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

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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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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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Stars beef up security after series of home burglaries

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James has beefed up security at his L.A. home, bringing a team of armed guards to patrol his house after learning he was targeted by a team of burglars.

The Los Angeles Police Department arrested four people who allegedly had hit more than 24 homes of the rich and famous, including Yasiel Puig, Rihanna, Christina Milian and others. Police say the burglars had a list of 12 more celebrity targets — including LeBron, Matt Damon and Viola Davis.

With a wife and three children at home, the new Laker took the situation seriously and made arrangements to protect his family.

Sources told the celebrity news website TMZ.com that he has at least 10 armed security personnel at the home, including off-duty police officers.

The NBA’s security team is also involved in the security plans, TMZ reported.

L.A. Rams star Robert Woods, whose home was burglarized, is working with the NFL security team to ensure his safety as well, according to TMZ.

The suspects were identified as Tyress Williams and JShawne Daniels, both 19; Damaji Hall, 18; and Hall’s mother, 34-year-old Ashle Hall, Capt. Lillian Carranza, commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Commercial Crimes Division, said at a news conference at LAPD headquarters, where jewelry, watches, handbags and other recovered items were displayed.

Williams was charged with four felony counts of first-degree burglary involving alleged break-ins at a home owned by singer Tota Matthieu on Aug. 24, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig’s home on Sept. 18, a home owned by singer Rihanna on Sept. 25 and a home owned by Woods on Sept. 27, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $200,000 bail while awaiting a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.

As for the other three people arrested, prosecutors sent the matter back to the LAPD for further investigation, according to Paul Eakins of the District Attorney’s Office.

Daniels was released on $50,000 bond, according to jail records, but it was not immediately clear whether Hall and his mother would be released from custody.

The three young men were arrested Sept. 28 after a traffic stop in South Los Angeles revealed a firearm and items believed to have been taken from burglarized homes, Carranza said. Ashle Hall was arrested Sept. 30 after search warrants were served at two locations where cash, additional property and an SUV reported as stolen were recovered, Carranza said.

The suspects are believed to be part of a small ring of gang members and associates responsible for burglaries at the homes of Puig, Rihanna and Milian, the captain said.

Police recovered items that had been taken from Woods’ home, along with items stolen during recent break-ins at the homes of Puig, Rihanna and Milian.

“During recent months, the Los Angeles Police Department has become aware of a series of residential burglaries targeting actors, producers, musicians and professional athletes living in the Los Angeles area,” Carranza said. “Initially, it was believed that these homes were being burglarized at random. However, detectives learned that this wasn’t the case. The victims’ homes had been selected based on social media postings and touring or travel schedules of the owners. The burglars believed no one would be home and that the homes would contain sought-after valuables that they might be interested in.”

The burglaries followed a pattern called “flocking,” whereby suspects flock to celebrities’ neighborhoods, dressing in nice clothes and driving luxury vehicles to avoid suspicion as they search for targets. They would then change into casual clothing, including hoodies, and use a larger vehicle to haul away stolen items, Carranza said.

One suspect would typically knock or ring a doorbell to check if anyone was home before breaking into a residence, she said.

The crimes were typically completed in a matter of minutes, Carranza said.

Woods’ home was ransacked and burglarized Sept. 27 while he was playing against the Minnesota Vikings at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. A neighbor notified police.

In the Woods case, police said three burglars entered a home in the 23100 block of Mariano Street by breaking a glass door in the back of the home before taking property.

In the Rihanna case, officers responded to a home in the 7800 block of Hillside Avenue about 9:30 p.m. Sept. 25, according to the LAPD.

An alarm was sounding and lights were flashing at the home, but no one was inside at the time, police said.

Celebrities including Alanis Morissette, Nicki Minaj, Emmy Rossum, Jaime Pressly, David Spade, Derek Fisher and Byron Scott have all been victimized by burglaries or attempted burglaries in the Hollywood or Beverly Hills area over the last couple of years.

Police said they believe the suspects are responsible for other burglaries and they displayed recovered items in the hope that victims will recognize their property.

In addition to James, other celebrities on the target list recovered by investigators included actors Viola Davis and Matt Damon, Carranza said, adding that the list of more than a dozen potential victims also included addresses.

Commercial Crimes Division Lt. Mel Vergara said there are likely other, unrelated burglary crews using similar methods.

 

Nancy O’Dell to lead Hollywood Christmas Parade

HOLLYWOOD — Entertainment journalist Nancy O’Dell of Entertainment Tonight will be grand marshal of the 87th annual Hollywood Christmas Parade, organizers announced Oct. 8.

The parade, which is described as the largest Christmas celebration in America, will take place in Hollywood at 5 p.m. Nov. 25, presented and produced by Associated Television International in association with the city of Los Angeles, according to news release issued by organizers.

The Christmas Parade will be the subject of a two-hour special on The CW Network Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. The telecast will be hosted by Erik Estrada, Laura McKenzie, Dean Cain and Montel Williams, with special co-hosts Elizabeth Stanton and Garrett Clayton, the news release said. It will also air to more than 1 million American servicemen and women worldwide on American Forces Network.

