1. Who will Mexico soccer fans cheer if 'El Tri' is eliminated from the 2014 World Cup? (KPCC)
For the first time in more than 20 years, Mexico's national soccer team might not make it to next year's World Cup competition.
Fans are reeling from last week, when the U.S. team beat Mexico 2-0, making it a strong possibility that Mexico could be eliminated. If Mexico is your team and they don't qualify, will you cheer the U.S. team? Will you cheer for another team? Will you not watch at all? Take our poll.
2. SoCal politicos join forces with MPAA in blockbuster battle against online piracy (KPCC)
The head of the motion picture industry was on Capitol Hill Wednesday touting a new study that shows the role search engines play in directing online users to sites that post pirated movies and TV shows.
Lawmakers representing movie and TV workers want more cooperation from Google and other search engines. MPAA has been collecting data on how consumers find pirated movies and TV programs online.
3. What's a teacher coach? LA Unified just budgeted for 122 of them (KPCC)
The LAUSD board has approved a $113 million plan to jump-start the switch to new "Common Core" learning standards — a big chunk of which will go to hiring an army of teacher coaches.
In a 6-1 vote, the Board of Education approved 122 new teacher coaching positions — a plan that keeps training in-house by training coaches to train teachers. The coaches are likely to be pulled from the top of L.A. Unified's current teacher roster.
4. The IRS likes to collect, too: Beanie Babies creator to pay $53 million for tax evasion (NPR)
The man behind Beanie Babies, the toy animals that saw their heyday in the mid-90s, has agreed to plead guilty to tax evasion for failing to report income held in Swiss bank accounts.
H. Ty Warner, 69, has been charged in U.S. District Court with felony tax evasion. The indictment alleges that in 1996, Warner traveled to Zurich to open an account with Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) with the intent to "evade and defeat" taxes on $3.1 million in foreign income.
5. Russia will give UN 'proof' of Syria rebel chemical use (BBC)
Russia's top diplomat says he will give the U.N. Security Council evidence implicating Syrian rebels in an August 21 chemical attack near Damascus that killed hundreds.
A U.N. report released earlier this week claimed "indisputable" evidence that the nerve agent sarin was used. The U.S. blamed government forces for the attack; Russia says the rebels were responsible, and it called the report one-sided.
6. Navy Yard gunman's mom: 'I don't know why he did it' (KPCC)
With her voice shaking, the mother of Aaron Alexis read a brief statement from inside her New York home on Wednesday saying she does not know why her son opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 people, but is glad he can no longer hurt anyone else. She did not want to appear on camera and did not take questions.
Although his motive remains unknown, law enforcement officials and others have described the shooter as a paranoid man who heard voices and believed he was being followed.
7. Weapons unwelcome: Starbucks stirs guns debate (Wall Street Journal)
Starbucks Corp. has again poured itself into the national debate over guns, this time with an open letter by chief executive Howard Schultz asking customers to stop bringing firearms into the company's 11,000 coffee shops.
Not wanting to put employees in the position of confronting armed customers, the coffee behemoth stopped short of an outright ban.
8. Power player: Is Google becoming becoming an electric utility? (Quartz)
Google this week announced it would buy all the electricity generated by Happy Hereford — a 240-megawatt wind farm near Amarillo, Texas — with the goal of becoming a greener Google.
A transaction of "Google Energy," the company intends to deduct emissions from its carbon footprint by selling renewable power to an Oklahoma grid where one of its massive data centers is located.
9. Some county jail inmates headed to state fire camps (KPCC)
In an ongoing effort to decrease the county's jail population, officials this week approved a three-year, $27-million contract that would send hundreds of inmates to state firefighting camps.
The county jail population has been growing since the prison realignment program — designed to alleviate unconstitutional overcrowding levels — went into effect two years ago and shifted responsibility for incarcerating lower-level felons to California's counties.
10. La Cañada dogs are being fed poisoned meatballs (CBS LA)
A La Cañada Flintridge neighborhood is worried and warning others about the safety of their pets after a dog nearly died after ingesting a poison-laced meatball stuffed with pills that it found in the yard.
Residents located near a popular hiking trail said at least four dogs have been poisoned within the last eight years.