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Wednesday Briefing

August 22, 2007

Editors' choice: Coming up at 11: a new face in the anchor chair -- one with porn-star eyebrows and pole-dancer shoes. A Texas news station hired Lauren Jones, wrestling spokeswoman and model, but is her riveting inability enough to make Fox's "Anchorwoman" worth watching? CALENDAR, E1

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The World

U.S. scholar freed on bail in Iran

Authorities in Tehran release a U.S. scholar jailed on national security and espionage charges, though is barred from leaving the country and could be jailed again. Haleh Esfandiari, 67, who holds both U.S. and Iranian citizenship, is free on bail of $333,000. Page A4

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No EU for the U.S.

President Bush and the leaders of Canada and Mexico, speaking after their summit, deny plans for an entity similar to the European Union that would stretch from Mexico to Canada and erode U.S. sovereignty. Page A7

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Bush's faint praise

President Bush and his top envoy in Baghdad offer tepid endorsements of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, in comments suggesting a new dis- tancing from the beleaguered Shiite Muslim political leader. Page A9

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The Nation

Ex-Gov. Ryan's appeal rejected

A federal appellate court upholds former Illinois Gov. George H. Ryan's fraud and corruption conviction, moving him closer to serving his 6 1/2 -year sentence for his role in a widespread scandal. His attorneys scramble to file a new appeal and keep their client free on bail. Page A10

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Latest GOP woe

The nation's credit crisis is posing a political problem for Republicans, already burdened with the unpopular war in Iraq, by undercutting their traditional claims of being good stewards of the economy. Page A11

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California

Accord reached on greenhouse gases

San Bernardino County officials agree to measure greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 months, figure out how much is attributable to local decisions and start cutting back. Page B1

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Filipino center

At the so-called Mall of Manila in Eagle Rock, Filipino immigrants can shop, send money home and eat pork stew and manay bread. "That is ground zero," said James Santa Maria, a Filipino real estate developer, of the mall's significance. Page B1

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Obituaries

Doctor studied pollution's effects

Dr. Henry Gong Jr. helped obtain a better understanding of the effects of air pollutants. A pioneer in the study of inhaled particulate matter, he was also a member of the California Air Resources Board. Page B7

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Business

CEO seeks tighter mortgage rules

The chief executive of Washington Mutual, the third-largest U.S. home lender, is supporting stricter professional requirements for mortgage brokers. He says lending standards became "irrationally" lax during the recent era of easy money. Page C1

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A healthy outlook

Sales of dark chocolate are booming. Part of the reason may be claims that it is more healthful than other forms of chocolate. For other people, it's simply a matter of taste. Page C1

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Sports

Kurt Busch wins Michigan race

Kurt Busch captures the rain-delayed 3M Performance 400 in Brooklyn, Mich., his second victory in three NASCAR races. Busch solidifies his berth in the upcoming 12-man Chase for the Nextel Cup playoff. Page D3

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Only a sideshow?

David Beckham is merely one act in a developing soccer melodrama as England prepares to play Germany in a friendly match tonight in London. The L.A. Galaxy star might play on his injured ankle. Page D8

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Highway 1

A Miss-ed opportunity

Big Bear Choppers' Miss Behavin ProStreet Softail is sexy and seductive and made just for the ladies. But Susan Carpenter says the good bike could have been executed even more successfully than it was -- perhaps if a few more X chromosomes had weighed in. Page G1

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Calendar

Look what landed online

Two home videos recently posted on YouTube appear to record close-up sightings of UFOs hovering above Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In his Web Scout column, David Sarno tracks the source of the videos, which have left even doubters wondering. Page E1

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Back on the case

Ross Macdonald helped rewrite the hard-boiled detective tradition with his series of Lew Archer novels. Two early ones have just been reissued and all 18 soon will be back in print -- and all the short stories are now in one volume. Page E1

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Grieving quest

David Plante's "ABC: A Novel" -- about the consequences of the death of a 6-year-old on his parents -- is a significant contribution to the literature of grief and loss, according to Tim Rutten. Page E1

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Food

The Southland's summer cold snap

Paletas -- Mexican ice pops -- aren't your typical treats. They're chock-full of chunks of fresh fruit and available in a rainbow of colors and clear, not-too-sweet flavors: guanabana, rice, pepino con chile, rompope. . . . We tell you where you'll find the best handmade paletas. Page F1

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