Southern California breaking news and trends

Helicopter collision kills seven Marines, six were from Camp Pendleton

Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra

Photo by United States Marine Corps Official Page via Flickr Creative Commons

Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra

The Marine Corps announced Thursday that six of the seven Marines killed in last night's midair helicopter collision near Yuma, Arizona, were from Camp Pendleton. Both helicopters were from also from the San Diego base.

The exact location of the crash has not been identified, but it is believed to have occurred on the California side of the Yuma Training Range Complex, according to the L.A. Times.

Situated near the Chocolate Mountains, the training area offers helicopter crews a terrain and temperature similar to what they might experience in Afganistan. Officials said the seven were training for possible deployment.

Names of the deceased and squadron information will not be released for at least 24 hours per standard Marine policy. The attack helicopters involved in the crash were identified as a AH-1W Super Cobra and a UH-1Y Super Huey and were part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, whose headquarters is at the Miramar Marine Corps Base.

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Bringing 'sexpot' back: What's wrong with these female journalists' Twitter pics?

L.A. Times journalist Maeve Reston

Political/journalism gossip site FishbowlDC called out several female journalists covering the 2012 campaign in a piece today, including the Los Angeles Times' Maeve Reston, arguing that there's a trend among these lady journos of using "provocative, sometimes sexy" photos as their Twitter avatars. Twitter users' reaction? This word "provocative" doesn't mean what you think it means.

FishbowlDC interviewed media training expert Brad Phillips, who didn't see much of a problem with the photos, saying they didn't seem overly "sexually suggestive." However, he added, "News organizations will have to decide whether having star reporters making silly faces on camera, posing artistically, or wearing skin-bearing dresses is congruent with their brand image." Doesn't that just describe, um, everyone's Twitter/Facebook/etc. profile picture? Phillips said, though, that this kind of image can work with younger, hipper news organizations.

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Feds cut off international rhino horn smuggling ring

Black Rhinoceros

Photo by Arno Meintjes via Flickr Creative Commons

20 rhino horns, diamonds, Rolex watches, approximately $1 million in cash, and $1 million in gold bars were seized from suspected smugglers last weekend when more than 150 federal agents led raids across several states in a coordinated effort to interrupt an international ring trafficking in sawed-off rhinoceros horns.

Deputy chief of law enforcement for the wildlife service, Edward Grace, said the arrests and seizures followed an 18-month investigation by federal wildlife agents. 

Three of the alleged smugglers caught in Southern California were 49-year-old Jimmy Kha, his 41-year-old girlfriend Mai Nguyen, and Kha's 26-year-old son Felix, the L.A. Times reports. The suspects -- arrested last week at Los Angeles International Airport -- face four counts each of rhino horn trafficking in violation of federal laws protecting rare and endangered species. 

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3 more arrests: Teachers, coaches suspected of sex and lewd acts with students

locked fence park

Photo by Bogdan Migulski via Flickr Creative Commons

A female Los Angeles Unified School District teacher was arrested Wednesday for alleged sex with students. 42-year-old Montebello resident Gabriela Cortez was arrested on suspicion of two felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor after two male students said they had sex with her, KTTV-TV first reported.

According to Montebello police, an 18-year-old male told authorities last week that he and Cortez had a sexual relationship when he was a student in her Spanish class at Roosevelt High School. Another boy said he had sex with Cortez at her home in Montebello. Cortez has been suspended.

A LAUSD athletic assistant at John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley was also arrested Wednesday. 

27-year-old Jose Rosario Alvarez is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl who is a student of a different school in the district, say Los Angeles police. The relationship was reportedly discovered by the department's Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.

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