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    You'll soon be able to hit the gas pedal harder on some Los Angeles streets. And that has some neighbors worried that the city is about to get more dangerous for drivers and pedestrians.

     

    Over 100 miles of LA streets are getting new speed limits, most of them increases, but law enforcement says that the changes will make me easier for them to enforce the law.

    Over 100 miles of LA streets are getting new speed limits, most of them increases, but law enforcement says that the changes will make me easier for them to enforce the law.

    The LA City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to make the changes. One stretch of Shoup Avenue between Roscoe and Ventura Boulevard has a posted limit of 35 mph.

     

    In about a month the new speed limit will be 40. In order for cops to run radar state law requires streets to have valid speed surveys, which set speed limits. Around 70 percent of LA streets did not have valid surveys. The city's Department of Transportation beefed up staffing to complete all the surveys by the end of this year.

    Neighborhood Council representative Sheppard Kaufman is concerned.

    "In some cases you have speeds that are being raised where there are school crossings and things like that," said Sheppard Kaufman. "We need to kind of work on both the infrastructure element and the law element to just try to control the speeds but allow people to get where they are going."

    The LA DOT says they are on target to meet their goal of completing all of the street surveys. They say residents near the most recent speed limit changes will see new signs in about two months.

    If you are out driving don't be surprised to see more cops running radar. If you want to see if your street is on the list here.


    The city of Los Angeles is set to increase some speed limits.The city of Los Angeles is set to increase some speed limits.

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    A homeless man was arrested after police found a loaded gun and more than 600 rounds of ammunition inside a storage shed where the man was living.

    The storage room directly faces a baseball field at Carl Thornton Park, and police allege that 37-year-old Rueben Perez was in possession of the stolen .45 caliber hand gun living in the shed.

    In a 911 call, Luisa Delgado sounds anxious as she's telling a softball team to leave the park after she finds out there's a man in a shed, possibly armed.

    "He was saying he's going to get a strap and stuff," Delgado, whose husband Juan coaches the softball team, can be heard saying on the call, referencing a slang term for a gun.

    The man in the shed had made threats, but no one had any idea he had a stolen weapon and 600 rounds of ammunition. Also, police found a tactical vest loaded with more ammunition.

    The girls' fast-pitch softball team is back practicing at the park following the terrifying encounter, but the team and the Delgados are shaken by what could have happened with that shed just a stone's throw away from the field.

    "Now I know he won't be sneaking around here anymore," Maria Delgado, who plays on the team, says. "I'm just a thousand times relieved that he's no longer here."

    The Santa Ana Police Department says a note filled with religious messages was also found, but they don't believe Perez has any ties or links to terrorism.



    Photo Credit: Santa Ana Police Department

    Police released this image of an allegedly stolen gun and about 600 rounds of ammunition found in possession of a homeless man accused of making threats.Police released this image of an allegedly stolen gun and about 600 rounds of ammunition found in possession of a homeless man accused of making threats.

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    Retired Metro bus driver Jim Lucitt lost count of the assaults and insults he and other operators were subjected to during his 20 years on the job.

    The horror stories ranged from unruly behavior to attacks that posed serious safety threats to drivers and passengers. 

    "Most people don't have any idea what the job is like," Lucitt said. "You become the target of somebody’s agitation or aggression,and it's a very dangerous job."

    NBC4 obtained three years of internal agency reports that show operators were victims of assaults an average of 11 times per month. They document incidents in which they were choked, pepper-sprayed, splashed with hot coffee, punched, struck with bottles and threatened with box cutters and handguns.

    "People have urine thrown on them," said Lucitt. "They get the urine in a cup and they throw it on them, and they spit on them, and they open up their soda cans on them."

    In another disturbing case, a man approached a bus that was on a layover and began masturbating in front of the female driver. 

    "It could be anywhere from someone just verbally assaulting all the way on up to physical assault, even stabbing of operators, rape, urine, feces," said Art Aguilar, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1277, which represents drivers. "And, for what cause? I mean, dogs get treated better than some of these operators."

    Metro's security director said the agency is taking steps to protect drivers from such unprovoked attacks. Along with panic buttons that allow drivers to instantly summon police or deputies, many buses also feature new barriers to protect drivers. LA Metro is also testing live security cameras in 100 buses.

