<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usTue, 27 Jun 2017 20:44:32 -0700Tue, 27 Jun 2017 20:44:32 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[More Cadets May Have Known of LAPD SUV Thefts, Chief Says]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:55:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/193*120/6-24-17-Chief-Beck.jpg

More juvenile cadets than the seven who have already been arrested for their alleged roles in stealing three police cars may have had knowledge or involvement in the scheme, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday.

"We have found in our investigation a handful of cadets that may have had some knowledge or association with the group already arrested that could cause a reaction by our department — either a criminal investigation or removal from the program or a diversion," Beck told the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners.

The LAPD is reviewing its cadet program in the wake of the arrests of the seven cadets for their alleged involvement in the theft of three squad cars — which culminated in two high-speed chases and crashes on June 14. Last Thursday, Beck personally arrested an officer for allegedly having a sexual relationship with one of the seven accused cadets, a 15-year-old girl.

Officer Robert Cain, 31, a 10-year LAPD veteran, was taken into custody at the 77th Street Division station, where he is assigned. More than 100 weapons were subsequently discovered at Cain's residence by the LAPD, and Beck told the commissioners that some of the guns are not legal to own in California.

"We're working with the ATF and charges relative to those issues will be filed with the district attorney as appropriate and when appropriate," Beck said.

Beck also told the commissioners that the investigation had not "so far" led to any other full-time employees with knowledge of — or involvement in — the car thefts.

Three cadets were arrested at the end of two vehicle pursuits the night of June 14. Police recovered the two cruisers involved in the chases, then found a third parked nearby. Four additional cadets were later arrested.

Six of the arrested cadets were assigned to the 77th Street Division program and one was assigned to the Pacific Division.

The cadets are believed to have pulled people over while impersonating officers and also are suspected of stealing LAPD equipment, including tasers, radios and a bulletproof vest.

Investigators believe the cadets used their knowledge of the LAPD's computer inventory system to check the vehicles out under the name of a sergeant who was on vacation.

Beck, while continuing to express support for the program, has instituted a "top-to-bottom" review.

LAPD Inspector General Alex Bustamante, at the request of the commission, will also be reviewing the program, while City Councilman Mitchell Englander has introduced a council motion calling for a full review of all LAPD youth programs and said an independent investigation may be needed.

Matt Johnson, president of the commission, expressed support for the cadet program.

"In the two years I've been on the commission, I've had the opportunity to interact with some of the cadets, and these are good kids who are in the program for the right reasons and who are getting a lot of great skills — leadership skills, character skills — out of the program," Johnson said.

Photo Credit: Azucena Varela]]>
<![CDATA[World War II-Era Pool Reopens in San Pedro ]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 20:35:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/170627-pool.JPG

In the 1940s, World War II servicemen used to gather at Hey Rookie Pool in San Pedro to watch synchronized swimmers. On Tuesday, about two dozen kids jumped into the very same pool with their local councilman to celebrate its reopening after a closure of more than 20 years.

The historic pool was shut down in the 1990s after being deemed unsafe. It quickly fell into disrepair and became graffiti-ridden. But in 2009, taxpayers approved an $8 million project to restore the pool to its World War II-era glory.

The city held an official ceremony Tuesday for the reopening of the pool, which features redone ampitheatre seating and aqua tiles as well as an 180 degree view from the downtown Los Angeles skyline to Catalina Island. Many present at the event had deep ties to the site.

Gary Lee Moore, a city engineer in San Pedro, said his dad used to swim at the pool during World War II. For one local girl, Melodie Mathlin, the pool will be where she learns to swim.

"I think that (the pool) is beautiful because it's in San Pedro and San Pedro is a beautiful place," Mathlin said.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV ]]>
<![CDATA[Zoo Animals Treated to Frozen Feast]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:54:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2017-06-27-16h20m16s78.jpg

Animals at Rome's zoo were treated to a special surprise Tuesday. Fruit icicles and frozen blood lollipops (yes, blood lollipops) were served to help them keep their minds off the heat. For the animals at the Bioparco Zoo, the more than 90 degree temperatures are bad enough, but coupled with 33 percent humidity, the midday heat feels more like 104 degrees. Along with the cold treats, animals are supplied with plenty of water and shade to make them as comfortable as possible.

