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The winds are expected to wane, but more snow is on the way after a powerful blizzard howled through the Sierra Nevada mountains. The National Weather Service says conditions will improve Sunday as the wind weakens but the precipitation will quickly return, with heavy snow Monday in some areas and rain in others. That's not much of a break after a multi-day storm that one meteorologist called “as bad as it gets” closed a key east-west freeway in northern California, shut down ski resorts and left thousands of homes and businesses without power. Some ski areas planned to reopen Sunday, albeit with delayed start times and limited operations.

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After last year's wave of wins for the so-called school choice movement, some religious schools in those states are seeing enrollment rise and are planning for a fuller future. Against the backdrop of favorable decisions by the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court, nine states expanded their school voucher programs. Some are now running into budget troubles. Critics worry about decreased funding for public schools, church-state issues, discrimination against students and more. Supporters tout more options for parents and increased affordability. The debates continue this year as courts and state legislatures weigh related issues and policies. Some religious schools in states considering expansion are hoping it reaches them soon.

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A powerful blizzard that a meteorologist termed “as bad as it gets” is howling in the Sierra Nevada mountains. A long stretch of Interstate 80 in Northern California and several ski resorts remain closed Saturday because of gusty winds and snow. Tens of thousands of homes are without power in California and Nevada. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning through Sunday for a 300-mile stretch of the mountain range in both states. Authorities are urging people to take shelter and stay off roads, and meteorologists predict more than 10 feet of snow will fall at higher elevations.

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Hoboken, New Jersey, recently marked seven consecutive years without a traffic death. Officials there credit their decision to take away some street parking, a change that increases visibility for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. The city of nearly 60,000 people just across the Hudson River from Manhattan has become a model. Sweden originated similar changes more than a quarter-century ago, and numerous cities, states and nations have since adopted the approach. One key to Hoboken's success has been so-called daylighting, which removes parking spots near intersections and often replaces them with curb extensions, bike racks or planters. Now more than 40 states have some sort of daylighting law. California joined the list this year.

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California authorities shut down 100 miles of Interstate 80 on Friday as the biggest snow storm of the season bore down on the Sierra Nevada. Authorities closed the interstate in both directions after 5 p.m. on a day most ski resorts around Lake Tahoe were closed. Visitors to Yosemite National Park were also told to leave Friday and a tornado touched down in central California. A blizzard warning is in effect through Sunday for a 300-mile stretch of the mountain range and authorities are urging people to take shelter and stay off the roads. Meteorologists predict up to 10 feet of snow could fall in some higher elevations.

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Four years after the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools, the CDC says parents can start treating the virus like other respiratory illnesses. Gone are mandated isolation periods and masking. Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says children can go back to school when their overall symptoms improve and they’re fever-free for 24 hours without taking medication. Students are “encouraged” to wear a mask upon returning. Still, the change may not affect how individual schools urge parents to react when their children fall sick. Schools and child care providers have a mixed record on following CDC recommendations and often look to local authorities for the ultimate word.

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After some rough patches, the Oscars may have finally met the moment with a diverse, global membership and a batch of best picture nominees that reflect global cinema. But that comes as no surprise to the academy’s leadership, CEO Bill Kramer and President Janet Yang, who have been working behind the scenes to foster this kind of evolution as they approach their 100th year. Both Kramer and Yang, who assumed their positions in 2022, are looking at the organization as a global entity. and seeing possibilities in both talent development and unprecedented unification. They’re not on the defensive anymore, instead pushing to the future.

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Police say they have taken a man into custody in connection with a shooting in Southern California that left at least three people injured. Media reports say the shooting occurred at a dental office in El Cajon, about 15 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. Police have identified the suspect as 29-year-old Mohammed Abdulkareem. He allegedly fled the scene in a white U-haul pickup with Arizona license plates. Police several hours later announced he had been taken into custody. Further details are not immediately available.

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It's been a stellar year in film, and not just because of the convergence of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” and their release dates. A crowded best picture category, a nail-biter of a race for best actress are in store for the Oscars, broadcasting live on March 10. The Associated Press' Film Writers Jake Coyle and Lindsey Bahr have made their picks, agreeing that “Oppenheimer” will be crowned best picture, while Coyle selects Lily Gladstone as the likely best actress winner. Bahr is predicting that Emma Stone will win for her “Poor Things” performance. One category Coyle and Bahr agree on — Da'Vine Joy Randolph will win best supporting actress for “The Holdovers.”

