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Benefits

BUSINESS
April 1, 2014 | By David Lauter and Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON - The Affordable Care Act has passed its first big test, but the law's distribution of winners and losers all but guarantees the achievement will not quiet its political opposition. White House officials, who had a near-death experience with the law's rollout six months ago, were nearly giddy Tuesday as they celebrated an open-enrollment season that ended on a high note. Despite the early problems with the federal website, "7.1 million Americans have now signed up," President Obama declared in a Rose Garden speech to members of Congress, his staff and supporters in which he notably returned to referring to the law as "Obamacare.
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BUSINESS
April 1, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - They're finally answering phones at California's beleaguered unemployment benefits agency. Four months ago, 9 out of 10 callers couldn't reach a live staffer at the Employment Development Department, according to official call logs. The system still was robotically hanging up on 80% of frustrated callers as recently as mid-February. But in March, EDD phone staffers suddenly picked up the pace, responding to a Feb. 7 call for action from the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown.
NEWS
March 28, 2014 | By Ellen Olivier
The event: The 22nd annual “A Night at Sardi's,” which honored  members of “The Big Bang Theory's” cast, Glen Campbell and the Campbell family. A star-studded revue of Broadway and country tunes, the Wednesday affair benefited the Alzheimer's Assn. (Campbell, who suffers from the disease, did not attend.) The program : Sarah Rafferty of “Suits” and Ben Feldman of “Mad Men” welcomed the crowd. TV director-producer James Burrows introduced comedian Bob Newhart, who told both a riddle and a parrot joke (from what he called his collection of parrot jokes)
NATIONAL
March 28, 2014 | By Paresh Dave
Gay rights advocates in Michigan cheered Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.'s announcement Friday that the federal government will recognize about 300 same-sex marriages hastily performed March 22. But the small victory translates to more complications for some newlyweds. After a federal judge struck down the state's gay marriage ban March 21, Deborah Dolney, 28, and her fiancee, Jessie-Mae Secord, 33, seized the opportunity to get married. Four counties opened their offices the next day to issue marriage licenses, and Dolney and Secord were among those in line.
NEWS
March 27, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan agreement to restore unemployment insurance benefits for more than 2.2 million jobless Americans cleared a key Senate hurdle Thursday but faces continued opposition from Republicans in the House, making final passage uncertain. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has called the Senate plan, which overcame a filibuster on a vote of 65-34, "unworkable. " A group of state benefits administrators has argued that their outdated computers will make it difficult to process jobless claims and prevent fraud under the Senate plan.
OPINION
March 26, 2014 | Doyle McManus
President Obama is scheduled to visit Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday, and the meeting will probably take the usual form of encounters between presidents and pontiffs: a polite conversation about their common agenda on poverty and world peace, plus a gentle remonstrance from the Holy Father on abortion and religious liberty. But if Obama and Francis had time to get to know each other, they might each benefit by trading notes on practical politics, as presidents and British prime ministers often do, and on the lessons they can draw from each other's experiences.
SCIENCE
March 25, 2014 | By Mary MacVean
Young men who exercise keep some of the benefits to their bones into old age, even if they don't keep at it, according to researchers who compared the throwing arms and the nonthrowing arms of professional baseball players over time. Bone mass, size and strength increase with physical activity in youth, but it was unclear whether those benefits carried into later years. The researchers looked at the arms of 103 pro baseball players -- major and minor leagues -- and at the arms of 94 “regular” men; they reported their findings in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 24, 2014 | By James Rainey
With city budget managers intent on limiting new spending and reining in employee benefits, a coalition of union and political groups is fighting back with a report that suggests Los Angeles City Hall is spending too much on Wall Street and not enough on Main Street. The Fix L.A. Coalition, which is made up of union and liberal political groups, plans to release a report Tuesday that suggests the city could substantially reduce the $204 million in bank and money management fees that it paid last year to Wall Street firms.
BUSINESS
March 23, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Here's some good news for homeowners worried that Congress will fail again to renew popular tax benefits for use in 2014 - especially those allowing for mortgage debt forgiveness, write-offs for energy-saving improvements and mortgage insurance premiums. Though there has been no formal announcement, the Senate Finance Committee under its new chairman, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), expects to take up a so-called "extenders" package sometime this spring. "This is high on [Wyden's]
SPORTS
March 22, 2014 | By Dylan Hernandez
SYDNEY, Australia - - Joc Pederson didn't make the Dodgers' opening day roster, but the outfield prospect thinks traveling with the team to Australia will help him prepare for when he is called up to the major leagues. “I think this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Pederson said. “Even if I'm not on the roster, I get to be around the guys when the season starts and kind of get my feet wet. Everybody's different during the season than in spring training, how they mentally prepare, their pregame routines.
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