Carrie Kahn

In the U.S., farmers and farm workers alike say the current system to import temporary workers, especially in agriculture, is slow and fraught with abuses.

But the shape of a new guest-worker program is still being hashed out. Some say the U.S. should import temporary workers the same way Canada does. For nearly four decades, the governments of Canada and Mexico have cooperated to fill agriculture jobs that Canadian citizens won't do, and that Mexicans are clamoring to get.

In Mexico, a country plagued by drug cartel violence, the mayor of the capital city is offering residents cash, new bikes and computers in exchange for their guns. He says the buyback program will get dangerous weapons out of the hands of residents and make the streets safer.

But not all mayors in Mexico — where it's extremely difficult to legally buy a gun — are rushing to replicate the program. In fact, in cities overrun by drug traffickers, some say law-abiding citizens should be able to have them for protection.

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It has been a busy year in Mexico's war on drugs. The administration of former President Felipe Calderon struck major blows to the country's largest cartels, slowing the violence that has claimed more than 50,000 lives.

The Mayan people of Mexico and Central America received quite a bit of attention this month thanks to a misinterpretation of their calendar. Word spread all over the globe that the ancient culture had predicted the world would end on Dec. 21.

The news attracted tens of thousands of tourists, who flocked to Mayan sites to await the prophecy. Since the world didn't end, the tourists went home. And now the modern-day Mayas go on with their lives marked by high rates of poverty and dependent on migration.

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And I'm Robert Siegel. They're calling it Mission 26. After 25 trips in orbit, Space Shuttle Endeavour is making its final journey, this one through the streets of Los Angeles. For the next two days, the shuttle will be towed from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center in downtown L.A. where it will become a museum piece. NPR's Carrie Kahn caught up with Endeavour along its route today.

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The Los Angeles County sheriff says his jails are changing and inmate safety is dramatically improving. Sheriff Lee Baca was responding to a scathing report released last week by a blue ribbon committee. It found a pattern of excessive force by deputies against inmates at the nation's largest jail system. The committee stopped short of calling for the sheriff's resignation, but concluded that the root of the violence was his failed leadership. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

Los Angeles County's sheriff is under fire. A blue-ribbon commission issued a scathing report Friday accusing Sheriff Lee Baca of failing to address long-standing allegations of inmate abuse in his jails. The accusations include deputies beating inmates, cover-ups and a persistent culture of violence.

The sheriff has been able to weather many storms during his 14-year tenure, but this may be the toughest fight of his political career.

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And I'm Robert Siegel. The man who runs the largest jail system in the country is facing fresh criticism today. A scathing report written by former federal prosecutors and judges, slams Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca and his department. It says the sheriff turned a blind eye to years of violence and abuse in L.A. County jails. NPR's Carrie Kahn has our story.

There is a new crisis in Mexico. It's not the ongoing drug war or a plunge in the peso: It's eggs.

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So we've heard the film clips. A bigger question is who is really producing that film. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: The movie was shot in Los Angeles County sometime last August, under the name "Desert Warriors." It's full of choppy dialogue, bad acting and scenes of a buffoonish Muhammad.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE INNOCENCE OF MUSLIMS")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And this shall be the first Muslim animal. His name is Yafour. No, Yafour does not like the women.

The small Southern California city of San Fernando is facing a seven-figure fiscal crisis. But the town has been unable to address its money issues because the romantic entanglements of the city leaders are dominating the agenda.

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We've been hearing, in recent days, about the city of Anaheim here in Southern California. Violent protests shook that city following police shootings of two Latino men. Tensions there remain high, and tonight the city council will hold a special meeting to hear residents' concerns. But as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, some community members say their complaints have long been ignored in what they say is a city that cares more about Anaheim's big businesses than about them.

Authorities in Aurora, Colo., on Saturday cleared scores of explosive devices from the apartment of the man suspected of killing 12 people and injuring more than 50 at a local movie theater.

Experts spent hours dismantling the labyrinth of trip wires and incendiary devices that filled the home of the suspect, 24-year-old James Holmes.

Yellow police tape stretched for blocks surrounding the apartment complex where Holmes lived. Ambulances, fire engines and police cars filled parking lots and streets.

Police are still not saying what motivated the gunman who walked into a crowded Aurora, Colo., movie theater, shot 12 people dead and injured more than 50. The shooter was well-armed and believed to have acted alone.

