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January 27, 2014 | By Gary Klein and Sam Farmer
JERSEY CITY, N.J.  - The Denver Broncos' Super Bowl media sessions have been conducted aboard the Cornucopia Majesty, a moored yacht that Monday featured Coach John Fox holding court on the first deck and players fielding questions two decks above. Receiver Demaryius Thomas stayed on an even keel when asked about a matchup against the Seattle Seahawks' "Legion of Boom" secondary and cornerback Richard Sherman . Thomas said that he met Sherman at a camp and that they "did some stuff in L.A. together.
January 19, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Few regions were hit harder by the Great Recession than the Inland Empire, where foreclosures turned neighborhoods into ghost towns and real estate projects dissolved into weeds and broken dreams. So it's not surprising that four of the five largest banks in the region failed, sunk by risky subprime mortgages and failed construction loans. Citizens Business Bank was the exception. The bank, operated by holding company CVB Financial Corp., limited construction and land development loans to no more than 10% of its portfolio, far less than many of its peers.
January 15, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed rainy-day reserve is better than nothing, but it falls far short of what the state really needs to fix its cockeyed tax system. The governor is attempting to treat the symptoms of revenue instability rather than attacking the root cause of the ailment. At the root are two maladies: First, a politically convenient state income tax that leans too heavily on the rich, whose fortunes fluctuate wildly during times of boom and bust. Second, a very old sales tax too narrowly focused on retail goods rather than services.
January 8, 2014 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON - Federal scientists have developed a system that could help prevent some contamination of wetlands and groundwater from oil development in the booming Williston Basin in Montana and North Dakota, according to a new study. Along with oil extracted from deep underground in the Williston Basin comes naturally occurring water called brine that is 10 times more saline than seawater and is dumped into reserve pits. Brine can contaminate local water sources through leaching from the pits, pipeline spills or accidents.  At many area oil wells, 10 barrels of brine are produced for every barrel of oil, making brine disposal a significant issue as Williston Basin oil extraction flourishes.
January 5, 2014 | By Ryan Menezes
After years of decline, the California Lottery is booming. The jackpots are bigger, and that's drawing more players and excitement. Just a few weeks ago, a Mega Millions ticket sold in San Jose matched all six numbers. The state-record prize of $324 million - worth about $174 million in a single payment - was claimed by a Northern California man Friday. The turnaround is due to changes made to the lottery in 2010, when revenues were on the decline. The changes brought bigger prizes, but they also altered the formula for how much revenue schools receive.
January 1, 2014 | Andrew Khouri
Home prices in large U.S. cities posted strong annual gains in October but slowed from a month earlier, according to a leading gauge, reflecting a seasonal cooling and the struggles of home buyers in a pricier market. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of 20 large U.S. metropolitan areas, released Tuesday, rose 13.6% from October 2012, the largest pop since the beginning of 2006, during the housing bubble. But over the month there was a cooling trend. Prices increased just 0.2% from September, less than economists had expected.
December 20, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
Bets on the top-performing retailer this holiday don't favor the storied haute couture companies - not Chanel with its $4,500 handbags, nor Neiman Marcus and its $150,000 bespoke falconry set. Instead, it's Michael Kors Holdings - an American sportswear brand from a sassy former "Project Runway" judge - that's roundly predicted to crush Christmas. The company is what's known as a bridge brand, operating on the low end of luxury. Its handbags generally cost less than $500. But the sector's mix of just-high-enough prices and accessible-yet-glamorous design makes brands such as Kors, Kate Spade and Tory Burch like catnip for consumers who are sick of curbing their spending but still wary of an uncertain economy.
December 18, 2013 | By Shan Li
American consumers are savings hundreds of dollars a year thanks to a natural gas boom that has pushed down energy costs. The average U.S. household already saves between $425 to $725 a year as technology such as hydraulic fracturing unlocks previously inaccessible stores of natural gas, according to a Boston Consulting Group report. Those savings -- which shoppers see in both lower utility bills and cheaper prices on goods -- could jump to $1,200 or more by 2020, the report said.
November 23, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
Dusk had settled on virtual Los Angeles, and I'd just hit a few pedestrians and smashed my stolen roadster near City Hall. The sound of police sirens was getting closer, and the nearest vehicle was an idling delivery truck. I pulled the driver out, kicked him a few times and jumped in the front seat. As I sped off, the car radio started playing. Bingo! Charlie Feathers' grim country weeper " I Can't Hardly Stand It" poured forth. All was well in the realm of Los Santos, the fake L.A. setting of "Grand Theft Auto V. " A city that players cruise while embarking on missions, stealing cars and causing general mayhem, Los Santos is a vividly - and darkly - crafted place.
November 21, 2013 | By Bill McKibben
Fracking on a large scale may be coming soon to California as oilmen converge on the Monterey Shale, a formation that could hold 15 billion barrels' worth of oil. At $100 a barrel, that's … a lot of money. Money is the real subject of Gregory Zuckerman's "The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters," which is not surprising since he wrote the prize-winning "The Greatest Trade Ever," an account of how hedge fund king John Paulson figured out the coming housing collapse and made billions.
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