Photo Credit: RTV]]>
<![CDATA[Brutal Attack in French Quarter Caught on Camera]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:09:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2017-06-27-15h34m23s196.jpg

A man walking in the French Quarter early Saturday morning was brutally attacked from behind. Saturday morning's attack comes less than 24 hours before a similar attack where two men were hit in the head from behind. Police say they don't know if the two crimes are connected, but the incidents have business owners and tourists in the French Quarter on edge.

Photo Credit: WDSU-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Colorado Man Missing After Hiking in Russia]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:02:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_missingcop0627_1920x1080.jpg

Ten days after his wife was supposed to hear from him, a Littleton, Colorado, police officer is still missing after hiking a mountain in Russia. More than a dozen rescuers have been canvassing the mountain since that missed call, checking crevasses and campsites along the mountain. As of Monday, the search has warranted few clues and several hazards.

Photo Credit: KUSA-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Lockheed Martin Creates Virtual Mission to Mars]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:59:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_marsexperience0627_1920x1080.jpg

A new bus at the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida, allows a person to go on a virtual mission to Mars. The bus is called the Mars Experience and was created by Lockheed Martin, a global aerospace and defense company. The attraction is part of the Space Center's "Summer of Mars," which is centered around NASA's aim to send humans to the Red Planet in the early 2030's. The bus is also a part of Lockheed Martin's Generation Beyond initiative. 

Photo Credit: WESH-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Man Trying to Help Lost Toddler Attacked]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:56:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_goodsamattack0627_1920x1080.jpg

Police say a man trying to help a lost toddler find her parents was attacked by the girl's father and his friends.

Photo Credit: WFLA-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Accused of Beating Man to Death With Canned Food Dies]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:53:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cannedfood3.jpg

Authorities said Wednesday that a Lake Los Angeles woman, who was accused of killing her boyfriend by beating him on the head with cans of food, died while in custody awaiting trial on a murder charge.

Linda Clarene Jackson, 61, died of natural causes June 8, two days after being transferred to a hospital, according to coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter.

Jackson had been behind bars since her June 2016 arrest by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies in connection with the death of her 59-year-old boyfriend, David Ruiz.

Prosecutors alleged that Jackson bludgeoned Ruiz in the head with canned foods at her home on June 16, 2015.

Photo Credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sarah Palin Sues New York Times Over Editorial]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:48:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SarahPalin-AP_322537202252.jpg

Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, sued The New York Times on Tuesday alleging that the newspaper defamed her in an editorial, NBC News reported.

The editorial in question appeared to link her to political violence after the shooting of House Republican Whip Steve Scalise earlier this month.

The Times said it would "vigorously" fight the action.

Citing the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, in Tucson, the editorial said: "Before the shooting, Sarah Palin's political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs."

Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[There's a Cannabis Farmers Market at This Event in Malibu]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:33:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Emerald+Exchange+11.jpg Emerald Exchange brings Northern California farmers and Southern California companies together for an event that features a cannabis farmers market, workshops, music, a speaker series and educational events.

Photo Credit: Evan Mann]]>
<![CDATA[Route 66: Remnants of the Mother Road in Photos]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 14:48:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/229*120/06-27-2017-route-66-3shot.jpg Known as the Main Street of America, Will Rogers Highway and the Mother Road, Route 66 was one of the original routes in the United States' highway system and one of the most famous roads in the country.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Free or Cheap Things to Do in Los Angeles]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:01:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/free-cheap-thumb.jpg Don't have $30 to fork over for the Museum of Ice Cream this summer? No worries — there's plenty of fun things to do in Los Angeles that cost next to nothing.

Photo Credit: Getty/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Snapchat Rolls Out Snap Map Feature]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:16:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_snapmaps0627_1920x1080.jpg

One of the most popular apps for social media just added a new feature that's raising some safety concerns. Snapchat has a new function called "Snap Map". Snapchat introduced the feature last week. It's an opt-in function that lets people share their locations on a map, posting locations right down to the street they're on.

