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Crime & Justice

Killer of Chinese USC grad student sentenced to life without parole

Andrew Garcia, 21. was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole for beating to death of a USC graduate student from China. Four people attacked 24-year-old Xinran Ji, using a baseball bat and wrench, as he walked home after a late-night study session in 2014. Ji managed to get to his apartment, where a roommate found him dead hours later.

Arts & Entertainment

Fans go ham with Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Pantages

Fans of the Broadway musical "Hamilton" enjoyed a performance Wednesday from the show's creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda led a free #Ham4Ham live performance outside the Pantages Theatre coinciding with the show's opening and daily ticket lottery. Miranda and members of the company performed a medley of California-themed songs. See the video.

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Local

Hollywood Forever Cemetery removes Confederate monument

In the aftermath of the violent Charlottesville protests, Hollywood Forever Cemetery has decided to remove a 6-foot-tall Confederate monument. The monument, which has stood since 1925 and will now be put into storage, honors 30 Confederate soldiers and their families who moved to Southern California after the Civil War. It was removed at 4 a.m., according to NBC 4.

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LAUSD

LAUSD's days of drastic anti-overcrowding measures are over

The last of 131 new schools meant to relieve overcrowding in LAUSD finally opened Tuesday, allowing another LAUSD school to drop its year-round calendar. The irony, though, is that the building spree meant to accommodate massive overcrowding has come to an end during a period of precipitous enrollment decline in the district.

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Local

Metro tests new screening system at Union Station

Metro is testing a new passenger screening system Wednesday at Union Station. Passengers can see it near the Alameda Street entrance to the Red Line from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and can volunteer to go through it, but no one is required to. The system scans riders for firearms, explosives and other threats. It also includes a facial recognition component.

Politics

Trump says it anew: Blame 'on both sides' of Charlottesville violence

In a stunning reversal from comments he made just one day prior, President Trump said Tuesday "there's blame on both sides" for the violence in Charlottesville. After the press conference, former KKK grand wizard David Duke thanked the president on Twitter for his "honesty and courage" and for being willing to "condemn" Black Lives Matter and anti-fascists.

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Education

Community colleges tracking down alumni for fundraising

SoCal community colleges are starting alumni organizations that campus leaders say will help raise money for student scholarships. They're also using the star power of notable graduates to connect students to their two-year alma maters. The state’s community college office runs a banner that says writer Amy Tan attended San Jose City College, for example.

Crime & Justice

LA Police Commission says fatal shooting of Carnell Snell justified

Despite protests by Black Lives Matter activists that led to three arrests and tearful pleas for justice, the L.A. Police Commission ruled that last summer's fatal shooting of 18-year-old Carnell Snell, Jr. was justified. Surveillance video showed Snell running with a gun. His family and protestors don't believe the police account stating that Snell turned towards them before they opened fire.

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Business & Economy

What Californians should watch for as NAFTA talks begin

Representatives from the U.S., Mexico and Canada are meeting in D.C. on Wednesday for the first round of NAFTA renegotiation talks. The agreement, which went into effect in 1994, eliminates most tariffs on trade between between the three countries. Here's how those talks could affect California's e-commerce, manufacturing and agriculture sectors.

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SoCal, What's Good?

Galco's Soda Pop Stop

What it is:
Lovers of saccharine, strange or scarce beverages will have a hard time making a selection at Galco's. Well, anyone would struggle to choose from more than 700 types of obscure sodas lining the shelves of this shop. Don't let the variety scare you – owner John Nese will be your guide.
Why it's cool:
Galco's only carries sodas you'd never dream of looking for. Nese's slogan: "If you can find it [elsewhere], we don't carry it."
You should know:
The shop also has retro candy, beers and wines and other unusual treats. Park in the lot outside the shop and treat yourself to some sugar!