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KSBR News Briefs on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017

UC Irvine receives $200 million gift for Health Sciences

The University of California, Irvine, has received a $200 million gift from philanthropists Susan and Henry Samueli.

The university announced the largest gift in its history and will name a College of Health Sciences focused on incorporating integrative health research, teaching and patient care across its schools and programs.

Henry Samueli is the co-founder and chief technology officer of semiconductor maker Broadcom as well as owner of the National Hockey League's Anaheim Ducks.

The Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences will ultimately include the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute and the schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy and population health.

The gift will fund a facility to house the college, technology, labs and an endowment.

UC Irvine is part of the 10-campus University of California system.


Student Loans-Collections

The federal government has fined two groups it says illegally attempted to collect student loan debt. It also says the groups are banned from further action on recovering payments until audits on all its accounts are completed.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts, which owns more than 800,000 student loans, and their debt collector, Transworld Systems, sued borrowers for student loans "they couldn't prove were owed and filed false and misleading affidavits in courts across the country."

The Bureau is ordering the trusts to pay at least $19.1 million and Transworld $2.5 million in civil penalties.


GOP eyes popular tax breaks to finance overhaul

Republicans straining to find about $1 trillion to finance sweeping tax cuts are homing in on two popular deductions that are woven into the nation's fiscal fabric.

One is the mortgage interest deduction that millions of taxpayers enjoy. The other is the deduction for state and local taxes popular in Democratic strongholds.

About 30 million Americans deduct mortgage interest from their income taxes, a deduction Realtors and homebuilders argue is a catalyst to home ownership in the United States.

The most recent IRS tally says nearly 44 million people claimed the deduction for state and local taxes in 2014, especially in our state, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

Republicans are determined to overhaul the tax code after more than three decades, delivering on a top legislative priority for President Trump.


San Juan Capistrano

The San Juan Capistrano City Council tonight will consider some additions to the Verdugo Street Beautification Project.

Mayor Kerry Ferguson says Verdugo Street is a Gateway to the city, as it’s where people exit the trains when they visit San Juan Capistrano.

She says many business owners along the street and near it, had discussed what they’d like to see included in the project such as an upgrade of the plaza surface to create a safe pedestrian pathway; more directional signs and new benches.

She says the Council may agree to ask the contractor to include the additions in the project’s final design.

Tonight’s City Council meeting begins at five.


Nielsen says 11.4 million watch Emmy Awards

The Nielsen Company estimated that 11.4 million people watched Sunday's presentation of the Emmy Awards, roughly equivalent to last year's show honoring the year's best in television.

Stephen Colbert hosted Sunday's show for CBS. It competed with pro football and the beginning of Ken Burns' lengthy documentary on the Vietnam War. Last year's audience of 11.3 million people was the lowest ever for the Emmy Awards.

The Emmys featured a surprise appearance by former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and a heavy concentration on Trump jokes and remarks. Hulu's "The Handmaids Tale" won the Emmy for best drama, while HBO's "Veep" was named best comedy.


'Babe' actor James Cromwell charged in SeaWorld protest

Actor James Cromwell has been charged with trespassing for interrupting and denouncing an orca show at SeaWorld in San Diego.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports the misdemeanor charge could mean 90 days in jail or a fine up to $400.

Cromwell, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role as the farmer in "Babe," has previously said he would serve jail time rather than pay fines. A late message left for his representatives wasn't immediately returned.

He was wearing a "SeaWorld Sucks" T-shirt when he and six other activists stood up in front of the "Orca Encounter" show at SeaWorld on July 24.

Cromwell told park visitors through a megaphone that SeaWorld was condemning the orcas to premature deaths. The protesters were forcibly removed by security.


Toys 'R' Us files for bankruptcy, but keeps stores open

Toys 'R' Us, the big box toy retailer struggling with $5 billion in debt and intense online competition, has filed for bankruptcy protection ahead of the key holiday shopping season — and says its stores will remain open for business as usual.

The company said the proceedings are a way for Toys 'R' Us to work with its creditors on restructuring the debt beleaguering it. And it emphasized that its stores worldwide will remain open and it will work with suppliers and sell merchandise.

Chairman and CEO Dave Brandon said in the announcement filing for bankruptcy protection "will provide us with greater financial flexibility to invest in our business ... and strengthen our competitive position in an increasingly challenging and rapidly changing retail marketplace worldwide." The move comes at a critical time leading into the holiday season that is crucial to retailers' bottom lines. The company said it was "well stocked as we prepare for the holiday season and are excited about all of our upcoming in-store events."

Retailers of all kinds are struggling. The Toys 'R' Us bankruptcy filing joins a list of at least 18 others since the beginning of the year — including shoe chain Payless Shoe Source, children's clothing chain Gymboree Corp. and the True Religion jean brand — as people shop less in stores and more online.