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The most powerful Pacific storm of the season has started barreling into the Sierra Nevada. Forecasters say it is packing multiple-feet of snow and dangerous winds that will create blizzard conditions likely to close major highways and trigger power outages into the weekend. Much of the Sierra is under a blizzard warning through Sunday. The biggest impacts are expected Friday afternoon into Saturday. As much as 10 feet of snow is possible in the mountains around Lake Tahoe by the weekend, with up to 6 feet in the communities on the lake's shores. More than a foot (30 centimeters) is possible in the valleys on the Sierra’s eastern front, including Reno

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Hatch watch is underway in Southern California mountains. Three bald eagle chicks could emerge this week from eggs laid in a nest monitored by nature lovers via a popular online camera feed. The mother, Jackie, laid the eggs in late January atop a tree overlooking Big Bear Lake high in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles. She diligently sat on the eggs for more than two and a half days straight when a recent winter storm blanketed the nest with snow. The nonprofit Friends of Big Bear Valley says Jackie incubated her eggs for 61 hours 58 minutes without a break. Since the storm, Jackie has shared incubating duties with the watchful father, Shadow. Biologists expect the eaglets could begin to hatch Thursday or Friday.

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After a winter barrage of award shows — the Emmys, the Golden Globes, the Grammys — the grandaddy of them all, the Academy Awards, are around the corner. The 96th Oscars may be a coronation for “Oppenheimer,” which comes in with a leading 13 nominations, though other films, including “Barbie,” “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Poor Things” are in the mix. The Oscars will be held Sunday, March 10, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The ceremony is set to begin at 7 p.m. EDT — one hour earlier than usual — and be broadcast live on ABC. A preshow will begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

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A Native American tribe with one of the largest outstanding claims to water in the Colorado River basin is closing in on a settlement. The Navajo Nation on Wednesday outlined the terms of the potential agreement with more than a dozen parties. It hopes to finalize a settlement that includes Hopi and San Juan Southern Paiute tribes in the coming days. A settlement would put the tribes on a path to piping water to tens of thousands of tribal members in Arizona who still live without it. The Navajo Nation outlined more than $2 billion in funding needed for infrastructure but noted there is no guarantee Congress would approve the settlement or provide the money.

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Crowds have lined up in San Francisco to see and smell the rare blooming an endangered tropical flower that releases a pungent odor when it opens once every several years. The corpse flower began blooming Tuesday afternoon at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. The flower blooms for one to three days once every seven to 10 years. During the bloom it releases a powerful smell described by some as rotting food or sweaty socks. It was the first bloom for the flower known as Mirage. The corpse flower is native to the Indonesia island of Sumatra,

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Leaders of the University of California, Berkeley, have denounced a protest against an event organized by Jewish students that forced police to evacuate attendees and a speaker from Israel. Chancellor Carol Christ and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Benjamin Hermalin say the incident Monday night violated fundamental values. A crowd of about 200 protesters began to surround the building just before the event was to begin. The officials say doors were broken open and protesters gained entry, forcing the evacuation to protect members of the audience and the guest speaker. University police have now opened a formal criminal investigation. University campuses have been a hotbed of protest activity surrounding the Israel-Hamas war.

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U.S. asylum officers were instructed nearly a year ago to apply a higher screening standard on people who cross the border illegally to claim asylum after passing though another country. But they are too understaffed to have much impact. The Biden administration hails the higher standard as a cornerstone of its border policy in legal challenges, but its application in only a small percentage of arrests shows how budgets can fail to match ambitions. Arrests for illegal crossings temporarily plunged after the rule took effect but rose five of the next six months as migrants and smugglers adjusted, reaching an all-time high in December.

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Old age may be debated as a liability on the presidential campaign trail, but it's not at this year’s Oscars. The 83-year-old Hayao Miyazaki is the older director ever nominated for best animated film. Martin Scorsese, at 81, is the oldest best director nominee ever. The 78-year-old Wim Wenders and the 86-year-old Ridley Scott also have nominated films. We may be living in the golden age of the aged filmmaker. Filmmaking is a rough-and-tumble business that requires an army of collaborators and millions of dollars and can be a grueling endeavor. But more mature moviemakers may be working than ever before.

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The Oscars just got an infusion of Kenergy. Ryan Gosling will sing the pop power ballad “I’m Just Ken” at the show on March 10. The show's producers said Wednesday that others set to perform their nominated original songs include Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, Jon Batiste, Scott George and the Osage Singers and Becky G. Gosling is also nominated for best supporting actor.  The 96th Oscars will be broadcast live on ABC and in more than 200 territories worldwide from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 10 with the show beginning at 7 p.m. EDT.

