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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 2, 2014 | By Chris Lee
James Avery, who portrayed the commanding yet cuddly father figure on the hit 1990s sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," died at a Glendale hospital Tuesday of complications from open heart surgery. He was 65. His death was confirmed by his manager, Toni Benson. Although trained as a Shakespearean actor, Avery won his widest audience in the role of Judge Philip Banks - "Uncle Phil" - on "Fresh Prince," which aired on NBC from 1990 to 1996. Ranked No. 34 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time, the Navy veteran's stern, straight-arrow character provided a foil for series star Will Smith, who played the wise-cracking teenage nephew from the mean streets of west Philadelphia who moved into Uncle Phil's uptight Bel-Air household.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 21, 2013 | By Steve Chawkins
The stunned Navy pilot was gripped in pain, blood was pouring down his face and a good part of his warplane was destroyed. But worst of all, Ensign Kenneth Schechter couldn't see. An enemy shell had smashed into his Skyraider and fragments pierced his eyes. Hurtling over the Korean coast at 200 mph, Schechter was suddenly enveloped in blackness. "I'm blind! For God's sake, help me!" he cried into his radio. "I'm blind!" FOR THE RECORD: Kenneth Schechter: A news obituary in the Dec. 22 California section on Kenneth Schechter, a former Navy pilot who flew 100 miles and landed safely despite being temporarily blinded by enemy fire, misstated the final rank of Howard Thayer, the Navy pilot who guided Schechter from another plane.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 16, 2013 | By Tony Perry
The Navy's five year-plan to use sonar in training exercises off Southern California and Hawaii was approved Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But several environmental groups, represented by San Francisco-based Earthjustice and anticipating the approval, immediately filed a lawsuit in Hawaii federal court to block the training on grounds that the underwater noise poses an unacceptable threat to marine mammals. NOAA, after a review by its fisheries division, concluded that the promised mitigation measures by the Navy will "minimize effects on marine mammals.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 12, 2013 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO -- A senior Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent will plead guilty in a bribery scandal involving lucrative contracts to service ships in the Asia-Pacific region, his attorney said Thursday. Attorney Jan Ronis told reporters that John Bertrand Beliveau II, 44, will plead guilty next week in federal court. Beliveau is charged with leaking confidential documents to Leonard Glenn Francis, a Singapore-based businessman, about an investigation involving Francis that began in 2010, and then tutoring him on how to avoid giving incriminating statements.
BUSINESS
December 6, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan
The Navy has launched a drone from a submerged submarine, a feat that could prove valuable in providing intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities for military special operations for decades to come. The small drone was fired from the Providence submarine's torpedo tube, where it unfolded its wings, took off and flew a “several hour” mission demonstrating live video capabilities streamed back to the sub, the Navy said. The project, which took $15 million and about six years to accomplish, was carried out by the Naval Research Laboratory.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 28, 2013 | By Tony Perry
In a widening scandal, the Navy cut ties Wednesday with a second international company over "questionable business integrity" involving lucrative contracts to service U.S. ships in foreign ports. The Navy announced that it has suspended contracts with British-based Inchcape Shipping Services Ltd. and its affiliated companies. The firm has provided "ship husbanding" services to U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean. Navy officials said that the suspension of Inchcape is not connected to the investigation into another longtime contractor in the Asia-Pacific region, Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 23, 2013 | By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
Fifty miles north of London lies Bletchley Park, a railway town during World War II that had few, if any, sights to recommend it. It was here, to a rundown estate on the other side of the tracks, that 19-year-old Mavis Batey was dispatched in the spring of 1940. As Hitler's forces advanced across Europe, encoded messages from Panzer divisions, U-boats and even the German high command were being intercepted and relayed to the men and women at Bletchley Park, whose job was to break the German code and help Britain and its allies outwit the Axis powers.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 21, 2013 | By Oliver Gettell
What's the best way to film a five-story drop? That was one of the questions faced by director Peter Berg - twice - while making "Lone Survivor," a war drama based on former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell's nonfiction account of a mission gone horribly awry in the mountains of Afghanistan. At a recent installment of the Envelope Screening Series , Berg talked about how he approached shooting two scenes in which a group of SEALs - including Mark Wahlberg as Luttrell and Emile Hirsch as fellow SEAL Danny Dietz - had no choice but to leap off a mountaintop for their lives.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 21, 2013 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO - A third high-ranking Navy officer has been suspended from his duties in connection with an investigation into a multimillion-dollar bribery case involving Navy ships in Asia-Pacific ports. Capt. David Haas has been suspended as deputy commander of Coastal Riverine Group 1, based in San Diego, the Navy announced Thursday. The unit provides security and combat operations in rivers, harbors and coastal waterways. Haas will retain his rank and be assigned to a staff job during the investigation into unspecified allegations, the Navy said.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 19, 2013 | By Oliver Gettell
"Lone Survivor" writer-director Peter Berg is a man who values accuracy. In adapting former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell's nonfiction account of a disastrous military mission in Afghanistan, Berg enlisted a group of the elite force as technical advisors and granted them an uncommon degree of authority on set, even allowing them to call cut if the smallest detail felt wrong to them. According to Berg and two of his leading men, Mark Wahlberg and Emile Hirsch, the SEALs' presence was more than welcome.
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