    "We can actually view streaming real-time video on the bus," said Metro security Director Alex Wiggins. "That way, if there is an issue on the bus, we'll be able to intervene in real-time.

    "Our operators are really on the front lines. They’re the first to interact with some individuals that may be in crisis."

    Congresswoman Grace Napolitano co-authored a bill to improve safety nationwide. Introduced in June, the bill never made it out of a subcommittee, but Napolitano plans to try again next year.

    "It requires transportation agencies to install barriers in order to prevent them within two years," Napolitano told the I-Team in August. "We will fight for this bill because we think it's important."

    Metro said is has voluntarily installed barriers on 1,500 of its roughly 2,500 buses, but the agency plans to include them on all buses.

    Until recently, the sheriff's department handled law enforcement on Metro buses, but the agency now shares that job with Los Angeles police. Officers and deputies are regularly riding buses.



    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

    A Metro bus traveling in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016.A Metro bus traveling in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016.

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    Kimberly-Clark has issued a recall for U by Kotex Sleek Tampons, regular absorbency, for a quality-related defect, the company said Tuesday. 

    Consumers have reported tampons unraveling and/or coming apart upon removal, leading some users to seek medical attention to remove tampon pieces left in the body. Additionally, some consumers have reported infections, vaginal irritation, localized vaginal injury and other symptoms, the company said. 

    The affected products were manufactured between Oct. 7, 2016 and Oct. 16, 2018. A list of lot numbers of the affected products can be found on the Kimberly-Clark website. Additionally, consumers can check lot numbers on the U by Kotex website

    No other U by Kotex brands are associated with the recall, the company said. 

    Anyone with the affected products is urged to stop using them and to contact the Kimberly-Clark Consumer Service Team at 1-888-255-3499. Consumers who experience any vaginal infection, irritation or injury, or symptoms such as hot flashes, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting are urged to seek medical assistance. 



    Photo Credit: Kotex

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    New York Attorney General-elect Letitia James plans to launch sweeping investigations into President Donald Trump, his family and "anyone" in his circle who may have violated the law once she settles into her new job next month, NBC News reported.

    "We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well," James, a Democrat, told NBC News in her first extensive interview since she was elected last month.

    She outlined some of the probes she intends to pursue with regard to the president, his businesses and his family members. They include the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian official, any illegalities involving Trump's real estate holdings in New York and continuing to probe the Trump Foundation. 

    The White House, Trump Organization, an attorney representing the company and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani did not respond to requests for comment.



    Photo Credit: Mary Altaffer/AP, File

    In this Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, file photo, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James speaks during a news conference in New York.In this Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, file photo, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James speaks during a news conference in New York.

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    Nikki Haley, the departing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in an interview for NBC's "Today" show that she used President Donald Trump's "unpredictable" nature to her advantage on the job.

    "He would ratchet up the rhetoric, and then I'd go back to the ambassadors and say: 'You know, he's pretty upset. I can't promise you what he's going to do or not, but I can tell you if we do these sanctions, it will keep him from going too far,'" Haley said.

    Haley also said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman doesn't "get a pass" for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But she stopped short of recommending giving Saudi Arabia anything more than stern talking-to.

    Haley said that she wants her nominated successor, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, to be "successful" and "time will tell how this works out."


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    PG&E acknowledged late Tuesday that a worn hook on a transmission tower apparently failed before the massive Camp Fire -- as first reported by NBC Bay Area last week -- and ordered inspections of 5,500 miles of its electrical transmission network in fire-prone areas.

    The company also suggested a second, lesser fire may have been the result of someone shooting into the line near the town of Concow. But the utility also said it found downed trees atop power lines in the same area.

    In a 20-day supplemental report about both fires sent to state regulators with the Public Utilities Commission, the company identified the problem with a so-called C-hook that had secured a part of the 115,000-volt Caribou Palermo line to one of its transmission towers.

    While noting its findings were "preliminary," the company identified what it called a flash mark on the tower where the line freed by the broken hook may have contacted the structure.

    Subsequent inspection found unspecified signs of "wear" where the hook was connected to a series of discs that served as an insulator between the line and the tower structure. The company did not elaborate.

    At the next-door tower, meanwhile, the company found an anchor for its insulator to the line had come loose.

