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Parents of slain USC student urge security boost

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The parents of a University of Southern California graduate student who was beaten to death on his walk home say they are concerned about other students and hope the university increases security.

The victim, 24-year-old Xinran (SHING'-rahn) Ji, an engineering student from China, was attacked Thursday as he headed to his off-campus apartment after a study group. His parents, Ji Songbo and Du Jinhui, issued a statement Tuesday, the same day four teens were charged with murder.

The parents say they are struggling to get visas to come to the U.S. They say they are especially concerned about USC's Chinese students and urge the school to guarantee the safety of all those enrolled there.

They mentioned a 2012 incident in which two USC students from China were fatally shot during an off-campus robbery.


Broken water main that flooded UCLA is shut off

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Officials say a broken water pipe flooded parts of the UCLA campus has been shut off after releasing millions of gallons of water.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power assistant general manager Jim McDaniel says the pipe was shut off around 7 p.m., some 3 1/2 hours after it broke under Sunset Boulevard and began spewing water onto the nearby campus.

McDaniel says an estimated eight to 10 million gallons were released.

Workers had to slowly close three valves to safely shut off the 93-year-old pipe.

The mayor's office said in a statement that water service and quality were not affected by the break.


Poll: Americans cool to border-crossing children

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Americans are wary of granting refugee status to children who are crossing the U.S. border to flee strife-torn countries in Central America. And most in an Associated Press-GfK poll say the U.S. does not have a moral obligation to accept asylum-seekers generally.

The poll found 53 percent of Americans believe the United States has no moral obligation to offer asylum to people who escape violence or political persecution, while 44 percent believe it has that responsibility. And more than half, 52 percent, say children who say they are fleeing gang violence in Central America should not be treated as refugees.

The responses expose a partisan rift, with 70 percent of Republicans saying the children should not be treated as refugees, compared with 62 percent of Democrats who believe they should.


California lifeguard injured by lightning improves

LOS ANGELES (AP) - An off-duty lifeguard who was critically injured during a rare lightning strike at Los Angeles' Venice Beach is said to be improving steadily.

City News Service reported Tuesday that the man, whose name was not released, remains hospitalized at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where his condition has been upgraded from critical to fair.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe says the man, in his 50s, is "making a good recovery."

Sunday's lightning strike killed 21-year-old college student Nick Fagnano and injured a dozen others. The lifeguard suffered the most severe injuries.

The lightning was caused when warm, subtropical air from Mexico collided with the region's cool marine layer. The result was a brief but violent thunderstorm that struck the beach where thousands were gathered on a warm summer day.


Man in 90s in pack-rat conditions dies in fire

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A fire at a Los Angeles home has killed a man in his 90s who was described as living in pack-rat conditions.

Fire officials say the blaze shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday sent flames through the roof and a plume of black smoke over the house near Exposition Park.

About 50 firefighters doused the flames in about a half-hour but one received a leg burn. City News Service says the firefighter is in fair condition.

Authorities say the man's body was found in the front room. He's the 16th person to die in a house fire in the city this year.

Fire officials also say the home didn't have any smoke alarms.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


San Diego mayor to veto minimum wage hike

SAN DIEGO (AP) - San Diego's mayor says he plans to veto an ordinance recently passed by the City Council that would raise the city's minimum wage gradually to $11.50 an hour by 2017.

Republican Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said after the vote Monday that the hike would hurt small businesses and prompt layoffs.

The City Council has approved the wage increase twice in the past month with a 6-3 vote. The same six-vote majority can override Faulconer's veto.

The ordinance would raise San Diego's minimum wage to $9.75 in January 2015, $10.50 in January 2016 and $11.50 in January 2017.

California's minimum wage rose from $8 an hour to $9 on July 1 and is scheduled to become $10 in January 2016.


Orange County man convicted of killing roommate

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - A Southern California man has been convicted of second-degree murder in the death of his roommate, an Iraq War veteran who had been missing for two weeks before authorities found her body buried in a remote canyon.

The Orange County District Attorney's office says 55-year-old Kwang Chol Joy was convicted Tuesday.

Officials say 36-year-old Maribel Ramos went missing from her apartment in May 2013. Authorities found her body in a shallow grave near Modjeska Canyon.

Prosecutors said Joy was in love with Ramos and decided if he couldn't have her, he was going to make sure no one did.

Joy said he and Ramos loved each other as friends.

Joy's attorney emphasized the lack of physical evidence that he killed her, with prosecutors lacking even a cause of death.


Lawyers for Hollywood sex abuse accuser want out

HONOLULU (AP) - Lawyers for a former child model accusing 'X-Men' director Bryan Singer of sex abuse say they want out of the case because their relationship with the accuser has deteriorated.

Attorneys Jeff Herman and Mark Gallagher filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Honolulu on Tuesday asking to withdraw as counsel for Michael Egan III. They say they no longer talk to Egan except through a new lawyer.

Egan, now 31, accuses Singer in a lawsuit of sexually abusing him during trips to Hawaii when he was 17 in 1999. Singer has denied the allegations.

Egan previously dropped three similar Hawaii lawsuits against other Hollywood figures.

The lawsuits were filed suit under an unusual state law that created a window for civil cases in sex abuse cases where the statute of limitations has passed.


Naked man struck by LAPD cruiser is identified

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Authorities have identified a man run over and killed by a police cruiser while lying naked on a Los Angeles street.

Police and coroner's officials say 57-year-old Paul Burkons died late Sunday in the Jefferson Park area.

He was run over by an officer responding to a report of a naked man running through the neighborhood.

City News Service cites broadcast reports that said Burkons was homeless.

Officials will try to determine if the victim was mentally ill or possibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Authorities say the accident happened about two blocks west of where the naked man was reported.


Los Angeles police officers rally over contract

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles police officers are rallying at City Hall for a more favorable union contract

City News Service reports about 200 officers have filled the City Council chamber Tuesday morning.

Earlier this month some 5,800 members of the LA Police Protective League rejected a tentative agreement that included $70 million in overtime pay.

Union officials say officers are underpaid and face poor working conditions. They also say the LAPD's disciplinary system needs to be overhauled.


Biotech drugmaker Amgen laying off at least 2,400

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) - Biologic drugmaker Amgen plans to lay off 12 percent to 15 percent of its worldwide workforce and close sites in Colorado and Washington state to fund investments, particularly launching new drugs.

The layoffs will happen this year and next, eliminating 2,400 to 2,900 jobs, mostly in the U.S.

Amgen, which announced strong second-quarter results Tuesday, said it will streamline the company, reduce management layers and reduce its real estate footprint by 23 percent.

The company, based in Thousand Oaks, California, anticipates charges of $775 million to $950 million, mostly in 2014 and 2015. It expects modest 2015 savings, but expense reductions in 2016 of about $700 million, versus 2013. Most savings will be reinvested, including expanding operations in the biotech hubs of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and South San Francisco, California.

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