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March 16, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine - In the face of widespread international condemnation and the threat of punishing new sanctions on the Russian government, voters in Crimea appeared Sunday to overwhelmingly back a measure to break away from Ukraine and become part of Russia. Passage was expected to deepen the rift between Russia and the West, where such a move is widely seen as a blatant theft of Ukrainian territory. "In this century, we are long past the days when the international community will stand quietly by while one country forcibly seizes the territory of another," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement Sunday that called on other nations to "take concrete steps to impose costs" on Moscow.
March 14, 2014 | By Evan Halper and Cindy Carcamo
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration handed backers of medical marijuana a significant victory Friday, opening the way for a University of Arizona researcher to examine whether pot can help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress, a move that could lead to broader studies into potential benefits of the drug. For years, scientists who have wanted to study how marijuana might be used to treat illness say they have been stymied by resistance from federal drug officials. The Arizona study had long ago been sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration, but under federal rules, such experiments can use marijuana only from a single, government-run farm in Mississippi.
March 12, 2014 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM -- Israeli legislators approved a controversial law Wednesday to end the historic exemption of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men from mandatory military service, a decision some religious leaders decried as persecution. The Equal Service Law approved by the Knesset, or parliament, calls for a gradual increase in the conscription of ultra-Orthodox men over a three-year period, ultimately exempting only a quota of outstanding scholars. Finance Minister Yair Lapid, whose centrist Yesh Atid party pushed the legislation as a way to increase fairness for other groups whose members are drafted into the military as well as to aid the integration of ultra-Orthodox men into the workforce, welcomed the bill's passage as a “revolution.” Ultra-Orthodox men had been exempt from military service to allow them to pursue their religious studies, which supporters said allowed them to serve the nation through prayer and by preserving Jewish heritage.
March 12, 2014 | By Alene Tchekmedyian
Swedish furniture giant Ikea got the unanimous green light from the Burbank City Council on Tuesday to build its largest furniture store in the nation in Burbank. The retailer, which opened in Burbank in 1990 as its first store in California and sixth in the United States, will relocate roughly a mile to a nearly 23-acre lot at 805 S. San Fernando Blvd. The megastore is scheduled to open in August 2016, the Burbank Leader reported .Construction is slated to begin this summer, starting with the demolition of the 22 existing buildings on the property which are currently used for office, manufacturing, industrial, warehouse and residential purposes.
March 11, 2014 | By Monte Morin
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the marketing of an electronic medical device intended to treat migraine headaches. In an announcement released Tuesday, officials said the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, device was the first ever to receive such approval. The device, which will be marketed under the name Cefaly , is manufactured by Cefaly Technology of Belgium. "Cefaly provides an alternative to medication for migraine prevention," read a prepared statement from Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
March 6, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
Albertsons is making a play for the top spot in the U.S. grocery industry with the purchase of rival Safeway for more than $9 billion in cash and stock. Safeway, now the second-largest chain behind Kroger Co., owns the Vons and Pavilions brands in Southern California. With the purchase, Albertsons would operate more than 2,400 stores, compared with Kroger's 2,640. The companies said no stores would be closed as part of the transaction, although executives said that the Federal Trade Commission could require divestitures.
March 4, 2014 | By David Zahniser
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved sweeping new regulations that would treat e-cigarettes like conventional cigarettes, after one of the most personal debates to be heard on the council floor in years. On a 14-0 vote, lawmakers outlawed "vaping" -- the practice of inhaling the vapors produced by e-cigarettes -- in most work sites and many public places, including parks and certain beaches. Lawmakers voted to continue allowing e-cigarette use in so-called vaping lounges, where patrons can try the various e-juices that are loaded into the battery-powered devices.
March 4, 2014 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO -- The City Council voted 8 to 0 on Tuesday to affirm Mayor Kevin Faulconer's nomination of Asst. Chief Shelley Zimmerman as the first woman to be police chief in city history. Zimmerman, 54, a 31-year veteran of the department, succeeds Chief Bill Lansdowne, 69, who retired Monday after 10 years as chief. "I'm so excited for our city that you're here for us," said Councilman Scott Sherman. Some council members said they would have preferred a nationwide search.
March 2, 2014 | By Lisa Zamosky
Peter Altschuler's back surgery had been a long time coming. The 66-year-old marketing professional and actor from Santa Monica slipped a disc about 10 years ago, and he's been coping with it ever since. A series of injections kept him pain-free for years, he said, but by 2012 they stopped doing their job. "I was in constant discomfort," he says. His doctors said it was time for surgery. Although old enough to qualify for Medicare, Altschuler held on to an insurance policy he'd had through a professional association before turning 65. As most health plans do, his insurer required him to obtain prior approval for his procedure.
March 1, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
MOSCOW - The international conflict over Russia's military moves in Crimea escalated precariously Saturday as lawmakers in Moscow authorized the use of armed forces to protect their nation's interests and ethnic Russians in Ukraine and President Obama pressed President Vladimir Putin during a 90-minute phone call to back down. The unanimous vote in the upper house of the parliament came after Russian troops had already taken up positions in Crimea, the Ukrainian region that is home to Russia's Black Sea fleet, and in spite of Obama's warning Friday that "there will be costs" if Moscow intervenes in its neighbor's political upheaval.
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