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Lies, insults and exaggerations: A U.S. presidential campaign tradition

This year’s presidential campaign has been described as outrageous, coarse, unfitting of a civilized country. But there might be another way to describe it: thoroughly American. The United States is no stranger to scandalous and strange presidential elections. In fact, they were the norm in the country’s early years, when candidates resorted to invective that not even Donald Trump has equaled. Presidential campaigns have evolved with developments in technology as well. Throughout the evolution
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Before Zika: How the U.S. fought illnesses from pests in the past

It’s not the fog of war, but it’s a war on bugs. And sometimes it’s fought with, well, fog. Recent efforts to halt the spread of the Zika virus in Florida bring to mind other times authorities have unleashed billowing clouds to combat pests. In the 1940s, DDT was developed as what the Environmental Protection Agency calls the “first of the modern synthetic insecticides.” It was initially used to protect against malaria and typhus, among other diseases transmitted to humans by insects. DDT was
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Zika infections pass 10,000 in Puerto Rico; White House diverts federal funds to find a vaccine

The number of infections caused by the Zika virus in Puerto Rico has surpassed 10,000, an official said Friday, a day after the White House said it would redirect funds from other efforts to help pay for research to find a vaccine. The moves come as Florida continues to spray insecticide in parts of Miami to kill mosquitoes that can transmit the virus. The spraying was launched last week after health officials identified cases of locally transmitted Zika. Previous infections reported in the U.S
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Man who says he wants to meet Trump climbs 20 stories of Trump Tower

A young man who said he had to discuss an important matter with Donald Trump climbed about 20 stories of the Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday, using suction cups to scale the tower before police officers dragged him through a window to safety. Once in custody, the climber did not express any intent to cause harm, according to New York Police Department officials. Officials said the man, who is from Virginia, wanted to meet with Trump and posted a YouTube video on Thursday asking for a meet
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Philippine lawmaker wants to ban Trump from the country

A Philippine lawmaker is calling for Donald Trump to be banned from the country, after he implied that Filipino immigrants pose a terrorist threat to the U.S. During a speech in Portland, Maine, on Thursday, Trump included the Philippines in a sweeping statement about “terrorist nations.” “We’re letting people come in from terrorist nations that shouldn’t be allowed because you can’t vet them,” he said. “There’s no way of vetting them. You have no idea who they are. This could be the great Tro
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Muslim boy who was arrested for building a clock says his family was forced to leave the U.S. for safety

It has been nearly a year since a Muslim teen was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school in Texas, instantly turning him into the pivot for a nationwide debate about security, terrorism and religious prejudice. The case also changed the course of Ahmed Mohamed’s life. On Monday, his family filed a lawsuit against his former school district, and Ahmed described how they had moved to the Persian Gulf kingdom of Qatar to escape the glare of attention. He said he found it frightening to r
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How Gold Star became a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice

It’s been a symbol of honor that no one wants. The gold star denoting a family member who died in combat dates back to World War I, but before last week, the phrase “Gold Star family” wasn’t as widely known as it was during World War II. Then came the controversy surrounding Donald Trump and Khizr and Ghazala Khan, who lost a son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, to a suicide bomb in Iraq in 2004. Khizr Khan, speaking at the Democratic National Convention, challenged Trump’s policies, saying, “You hav
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The Khan family's road to confrontation with Donald Trump

One of the more emotional moments of the Democratic National Convention was the stirring speech by the father of fallen U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan. Khizr and his wife, Ghazala Khan, who lost their son to a suicide bomber in Iraq 12 years ago, made headlines when they stood on the convention stage and addressed Donald Trump. “You have sacrificed nothing and no one,” Khan said. “If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America,” he said, referring to his son. Khan’s remarks w
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After more than 80 years, the former Lincoln Heights Jail faces a makeover

Al Capone spent a night at the dilapidated building scrawled with graffiti in Lincoln Heights. Not that the notorious Chicago mobster wanted to. For more than 30 years, it was a jail. In the early years of the jail, which opened in 1931, some people were hauled to the building along the concrete-lined L.A. River because they were gay, leading to the creation of a separate wing, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy. Many of those arrested during the 1943 Zoot Suit riots, in which servicemen
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Hinckley, Moore and Fromme all tried to kill a president. And soon all three will be free

The upcoming release of John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot President Reagan, will create a first in American history: There will soon be three would-be presidential assassins free. Timothy P. McCarthy, a historian of American politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, said the coincidence of Hinckley, Sara Jane Moore and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme all being free from custody comes at a tense time in American politics. Their presence is a reminder of an earlier, turbulent era. “The political rhetor
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How George Takei's East L.A. boyhood made him take on Donald Trump — in Spanish