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The estate of Donna Summer is suing rappers Ye and Ty Dolla $ign alleging they illegally used her 1977 song “I Feel Love” in their most recent collaboration. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court says that when representatives of Ye, formerly Kanye West, asked permission to use a sample of the Summer song, they were rejected because of his controversial public statements. The suit alleges that the defendants then “shamelessly” used a recreation of Summer's work on their song “Good (Don't Die),” which was released earlier this month. Representatives for Ye did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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A federal judge struck down a California law banning possession of club-like weapons, reversing his previous ruling from three years ago that upheld the prohibition on billy clubs, batons and similar blunt objects. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled last week that the prohibition violates the Second Amendment. The state said Monday that it will appeal. Weapons such as billy clubs have been outlawed in some form or other in California since at least 1917, with exceptions for law enforcement officers and some state-licensed security guards.

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A 23-year-old man convicted of fatally shooting two teenagers at a Southern California movie theater during a 2021 showing of “The Forever Purge” has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Joseph Jimenez was found guilty in December of two counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors said he shot 18-year-old Rylee Goodrich and 19-year-old Anthony Barajas in the back of the head. Goodrich died at the scene. Barajas, a budding social media star, died at a hospital. Jimenez initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but a judge later ruled him sane.

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Don Henley says he never gave away his handwritten pages of draft lyrics to “Hotel California” and other Eagles hits. Testifying Monday in a New York courtroom, the Eagles' singer and drummer called the pages “very personal. Henley's testimony at the criminal trial of three collectibles experts also delved into his unrelated 1980 arrest. The Grammy-winning Henley is prosecutors’ star witness. He says the handwritten lyrics-in-the-making were stolen decades ago from one of his Southern California properties. The defendants bought them years later through a writer who had worked with the Eagles. The defense maintains that Henley willingly gave them to the scribe.

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Vigils took place across the nation for Oklahoma teenager Nex Benedict, who died the day after a fight in a high school bathroom. Benedict was a nonbinary student who said they were the target of bullying. Vigils were held at locations including Boston, New York, Minneapolis and Huntington Beach, California over the weekend. Others were held or planned in several states including Washington, New Jersey, New York and Texas. The 16-year-old Benedict got into an altercation with three girls in an Owasso High School bathroom. Police say Benedict’s death was not a result of injuries suffered in the fight, based on preliminary autopsy results.

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Celine Song’s quiet romance “Past Lives” won two of the biggest awards at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Sunday afternoon. The honors included recognition for best feature and best director. Other big winners were Cord Jefferson’s comedic satire “American Fiction,” with Jeffrey Wright winning for lead performer; and Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers,” which won prizes for Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Dominic Sessa. The 39th edition of the show was held Sunday in a beachside tent in Santa Monica, California, and streamed live on IMDb and Film Independent’s YouTube channels and X accounts.

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“Oppenheimer” continued to steamroll through Hollywood’s awards season on Saturday, winning the top prize, for outstanding cast, along with awards for Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr., at the 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards. Lily Gladstone won for her leading performance in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Cillian Murphy won outstanding male actor in a leading role for his performance as J. Robert Oppenheimer, landing him his first SAG Award. Robert Downey Jr. and Da’Vine Joy Randolph each won for their supporting performances, solidifying their status as Oscar favorites. The ceremony streamed live on Netflix.

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Inside the ballroom at the 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards, “Oppenheimer” was front and center — literally and figuratively — snagging the night’s top prize along with awards for Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr. Ahead of this year’s Academy Awards, Christopher Nolan’s summer blockbuster increasingly looks like the run-away favorite. It was outshined on Saturday’s awards only by reflections on the longest SAG-AFTRA strike in history last year and the subsequent deal reached that ended it in November. There was a general sense of solidarity and gratitude toward their union from many in attendance, though some had less optimistic perspectives.

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The 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards are streaming live for the first time on Netflix. “Oppenheimer” has won the film ensemble award, solidifying its status as the Oscar frontrunner. Its star Cillian Murphy won male actor in a leading role, while Lily Gladstone won best female actor in a leading role. The show heaped several awards on “The Bear," naming its actors the best comedy ensemble and acting statuettes to Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri. Also among the early winners were Ali Wong and Steven Yeun for “Beef.” Pedro Pascal won best drama series actor for “The Last of Us.”

