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Top Celebrities call for an end to gun violence in U.S. Featured

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Ricky Gervais doesn’t care if he’s ever asked back to host the Golden Awards Featured

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Benfica Striker Ola John has his mind on the clash with the Catalans Featured

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2012 Formula 1 season was one of the most exciting and eventful in history Featured

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Oscar Pistorius has never baulked at a hard challenge Featured

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Portuguese exports rose by 13.7 percent in August from a year ago Featured

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In Filing, News Corp. Says Publishing Business Showed $2.1 Billion Loss Featured

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Phasellus dictum placerat pellentesque. Duis vehicula tellus eu nisi sagittis a varius eros posuere. Donec metus dui, ultricies non porttitor sed, semper eget enim. Duis sed bibendum ante. Pellentesque at augue lorem!

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U.S. economy grew faster in third quarter of 2012 Featured

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Phasellus dictum placerat pellentesque. Duis vehicula tellus eu nisi sagittis a varius eros posuere. Donec metus dui, ultricies non porttitor sed, semper eget enim. Duis sed bibendum ante. Pellentesque at augue lorem!

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After losing to Obama, what should Mitt Romney do next? Featured

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Phasellus dictum placerat pellentesque. Duis vehicula tellus eu nisi sagittis a varius eros posuere. Donec metus dui, ultricies non porttitor sed, semper eget enim. Duis sed bibendum ante. Pellentesque at augue lorem!

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EU’s new banking union will break the link between banks and public debt Featured

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Cras mattis consectetur purus sit amet fermentum. Etiam porta sem malesuada magna mollis euismod. Aenean eu leo quam. Pellentesque ornare sem lacinia quam venenatis vestibulum. Sed posuere consectetur est at lobortis. Donec ullamcorper nulla non metus auctor fringilla.

Phasellus dictum placerat pellentesque. Duis vehicula tellus eu nisi sagittis a varius eros posuere. Donec metus dui, ultricies non porttitor sed, semper eget enim. Duis sed bibendum ante. Pellentesque at augue lorem!

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Council panel wants health study for zoo elephant

Independent Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — A City Council committee has recommended that Billy, an elephant that has lived at the Los Angeles Zoo for most of his 30 years, undergo an independent health study by a three-member panel of outside experts who are not too closely associated with any zoos.

The Arts, Entertainment, Parks and River Committee has been considering the parameters of a health study of the pachyderm since January, when it directed city staff to report on the feasibility of forming a three-person independent working group of veterinarians not connected to the zoo to offer an opinion on Billy’s health and habitat.

The potential study stems from a City Council motion to have Billy moved from the Los Angeles Zoo to a sanctuary over what City Councilman Paul Koretz calls an “unnatural” and “restricted” habitat for the animal.

The committee in June rejected a report from the Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst and the Department of Recreation and Parks over concerns that the recommended guidelines would result in a panel too closely connected with zoos.

The report said the Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst consulted zoo experts in Los Angeles, San Diego and other locations to identify medical experts with the appropriate expertise, and it was determined that the experts to be consulted should be licensed veterinarians certified by the American College of Zoological Medicine.

Even though the experts would not be from the Los Angeles Zoo, Koretz has been saying the panel should include experts not closely associated with any zoo.

“Ever since the committee decided in January to move in the direction of a health and welfare assessment of Billy, my primary interest has been to encourage you to make sure it was done independently by fully qualified professionals, and I believe that’s been the (committee’s goal, as well,” said Koretz, who chairs the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee.

The guidelines for the panel that were approved by the committee are to seek advice from licensed veterinarians certified by the American College of Zoological Medicine, the American College of Animal Welfare, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service National Veterinary Accreditation Program.

Billy has long been the subject of protests against his captivity, while the zoo has defended its care of the elephant as exceeding the standards set out by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Because males and females living in captivity must be kept separate, none of the zoo’s elephants can use the exhibit’s entire space and Billy does not get the daily exercise he needs to be both physically and psychologically healthy, according to Koretz.

Billy’s welfare has been a longtime focus of animal welfare activists, and a January meeting of the committee about the elephant was attended by celebrities Cher and Lilly Tomlin, who both called for an independent study of his health.

“The zoo vets are not totally reliable. We have found that to be true over the years,” Tomlin told City News Service after she gave similar comments to the committee. “We can’t get the records we need, we can’t get any kind of response as to his real health, his real issue. And we feel that he is in pretty dire circumstances.”

Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, whose real name is Saul Hudson, also attended the January meeting, but was on the opposing side as a trustee of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, the zoo’s fundraising arm. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member said many people are “woefully out of touch with the facts, and I think the facts are what are important here, and you should support the facts and the Los Angeles Zoo’s elephant program and vote down this motion.”