Photo Credit: WTHR-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Dog Found 50 Miles Away From Home]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:57:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_dogfound0627_1920x1080.jpg

An Idaho family's beloved mastiff, Hera, went missing during Memorial Day weekend. She was found 50 miles away from home a month after vanishing and had lost 30 pounds. Hera is now on a diet plan that her vet prescribed to get her weight back up.

Photo Credit: KHQ-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Pawmicon: Canine Pop Culture Fest]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:38:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/pawmicon_2934234.jpg Coo over woofers dressed as superheroes, and villains, too, from movies and comic books, at a sweet San Diego fundraiser.

Photo Credit: Pawmicon]]>
<![CDATA[Teen's Body Discovered After Hyde Park Fire]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:26:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/hyde+park+fire1.JPG

The body of a 17-year-old boy was found Tuesday at the scene of a fire that damaged a detached converted garage in the Hyde Park area in which he and three other people were living, authorities said.

Firefighters sent to the 4800 block of Crenshaw Boulevard shortly before 9 a.m. extinguished the flames in about 15 minutes and discovered the teen dead, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey. His name was withheld, pending notification of his relatives.

A 22-year-old man, believed to be the teen's brother, was taken to a hospital for treatment of smoke exposure and was in good condition, Humphrey said.

Chuck Young, the victim's grandfather, said he had spoken to his grandson just a day earlier. 

"I told him I was going to teach him how to drive," he said through tears.

Devin Simmons, a resident of the house in front of the converted garage, which the LAPD described as a "sober living facility," said he awoke to the sound of a female tenant throwing things.

The LAPD confirmed that their initial call was for that incident. Other tenants referred to the woman as "unstable."

"I never thought she'd do something this evil," Simmons said. The woman was taken into custody, and police confirmed that the fire was the result of arson.

"Somebody's going to jail because the fire was set," Young said.

Photo Credit: Bobbie Eng]]>
<![CDATA[900-Acre Wildfire Prompts Evacuations in Highland Area]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 20:25:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/17-06-27-mart-fire-rsz.jpg

A 900-acre wildfire near Highland Avenue at Highway 330 prompted evacuations in San Bernardino County Tuesday afternoon. 

The fire broke out shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday. 

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department has issued mandatory evacuations for areas east of Orchard Road, north of Highland Avenue and west of Church Street. 

Highway 330 was closed from Highland Avenue to Live Oak near Running Springs as firefighters battled the blaze.  

Around 5 p.m., the temperature was 98 degrees and winds gusts were 10 mph. 

The YMCA at 7793 Central Avenue in Highland was named as the evacuation center for residents. 

This is a developing story. Refresh for updates. 

Photo Credit: Instagram User @adamscarpetcareie]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Driver Charged With Raping Unconscious Passenger]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:53:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/alaric-spence.JPG

An Uber driver was charged Tuesday with raping a female passenger at a North Hollywood motel while the 24-year-old woman was unconscious.

Alaric Spence, 46, faces up to 15 years to life in state prison if convicted of one felony count each of kidnapping to commit rape, rape of an unconscious person and rape by use of drugs, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

Spence picked the woman up in downtown Los Angeles last Friday and drove her to the motel, where he allegedly raped her, according to Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller. The woman was intoxicated and unconscious at the time of the alleged attack, the prosecutor said.

Los Angeles police said the woman passed out in the back of Spence's car while en route to Hollywood about 3 a.m. Spence is suspected of driving the woman to the motel, renting a room and then carrying her from his car into the room.

Surveillance video shows the suspect carry the passed out victim from his car to the motel room, said LAPD Robbery-Homicide Capt. William Hayes.

The woman woke up alone, not knowing where she was or how she got there, and called police, according to Hayes.

Spence, who was arrested late Friday, was ordered to be held in lieu of $1.1 million bail while awaiting arraignment July 24.

He has five previous felony convictions related to possession and sale of narcotics in Los Angeles and Ventura counties and as far north as Sacramento.

Spence's former roommate told NBC4 she was aware of his criminal past, but she didn't see him as a threat and described him as a "gentle soul."

"I was comfortable with him around my daughter," she said. "He was never disrespectful."

He has prior drug-related convictions and had been an Uber driver for the past six months, according to police.