    As for the second, Concow fire nearby, the company said crews checking near where it started discovered a pole and other equipment "on the ground with bullets and bullet holes at the break point of the pole and on the equipment."

    That discovery was on Nov. 9, a day after the fire started. Three days later, another patrol of PG&E found downed wires and poles, as well as several snapped trees, including some on top of downed wires. The company did not say whether the apparent gunfire or the downed wires touched off the fire.

    "These incidents remain under investigation, and this information is preliminary,” the company stressed. "The causes may not be fully understood until additional information is available, including information that can only be obtained through examination and testing of the equipment retained by Cal Fire. PG&E is cooperating with Cal Fire."

    On Monday, the company announced it was expanding inspections to 5,500 miles of its transmission system in fire prone areas, climbing or aerially inspecting some 50,000 poles and towers. The company announced it was bolstering weather monitoring and installing 600 new high-definition cameras to cover about 90 percent of fire threatened service territory.

    In a statement, the company said: “The loss of life, homes and businesses in the Camp Fire is truly devastating. Our focus continues to be on assessing our infrastructure to further enhance safety, restoring electric and gas service where possible, and helping customers begin to recover and rebuild. Throughout our service area, we are committed to doing everything we can to further reduce the risk of wildfire.”



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

    A PG&E transmission tower in Butte County.A PG&E transmission tower in Butte County.

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    The seats at Staples Center have a star-studded history when the Lakers are in action. Check out some of the celebrity fans in the stands who have cheered on the Lakers through the years.

    Photo Credit: AP/Getty

    Some of the celebrity fans in the stands at Lakers games.Some of the celebrity fans in the stands at Lakers games.

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    The "outdoor art and culture experience celebrating Black LA" will debut in the spring of 2020.

    Photo Credit: Perkins + Will/Destination Crenshaw

    Views to the East from the upper level of the viewing deck of Sankofa Park, located where Crenshaw Blvd. and Leimert Blvd. split.Views to the East from the upper level of the viewing deck of Sankofa Park, located where Crenshaw Blvd. and Leimert Blvd. split.

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    Police looking for a 29-year-old Colorado mom who's been missing since Thanksgiving are hoping that newly released surveillance video showing her last sighting at a grocery store will help in finding her.

    Kelsey Berreth, who was reported missing by her mother on Dec. 2, was last seen in public with her 1-year-old daughter at a Safeway supermarket on Nov. 22 in Woodland Park, where she's lived since 2016.

    The video shows Berreth, dressed in dark pants and a light jacket with her hair pulled back, pushing a cart with her child in a carrier on top. Authorities said they have already received a number of tips in the case and they hope the new footage, posted Tuesday to the Woodland Park Police Department's Facebook page, will lead to more.

    Patrick Frazee, Berreth's fiance, told police he saw Berreth Thanksgiving afternoon when they exchanged their daughter, police chief Miles De Young said Monday. Frazee is taking care of the young girl now at his home. 

    Frazee and Berreth were planning to marry and had been living in separate homes. Berreth would either sleep at Frazee's house or take the child to her home.

    Frazee told police he took care of the child during the day while Berreth worked as a flight instructor at Doss Aviation. Berreth's employer got a text from her phone Nov. 25 saying she needed to take off the upcoming week. Her phone was tracked as being 700 miles away in Gooding, Idaho, that day.

    De Young said Frazee is cooperating with police and is not a suspect in the case. Berreth's fiance could not be reached for comment by NBC.

    Frazee's attorney confirmed in a Wednesday statement that his client is cooperating and added that Frazee voluntarily turned over his phone.

    "Mr. Frazee hopes and prays for Ms. Berreth's return. Mr. Frazee will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and continue to parent the child he shares with Ms. Berreth," the statement read.

    "At this point, he is the father of Kelsey's daughter, and we're gonna leave it at that," De Young told reporters. "So, this is a missing person's case."

    Cheryl Berreth, Kelsey Berreth's mother, said at a press conference that "this is completely out of character" for her daughter.

    "She loves her family and friends, and she loves her job," Cheryl Berreth said. "Kelsey, we just want you home. ... We won't quit looking."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: Woodland Park Police Department
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    Kelsey BerrethKelsey Berreth

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    A new brick-and-mortar toy store in Maryland opened by a former Toys R Us manager is seeing success thanks to the diversity of its dolls and toys.

