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Jet Propulsion Laboratory anticipating major cuts in NASA budget

Workers put final touches to the two new Mars exploration rovers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2003.
David McNew/Getty Images

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada is preparing for bad news during an announcement about NASA's budget. The lab is anticipating major cuts, the Pasadena Star-News reports

The space agency's 2013 budget and planetary exploration operations are expected to take a hit.

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff of Pasadena says he had a tense meeting with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Thursday. Though he's vowing to fight the cuts, Schiff says planetary science and the Mars program are expected to face "absolutely devastating" cuts. And Schiff says if joint missions with the European Space Agency are scrapped, JPL will likely be deeply affected.

JPL spokeswoman Veronica McGregor says the company has already laid off about 240 employees between 2010 and 2011 because of previous budget cuts.



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15-year-old jumps to death on high school campus in apparent suicide

Screenshot: Crescenta Valley High School via Google Maps

The death of a 15-year-old male student at Crescenta Valley High School on Friday is thought to be a suicide, Los Angeles sheriff's officials said at a news conference. 

The student reportedly got a running start before leaping from the ledge of a building in the central quad area of campus. Other students converged on the scene before being evacuated to an athletic field where they waited to be picked up, noted Glendale News-Press.

A statement was posted on the Glendale Unified school district's website with a message from Supt. Sheehan expressing condolences and support.



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Tesla Model X charges ahead at L.A. debut

Tesla Worldwide Debut of Model X on February 9, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
Jordan Strauss/Getty Images for Tesla

Tesla Model X is coming. In 2014. With falcon wing doors!

The electric vehicle factory in Fremont, California currently assembling Tesla Motors' Model S, will soon shift gears (wink) to include construction of an all-wheel-drive, seven-passenger crossover utility vehicle.

The mean, clean, green machine recently rolled onto the red carpet for a celebrity-charged press unveiling that included a cameo by California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Company CEO Elon Musk says the Model X out-paces minivans and SUVs in style and functionality, and out-drives the Porsche 911 Carrera in performance (the public will have to take Musk's word on the last claim for now as only one prototype exists). 

Factoring in the $7,500 federal tax credit, prospective buyers can expect an opening price of $49,900 that hits $97,900 in 6.6 seconds, depending on options.


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Madonna stalker recaptured after L.A. hospital escape

Madonna's performance at the 2012 Super Bowl half time show. (c/o Beacon Radio)

Madonna stalker, Robert Dewey Hoskins, was recaptured by police on Friday one week after disappearing from a Los Angeles psychiatric hospital.

The 54-year-old was found near the Metropolitan State Hospital and returned to the unit where he had been since last July, the BBC is reporting.

Hoskins, described as having "highly psychotic" and violent tendencies, was convicted of stalking and threatening Madonna, and sentenced to jail for 10 years in 1996. He also threatened her then-secretary Caresse Henry, saying he could "slice her throat from ear to ear" and kill everybody in the house if she didn't let him see Madonna.

Madonna testified during Hoskins' 1996 trial that she had nightmares after seeing him near her home. He was initially captured when he scaled the wall of the performer's home in the Hollywood Hills and jumped into her pool. He was shot twice by a guard.


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Marine fatally shot by deputy had daughters in the car

Screenshot of San Clemente High School via Google Maps

Circumstances are still largely unexplained in the fatal shooting early Tuesday of Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr. by an OC sheriff's deputy in a parking lot of San Clemente High School. 

A decorated Marine who managed inbound and outbound cargo at Camp Pendleton, Loggins was known to be a religious man who would take morning "prayer walks" at the track with his daughters. 

Both girls, age 9 and 14, were sitting nearby in the family's SUV at the time of the shooting, notes the L.A. Times.

Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said a deputy doing paperwork in his patrol car pulled up behind the SUV after the Marine crashed his vehicle through a school parking lot gate around 4:30 a.m. 

Loggins reportedly exited the SUV and initially ignored orders to stop as he headed toward the athletic field. When he did turn around and head back to the vehicle, the deputy felt threatened and opened fire, said the spokesman.


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