The LAPD believes there may be other victims.

"It doesn't seem feasible that this would be the first time, when you take an individual like this," Hayes said.

A spokesman for Uber released the following statement to NBC4: "No person should ever have to experience the violent act that has been reported to police. We are working with the Los Angeles Police Department to fully support their investigation, and the driver has been banned from the Uber app."

NBC4's Adrian Arambulo contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: LAPD ]]>
<![CDATA[Beach Report Card: California's 10 Most Polluted]]> Mon, 26 Jun 2017 17:47:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/284*120/monarch+beach.jpg As the scorching temperatures continue to rise, many people will flock to the beach to find relief from the blistering heat. However, Heal the Bay's annual "Beach Bummer" list ranks those beaches that aren't as hot as a Southern California summer.

Photo Credit: Don Ramey Logan/Wikimedia Commons]]>
<![CDATA[GOP Health Care Bill Could Raise Premiums 74 Percent: Study]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:44:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/699666664-Mitch-McConnell.jpg

Health care premiums could rise 74 percent for the average customer under the Republican Senate health care bill, according to a new report.

Older and low-income Americans could face the highest increases for coverage, with Americans between ages 55 and 64 with lower incomes seeing a 294 percent increase in premiums. NBC News reported that the study by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation factored in the price of insurance and the amount of subsidies people would receive. 

The Senate bill, supported by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., encourages customers to purchase plans with higher deductibles. The subsidies would cover an average of 58 percent of costs, compared to Obamacare’s 70 percent.

In its analysis on Monday, the Congressional Budget Office said that premiums and deductibles could be too high for many low-income customers to buy coverage.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Sexual Harassment, Favoritism at OC DA's Office: Report]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:50:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/OC+DA+Tony+Rackauckas.jpg

An Orange County grand jury report issued Tuesday concludes that there is a perception among many investigators in the Orange County District Attorney's Office that the unit is plagued with sexual harassment, favoritism and fear of retaliation for raising concerns.

The grand jurors said they could not delve into the truth of the claims because they lack the authority to do so, but added that just the perception of a hostile workplace is enough to spur the panel to make multiple recommendations on addressing the issues.

The grand jury report states that "whether or not the specific allegations presented to the grand jury are true, the sheer volume and pervasiveness of the perception of favoritism and retaliation based on sexual relationships is problematic as that perception alone can create a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment can undermine morale, reduce productivity, negatively impact agency operations and can pose a financial liability for the county."

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas issued a statement thanking the members of the grand jury "for their service to our community, for their report that provides a great recitation on the laws and policies regarding sexual harassment, and for recognizing that even a perception is important to address."

"The OCDA takes this issue seriously and has been conducting its own internal personnel investigation for the last seven months, taking appropriate actions as necessary," he said. "I have requested that the OCGJ turn over any specific information on actionable items so we can bolster the current investigation; I eagerly await their response."

The grand jury, which interviewed about 100 employees in the District Attorney's Office, said some believe it would be pointless to raise concerns about a hostile workplace because their supervisors would not take it seriously. Some fear retaliation.

The grand jury also speculated that the bureau of investigators "has shifted away from its mission as a support unit for trial preparation and evolved into a separate law enforcement agency,'' which also explains the reluctance to speak up.

"The solidarity of law enforcement personnel has been well documented and it was apparent to the OCGJ that many of the individuals we interviewed believe any problems faced by bureau employees should be dealt with in-house and not discussed outside the bureau," the report says.

Some investigators have complained there is an "A" team of employees who socialize with management after hours and receive more favoritism, according to the grand jury, which also cited claims that "sexually suggestive pictures" are sent through emails and text messages among employees in the bureau. Some of the messages also include "inappropriate sexual and racial jokes and pictures."

There were also claims of "unwelcome sexual behavior between some members of management and subordinates, unwelcome touching, sexual encounters at training conferences and sexually explicit comments about co-workers' body parts," according to the grand jury.

The grand jury found sexual harassment training to be lacking in the office.

"Some employees could not remember or if they received harassment training; others had taken the training over a year ago," according to the report.

When management was asked about the complaints, those concerns were pooh-poohed, the grand jury said.

