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News@Noon: VW, Detroit novel, pandas

The Detroit News

Today is Friday, April 21, 2017, and here's what's making news today:

The Volkswagen logo.

VW to pay $2.8M for emissions scandal

German automaker Volkswagen AG was sentenced Friday to pay nearly $3 billion for its 10-year conspiracy to rig nearly 600,000 diesel cars to cheat U.S. emissions standards. The penalty could be the largest ever paid by an automaker in the U.S. Last month, the company accepted a plea deal on three criminal charges. Attorneys for the Justice Department and VW asked the federal judge hearing the case to accept the agreement, but he wanted more time to consider it.

Ex-state official accused of embezzlement

Mason

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has charged a former director of the state's Hispanic and Latino commission with embezzling money intended for a Cesar Chavez statue. Maria Louisa Mason, 80, allegedly stole $73,500 from a state fund meant to pay for the memorial statue of the American labor and civil rights activist.

Hollywood interested in Detroit crime novel

A Hollywood heavyweight wants to make a TV show out of a Farmington Hills writer's debut crime novel. Stephen Mack Jones' book, “August Snow,”  is about a black Latino ex-Detroit cop who testified against a crooked mayor and corrupt police honchos who is trying to adjust to a gentrifying and decaying Motor City.

Disney doc ‘Born in China' has plenty of cute

Panda bears, snub-nosed monkeys, snow leopards and other animals native to China are stars of latest Disney nature documentary. Adam Graham says the film will definitely will make viewers say “aww.”

Pandas are among the stars in Disney's newest nature film.

Deck decor with overseas flair

Fashion your own al fresco sanctuary. Indoor sophistication and style are moving outside and enabling homeowners to decorate decks and patios with flavor reminiscent of the south of France, the Greek Isles, Tuscany or the Caribbean.

Indoor sophistication also works outdoors.

Tigers skipper fumes after team gets swept by Rays

After dropping their series finale to the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-1, Thursday, Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus didn't mince words about the team's performance. "The worst defensive series I’ve seen since I’ve been here," he said.

Ausmus