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Tuesday Briefing

August 14, 2007

Editors' choice: It's not just the strong language, it's the "pervasive crude and sexual content" and the "zombie-related violence," among other things, that the Motion Picture Assn. of America's movie raters have to find ever more subtle ways to describe. BUSINESS, C1

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The World

Iraq operation targets insurgents

Helicopter gunships attack suspected insurgent hide-outs, and U.S. and Iraqi soldiers stage simultaneous raids across Iraq as the military unleashes the full force of the U.S. troop buildup. The commando operations are targeting the group Al Qaeda in Iraq and Shiite Muslim militants. Page A4

Khmer metropolis

Researchers say the city of Angkor in Cambodia was the world's largest preindustrial metropolis, with nearly 1 million people and an urban sprawl that stretched over an area similar to that of modern-day Los Angeles. Page A5

Jordan's prisoner

Activist and scholar Ahmad Oweidi, 62, is sitting in a Jordanian prison. Officials consider him an enemy of the state for writing e-mails decrying corruption and human rights violations. His family is pleading for his release. Page A8

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The Nation

Bribery admission in New Orleans

A veteran member of the New Orleans City Council -- a man thought by many residents to be incorruptible and a potential candidate for mayor -- resigns after pleading guilty to bribery charges. Oliver Thomas' fall could worsen the stain of corruption that many think is hurting hurricane recovery in New Orleans. Page A10

California

Gov. takes tough tack on budget

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger goes on the offensive against a group of legislators from his own party, making clear that he will work to turn voters against the Republican lawmakers if they continue to block passage of the state budget in Sacramento. Page B1

Boy, 6, killed

Ventura County authorities have arrested a man on suspicion of fatally attacking a 6-year-old boy with a meat cleaver. The suspect, Calvin Sharp, 28, was arrested at the scene in Newbury Park after officers shot him multiple times with a Taser gun. Page B1

And now, the heat

After an extended period of mild weather, Southern California is in for an extreme taste of summer as a prolonged hot spell arrives. Record high temperatures could settle in this week and fire officials are concerned over the heightened risk of wildfire in an already dry season. Page B1

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Business

Companies put a spin on the bottle

With throwaway water bottles getting a bad rap as wasteful, companies are trying to cash in on alternatives. The firm that makes Brita filters and Nalgene, a maker of reusable bottles, are teaming up to tout an Earth-friendly approach to quenching thirst. Page C1

Sports

Signs of fizzling Beckham mania

One month after his much-ballyhooed arrival in Los Angeles, soccer star David Beckham has played exactly 37 minutes in two token appearances for the Galaxy. Beckham is suffering from a sprain and ligament damage in his left ankle. Page D1

Angels head east

The Angels are in first place in the American League West, but they have reason to be apprehensive as they begin a seven-game trip to Toronto and Boston. The team is 37-71 in those cities since 1996. Page D1

Obituaries

A leading light in high society

Brooke Astor, the itinerant soldier's daughter who married her way into the top echelon of Manhattan society and then gave away a fortune, has died of pneumonia at her New York estate. She was 105. Page B8

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Calendar

A new chapter in actor's career

Seemingly ubiquitous on television this upcoming season, Blair Underwood has turned to fiction for his next role. He hopes that "Casanegra," a steamy mystery about a former gigolo turned amateur sleuth that he co-wrote with two L.A. authors, will spawn a book series -- and a chance to play a different kind of leading man. Page E1

Here's to you, kid

Merv Griffin's energized curiosity about the celebrities he interviewed on his television show had its roots in his upbringing as an outsider among the wealthy, writes Peter Barsocchini, who produced the show for years. Page E1

So much to fight

Famed Mexican luchador El Hijo del Santo doesn't just demolish his opponents in the wrestling ring. He's also battling the exploitation of his fellow wrestlers and taking on the issues of ocean pollution and child poverty. Page E1

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