"In interviews with management in the OCDA office, there often did not seem to be recognition of the severity of the alleged behavior but rather a discounting and a dismissive 'boys will be boys' mentality," the report says.

The grand jury is recommending more management training and more coaching of employees on sexual harassment, along with reforming how investigators are given assignments.

The panel also recommends consideration of a policy that prohibits sexual relationships between managers and subordinates, and requested that the Board of Supervisors hire an outside, independent investigator to look into the hostile workplace claims.

The investigations unit has been roiled by whistleblower claims from three employees since April.

Rackauckas put his top investigator, Craig Hunter, on leave and said he was "not expected to return."

Assistant Chief Lou Gutierrez was also placed on a leave of absence in April.

Hunter filed a claim with the county in May, alleging Rackauckas has been selectively choosing public corruption cases, giving passes to friends while prosecuting others.

Last month, investigators Tom Conklin and Abraham Santos filed claims alleging they were "whistleblowers" who were being subjected to unfair discipline at work.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gamble House: Special Summer Tours]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:23:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/GambleHouse_AlexanderVertikoff.jpg

Summertime? It's a stretch when a number of pastimes and destinations shutter, or at least observe more relaxed hours, and a no-rush, no-fuss, let's-not-overdo-it schedule takes hold.

This is understandable, totally, what with the heat and the fluctuating schedules of families during the season. But there are a few places that add fresh happenings when the temperature heads upward, destinations that weave a special something into the schedule during a time period when activities are often stripped back.

The Gamble House in Pasadena greets the summer with some unique goings-on, including both Family Tours and Upstairs Downstairs walk-arounds, too.

The Family Tour has a fantastic twist: It's headed by a former junior docent, which means a high school student, trained in the facts, tales, and quirks of the Craftsman landmark, will be at the lead.

Created for guests ages 5 to 16, and their parents, the Family Tour includes a "find and seek" element as well as an approach that connects young fans of architecture with one of the great houses of Southern California.

The dates? "(S)elect Sundays in July," and, you bet, spots do fill up.

And starting on July 27, the Upstairs Downstairs Tour returns, giving Gamble House mavens a chance to view the servants' quarters. This tour has been on the home's schedule before, but note that "(n)ew information recently emerged about the Gamble family and their servants" which allows docents "to share more of the personal history of those who lived and worked at 4 Westmoreland Place."

Upstairs Downstairs runs through Sunday, Aug. 13.

As with all limited-time tours, tickets do often sell out, so look into either, or both, before the lingering days of summer meld into fall. 

Also? The Gamble House, as always, offers its slate of traditional, year-round tours, too.

Photo Credit: Alexander Vertikoff]]>
<![CDATA[US Boy Shot in Tijuana: Officials]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:55:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/POLICE+SIREN+26.jpg

A child from the U.S. was injured Monday when someone opened fire in a Tijuana neighborhood.

The 5-year-old boy has since been released from the hospital, officials confirmed to NBC 7 San Diego. 

The boy was shot in the leg in Tijuana's Sanchez Taboada neighborhood Monday evening, PGJE officials said.

The U.S. Consulate in Tijuana confirmed the boy is an American citizen. 

The bullet came from crossfire, PGJE officials said. 

The boy was taken to a local hospital. He was released Tuesday morning. 

No further information was available.

Ed. Note: A previous version of this article identified the victim. We have removed the name to protect the identity of the minor.

<![CDATA[Here's How Countries Fare on Combating Human Trafficking]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:39:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/human-trafficking-th.jpg

A new report by the U.S. State Department lays out which countries are adhering to U.S. guidelines on Human Trafficking. The report divides the world into three tiers: those who fully meet minimum standards outlined in The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) for addressing human trafficking, those who don't fully meet the standards but who are making an effort to combat trafficking, and those who are not meeting the standards and are not making an effort to do so. 

Human trafficking is the coercion of others to perform sex work, involuntary servitude or forced labor. A widespread form of modern-day slavery, victims are often smuggled across borders to work for nothing, though many are enslaved without migration. 