Zoo Director John Lewis defended the zoo’s elephant habitat at the earlier meeting and said Billy “is not suffering. He’s in good health.”

 

Council panel approves restaurant ban on plastic straws

Independent Wire Service

LOS ANGELES — All Los Angeles restaurants would be banned from giving customers plastic straws by 2021 under a proposal backed Oct. 16 by a City Council committee.

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell wants to create a citywide single-use plastic straw ordinance that would go further than a bill, recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, banning full-service restaurants from automatically giving customers plastic straws beginning Jan. 1.

“Plastic straws play a negative, outsized role in harming our environment and as a coastal city, we have a responsibility to act,” O’Farrell said. “The fact that many small businesses in my district already offer plastic straws on request, or use environmentally friendly alternatives, demonstrates momentum on this issue.”

Under the measure approved by the council’s Energy, Environment, and Social Justice Committee, the Bureau of Sanitation would be instructed to report back within 90 days regarding the feasibility of phasing out single-use plastic straws by 2021, and to work with the Department of Disability on methods and approaches to mitigate impacts to the disabled community associated with the phase-out.

The committee also moved to have the city attorney draft a plastic straws-on-request ordinance applicable to food and beverage facilities with more than 26 employees effective Jan. 1, and applicable to all other food and beverage facilities effective July 1 of next year.

“Straws on request is another step by the L.A. City Council to remove more trash from our waste stream, a waste stream that currently and historically flows through the communities I represent,” said Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who co-introduced the initiative with O’Farrell. “Our goal of zero waste in Los Angeles will protect our environment and the communities of the Northeast Valley for years to come.”

O’Farrell’s original motion for the straws-on-request ordinance cites a Los Angeles Times editorial which stated that Americans use — and almost immediately discard — up to a half-billion plastic beverage straws each day.

The motion also called on the Bureau of Sanitation to report on options that business owners may use as an alternative to plastic straws, such as biodegradable or reusable straws.

“Since 2000, Heal the Bay volunteers have picked up over 121,000 straws and stirrers from Los Angeles County beaches,” said Shelley Luce, president and CEO of Heal the Bay. “It’s heartening to see businesses recognizing the problem and becoming part of solution.”

The committee also approved a second motion that calls for the city to explore the feasibility of implementing a plastic utensils-on-request ordinance which requires restaurants, and other food service providers, to withhold plastic utensils unless a customer requests them.

 

Races for governor, senate up for grabs Nov. 6

Independent Staff Report

LOS ANGELES — Voters will go to the polls Nov. 6 to elect state constitutional leaders, members of Congress and the state Legislature as well as several ballot measures.

Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Los Angeles County will operate early voting locations at 10 sites throughout the county.

California has a traditional Democrat versus Republican battle in the race for governor this year after Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Republican businessman John Cox were the top two vote-getters in the California Primary June 5.

It will be an all-Democrat battle for the U.S. Senate, with incumbent Dianne Feinstein facing state Sen. Kevin de Leon, who represents a district that covers most of East Los Angeles.

Feinstein, who has served in the Senate since 1992, received 43.8 percent of the vote in the June primary while de Leon received 11.3 percent of the vote.

In local legislative races, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff will face Republican Johnny Nalbandian, a food industry businessman from Glendale, in the 28th Congressional District, which includes Hollywood and West Hollywood, as well as Burbank, parts of Glendale and the east San Fernando Valley. Schiff, a Democrat, has represented the district in Congress since 2001.

In the 33rd Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Ted Lieu will face Republican Kenneth Weston Wright, a physician, surgeon and professor from Los Angeles. The district includes Venice, the Fairfax District, Marina Del Rey, Playa Del Rey, South Bay, Malibu and Santa Monica.

In the 26th state Senate District, which includes South Bay and Westside neighborhoods, plus West Hollywood and Hollywood, Democratic incumbent Ben Allen will face Baron Bruno, a real estate professional from Marina Del Rey who listed no political party.

In the 50th Assembly District, Democratic incumbent Richard Bloom, who represents much of the westside as well as Hollywood and West Hollywood, had no opposition in his bid for re-election. Bloom has served in the Assembly since 2013.

In a countywide race, Sheriff Jim McDonnell will face a runoff against sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva.

There are three Los Angeles city ballot measures on the ballot.

Measure E would align future city elections with state elections instead of the March primary and May general elections the city currently conducts.

Measure EE would do the same thing for the Los Angeles Unified School District elections.

Measure B would approve a study on whether the city should establish a municipal bank. If the study is approved, a future election could be held that would allow the formation of a municipal bank.

There are also 12 state propositions on the ballot.

 

 

 

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