Police immediately apprehended the suspect, identified as 24-year-old James Holmes, outside the multiplex. Until recently, Holmes was a student in a graduate program at the University of Colorado, Denver.

The Gunman's Entrance

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In Mexico, the party that ruled for more than 70 years is claiming victory in the presidential election. According to preliminary results, the PRI, or PRI candidate, Enrique Pena Nieto, won the most votes, but the apparent runner-up is refusing to concede. NPR's Carrie Kahn has more on this from Mexico City.

As Mexicans prepare to elect a new president Sunday, the clear front-runner is Enrique Pena Nieto, who is seeking to return his PRI party to power after 12 years.

The PRI, or Institutional Revolutionary Party, ruled Mexico for more than 70 years before being ousted in 2000. Most polls show Pena Nieto with a comfortable double-digit lead in the race.

With just two days left before Mexicans elect a new president, polls show that the candidate of the former ruling party is poised to win the race by a wide margin. But there are those who don't want to see a return of the PRI, which ruled Mexico for more than 70 years until 2000 with a mix of corruption and cronyism. They say their best hope is leftist PRD party candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Mexicans go to the polls July 1 to choose their next president, and polls show that voters seem inclined to embrace the past. The center-left Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled the country for more than seven decades before being ousted 12 years ago, holds a solid lead.

But Mexico's young are making their voices heard: Some fear a return of authoritarian rule; others simply want jobs.

Making Noise

Say the word Tijuana, and many people automatically think of a city riddled with drug violence. But native son Javier Plascencia is hoping to change all that by cooking up high-quality cuisine that focuses on the region's diverse ingredients.

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The Stanley Cup finals start tonight, between the New Jersey Devils and the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings have only made it to the finals once before in their 45-year history. And so here in a town that lives for the Lakers and Dodgers, hockey fans are relishing their moment. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Some two dozen Americans have given $1 million or more to superPACs in the 2012 presidential campaign. The vast majority of them have been Republicans, but one movie mogul has chipped in $2 million to help out the superPAC supporting President Obama.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, the head of DreamWorks Animation studios, was also the co-host of Obama's sellout event Thursday night at the home of actor George Clooney. Katzenberg told the crowd the event raised nearly $15 million, which would make it the most profitable presidential fundraiser ever.

Two police officers in the Southern California town of Fullerton have been ordered to stand trial for the death of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man.

Thomas died in July 2011 from injuries sustained during a violent arrest by six Fullerton officers.

The night of the arrest, Fullerton police officer Manual Ramos approached Thomas, then 37, while responding to a call that someone had been peering into cars at the town's bus depot.

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It has been 20 years since four police officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King, and L.A. erupted in race-fueled riots. Many in Los Angeles, including students who weren't born when the riots hit in April 1992, are reflecting on those days of anger, looting and destruction, asking why it happened and how to make sure it doesn't happen again.

It's been 20 years since Los Angeles erupted in riots following the acquittal of four white police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King. There have been many changes in the city since those days of fire, looting and public discord, but perhaps the biggest changes can be seen in L.A.'s police department.

On a drive around the heart of South Central L.A., there are still plenty of weed-filled lots where businesses that burned down in the riots used to stand. There's also still a lot of crime.

If he's not at one of his 16 restaurants in New York, Las Vegas or Los Angeles, Mario Batali is easily found on TV these days.

One day he's making meatloaf with his co-host on the new daytime show The Chew. The next he's having a friendly cook-off with a rival celebrity chef on Good Morning America. Or traipsing through Europe for PBS, sporting his reddish ponytail, baggy shorts and not-so-fashionable clogs with celeb food enthusiast Gwyneth Paltrow.

A group of weight-loss clinics in Southern California is under fire for an aggressive advertising campaign and the death of five patients.

The 1-800-GET-THIN marketing campaign and its affiliated surgical centers are being investigated by local, state and federal agencies, including Congress.

President Obama is on a campaign swing through the West this week, making stops in California, Nevada and Colorado — all states where Hispanic voters will play a pivotal role in next year's election.

Obama has lost popularity with Latinos recently, mostly due to the economy. But Hispanic voters looking for alternatives find problems with the Republican slate as well.

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain recently said he'd "electrify" the U.S.-Mexico border fence "with a sign on it on the other side that says it can kill you."

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