Southern California breaking news and trends

Who has a better chance of winning today: USC or UCLA?

Rose Bowl Renovation

Andres Aguila/KPCC

The Rose Bowl will host the UCLA - Houston game Saturday night.

The second-ranked USC Trojans travel north to battle the Stanford Cardinal this afternoon in what promises to be a excellent Pac-12 matchup. 

Meanwhile down in Pasadena Brett Hundley and his 22nd-ranked UCLA Bruins host the winless Houston Cougars at the Rose Bowl tonight.

Both USC and UCLA are undefeated in the young season and they each have something to prove.

Trojan quarterback Matt Barkley has never beaten Stanford and the Bruins would like to confirm that they deserve to be a ranked NCAA football team.

Las Vegas considers UCLA a 17-point favorite over Houston and USC is an 8-point favorite despite playing on the road.

So even though both teams are predicted to win, do you think they will?

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USC steps up safety as new semester starts

USC arraignment

Erika Aguilar/KPCC

Several USC students and alumni attend the arraignment hearing of two men charged with the murders of two USC Chinese graduate students.

It's moving week at USC, and as students flood into campus over the next few days, they'll be returning to a campus that's revamped security over the summer. 

In April, two graduate students from China were killed in what police described as a carjacking gone wrong. Ying Wu and Ming Qu were in a car about a mile west of campus when they were killed. 

Their deaths spurred safety concerns for USC students living off campus, particularly those living in the outskirts of the campus perimeter. USC is in a traditionally low-income area, with a higher than average crime rate for Los Angeles.

In addition, there were particular concerns that USC's population of international students — the largest in the country — may not be familiar with the dangers of living in a city. 

After the shootings, USC reexamined its safety plan and came up with new ideas. Over the summer, USC implemented the changes it promised in the spring, said USC Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Jackson. Specifically, the school will host safety workshops for students, started a new website specifically for students from abroad with information on housing and safety and partnered with the LAPD to increase patrols in the area.

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Student body builder: Dr. Schwarzenegger commandos new USC think tank

usc think tank arnold

Screenshot via YouTube

University of Southern California President C. L. Max Nikias and Arnold Schwarzenegger, 38th governor of California, announce the establishment of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy, which will be housed in the USC Price School of Public Policy.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will head the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy at the University of Southern California, it was announced Thursday.

Conan the Nonsectarian calls for the think tank to promote a "post-partisanship" political era, and details the priorities of the Institute in his official release as:

  • education
  • energy and environment
  • fiscal and economic policy
  • health and human wellness
  • political reform

    USC chose to bullet point the Institute's guiding principals in their announcement

    • Science and evidence must play an important role when finding solutions to policy and social issues.
    • Local solutions are often the best means to solve global problems.
    • Future leaders, including students and young people, must help shape the solutions for our future.

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    Men accused of killing USC students from China plead not guilty

    USC murder

    Rina Palta / KPCC

    USC student Julia Liu speaks with reporters outside L.A.'s downtown courthouse. Liu was a close friend of Ming Qu, who was shot to death April 11, 2012.

    Bryan Barnes and Javier Bolden both pled not guilty Wednesday in the April killings of Ming Qu and Ying Wu, University of Southern California graduate students from China.

    Qu and Wu were shot to death during a downpour, while sitting in Qu's double-parked car on the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue, about a mile from USC's main campus. Police have described the incident as a "botched robbery."

    Police say Barnes and Bolden have also been tied to two other shootings. They face one count each of attempted murder for allegedly shooting a 20-year-old man last December at a party in South L.A. Barnes is also facing additional charges for allegedly firing a semiautomatic weapon at a party, hitting a man and woman and severely injuring them.

    Wednesday in court, the two men, 19 and 20, smiled at people seated in the audience and were reprimanded by Judge Shelly Torrealba for not paying attention and talking with one another in a glassed-off area to the side of the courtroom. 

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    Suspects charged with murder in USC grad student killings [Full story coverage]

    Erika Aguilar/KPCC

    The reward sign for the USC murder case showed at the press conference announcing the arrest of suspects.

    The USC graduate students fatally shot less than a mile from campus were killed in what officials are calling a botched robbery. On Monday, two men -- 20-year-old Bryan Barnes and 19-year-old Javier Bolden -- were charged in the April 11 slayings of Ying Wu and Ming Qu. Both suspects face capital murder charges that could result in the death penalty. The victims, Chinese electrical engineering students, were shot as they sat inside of a vehicle in the West Adams neighborhood.

    Story coverage:

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