It's an international problem that ruins the lives of thousands of women, children and men. In 2016, over 66,000 victims of trafficking were identified by the 2017 U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report, but many more victims than this suffer in silence. Trafficking tears families apart and distorts nations' economies. Some governments are now beginning to address the crisis by adhering to the TVPA. 

Check out the map above to see what countries are doing the most and least to address human trafficking.

The TVPA defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as:

1. Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or

2. The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. 

Here is more information on the categories: 

Tier 1
The governments of countries that fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Tier 2
The governments of countries that do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

Tier 2 Watch List
The government of countries that do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards, and for which:

a. the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing;

b. there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year, including increased investigations, prosecution, and convictions of trafficking crimes, increased assistance to victims, and decreasing evidence of complicity in severe forms of trafficking by government officials; or

c. the determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional steps over the next year.

Tier 3
The governments of countries that do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.

Source: 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, State Department

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<![CDATA[WH Warns Syria Against Chemical Attack 'Preparations']]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 07:51:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TrumpAssad.jpg

The United States is warning that Syria would "pay a heavy price" for undertaking another chemical weapons attack, the White House said Monday night, saying it's spotted "potential preparations" for one, NBC News reported.

Activity at an airfield struck in the American cruise missile attack in April is "strongly suggestive" of the Assad regime intending to use chemical weapons, with the activity becoming more compelling in the last day, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.

Five U.S. defense, military and intelligence officials told NBC News the statement caught them off guard.

A Syrian minister dismissed the statement, insisting Damascus does not have and will not use chemical weapons. Russian officials responded to the statements Tuesday, accusing the U.S. of "readying a new attack on Syrian forces" and preparing an "unprecedented provocation... presented as a chemical attack" to prompt a U.S.-led strike on Assad's forces.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['The Lion King' Sing-Along at El Capitan Theatre]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:32:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lionkingsingalongelcap.jpg

Today's parents often tell their sometimes disbelieving children that, three or more decades ago, you had to see a movie at the cinema, and then? You might not see it again for a long time.

You couldn't revisit it, several times a day, at home, by popping it into the DVD player or finding it streaming somewhere.

This modern way of things has gifted movie fans in countless ways, and first and foremost among them? Viewers are able to learn every last lyric to every single song, should the film be a musical.

Enter "The Lion King," the 1994 Disney animated wonder that debuted when the home video market was in its first full and robust flower, meaning that all of those can't-stop-humming-them ditties from Elton John and Tim Rice became the joyful, permanently-on-play soundtrack of many young (and older) lives.

Where we're going with this: You know every. Single. Word. You could probably sing "Hakuna Matata" backwards, or perform a lavish dance routine to "Circle of Life." And, from Aug. 4 through 20, you'll probably be at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, singing along to every song as you watch the film.

It's "The Lion King" Sing-Along, and no one in the historic venue will be shushed for crooning with Simba on "I Just Can't Wait to Be King." You're allowed to sing, and encouraged to do so, rather than silently mouthing along with every last lyric, as fans usually must do at the cinema.

And who's in the house, in person, or rather, in meerkat, ahead of every screening? Timon's in the house! That feels like it deserves an exclamation point, no? Because, we mean... Timon. The applause is going to be enthusiastic, and we don't even need a crystal ball for that prediction.

Tickets are on sale now, so best jump on those if this feels like just the pre-back-to-school treat your "Lion King"-loving brood might enjoy.

Again, there shall be no shushing from the ushers, only raise-your-voice singing to a movie musical millions have memorized, at home, over the last couple of decades.

Photo Credit: Disney]]>
<![CDATA[Timeline: The Disappearance of Aramazd Andressian Jr.]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 06:50:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/missing-south-pasadena-boy-aramazd-andressian1.jpg

The disappearance of 5-year-old Aramazd Andressian Jr., last seen on the evening of April 20 at Disneyland with his father, set off an extensive search throughout Southern California.

Below, a timeline highlights some of the key events in the case, including the arrest of the boy's father. Aramazd Andressian Sr. was arrested in Las Vegas about two months after his son's disappearance and charged with murder. 

No body has turned up two months after the boy was last seen with his father in Anaheim.

