Pellicano Sought Prison 'Hit,' U.S. Alleges

Federal prosecutors alleged Monday that Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano recently conspired with known mobsters in Chicago to put a prison "hit" on the man he allegedly hired to threaten a Los Angeles Times reporter, the Times reported. The hit, according to court papers, was allegedly aimed at Alexander Proctor, an ex-convict who was arrested for placing a dead fish with a rose in its mouth and a sign that said "Stop" on the windshield of reporter Anita Busch's car in the summer of 2002. In their court papers Monday, prosecutors said the alleged threat against Proctor is now the focus of a federal investigation that might result in additional criminal charges.


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Sony to Sell PlayStation 3 for $499
Sony said on Monday that it planned to sell the base model of its PlayStation 3 video game console for $499, the New York Times reported, a price that industry analysts said could put it at a competitive disadvantage to rival Microsoft and its Xbox 360. Sony said that it also planned to sell a higher-priced model with a larger hard drive for $599. The console will be released on Nov. 11 in Japan and Nov. 17 in United States and Europe, Sony executives said. It will cost about $536 in Japan and $636 in Europe.


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Valencia Theme Park Gets Thrill for Birthday
Though visitors see few traces of Six Flags California's Magic Mountain's 35th anniversary - it's eclipsed by parent Six Flags Inc.'s 45th birthday celebration - the air still buzzed as screaming patrons zipped though any of its 16 white-knuckle coasters. Magic Mountain's 17th roller coaster - Tatsu - underwent state safety inspections Monday, and is scheduled to open Saturday, the Los Angeles Daily News reported. Roughly 3 million visit the park each year, and it's one of the region's largest employers with more than 3,800 workers - most of them seasonal. This year, under Six Flag Inc.'s new chief executive Robert Shapiro, the park is reinventing itself again into a more family-centered theme park. Besides Tatsu, it is staging daily parades and performances for those who feel a coaster's rightful place is under a cold drink.


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Insurance Chief Claims 'blackmail'
Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi said Monday he wants the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office and state Attorney General Bill Lockyer to investigate what he called an insurance industry attempt to extort and blackmail him as he campaigns for lieutenant governor, the Sacramento Bee reported. Garamendi said Darry Sragow, a Los Angeles attorney and longtime Democratic political consultant, warned him last month that insurers would launch a $2 million negative advertising campaign against him if he did not drop or delay plans to adopt new regulations for auto insurance policies this year. A spokesman for an insurance-industry funded coalition that is fighting the new auto insurance regulations with an advertising campaign unveiled Monday, said the allegations were silly.


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Union Putting its Case to Client Cities of the MWD
Frustrated with contract disputes over health-care plans and job transfer guidelines, the union representing 1,600 Metropolitan Water District employees is appealing to local cities to pressure the district into approving a new labor agreement, the Daily Breeze reported. Union leaders have said the engineers, microbiologists, maintenance workers and others who maintain the region's vast water system are "close to declaring their first-ever strike" if an agreement is not reached soon.


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