    Glendon Warner said he worked for Toys R Us when it went bankrupt. He decided to stock all he learned there into something new.

    Toys, Babies and More in Hyattsville has been open for about two months and has found a customer base during a time when brick-and-mortar stores struggle to compete with Amazon and other online shopping options.

    Warner sees that as an opportunity.

    “They don't think about people who still don't know how to use a website,” he said. “They don’t think about people who still want to walk around and still bring their kids into a store where they can see live toys.”

    Part of the draw is what he stocks on his shelves: Dolls of color. Dolls that reflect the diversity of the children who play with them can be hard to find.

    “I noticed that even when I was with Toys R Us,” Warner said. “Before the second week of December, you can't find African-American dolls."

    The diversity of the toys and dolls he offers has gained him some international sales.

    “My second sale was from Great Britain,” he said.

    Because of the diversity and the hard-to-find toys, Toys, Babies and More has a strong presence online.

    As word of his toy story spreads, so does his business, something of which he and his wife are very proud.

    “It's not easy, but when you have good family, you have God, anything is possible,” Claudine Warner said.



    Photo Credit: NBCWashington

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    September, October, and even November may hold the theoretical patents on fall color, around the United States, at least in the minds of many leaf peepers.

    But around Southern California, we know this: December can dazzle, in the autumn-awesome color department, and any stroll down a lane lush with bright gingko trees shores up that claim.

    True, the mountain areas of our region have mostly bid farewell to the hues of fall, but the lower lands continue to don impressive coats of gold, orange, and even red and maroon.

    The California Fall Color blog is currently honoring this oh-so-SoCal-y fact, that fall's treeful beauty can easily extend here through the very end of the season, by sharing local locations to see photo-worthy leaves.

    "LA's the place" states the go-to repository of Golden State foliage, a blog that sports the sassy sub-header "Dude, autumn happens here, too."

    There's a foliage map, which also tells the story: While all of the state is pretty much past peak color, Southern California, and the desert, continues to pop.

    Where can you go before fall officially signs off on the afternoon of Dec. 21? We are in the final week of autumn 2018, so best get to the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, one suggestion on the blog.

    Claremont, as of the beginning of December, was rocking its leafy loveliness, too.

    Autumn's slipping away, and, yes, fall color in Southern California can run into the very start of wintertime, a sight that's especially prominent at some of our public gardens.

    How cool, and SoCal is it, that fall lingers a little at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, even as its famous roses pop in time for the Tournament of Roses?

    Consider this landmark garden your next destination, should you want to see where the signs of fall and spring share a most delicate dance, with early winter playing the host.



    Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images

    Are the gingko trees looking positively lemon-y these days? It's a very LA Decembertime sight. (Photo by FlowerPhotos/UIG via Getty Images)Are the gingko trees looking positively lemon-y these days? It's a very LA Decembertime sight. (Photo by FlowerPhotos/UIG via Getty Images)

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    Former Obama housing chief Julian Castro says he's taking a step toward a possible White House campaign in 2020 by forming a presidential exploratory committee. The Texas Democrat tells The Associated Press that he will announce a decision Jan. 12.

    The move Wednesday gives the 44-year-old former San Antonio mayor an early start to what's shaping up as a crowded Democratic field without a clear front-runner to challenge President Donald Trump.

    Castro indicated in an AP interview that his mind was all but made up.

    "I know where I'm leaning, for sure," said Castro, who has said for weeks that it was likely he would seek the nomination.

    An exploratory committee usually is a formality before a candidate launches a presidential campaign. It legally allows potential candidates to begin raising money.

    But just as important for Castro, the step gives him an early jump on bigger name Democrats who are considering running but are taking a slower approach.

    No potential contender is more ascendant than outgoing Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who lost last month in a surprisingly close race against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. O'Rourke has excited donors and activists who are now prodding him to seek the presidency.

    Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, are also potential candidates.

    Castro would be among the youngest candidates in the field and the most prominent Latino. He played down the attention that others are generating and pointed to past election cycles in which early favorites ended up faltering.

