SKY HIGHER: Space Exploration Technologies Corp. launched a Falcon 9 rocket to deploy its first commercial communications satellite into an orbit high above Earth after lifting off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This latest SpaceX mission was designed to show Falcon’s reliability in placing large communications satellites into higher geosynchronous orbits. The Hawthorne company already has established a positive track record with NASA-sponsored cargo deliveries to and from the International Space Station, but those missions hadn’t gone beyond low-Earth orbit.

PUFF STUFF: City councils in Los Angeles and Long Beach voted to restrict sales and use of electronic cigarettes, also known as personal vaporizers or “vapes.” The proposed regulations would treat the battery-operated devices like regular tobacco-burning cigarettes. The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to have City Attorney Mike Feuer draw up an ordinance to prohibit e-cigarette sales to minors and ban their sale at kiosks and store displays directly accessible to customers. Another proposed ordinance would ban the use of electronic cigarettes in all places where tobacco use is banned, such as restaurants and public parks. The Long Beach City Council directed its city attorney to draft similar ordinances.

DIGITAL PARTNERSHIP: Walt Disney Co. announced a joint venture with Chinese new media firm BesTV New Media Co. The partnership is designed to help the Burbank entertainment giant increase its digital distribution in China. The partnership will operate digital businesses offering both Disney and BesTV services, products and content. The joint venture is 49 percent owned by Disney and 51 percent owned by Shanghai-based BesTV, which offers streaming TV and mobile entertainment for Asian consumers.

FORECAST: The latest UCLA Anderson Forecast says California is expected to continue on an uneven path to economic recovery, with the coastal regions experiencing healthier job growth while inland areas still struggle to recover. Using median home prices as one indicator, the forecast notes that prices in Los Angeles County in October were 23 percent under their peak during the real estate bubble, and only down 16 percent in Orange County. But the median was still down 38 percent from the peak in Riverside County and down 40 percent in San Bernardino County. The state’s unemployment rate, now at 8.7 percent, is expected to fall to 8.2 percent by the end of next year and to 7.3 percent by the end of 2015.

APPEAL WON: An appeals court in Belgium handed downtown Los Angeles nutritional supplement company Herbalife Ltd. a victory in its battle against charges it runs an unlawful pyramid scheme. Herbalife sells weight loss shakes, sports supplements and other products via a multilevel marketing distributor system that has often come under fire. A Belgian consumer group sued the company, accusing it of operating a pyramid scheme that defrauded distributors further down the distribution chain. Herbalife had appealed a lower-court ruling, successfully arguing that the judgment contained factual errors and was based on misinterpretations of its direct-selling method.

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