The face is familiar, as is the baritone voice. Then he starts speaking. “When I was a little boy, politicians used fear and racism against people of Japanese descent in this country.” With these words, the actor and sometime activist George Takei compares the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II to “las palabras y los planes” — the word and plans — of Donald Trump. Takei posted the four-minute video on his Facebook page July 20 and it’s already been viewed nearly 12 million times.
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Prosecutors won't retry man convicted of killing Chandra Levy

At the request of prosecutors, a judge has dismissed the case against the man convicted of killing Chandra Levy, the Washington intern whose disappearance touched off years of speculation and led to the downfall of a California congressman. Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin in Washington issued the order to “dismiss without prejudice” the case against Ingmar Guandique on Thursday. The U.S. attorney’s office said that in light of new information about the case, they would not seek a retrial
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Police chase leads to arrests of four suspects in robbery of Arleta 7-Eleven

Four people suspected of robbing a 7-Eleven in Arleta were in custody Thursday morning after a police pursuit. The Los Angeles Police Department received a 911 call at about 4:45 a.m. of a robbery in the 2200 block of Sherman Way. The suspects were seen getting into a black Honda and driving northbound, according to authorities. LAPD officers immediately tailed the vehicle, which led to a chase from Canoga Park to Sun Valley. At one point, the driver of the Honda stopped near the intersectio
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After sewage leak, beaches in Long Beach remain closed

Days after a sewage leak, beaches in Long Beach will remain closed until a second set of samples come back clean. Nelson Kerr, manager of Long Beach’s Bureau of Environmental Health, said initial test samples came back clean Tuesday, but a second set was taken to verify that the waters were safe. “The lab results look good,” he said. “When the first set of samples came in, there was no indication of a sewage spill, but we’re testing the waters again to be sure.” Until the second test results
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Sewage spill in L.A. grows to 2.4 million gallons, prompting bans on swimming in Seal Beach and Long Beach

A damaged sewage line spilled a total of about 2.4 million gallons of untreated waste into the Los Angeles River and has forced the closure of all beaches in Long Beach and Seal Beach, officials said Tuesday. The sewage line began leaking Monday about 2 p.m. and was stopped late that night, but the cracked pipe split again Tuesday as repairs were underway, said Tonya Durrell, a spokeswoman for the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works. The overflow, which occurred near 6th Street and
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Social workers arraigned in case of tortured, fatally beaten 8-year-old boy

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge denied a motion to drop charges of felony child abuse and falsifying public records against four social workers related to the torture and death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez. Stefanie Rodriguez, 31, Patricia Clement, 65, Kevin Bom, 37, and Gregory Merritt, 60, were arraigned Monday, after Judge M.L. Villar denied a defense motion that claimed there was insufficient legal basis for the charges. They were each charged in April with one felony count of
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Inglewood kids relish free summer meals at public library

Princess West, a precocious 8-year-old from Inglewood, stood in line in front of the Inglewood Public Library, anticipating the lunch that was almost within her grasp. One after another, children stepped up to an orange cooler, eagerly receiving a ham sandwich, fruit and a small green milk carton. Trina Tyson, program specialist for the Summer Food Service Program, said she expects the city of Inglewood to serve more than 50,000 meals to children this summer. “The kids look forward to this ev
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L.A. area law enforcement urges vigilance following Nice terror attack

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department are urging residents to remain vigilant of suspicious behavior following a deadly terror attack in France, but say neither agency has received “specific or credible threats” locally. A truck attack on crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, on Thursday left 84 people dead and 202 wounded. The carnage prompted local law enforcement agencies to issue public statements of condolence as well as public advisor
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Religious artifacts and equipment stolen from Chabad Jewish center of USC

Rabbi Dov Wagner walked into work at the Rohr Chabad Jewish Center at USC and immediately realized he was dealing with a burglary. Early Wednesday morning, someone found their way inside the center and stole $8,000 to $10,000 worth of equipment and religious artifacts, according to police and center officials. The items taken included a computer, video projectors and three pairs of tefillin — sets of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah
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Great white shark sinks its teeth into fisherman's boat

It was like a scene from the movie “Jaws,” a great white shark circles a fisherman’s small skiff and then launches itself into the craft nearly knocking it over. That’s how fisherman Mark Davis described an incident off Capitola on the northern end of Monterey Bay on Friday morning, when a shark sank its teeth into the bow of his 15-foot boat. “It was a full-on slam attack from down below,” Davis told KSBW-TV. “He came and hit the boat at full speed and knocked it into the air … He was aggress
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