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POSTED February 27, 2012 7:48 p.m.

CALIFORNIA SEEKS SUSPENSION OF FORECLOSURES: WASHINGTON (AP) — California officials have asked the federal government to suspend foreclosures in the state and consider reducing mortgages for those at-risk homeowners who have loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris made the request in a letter sent Friday to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie.

Since 2008, more than 500,000 Californians have lost their homes to foreclosure, more than any other state in the country. Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee more than 60 percent of California mortgages.

A $25 billion settlement with the nation's top mortgage lenders announced earlier this month requires the banks to reduce loans for about 1 million households that are at risk of foreclosure. But those don't include mortgages back by Fannie or Freddie.

Fannie and Freddie buy mortgage loans from primary lenders, pool them, and sell them with a guarantee that investors will be paid even if borrowers default. The agencies have helped people buy homes at affordable interest rates.

JUDGE: VIDEO OF BRUISED MIRKARIMI WIFE OK AT TRIAL:SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A judge says a video of the San Francisco sheriff's wife showing a bruise on her arm and describing alleged domestic violence at the hands of her husband can be used as evidence at his trial.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong ruled Monday that the video of a tearful Eliana Lopez fell under an exception in the law that generally bars hearsay.

The San Francisco Examiner reported that the ruling was a victory for prosecutors, since Lopez may not agree to testify against her husband, former San Francisco supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

Defense attorneys said they were disappointed in the ruling. Mirkarimi has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness for allegedly grabbing Lopez in front of their toddler son.

MARIN COUNTY PLANNERS WEIGH GEORGE LUCAS PROJECT: SAN RAFAEL  (AP) — Marin County officials are weighing George Lucas' controversial plan to expand his digital empire on historic farmland.

The county planning commission is meeting Monday to consider filmmaker's proposal to build a 270,000-square-foot digital media production compound in an area known as Grady Ranch. It's not clear whether the commission will vote.

The complex would be next to Lucas' other filmmaking operations — Skywalker Ranch and Big Rock.

But neighbors say the giant complex with generate noise, traffic and harmful environmental impacts on pristine land about a half-hour drive north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Lucas representatives say the Grady Ranch facility will create hundreds of jobs in Marin County and won't lead to the traffic and noise residents fear. They hope to break ground next year.

TEEN COUPLE SHOT TO DEATH IN WILMINGTON: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Crisis counselors were on hand Monday at schools in the harbor area after a teenage couple was gunned down as they walked on a Wilmington street.

Meldrick A. Melgoza and his girlfriend, Carolina Ramirez, both 16, were shot at around 7 p.m. Sunday evening by someone who apparently walked up to them and opened fire, police said.

They were pronounced dead at the scene.

The motive for the attack was unclear, although it did not immediately appear to be gang-related, and no arrests had been made by Monday afternoon, police said.

There have been 53 homicides since 2007 within two miles of where the two teens were shot, the Los Angeles Times reported.


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