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Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board say a helicopter that was carrying the CEO of one of Nigeria’s largest banks and five others left a shallow crater when it crashed earlier this month in Southern California’s Mojave Desert. Debris was scattered across 100 yards. The agency released a preliminary investigation report on Friday. Access Bank CEO Herbert Wigwe died along with his wife and adult son. Also killed were two pilots and Bamofin Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former chair of the Nigerian stock exchange. The report details the path of the helicopter on that rainy night and the wreckage left behind. It did not address what might have caused the crash.

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A documentary about a Tunisian family and the radicalization of two teenage daughters who joined the Islamic State group is up for one of the most prestigious film awards in the world. “Four Daughters,” by filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania, is among the Academy Award nominees for best documentary feature. It's an intimate portrait of stormy family dynamics and reflections on loss and generational trauma. Off camera, the real-life nightmare is a shared experience among some other Tunisian families. They're living reminders of a complex legacy, unresolved issues and difficult questions persisting years later.

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Buses dropped off hundreds of migrants at a San Diego bus stop instead of at a reception center that had been serving as a staging area because it ran out of local funding sooner than expected. The releases Friday of people from as far away as Mauritania and China show how even the largest city on the country’s southern border is struggling to cope with migration flows. Migrant aid groups said they would be taken to another place to charge phones and use a bathroom. The vast majority planned to spend only a few hours in San Diego before heading elsewhere.

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A Southern California socialite has been found guilty of murder and other charges in the hit-and-run deaths of two young brothers in a crosswalk more than three years ago. A Los Angeles jury returned the verdict Friday. Authorities said Rebecca Grossman, wife of a prominent Los Angeles burn doctor, fatally struck 11-year-old Mark Iskander and his 8-year-old brother Jacob while speeding behind a car driven by then-lover Scott Erickson, a former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher. Prosecutors charged Grossman with two felony counts each of murder and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and one felony count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death. The deadly crash occurred on the evening of Sept. 29, 2020, in Westlake Village in western LA County.

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Police say seven farmworkers traveling in a van and the driver of a pickup truck were killed Friday in a head-on crash in a farming area in central California. California Highway Patrol Officer Javier Ruvalcaba says the crash at 6:15 a.m. left the van almost completely crumpled among blooming almond trees near the town of Madera, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) outside Fresno. Ruvalcaba says one farmworker seated in the rear of the van survived and was taken to a hospital. He is expected to recover. He says a witness told police the pickup truck was swerving in and out of its lane moments before it crashed against the van.

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Kayakers have been paddling in one of the driest places on Earth after a series of storms battered California’s Death Valley and replenished Lake Manly. In the past six months, Death Valley has received more than double its annual rainfall amount, recording more than 4.9 inches compared to a typical year that gets about 2 inches. An area once known as a top spot to photograph vast salt flats is now a lake. Park rangers say kayakers should come soon since water levels are expected to drop in a matter of weeks.

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A former auction house executive says the explanation he was given for the source of 13 pages of drafts of lyrics to the Eagles’ “Hotel California” raised red flags. Former Christie’s manuscripts chief Tom Lecky testified Friday at a New York criminal trial surrounding pages from the writing of one of classic rock's biggest hits. Lecky says he developed qualms in 2015 after the would-be seller said he got them from a writer who worked with the band on a never-published biography. Yet he acknowledged that after leaving Christie's, he asked the seller again about potentially marketing them. On trial are three collectibles professionals who had the pages at various points. They have pleaded not guilty to charges including conspiracy to criminally possess stolen property.

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Undergraduate student workers at California State University have voted to join a union to negotiate better pay, sick time, and other benefits with the university, creating the largest such union in the country. The California Public Employment Relations Board said 7,252 student workers submitted electronic ballots, with 7,050 voting in favor of joining the California State University Employees Union. The CSUEU already represents 16,000 university staff members. Student assistants say they are underpaid and unappreciated. Student workers get paid $16.25 an hour and are not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week.

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Two children were killed when a hillside collapsed along a Northern California river. The Shasta County Sheriff's Office says the two victims were caught in the debris and fell down the hillside Thursday morning near an off-highway vehicle recreational area downstream from Shasta Dam. The names of the juveniles were not immediately released. The sheriff's office says numerous first responders including the sheriff’s dive team rushed to the scene around 9 a.m. about 200 miles north of San Francisco. Dam operators temporarily reduced water releases from the dam, and both victims were found in the debris. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

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A federal judge in California will consider whether a former FBI informant charged with lying about a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden’s family must remain behind bars while he awaits trial. In Las Vegas earlier this week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts allowed Alexander Smirnov to be released from jail on electronic GPS monitoring. But U.S. District Judge Otis Wright II ordered Smirnov to be returned to custody after prosecutors asked Wright to reconsider the earlier ruling releasing him. Wright has set a hearing for Monday in Los Angeles on prosecutors’ request to keep Smirnov in jail.