Anyone with information on the case was urged to call homicide detectives at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV
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<![CDATA[Kittens Stuck on Bank Roof Rescued After Two Months]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:05:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kittens_on_Roof_Pic_for_Web_1200x675_967642691663.jpg

Three kittens were rescued from the roof of a Chase Bank on Monday after being stuck on the building for over two months. 

Rescue efforts began nearly a month ago, but the bank said its property manager was initially denying roof access to volunteers. Volunteers were allowed on the roof on June 20, but were unable to locate the kittens after placing traps to lure them out of cool hiding places.

Two volunteers, the property owner and the El Segundo Police Department returned to the building Friday for another attempt at scooping the kittens off the roof. This time, their efforts were successful.

All three male kittens were safe. They were named Roofus, Chase and Cash.

The group also found a surprise female tabby – Buttons. Buttons is about one year old and Roofus, Chase and Cash are about 12 weeks old.

"They are all a little scared, but friendly, and available for forever homes," said Marla Marinelli, one of the volunteers. "This was a longer than usual process but well worth it."

<![CDATA[Photos of the Manzanita Fire From Around SoCal]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 06:11:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/manzanita+fire+Bruce+Williams.jpg Firefighters were battling a brush fire Monday along Highway 79 near Beaumont. No injuries were reported.

Photo Credit: Bruce Williams]]>
<![CDATA[It's Very Hard to Convict Officers in PD Shootings: Experts]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 07:17:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/philandocastileshootingdashcam_1200x675.jpg

In the wake of three high-profile police shooting trials, criminal justice experts told NBC News that it is extremely difficult to convict a law enforcement officer for a fatal shooting.

A pair of Supreme Court rulings from the 1980s puts the law on the side of the police, particularly if they believe they are in danger of death or serious harm. Two of the recent cases, the fatal shootings of Philando Castile and Sylville Smith, hinged on questions of "reasonable fear."

"For better or worse, whether you believe in it or not, [the law] is very favorable to police use of force," said David A. Harris, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. "That objective standard is very wide in terms of giving police discretion."

But civil rights advocates say that the wider social issue is implicit racial bias, the idea that everyone holds subconscious racial prejudices — including people in positions of supposed impartiality, like police and judges.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[What Goes Into Repairing the Damaged Oroville Dam Spillway]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 10:00:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/05-24-2017-oroville-dam-spillway.jpg In February, damage to a spillway at the nation's tallest dam placed thousands in the community of Oroville under evacuation due to the threat of flooding. That threat eased as crews shored up the spillway and the clocked ticked down on one of California's wettest winters in years. But the work is far from over in Oroville, where construction crews have been working since February on repairs.

Photo Credit: CA DWR]]>
<![CDATA[1st Woman Leads Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 07:05:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/armus-changing-guard.jpg

The troop guarding Buckingham Palace has its first female commander after Canada's Captain Megan Couto took over Monday, Reuters reported.

The 24-year-old said she was honored to to lead her Canadian unit in the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the London palace, an event which regularly attracts thousands of tourists.

Guard duties are normally carried out by a detachment of an elite British army division, but Couto's unit from the Canadian Light Infantry was granted the opportunity to conduct the ceremony while in London to mark the 150th anniversary of the process that created modern Canada.

Because women were banned from combat roles in the British army until last year, no female infantry officers had led the changing of the guard before.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Here's What Happens if the GOP Health Care Bill Becomes Law]]> Mon, 26 Jun 2017 17:12:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/mcconnellhealthfeuerherd.jpg

The Senate Republican health care bill would insure 22 million fewer people after a decade than current law, according to an analysis Monday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. 

The GOP bill, titled the Better Care Reconciliation Act, would save $321 billion in the same period by spending $1 trillion less on health care and using the savings to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s taxes, which primarily benefit wealthy individuals and medical companies, NBC News reported.

In addition to increasing the number of uninsured Americans, the plan also would raise deductibles by large amounts and reduce Medicaid spending by 26 percent by 2026 versus current law.

On the other hand, it would achieve traditional conservative goals of spending less on social services, lowering tax rates on high earners and businesses, and reducing regulations on what kind of plans insurers must provide and on how much they’re allowed to profit off consumers.

Photo Credit: AP]]>