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California wind, and fire danger, hits unprecedented high

VENTURA, Calif.—Southern California has felt yellow wind, orange wind, and red wind. But never purple wind. Until now. The colour-coded system showing the expected strength of the winds driving the region’s fierce wildfires has reached uncharted territory, pushing past red, which means “high” into the colour that means “extreme.” “The forecast for tomorrow is purple,” …

Death and destruction, hope and heroism in California fires

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Even as an unprecedented toll of death and destruction kept mounting, California communities were getting glimpses of heroism, humanity and hope as wildfires burned around them. Firefighters made major gains against most of the blazes on Friday, a lucky few of the nearly 100,000 people who fled their homes got to …

Families use Facebook to search for loved ones after fires

SAN FRANCISCO — Desperate to find her mother after hearing her say “I’m going to die” over the phone as her mobile home caught fire, Jessica Tunis thought she should put her mom’s name and picture on Facebook with a plea for help, a now common and constant move for concerned loved ones in disasters …

Hugh Hefner, leader of the sexual revolution, dies at 91

LOS ANGELES—Hugh Hefner turned silk pyjamas into a work uniform, women into centerfolds and sexual desire into a worldwide multimedia empire that spanned several generations of American life. With Playboy, he helped slip sex out of the confines of plain brown wrappers and into mainstream conversation. In 1953, a time when states could legally ban …

‘Pinocchio,’ ‘Fantasia’ animator ‘X’ Atencio dead at 98

LOS ANGELES — Xavier “X” Atencio, an animator behind early Disney movies including “Pinocchio” and “Fantasia” and “imagineer” behind beloved Disneyland rides like “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Haunted Mansion,” has died at age 98. Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown confirmed a company statement saying Atencio died Sunday. No cause or place of death were …

Prosecutors: ‘Suge’ Knight, lawyer discussed witness bribery

LOS ANGELES — Former rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight and his lawyer discussed paying witnesses thousands of dollars to lie in his upcoming murder case, prosecutors said. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office made the allegation and released transcripts of the discussions during phone calls in a filing made public Thursday asking a court …

Leading Disney parks ‘Imagineer’ Martin Sklar dies at 83

LOS ANGELES – Martin A. “Marty” Sklar, a right-hand man of Walt Disney and central figure in the development and expansion of his company’s theme parks around the world, has died. Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown confirmed Sklar’s death for The Associated Press. A company statement says he died Thursday at his Hollywood Hills home at …

Reynolds, Fisher laid to rest at Hollywood Hills cemetery

LOS ANGELES—Carrie Fisher, who has been laid to rest alongside her mother Debbie Reynolds, was adored by family, friends and fans for her gallows humour and frank talk about her struggles with mental illness. What better home for her ashes then, her brother Todd Fisher and daughter Billie Lourd decided, than a porcelain urn in …

Police: Man arrested in California had guns, explosives

Embed from Getty Images SANTA MONICA, Calif.—An Indiana man armed with three assault rifles and chemicals used to make explosives was arrested in Southern California on Sunday and told police he wanted to do harm to a gay pride parade—an event that annually draws hundreds of thousands of people, authorities said. The early-morning arrest in …

Video shows officer punching woman on LA freeway

LOS ANGELES — The California Highway Patrol said Friday it is investigating video of one of its officers straddling a woman and punching her in the head as she lay on the shoulder of a Los Angeles freeway. The woman had been walking on Interstate 10 west of downtown Los Angeles, endangering herself and people …

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