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The legendary production designer Jack Fisk has for half a century been building some of the most indelible homes and structures of movies. He crafted the grand Victorian that peers down from above the wheat fields in Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven.” He erected the oil derrick of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood.” And he built Mollie Burkhardt's Osage home for Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.” “Killers of the Flower Moon" expands the wide swath of American ground, and history, that Fisk has covered. And it’s earned Fisk his third Oscar nomination, a capstone to a career crafting rough-hewn on-screen worlds with such fine-grained dimensionality that you feel as though you walked through them.

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The legendary production designer Jack Fisk has for half a century been building some of the most indelible homes and structures of movies. He crafted the grand Victorian that peers down from above the wheat fields in Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven.” He erected the oil derrick of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood.” And he built Mollie Burkhardt's Osage home for Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.” “Killers of the Flower Moon" expands the wide swath of American ground, and history, that Fisk has covered. And it’s earned Fisk his third Oscar nomination, a capstone to a career crafting rough-hewn on-screen worlds with such fine-grained dimensionality that you feel as though you walked through them.

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Authorities say two children have died after falling into a rushing river near a Northern California campground. Shasta County sheriff's officials say deputies responded around 9 a.m. Thursday following reports that the children were swept away near Shasta Dam. The sheriff's office says in a statement that rescue crews including a dive team searched the water and recovered the bodies later. It it is not clear how the children fell into the river about 175 miles north of Sacramento.

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Only four pandas remain in the United States. But many zoos around the globe still have the iconic black-and-white bears on loan from China. On Thursday, China announced it will be sending a pair of pandas to the San Diego Zoo. In the meantime, the only U.S. zoo with pandas is in Atlanta. Most pandas live in China. Visitors there can see them in various zoos. More than 1,800 are estimated to exist in the wild. Outside of China, the playful bundles of fur can be seen in person at zoos from Germany to Mexico.

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Authorities say a Minnesota man has pleaded not guilty to killing a 31-year-old woman who was beaten, bound and stuffed inside the refrigerator at her Los Angeles apartment. LA police said Wednesday that the 41-year-old suspect was taken into custody at his home in Minneapolis on an unrelated federal warrant. Officials didn’t say what led homicide detectives to him. The man was extradited to California to face charges in the slaying of Maleesa Mooney. The coroner said the body had blunt force injuries and the cause of death was determined to be “homicidal violence." Investigators have not disclosed a possible motive.

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A new study has concluded that former Hurricane Hilary was actually no longer a tropical storm but essentially had the same impact when its destructive remnants entered California last August. The report by the National Hurricane Center followed a routine post-cyclone analysis. Hurricane Hilary had moved north off Mexico’s Pacific coast and weakened to a tropical storm before making landfall in northern Baja California in Mexico, where it became less defined as it encountered mountainous terrain and other atmospheric conditions. The report says the storm lost tropical characteristics and degenerated to a post-tropical cyclone over northern Baja California before a new system absorbed its remnants and moved into the United States. Damage was estimated at $900 million in the U.S.

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The Eagles’ manager once told their authorized biographer that his book wasn’t getting published because of friction from “a pampered rock star." That's according to an apparently decades-old recording played Thursday at a New York trial involving handwritten, draft lyrics to the megahit “Hotel California” and other Eagles favorites. When Irving Azoff was asked who the “pampered rock star” was, Azoff said: “Probably all of them.” Biographer Ed Sanders, isn’t charged in the case, but he factors in it because he sold the pages to one of the defendants. Band co-founder Don Henley says the documents were stolen, saying Sanders obtained them from Henley’s home to research the book and was obligated to return them.

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Former talk show host Wendy Williams has been diagnosed with the same form of dementia that actor Bruce Willis has. A statement released on behalf of her caretakers Thursday says the 59-year-old's diagnoses of primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia “have already presented significant hurdles in Wendy’s life” and have behavioral and cognitive impacts. The announcement came a day after a cover story in People magazine quoted Williams’ family about the nature of her struggles, ahead of a Lifetime documentary set to air Saturday. A representative listed on the release referred questions back to the statement.