, weapons trafficking and other offenses. The case, centered on former Hanlong Mining chairman Liu Han and his younger brother, Liu Wei, was touted by state-run media as an example of how authorities are cracking down on corruption. Since formally assuming China's presidency a year ago, Xi Jinping has made rooting out graft a top priority, and the case against the Liu brothers - said to have illegally amassed a fortune worth more than $6 billion in businesses including mining, real estate and electricity - is among the biggest to date.
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