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March 30, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera and Jerry Hirsch
WASHINGTON - Federal regulators twice declined to investigate faulty ignition switches in General Motors Co. cars that led to 13 deaths - even though one official found "a pattern" of problems, according to a new congressional report. The report, released Sunday, added fresh details to a controversy that has shaken the revitalized automaker. Already under fire for lengthy delays in recalling the vehicles, GM also was accused in the report of allowing the defective part to be installed in millions of vehicles after testing showed it did not meet the company's own specifications.
March 30, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - In speeches and remarks last week in Europe, President Obama made it clear that he considers Russia's annexation of Crimea a very big deal. But he also defined what it's not: an overwhelming national security threat, such as the U.S.-Soviet rivalry in the Cold War, that would trump all other foreign policy priorities. In appearances before European Union leaders, Obama called for a sustained effort to isolate Russia to discourage further encroachment on its neighbors, but emphasized that Russia is not the West's top geopolitical challenge.
March 29, 2014 | By Bill Shaikin
In those heady days when Barry Bonds was hitting a home run just about every day, visitors would flock to the clubhouse of the San Francisco Giants. You would turn to the right for Bonds, for his entourage, for his oversized lounge chair, and for the Giants employee nervously trying to block reporters and other outsiders from approaching the slugger. You would turn to the left for other players, and their standard-issue chairs, and their detached bemusement. Mike Trout is baseball's best player.
March 28, 2014 | By Louis Sahagun
Federal authorities announced Friday that the geographically isolated Alexander Archipelago wolf of southeast Alaska's Tongass National Forest may need protection under the Endangered Species Act to survive the impact of logging, hunting and trapping in its old-growth habitat. Populations of the rare subspecies of gray wolf are in steep decline in portions of the heavily logged region, where they den in the root systems of western hemlock and Sitka spruce and hunt black-tailed deer, which also rely on the ancient trees to shield them from harsh winters.
March 27, 2014 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
This post has been updated. See below for details. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a mere two weeks away, so those looking to impress with underground knowledge better start cramming. Few souls are more in demand than geeks armed with superfluous knowledge about the undercard, right? Hopefully, but regardless of whether you're out on the Empire Polo Club in Indio or tucked on your couch looking for diversion, the music booked for the annual festival sets a conversation for the year to come.
March 27, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO - Legal analysts said Thursday that the public corruption charges against Sen. Leland Yee - the most serious counts the state lawmaker faces - are more complicated to prove when the alleged bribe involves campaign contributions. Yee also was charged with conspiracy to traffic in firearms, which carries a maximum five-year sentence. But the bulk of the charges against the San Francisco state senator involved public corruption. Yee faces six counts of scheming to deprive citizens of honest services, each carrying a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
March 27, 2014 | By Richard Winton
A soccer coach in southern Orange County has been arrested on suspicion of committing lewd acts with a girl, authorities said Thursday.  Ronnie Gamez, 27, was taken into custody Wednesday by the Orange County Sheriff's Department's Special Victims Detail. Gamez, of Laguna Niguel, coached for several southern Orange County club organizations. "This involved a south Orange County club team," said Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock, who declined to give more details to protect the identity of the minor.
March 26, 2014 | By Oliver Gettell
What's a Hollywood star and lifestyle guru to do after "consciously uncoupling" from her rock-star husband? In the case of Gwyneth Paltrow, she's planning to take a break from acting to focus on her children, according to E! Online. "I just finished a movie in January that I was doing at the end of last year in London with Johnny Depp, and then I had two weeks here, and then I did a couple of episodes for 'Glee' for the 100th episode," Paltrow told E! recently. The movie to which Paltrow referred is "Mortdecai," an action-comedy caper directed by David Koepp and based on Kyril Bonfiglioli's anthology book "The Mortdecai Trilogy," about a roguish art dealer racing to recover a stolen painting rumored to be linked to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.
March 26, 2014 | By Christie D'Zurilla
Chris Evans fans should not expect to see their hunk on the big screen as anyone other than Captain America in the foreseeable future, because the actor says he's pretty much quitting his day job. Why? Well, as they say, what he really wants to do is direct. "I've known for a while ... ," the 32-year-old actor told Variety . "But [time] never really opens up. There's another movie to do, there's another acting job. It just got to a point where I was like, you know what - I have to do this.
March 26, 2014 | Bill Plaschke
The Dodgers returned home for the traditional start of the 2014 season with fresh Australian victories, renewed championship hopes, and a battered chunk of familiar baggage. All of this lugging around of the constant turmoil that is Yasiel Puig is getting tiresome. "I know Yasiel is a huge lightning rod," Manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday as he took a deep breath. "Any time I say anything about Yasiel it turns into a story. Any time Yasiel does something it turns into a story.
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