    "People might say right now, 'Well, hey, you're way down here in polling that's taken.' The most dangerous place to be right now is actually in the pole position," Castro said. "It doesn't bother me that in December of 2018 I'm not right up at the top of the list. If I decide to run, it would be because I believe I have a compelling message and I'm going to work hard and get to the voters and I believe I can be successful."

    Castro, who attended O'Rourke's election-night party in El Paso last month, said O'Rourke doesn't complicate his own chances.

    "He's talented. He ran a good race against Ted Cruz," Castro said. "I'll let him talk about his future."

    Castro said he has not spoken to former President Barack Obama about his potential candidacy but plans on consulting Democratic leaders. Obama has spoken to O'Rourke, who has said he won't make a decision on 2020 until after leaving Congress in January.

    Obama picked Castro to take over the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2014. Two years later, Castro was on the short list of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's potential running mates.

    For Castro, running for president would fulfill a destiny that Democrats have projected since he was elected San Antonio mayor at 34, followed by his star-making turn as the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

    He is the grandson of a Mexican immigrant and son of a Latina activist. His twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a Democratic congressman from Texas. Julian Castro said the Latino community has been treated "like a pinata" under Trump and deserved a candidate in the field.

    "I'm also very mindful, especially now for the Latino community, that there's a particular meaning to my candidacy," Castro said. "We can't go through the 2020 cycle with nobody on that stage because of what's happened over the last couple of years."

    Young and telegenic, Castro rose to national prominence early in his career as a Latino leader from a state that Democrats are eager to retake after decades of Republican dominance. But in Texas, O'Rourke has eclipsed Castro after getting closer to a statewide victory than any Democrat in a generation. It now puts Texas in the formerly unthinkable position of having two Democratic presidential candidates in the same year.

    The last Texas Democrat to run for president was Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, who had a short-lived campaign in 1976.

    Maryland Rep. John Delaney is the only declared 2020 Democratic presidential candidate so far. Others are expected to announce their intentions in the coming weeks.



    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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    Julian CastroJulian Castro

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    George Samayoa is keeping the spirit of Toys R Us alive this holiday season.

    The Pomona collectibles shop owner spent thousands of dollars on items from the toy store's West Covina location after the company announced it was going out of business earlier this year. The highlight is the familiar Toys R Us sign with its backwards R, which now sits on top of En-Force Collectibles -- a glowing reminder of childhood visits to the beloved toy store.

    "We just lit it up and it turned out to be phenomenal for us," Samayoa said.

    Samayoa raised the 4-foot tall letters Friday. He actually purchased the sign from a brother, who bought it from a friend.

    "I wasn't really thinking about it because I thought it would be expensive," he told the Daily Bulletin. "It was. Not so much the sign, but you have to rent a crane and you have to get an electrician to pluck them out."

    To avoid any confusion, Samayoa put up a sign that indicates his shop is not a Toys R Us store. He said he's just paying tribute to the "greatest toy store in history." 

    He scooped up other memeorabilia from the West Covina store, including shopping bags, racks, display items and a coin-operated Geoffrey the Giraffe mascot ride. That item was so popular, one of Samayoa's customers already purchased it from him.

    More than 30,000 people lost jobs when the company closed about 800 stories. The company faced $5 billion in debut before liquidating its U.S. assets.



    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

    A Toys R Us sign procured after the closing of a West Covina store sits stop at collectibles shop in Pomona.A Toys R Us sign procured after the closing of a West Covina store sits stop at collectibles shop in Pomona.

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    A New York woman whose photo was used in an ad campaign promoting the rights of HIV-positive people without her knowledge has been awarded $125,000 in damages, NBC News reported.

    Avril Nolan — who does not have HIV — sued the state's Division of Human Rights, alleging it had improperly used her photo in a 2013 ad that included the words "I AM POSITIVE" and "I HAVE RIGHTS."

    Nolan had posed for the picture for a "street-style" magazine piece in 2011. The picture was later sold to Getty Images, which licensed it to DHR for the ad.

    In a ruling made public Tuesday, Justice Thomas Scuccimarra wrote that the ad didn't contain a disclaimer clarifying the person depicted is a model. "Ms. Nolan did not give permission for the use of her photograph, taken in an entirely different context, and apparently thereafter sold," Judge Scuccimarra wrote.

