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Southern California breaking news and trends

7 things to know before lunch—Egypt, Watts, Wal-Mart, Silver Lake, and a story about fruit flies that's so much grosser than you think

Photo by huppypie via Flickr Creative Commons

1. Obama cancels US-Egyptian military exercise (KPCC)

President Barack Obama has scrapped joint U.S.-Egypt military exercises scheduled for next month, saying American cooperation with the Egyptian government cannot continue when civilians are being killed in the streets. He directed his national security team to see what additional steps the U.S. might take going forward.

It was Obama's first statement on the rapidly deteriorating situation in Egypt, where spiraling violence has left more than 500 people dead in clashes between the military-backed interim government and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

2. Work begins on new DTLA federal courthouse... but what about the old one? (KPCC Blogdowntown)

Officials broke ground last week on a new federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles that will eventually fill a long-vacant lot on 1st and Broadway with a 600,000 square-foot building.

The new home of the U.S. District Court will be designed to use more solar heat and let in more natural light. It will also house several government agencies that serve the Central District of California, including the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Attorneys' Office and the Federal Public Defender.

3. Because no one wants a maggot-filled mango (KPCC)

State officials have declared a fruit fly quarantine in a 130-mile zone of Orange and Los Angeles counties. Trained workers will treat areas with pesticide, which attracts and kills male flies. Department spokesman Jay Van Rein tells KPCC the pesticides do not harm humans or pets.

The fruit fly is known to target more than 230 types of fruit, vegetables and plants. The female fruit fly lays eggs inside fruits and vegetables, and maggots eat their way out, making them unfit for consumption.

4. The $1 billion Watts revitalization project (KPCC)

The city is one step closer to revitalizing a notorious Watts housing project with shops, town homes and green spaces. 

Los Angeles city officials voted unanimously Wednesday on land use and planning laws, that took four years to draft, and clear the way for a $1 billion transformation of one of L.A.'s most poverty-stricken and violence-ridden areas located near the derelict Jordan Downs housing development that was built in the 1940s and 50s.

5. Fewest first-time unemployment filings since 2007 (NPR)

There were 320,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance filed last week, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

Not only is that 15,000 fewer than had been filed the week before, it's also the lowest number for any single week since before the U.S. economy officially slipped into its most recent recession, in December 2007.

6. Chinatown Wal-Mart opens this month (KPCC)

After defeating numerous challenges by activists who opposed the project, a Wal-Mart grocery store will open on the edge of downtown L.A.’s Chinatown this month.

The 33,000-square-foot store will sell groceries and household supplies. It is one of Wal-Mart's Neighborhood Market stores, which do not sell items like electronics or clothing.

7. Silver Lake may be too hip for your trip; considers 'Airbnb' ban (KPCC)

The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council met this week to take up a proposal that would ban short-term rentals like those conducted through popular site Airbnb.

The council's Urban Design & Preservation Advisor Committee proposal, if approved by the full neighborhood council, would lead to a recommendation to the City Council to prohibit this type of short-term rental in Silver Lake.

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