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Debtors turn to arson, authorities say

Ktla_newsHere are some of the stories KTLA News is working on this evening:

VEHICLE ARSON: Car and SUV owners who are faced with mounting late payments on their vehicle loans have found a new way to get out from under their high car payments -- arson. This trend was spotted by a Southern California arson task force several years ago when gas prices spiked. Now, with the economy a shambles, people behind on their car payments are torching their vehicles to collect the insurance money.

OUT OF WEDLOCK BIRTHS: Forget the baby boom. More babies were born in the United States in 2007 than any year in the nation's history — and a wedding band made increasingly little difference in the matter. The 4,317,119 births, reported by federal researchers Wednesday, topped a record first set in 1957 at the height of the baby boom. Behind the number is both good and bad news. While it shows the U.S. population is more than replacing itself, a healthy trend, the teen birth rate was up for a second year in a row.

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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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