    The ad ran in four print publications and three online publications.



    Photo Credit: WireImage

    Avril Nolan attends the 'Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story' New York Screening at Crosby Street Hotel on November 8, 2013 in New York City.Avril Nolan attends the 'Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story' New York Screening at Crosby Street Hotel on November 8, 2013 in New York City.

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    It’s been an overall pretty rough year for the United States, if 2018’s top Google searches are any indication.

    The county’s top searches this year covered everything from destructive hurricanes to celebrity deaths to mass shootings. Many of this year’s most googled topics in the U.S. were also reflected in the year’s most searched topics globally

    Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain made the top 10 most searched topics. Spade was the original creator of the handbag line by the same name, and Bourdain was the host of CNN’s award-winning show “Parts Unknown.” Both reportedly died by suicide.

    Rapper Mac Miller and singer Demi Lovato were also frequently searched about this year. Miller reportedly died from a drug overdose in September. Lovato’s struggles with drug addiction also made headlines when she was hospitalized following an apparent overdose in August.

    People connected to the #MeToo movement, a campaign started on social media fighting for justice for sexual assault survivors, also made the list .

    Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court’s newest addition, faced a contentious nomination battle that captivated the nation after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. Kavanaugh denied the allegations. He was sworn in as the 114th justice of U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 6.

    Former NBC “Today” show host Matt Lauer made 2017’s top Google searches list after he was accused of and fired for sexually harassing female colleagues.

    Just as with last year’s top Google searches, another mass shooting made the list. Twelve people were killed in a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, in November after a former Marine Corps veteran opened fire on them. Many of the victims were in their early 20s.

    In October 2017, 58 people were killed and hundred more injured when a gunman shot into a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The Las Vegas Shooting was one of the most googled news events in 2017.

    In 2016, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando left 49 people dead and dozens injured, with the majority of the victims and survivors being members of the LGBTQ community. The Orlando shooting made the most searched news events list in 2016.

    But not all the searches were depressing.

    The World Cup was this year’s most searched topic.

    The Marvel Studios film “Black Panther” was the sixth most searched topic this year. The super hero flick and its notably diverse cast made history when the movie became the first Marvel film to receive a Golden Globe nomination.

    Duchess of Sussex and former “Suits” actress Meghan Markle made the list for the most searched people of 2018. Markle also made the list last year. Her royal wedding also made the most searched news list. Markle captured American and U.K. hearts alike as the world followed her engagement to the Britain's Prince Harry.

    Arguably, the real winner for 2018’s top Google searches was the Mega Millions jackpot lottery results, which had much of the country hoping they’d wake up with $1.6 billion in their pocket. It was the first time in Mega Millions history and the second time in U.S. lottery history that the possible winnings reached 10 figures.

    Hopefully next year’s top Google searches will be richer than this year’s.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images
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    File - The World Cup, Meghan Markle and “Black Panther” topped Google’s 2018 global search trends while Hurricane Florence and Mega Millions lottery results rose to the top of searches in the U.S.File - The World Cup, Meghan Markle and “Black Panther” topped Google’s 2018 global search trends while Hurricane Florence and Mega Millions lottery results rose to the top of searches in the U.S.

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    The Kansas City Chiefs are missing their star running back, likely without his backup and could have their top two wide receivers hobbled or shelved for their crucial AFC West showdown against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night.

    They still have Patrick Mahomes, though.

    And they're still playing the Chargers.

    Yes, the Chargers (10-3) are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, having won three straight and nine of 10 to close within a game of Kansas City (11-2) in the division race.

    But the Chargers also have had about as much luck against the Chiefs as the Redskins have had with quarterbacks this year, losing nine straight and many of them in lopsided fashion.

    That includes this season's opener in Los Angeles, when Mahomes announced his arrival to the NFL with his first four touchdown passes in the Chiefs' 38-28 victory at StubHub Center.

    "We're familiar with this group, but they do so many things. It's never easy going up against Kansas City," Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. "Go back to September. You can go back to last year, to 2017, when we lost to those guys twice -- same things. They are just really good."

    The Chiefs have continued to play at a high level despite some personnel challenges.

    Running back Kareem Hunt was released nearly two weeks ago because of off-the-field issues, and new starter Spencer Ware hurt his hamstring last Sunday against Baltimore.

