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Buildings vulnerable 20 years after L.A. earthquake
Written by ALICIA CHANG, AP Science Writer   
Thursday, 16 January 2014 15:29

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The earth lurched without warning before dawn, jolting Los Angeles from its sleep. In a flash, freeway overpasses collapsed. Buildings were leveled or ruined. Fires spread.

Two decades after a magnitude-6.7 earthquake shattered Los Angeles and surrounding communities, buildings around the region remain vulnerable. While there has been progress to rebuild and shore up freeways and hospitals, there has been less attention paid to concrete buildings and housing with ground-floor parking.

"That remains a significant problem. We really have not come very far," said Jonathan Stewart, an earthquake engineer at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Structures burning in Southern California wildfire
Written by RAQUEL MARIA DILLON, Associated Press   
Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:14

GLENDORA, Calif. (AP) — Homes burned in a wildfire threatening neighborhoods in dangerously dry foothills of Southern California's San Gabriel Mountains on Thursday, fanned by gusty Santa Ana winds that spit embers into the city below. Residents who awakened in the pre-dawn darkness to see flames approaching were ordered to evacuate.

Television images showed several structures engulfed in flames in a neighborhood abutting Angeles National Forest, just north of the San Gabriel Valley community of Glendora. Homes are nestled in canyons and among rugged ridges that made an accurate assessment difficult.

At least 125 acres of dry brush was charred in the wilderness area about 25 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Police said they questioned three persons of interest detained near Colby Trail, where the fire was believed to have started. Sheriff's Sgt. Raymond Roth stressed that they were not suspects.

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'Hustle,' 'Gravity' lead Oscars with 10 nods each (Full list)
Written by JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer   
Thursday, 16 January 2014 09:52

The con-artist comedy "American Hustle and the 3-D space odyssey "Gravity" lead the Academy Awards with 10 nominations each, including nods for best picture.

Nine films were nominated for best picture. The other nominees are "12 Years a Slave," ''Captain Phillips," ''Dallas Buyers Club," ''Her," ''Nebraska," ''The Wolf of Wall Street" and "Philomena."

"12 Years a Slave" narrowly trailed "Gravity" and "American Hustle" with a total of nine nominations.

The 86th annual Academy Awards will take place March 2, with Ellen DeGeneres hosting for the second time.

Complete list of 86th Annual Academy Award nominations announced Thursday:

1. Best Picture: "American Hustle," ''Captain Phillips," ''Dallas Buyers Club," ''Gravity," ''Her," ''Nebraska," ''Philomena," ''12 Years a Slave," ''The Wolf of Wall Street."

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 January 2014 10:18
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(Updated) Police: N.Y. teacher takes rifle student had in school
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 16 January 2014 10:45

PHILADELPHIA, N.Y. (AP) — As a 25-year veteran teacher and coach, Bob Kuba is always ready for the unexpected. Police and school administrators say his cool demeanor likely prevented a tragedy.

On Wednesday afternoon, a 15-year-old student brought a very large object covered in a blanket into Kuba's earth science class at Indian River High School in northern New York and said he wanted to show them a science experiment. When the class was coming to a close, the student removed the blanket, revealing a gun case with a rifle inside.

Kuba reacted in a flash.

"When he opened the case, I grabbed the rifle before he could," Kuba told The Associated Press on Thursday. "He offered no resistance at all. I had the gun in one hand and him in the other."

The school went into lockdown.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:15
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Vatican acknowledges 'no excuse' for child abuse
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 16 January 2014 07:47

GENEVA (AP) — The Vatican has acknowledged there can be "no excuse" for child abuse, confronted for the first time at length and in public over the global priest sex abuse scandal.

At a U.N. hearing, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's representative in Geneva, says "such crimes can never be justified" whether committed at home, school, sports activities or in religious organizations and structures.

Tomasi told a U.N. committee Thursday the Holy See welcomes any suggestions that could help it in promoting and encouraging the respect of the rights of the child.

He spoke at the beginning of a hearing at which the Vatican is being challenged with allegations it enabled the rape of thousands of children by protecting pedophile priests and its own reputation at the expense of victims.


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