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Authorities say the blaze started in an improperly installed fireplace. They say the flames burned through a plastic sprinkler pipe and filled the attic with water until the ceiling fell on firefighter Glen Allen, 61.

Los Angeles County prosecutors charged Gerhard Becker, 48, on Wednesday. The German national could face up to four years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say Mr. Becker was the architect and main contractor for the luxury home that caught fire Feb. 16 last year.

Five other firefighters were injured.

Mr. Becker was arrested when he flew from Spain to Los Angeles on Saturday. He remains jailed.


Cincinnati toughens scrap-metal sale restrictions

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati has approved tough new restrictions on scrap metal sales aimed at curbing thefts.

Legislative experts say the rules will be among the strictest in the nation. They require frequent sellers to obtain licenses, pass criminal background checks and wait two days to get paid.

Supporters said they are trying to deter thieves by making it more difficult to sell stolen scrap. High prices for copper and other metals, combined with a struggling economy, have spurred metal thefts globally.

The new rules come a day after a man was accused of stealing cremation urns, dumping remains and selling the urns for scrap in the Cincinnati area.


Human and humanoid robot shake hands in space station

CAPE CANAVERAL — Astronauts and robots have united in space with a healthy handshake.

The commander of the International Space Station, Daniel Burbank, shook hands Wednesday with Robonaut. It’s the first handshake ever between a human and a humanoid in space.

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