    Wide receiver Sammy Watkins is likely to miss Thursday night's game with a lingering foot problem, and speedster Tyreek Hill is nursing wrist and heel injuries, but has insisted all week that he'll be ready.

    "One thing we have been talking about all season long, you never know when your number is going to be called, so it is important that you are ready," Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said. "It's all hands on deck. When it's all said and done, we go out and play."

    Besides, it's not as if the Chargers haven't had injury issues of their own.

    Running back Melvin Gordon is expected to be a game-time decision after spraining his right knee against Arizona and missing the past two games. His primary backup, Austin Ekeler, is likely out after hurting his neck and sustaining a concussion in last week's win over the Bengals.

    "I've been grinding hard to get back," Gordon said. "I know Coach (Lynn) is trying to be careful and doesn't want me to further hurt myself or things like that. So we'll see where that goes."

    If he's unable to play, rookie Justin Jackson would get his first NFL start.

    "What is it, Week 15 in the NFL? These things happen," Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said. "We'll see who shows up Thursday and go from there."

    As the Chiefs and Chargers prepare to meet, here are things to know:

    DIVISION RACE

    The Chiefs can clinch their third straight AFC West title and a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win. But even with a loss, the Chiefs would hold the tiebreaker over the Chargers by virtue of their better division record. Los Angeles needs a win to clinch its first postseason trip since the 2013 season.

    "Both teams are going to be all hyped up and ready to go," said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who is 11-3 against the Chargers in his career.

    BERRY'S BACK, MAYBE

    There have been signs this week that Chiefs safety Eric Berry will make his season debut against the Chargers. Berry sustained a season-ending injury in last year's opener, then hurt his heel early in training camp.

    "It is killing him not to be out there," Reid said, "but at the same time, you want to be smart with it. I know he would like to play in the game."

    RIVERS RUNS THROUGH IT

    Mahomes has been getting all the attention, but Chargers counterpart Philip Rivers has been nearly as good this season. He already has 29 touchdown passes, five shy of his career best, and his interception rate is the lowest of his career.

    But Rivers also has struggled against the Chiefs, throwing 14 interceptions during the Chargers' nine-game losing streak. "He's a guy who can make all the throws," Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller said.

    BENJAMIN'S DEBUT

    The Chiefs hope wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who was cut by the Bills and signed with Kansas City last week, will be active for the game. Benjamin would provide a big body on the outside and some additional depth with Watkins likely to be out.

    SHORT WEEK

    Both teams dismissed the challenges of playing on a short week, especially given how well they know each other. But the Chiefs also were at home Sunday, and the Chargers will be traveling across two time zones to Arrowhead Stadium, one of the toughest venues in the NFL.

    "We have a lot to prepare for," Lynn said, "and like I said, it's going to be more of a mental week. So we have to find ways to get that done."



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Wide receiver Keenan Allen #13 of the Los Angeles Chargers makes a catch in front of cornerback Orlando Scandrick #22 of the Kansas City Chiefs at StubHub Center on September 9, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)Wide receiver Keenan Allen #13 of the Los Angeles Chargers makes a catch in front of cornerback Orlando Scandrick #22 of the Kansas City Chiefs at StubHub Center on September 9, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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    The J.M. Smucker Company is voluntarily recalling specific lots of 9Lives Protein Plus wet canned cat food due to possible low levels of thiamine, an essential vitamin for cats, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

    The FDA said no illnesses related to this issue have been reported and the products are being recalled "out of an abundance of caution." 

    The products impacted by the recall are as follows:

     

    • 9Lives Protein Plus with Tuna and Chicken, 4-pack cans (5.5 oz. each can), UPC: 7910021549, Best if Used by Date: Mar. 27, 2020 - Nov. 14 2020)
    • 9Lives Protein Plus with Tuna and Liver 4-pack cans (5.5 oz. each can), UPC: 7910021748, Best if Used by Date: Apr. 17, 2020 - Sept. 14, 2020)

    The FDA said the products were sold to a variety of retailers nationwide.

    No other 9Lives or J.M. Smucker Company products are impacted by this recall, the agency said.

    Cats fed diets low in thiamine, also known as Vitamin B1, over the course of several weeks may be at risk for developing a thiamine deficiency, according to the FDA.

