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KSBR News Briefs on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018


Delta jetliner makes emergency safe return to Los Angeles

A Delta Air Lines passenger jet returned safely to Los Angeles International Airport yesterday after developing a hydraulic problem shortly after takeoff.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says Flight 1594 to Detroit reported a "flight control issue" involving a hydraulic issue.

Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey says the problem was reported about 12 minutes after takeoff and the Boeing 757-200 turned around and landed safety shortly before 2:30 in the afternoon. Firefighters noticed a little smoke coming from the left landing gear and sprayed it with water to cool it down.

They also saw some hydraulic fluid on the ground.

The plane's 125 passengers and six crew members weren't injured.


LA Times CEO under investigation after report on impropriety

The parent company of the Los Angeles Times is investigating allegations of inappropriate behavior by the newspaper's CEO and publisher Ross Levinsohn. The company, Tronc, began the investigation yesterday, after a National Public Radio story detailed two sexual harassment lawsuits that named Levinsohn while he worked at Alta Vista and News Corp, as well as complaints from employees who said he fostered a fraternity-like atmosphere.

A company statement said "We are immediately launching an investigation so that we have a better understanding of what's occurred." "At Tronc, we expect all employees to act in a way that supports a culture of diversity and inclusion. We will take appropriate action to address any behavior that falls short of these expectations."

Levinsohn, who was given the job in August, hasn’t been suspended.

He didn’t comment to NPR for its story but the network said Levinsohn called NPR CEO Jarl Mohn on Wednesday and said the allegations against him are lies. He declined comment to The Associated Press.


UCLA fraternities ban alcohol at frat house events

UCLA fraternities have banned alcohol at frat house events indefinitely in the wake of an alleged sexual assault.

Leaders of the UCLA Interfraternity Council, representing 22 Bruin fraternities, passed a rule yesterday, banning events involving booze that take place in fraternity chapter facilities.

A council statement said the ban aims to provide "an environment where UCLA's True Bruin Values are upheld" and ensure the "safety and well-being of those present" at fraternity activities. UCLA called the self-imposed ban "a step in the right direction."

The council statement didn’t indicate whether the move was linked to any specific event but it follows the Sunday arrest of a former fraternity president on suspicion of assault with intent to commit rape and oral copulation.

Campus police say 21-year-old Benjamin Orr was arrested on Sunday after a woman reported that she was sexually assaulted at an off-campus party.

Orr is free on $100,000 bond.

Orr was 2016-2017 president of the Theta Delta Chi fraternity.


Hospital groups creating company to make cheap generic drugs

Several major not-for-profit hospital groups are trying their own solution to drug shortages and high prices: creating a company to make cheaper generic drugs.

The plan, announced yesterday, follows years of shortages of generic injected medicines that are the workhorses of hospitals, along with some huge price increases for once-cheap generic drugs. Those problems drive up costs for hospitals, require staff time to find scarce drugs or devise alternatives, and sometimes mean patients don't get the best choice.

The not-for-profit drug company initially will be backed by four hospital groups — Intermountain Health, Ascension and two Catholic health systems, Trinity Health and SSM Health — plus the VA health system.

Together, the five groups include more than 450 hospitals, nearly one-tenth of U.S. hospitals. They also run numerous clinics, nursing homes, doctors' offices and other medical facilities, along with hospice and home care programs and an insurance plan. More health systems are expected to join soon.

The goal is to counter the consolidation of generic drug makers that's caused shortages for more than a decade and allowed some companies to raise prices many times over. Those include antibiotics, morphine, heart drugs and others.



The Internal Revenue Service will begin processing tax forms on January 29.

Ahead of that date, the IRS wants to warn you about scammers who will try to get you to provide intrusive information like your Social Security number, bank information and passwords.

IRS spokesman Raphael Tulino says the IRS will never make threatening calls demanding immediate payment or risk getting arrested. It generally sends a letter in the mail.

He says if you see suspicious email that appears to be coming from the IRS, delete it. Or you may forward the email to the IRS at www.phishing@irs.gov.


Good dog, bad dog ... Delta wants to know before you board

Delta Air Lines says for safety reasons it will require owners to provide more information before their animal can fly in the passenger cabin, including assurance that it's trained to behave itself.

The airline says complaints about animals biting or peeing and pooping have nearly doubled since 2016.

Starting March 1, Delta will require owners to show proof of their animal's health or vaccinations at least 48 hours before a flight.

Owners of psychiatric service animals and so-called emotional-support animals will need to sign a statement vouching that their animal can behave. But owners will be on the honor system — they won't have to show, for example, that their dog graduated from obedience school.

Delta's policy change arrives with the number of animals in the cabin increasing.

The airline's senior vice president of safety and security John Laughter, says there are insufficient rules in place to screen animals for health and behavior issues. He said Delta sought a balance "that supports those customers with a legitimate need for these animals" while maintaining safety.

Delta's new rules are aimed at two categories: service animals, which receive specific training to help blind or disabled passengers; and so-called emotional-support animals, which require no training at all. Both fly for free and aren’t required to be caged during the flight.