The event will include live musical performances on two stages. An annual Hollywood tradition, the parade attracts more than 1 million fans each year and features large character balloons and celebrity-filled cars over the 3-mile parade route.

“Emmy Award-winning journalist Nancy O’Dell has proven to be a force in all areas of her career as a host, author, producer and entrepreneur,” the news release said. “One of the country’s most respected and leading entertainment journalists, O’Dell is co-host of the most-watched entertainment news program in the world, three-time Emmy Award-winning Entertainment Tonight.”

With more than 20 years of experience, O’Dell also contributes to “CBS This Morning” and is a go-to anchor for live TV specials. She was a special presenter on the Academy of Country Music Awards, as well as a host of the American Country Music Awards. She hosted the 2016 Grammy Red Carpet Live Special on CBS, as well as the live Emmys, Golden Globes and Critics Choice Red Carpet Special for several years.

O’Dell is also best-selling author of the novel “Full of Love: Mom-to-Mom Advice for Enriching Families with Simple Photo Albums and Scrapbooking.” She has also launched her own photo album line titled The Nancy O’Dell Collection.

The latest books by O’Dell are “Secret Ingredients: Step-by-Step Recipes for Creating Meaningful Gifts” and “Here’s To Fabulous You,” which won the Addy Award.

O’Dell has been honored with three Emmy Awards, three Associated Press Awards and two Society of Professional Journalists Awards and has been nominated for several additional Emmys. In 2012, she was honored in New York Moves Magazine: Power Women issue, as one of the most influential and successful women in her field. The Alliance for Women in Media honored O’Dell in 2013 with the Genii Award for Excellence in Television. Also in 2013, O’Dell was asked to host the National Association of Broadcasters Luncheon.

After the death of her mother in 2008 from complications related to ALS, O’Dell became a national vice president of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and serves as the spokesperson for ALS.net. In August 2009, O’Dell and her family formed a foundation in her mother’s name called Betty’s Battle: Fighting ALS.

In 2002, O’Dell was inducted into the American Red Cross’s National Celebrity Cabinet and remains in that position today. She also serves as an international board member for Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.

A native of South Carolina, O’Dell, now 52, is a summa cum laude graduate of Clemson University, finishing in the top 2 percent of her class.

She began her broadcasting career as a reporter and anchor at WPDE-TV in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and later worked as a morning news anchor and crime reporter at WCBD-TV in Charleston, South Carolina. Before joining Access Hollywood, O’Dell was the evening co-anchor and investigative reporter in Miami for NBC’s WTVJ-TV.

In May 2013, during spring commencement ceremonies, Clemson University awarded O’Dell with an honorary doctor of humanities degree.

 

Council votes to explore tram to Hollywood sign

LOS ANGELES — With traffic congestion and safety issues worsening in recent years around the Hollywood sign, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Oct. 3 to move forward on exploring an aerial tram, visitor center and various other changes to the area.

“For far too long, our city has gone without a comprehensive plan to address safety, access and mobility around the Hollywood sign and Griffith Park,” City Councilman David Ryu said. “That changes today.”

Dixon Resources Unlimited, a transportation consulting firm, was hired by the city to conduct a comprehensive analysis on how to enhance the visitor experience at the sign and address problems created in surrounding neighborhoods by the thousands of visitors who flock to the area each year, many aided by traffic and ride-hailing mobile apps.

A joint report from the Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst and the Department of Recreation of Parks examined the 29 recommendations made by Dixon and found that 20 are feasible, seven others require further study, and two — including a second Hollywood sign — were not feasible.

The council’s vote instructs city departments to take first steps on 19 of the 29 strategies proposed in the Dixon report, including installing new sidewalks, implementing specific ride-hailing zones and traffic calming measures, and creating safer access studies. The city also will study the feasibility of an electric shuttle bus route, visitor center and aerial tram.

“The Hollywood sign is the icon of our city,” Ryu said. “And the resources it has for safety and access should reflect that. We cannot stand by as visitors continue to struggle with access to this world-renowned icon, and neighbors continue to suffer the impacts of lost tourists. We can and we must take action that prioritizes both public safety and park access.”

In 2017, a lawsuit filed by the operator of Sunset Ranch Hollywood Stables, which provides horseback rides in Griffith Park, complained that the city was funneling hikers onto its “exclusive easement road.”

In February 2017, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that hikers could not be barred from using the easement area. However, the judge also concluded that the city had channeled thousands of pedestrians toward the ranch every month, blocking access to the property.

The next month, the city agreed to spend $100,000 on a traffic study in and around Griffith Park and the Hollywood sign.

In April, the city announced it would permanently close the Beachwood Drive gate to the Hollyridge Trail to obey the court order issued in February.

But a motion filed in Los Angeles Superior Court May 1 by Friends of Griffith Park, the Griffith J. Griffith Charitable Trust and the Los Feliz Oaks Homeowners Association claimed that the city’s action directly contradicted the judge’s ruling.

“A basic right of Angelenos is access to its public parks. Any access threatened by special interest groups to Griffith Park land is a violation of Colonel Griffith’s declaration that the park be free and open to all,” said Clare Darden, a trustee for the Griffith J. Griffith Charitable Trust.

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