    The agency said symptoms include decreased appetite, salivation, vomiting, failure to grow and weight loss. In advanced cases of thiamine deficiency, neurological signs can develop, including ventroflexion of the neck (bending towards the floor), mental dullness, blindness, wobbly walking, circling, falling, seizures and sudden death.

    If your cat is displaying any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. Thiamine deficiency is typically reversible if treated promptly.

    Pet owners should stop feeding the recalled products to their cats and throw it out, the FDA said.  Customers who would like a refund or coupon for a replacement product should contact the company by filling out this form or calling 1-888-569-6828, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m ET and 6:00 p.m ET.



    Photo Credit: FDA

    9Lives Protein Plus with Tuna and Chicken is one of two products recalled by J. M. Smucker Company.9Lives Protein Plus with Tuna and Chicken is one of two products recalled by J. M. Smucker Company.

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    The company that publishes the National Enquirer admitted that it paid $150,000 in hush money to silence alleged mistresses of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump prior to the 2016 election, prosecutors said Wednesday. 

    The publisher, American Media Inc., will avoid prosecution by stipulating that it worked with Trump's campaign to buy the silence of women — who have identified themselves as adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal — ahead of the vote two years ago, prosecutors said. 

    The agreement between prosecutors and AMI was signed and dated Sept. 21, NBC News reported. A representative for AMI and the company's CEO, David Pecker, a long-time ally of Trump's, declined comment on Wednesday.

    The announcement comes the same day Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for lying to investigators about the hush-money operation.



    Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

    This July 12, 2017, file photo shows the cover of an issue of the National Enquirer featuring President Donald Trump at a store in New York.This July 12, 2017, file photo shows the cover of an issue of the National Enquirer featuring President Donald Trump at a store in New York.

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    A 21-year-old man was convicted of first-degree murder Wednesday for the 2014 killing of a USC graduate student from China who was attacked near campus while walking back to his apartment after a 2014 study session.

    Alberto Ochoa is scheduled to be sentenced March 8 on first-degree murder and other charges stemming from the July 24, 2014, attack on Xinran Ji, a 24-year-old electrical engineering student. Ji was able to stagger away from the attack scene and reached his nearby apartment, where he was found dead by one of his roommates.

    Three other young people have already been convicted and sentenced in connection with the deadly attack.

    Alejandra Guerrero, now 20, and Andrew Garcia, now 22, are each serving life prison terms without the possibility of parole after being convicted of first-degree murder and other charges, while the getaway driver, Jonathan Del Carmen, now 23, was sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.

    In his closing argument Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney John McKinney contended that Ochoa -- who was 17 at the time of the attack -- got out of a car while armed with a baseball bat and was a "substantial factor" in Ji's death.

    "You know Ochoa did something to him, his face ... that broke his skin," McKinney said, noting that the victim left a blood trail and that his broken glasses were found on the street where he was initially attacked.

    "Clearly he (Ochoa) was a major participant," the prosecutor told jurors in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.

    He told jurors to contrast Ji's decision to walk a female classmate home after a study session with the types of decisions that Ochoa and his friends made, and said Ochoa and his co-defendants targeted Ji because they thought he was an "easy target" who was walking alone in the dark.

    Defense attorney Christopher Chaney urged jurors to acquit his client of the murder charge, saying that "Mr. Ochoa is not guilty of the murder of Mr. Ji."

    "I don't see a bat. I don't see a swinging of a bat," the defense attorney said of surveillance video from the scene.

    "He (Ochoa) withdrew seconds after it started," Chaney told jurors, noting that the surveillance video shows Ochoa getting back in the car and not participating with Guerrero and Garcia in the second attack on Ji after he ran down the street and around a corner.

    He said he Guerrero was responsible for the injuries, telling jurors the teenage girl was armed with a wrench. He said there was no evidence that Ochoa had inflicted a fatal blow.



    Photo Credit: Xinran Ji/LinkedIn

    Xinran Ji, 24, was found dead in his apartment near USC after being attacked while walking home from a study group Thursday, July 24, 2014.Xinran Ji, 24, was found dead in his apartment near USC after being attacked while walking home from a study group Thursday, July 24, 2014.

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