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Trump plans to regain social media presence with new company

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WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced a deal that would enable him to regain a social media presence after he was kicked off Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. platforms.

The former president’s new enterprise will be in operation by the first quarter of 2022, according to a press release from the Trump Media and ...Read more

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Human remains found in Florida in search for Brian Laundrie, missing boyfriend of slain Gabby Petito

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NEW YORK — Human remains were found in a Florida nature preserve where authorities have been searching for fugitive Brian Laundrie, the only suspect in the strangulation death of his fiancée, Long Island native Gabby Petito.

A coroner was on site in a section of the park where body parts were found near a backpack and notebook that Laundrie ...Read more

Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times/TNS

LA County reports 76% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes

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LOS ANGELES — Anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 76% in Los Angeles County last year, mirroring a disturbing trend in many other jurisdictions as physical and verbal attacks on Asian Americans rose during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the 44 anti-Asian hate crimes reported in L.A. County in 2020, more than three-quarters involved physical ...Read more

DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Lockdowns are back as Eastern European nations pay for low vaccination rates

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RIGA, Latvia — The coronavirus is resurgent in the European Union’s less-vaccinated east — bringing with it the return of lockdowns.

Latvia on Wednesday became the bloc’s first member state to once again shut down chunks of its economy as soaring infections — the world’s highest per capita during the past week — threaten to ...Read more

Mario Tama/Getty Images North America/TNS

Drug cartels are enlisting kids through video games, Mexico says

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MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s government is warning parents to keep an eye on their children’s video game activity after cases emerged of drug cartels allegedly recruiting minors through online platforms.

Security officials gave details Wednesday about a case in Mexico’s southern state of Oaxaca of three minors who boarded a bus with the ...Read more

Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times/TNS

LA City Council votes to suspend Mark Ridley-Thomas amid federal charges

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council doesn’t have the power to fire any of the 15 members who represent L.A.'s 4 million residents.

But the government body can bar members from doing their job. And for the second time in less than two years, the City Council on Wednesday suspended one of its own.

The council voted 11-3 to immediately...Read more

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Cuomo lawyer wants independent review of sex harassment probe, calls AG James biased

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ALBANY, N.Y. — Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s personal attorney wants new eyes on the sexual harassment allegations and investigation that ended his political career.

Lawyer Rita Glavin unveiled a “formal submission” and complained Wednesday that her client was “ambushed” by Attorney General Letitia James during a virtual press ...Read more

How much money did women lose in California due to gender pay gap? What a new study found

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California women and people of color are still getting paid substantially less than white men despite new state laws and policies designed to promote equal wages, according to recent analyses of data.

On average, full-time female workers in California earned 87.6% of what full-time male workers earned in 2020, according to a report released ...Read more

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Woman arrested on allegations she threatened judge in Georgia ballot case

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ATLANTA — Police have arrested a Kentucky woman who allegedly threatened a Georgia judge and his family after he dismissed a lawsuit that sought to inspect absentee ballots for signs of fraud in last year’s presidential election.

Erin Northup, 42, is accused of leaving a threatening voicemail with Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian ...Read more

MC2 Austin Haist/U.S. Navy/U.S. Navy/TNS

Bonhomme Richard fire burned unabated for 2 hours, Navy finds, blaming top officers and crew

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SAN DIEGO — For two hours after smoke was first seen in the lower vehicle storage area of the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, fire raged before crews began fighting it, according to the Navy’s investigation into the blaze in San Diego last year.

By the time firefighters first sprayed water onto the flames, they were already ...Read more

Rachel Bluth/Kaiser Health News/TNS

FDA authorizes broad, flexible COVID-19 booster policy

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WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized booster doses for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and for certain populations who got the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and cleared the way to “mix and match” boosters for all three coronavirus vaccines.

Everyone who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine ...Read more

Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Using new law, LA City Council bans homeless encampments at 54 spots

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved a ban on camping at certain locations, in the first use of new laws that passed over the summer.

In a 12-2 vote, the council outlawed sitting, sleeping and lying at 54 locations in three of its districts. Amid contentious debate over the summer, the council enacted new rules ...Read more

RICHARD PIERRIN/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Kidnapping of American pastor in Haiti more than 2 weeks ago has barely caused a ripple

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Thirteen days before 16 Americans and a Canadian were brazenly kidnapped at gunpoint by a notorious gang on the eastern outskirts of Haiti’s capital last weekend, a prominent pastor and two of his congregants were abducted on the streets of Port-au-Prince.

Pastor Jean Pierre Ferrer Michel, a founding member of the church Jesus Center in the ...Read more

News briefs

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Trump says Facebook is trying to deny him his ‘day in court’

Former President Donald Trump said his lawsuit against Facebook Inc. over its suspension of his account after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot should stay in Florida because a new state law could help his case.

Facebook and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg are trying to transfer ...Read more

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/TNS

California will have another 'historic budget surplus' next year, Gov. Gavin Newsom says

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California will have another "historic budget surplus" next year, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

The Democratic governor made the announcement during an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd at the Milken Institute's 24th Global Conference.

Newsom in July signed a $262 billion budget that relied on a projected $75 billion ...Read more

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Michigan's redistricting commission told its draft maps violate federal Voting Rights Act

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DETROIT — The draft congressional and legislative districts drawn by Michigan's citizen-led redistricting commission illegally disenfranchise minority voters, the head of the state's department of civil rights told a group of randomly selected voters responsible for drawing new voting districts Wednesday night.

"Simply put, the department ...Read more

Sean Rayford/Getty Images North America/TNS

Jury selection drags on in Arbery murder trial

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BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Jury selection slogged on for a third day in the trial of three men charged with murder in Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting, with attorneys adding another seven people to the pool of qualified candidates.

As expected, the court is having a tough time finding prospective jurors who feel they can be impartial in reaching a verdict. ...Read more

Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/TNS

In Senate hearing to become envoy to Japan, Rahm Emanuel both defends and expresses regret over handling of Laquan McDonald shooting

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CHICAGO — Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel both defended and expressed regret over his handling of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald under questioning from senators during a confirmation hearing Wednesday on his nomination as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

On the seventh anniversary of McDonald’s murder at the hands of a Chicago police ...Read more

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Studies confirm COVID-19 vaccine's effectiveness in teens, even against delta

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LOS ANGELES — When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents as young as 12, regulators based their decision on clinical trial data collected before the delta variant became the dominant coronavirus strain. That left open the question of whether the vaccine's real-world protection was ...Read more

Appeals court tosses order aimed at protecting immigration detainees from COVID-19

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SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court decided 2-1 Wednesday to overturn a nationwide order requiring federal immigration authorities to monitor and possibly release detainees at high risk of dying or suffering long-term complications from COVID-19.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a Riverside-based federal ...Read more