Southern California breaking news and trends

KPCC DIGEST AM (Sep. 19)—Chinese chicken, 'London Whale' fines, Globemaster trots out of Long Beach, is ride-sharing 'Uber' rogue?

1. JPMorgan hit with one of the largest fines ever levied against a financial institution (KPCC)

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will pay $920 million and admit wrongdoing in a settlement with U.S. and British regulators over the $6 billion "London Whale" trading loss last year that tarnished its reputation.

Regulators said Thursday that the largest U.S. bank failed to properly supervise traders in its London operation, allowing them to assign inflated values to trades and cover up losses as they ballooned. Two of the traders are facing criminal charges.

2. Death toll at 80 and likely to rise as storms slam Mexico (NPR)

Mud slides, flash floods and rising waters are proving to be a deadly combination in the mountains near Acapulco, Mexico, where dozens of people have died in recent days as a tropical storm-turned hurricane "Manuel" pummels the area. Dozens of other people are missing.

The storm nearing Mexico's coast early Thursday was expected to produce 75 mph winds and between up to 10 inches of rain over Sinaloa.

3. Battery plant powers down over dangerous lead emissions (KPCC)

Regulators have ordered the troubled Exide battery recycling facility in Vernon to cut production after an air monitor near the site found unusually high levels of lead in emissions coming from the plant.

The air monitor found that emissions from the plant at 2700 S. Indiana St. exceeded the 30-day standard for lead during the period ending Sept. 9.

4. California could be first state to regulate ride-sharing (KPCC)

Ride-sharing services like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar have quickly gained popularity in L.A. But for all their “hip” factor, they’ve also been rogue operators.

That could change Thursday, when California could become the first state to enact ride-sharing regulations. It could be a quick change of fate. The city’s taxi commissioner recently issued terse cease-desist letters, but companies did not comply, and a pro-tech and pro ride-sharing mayor came into office.

5. 4 new species of legless lizards found in California (KPCC)

Scientists in California have discovered four new and separate species of legless lizards — snakelike animals that burrow into sand or soil. Scientists previously believed there was only one species of legless lizard in the American West.

The University of California, Berkeley says the discovery was made by its reptile and amphibian expert Theodore Papenfuss, along with James Parham of California State University, Fullerton.

6. Boeing to end Long Beach's C-17 airlifter production in 2015 (KPCC)

Boeing says it will end production of its big C-17 Globemaster III military cargo jets and close the airlifter's final assembly plant in Long Beach in 2015 that employees 3,000 people.

The Chicago-headquartered aerospace giant said Wednesday it will build the final 22 C-17s in the interim.

7. What the cluck? USDA approves US chicken processing in China (KPCC)

American chickens could soon be getting a roundtrip ticket to Asia — the USDA recently approved four Chinese poultry plants to process U.S. chickens. That means chicken carcasses could be sent to China, processed and then shipped back here for consumers.

More bureaucratic steps are required. Politico's Senior Agriculture reporter Bill Tomson says it’s not clear whether this is even feasible, but China asked to be able to do it.

8. Shifty "sell-by" dates are contributing to consumer waste (KPCC)

A new report on food safety and waste is calling for confusing "sell-by" dates to be tossed. Food policy scientists from Harvard and the Natural Resources Defense Council found a mish-mash of rules governing "use-by," "best-buy" and "sell-by" dates on perishables.

According to a 2011 survey by the Food Marketers Institute, 91 percent of consumers said they occasionally discard food past its sell-by date, and 25 percent said they always discard such food.

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