November 10, 2013 |
Just in time for Veterans Day, the embattled secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric K. Shinseki, announced last week that his department had reduced its backlog of overdue disability claims from more than 600,000 in March to about 400,000. "The trend line is in the right direction," Shinseki told reporters, noting that the VA had cut the number of claims older than a year by 93%. With hundreds of thousands of cases still unresolved, Shinseki hasn't gotten much credit so far - but to the surprise of his critics, he's on track to achieve his goal of eliminating the backlog by 2015.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 15, 2013 |
When the bike patrols suddenly ended in downtown Los Angeles' arts district last month, junk began to pile up against the curb on Seaton Street. Over on Mateo Street, a trail of aqua-blue chips from shattered car windows glittered along the gutter. "It's like they got the memo the guys were gone," said actress Dawn Cody, who lives in the arts district. The private patrols were run by the neighborhood's business improvement district - one of 10 downtown and 39 throughout Los Angeles.
March 28, 2013 |
BRASILIA, Brazil - Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva never expected to actually be elected to Brazil's Congress. When he ran for a seat in 2010, he used his clown name, Tiririca, and wore a tiny orange hat and a blond wig in his campaign TV spots. Between singing and dancing, he made some very odd campaign promises. "What does a federal deputy do? I don't really know. But vote for me, and I'll tell you!" "I promise to help those in need," he said, in a nod to political corruption.
March 14, 2013 |
VATICAN CITY - In private meetings before their conclave to elect a new pope, Roman Catholic cardinals took note when one of their number rose to speak - clearly, quietly and persuasively - about the need to purify the church and streamline its unwieldy bureaucracy. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio seemed to sum up the very themes and challenges the leaders were debating. He was forceful without being abrasive, one cardinal recalled Thursday. By the time they strode solemnly into the magnificent Sistine Chapel and closed away the outside world Tuesday, many of the cardinals had significantly refined their lists of candidates.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 10, 2013 |
A nonprofit group that delivers services to people with HIV and AIDS wants voters to force the city of Los Angeles to create its own health department, separate from the county. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a longtime critic of the county's health bureaucracy, wants the city to operate its own health agency rather than rely on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The foundation has begun gathering signatures for a 2014 city ballot measure to do just that. The county department is too big and does an abysmal job of disease control, foundation President Michael Weinstein said.
January 23, 2013 |
In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will resume the fraught conversation about what exactly took place at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year on Sept. 11. Members of Congress have made it clear they will focus on how the events, which led to the deaths of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, were characterized in the hours and days that followed. That issue flamed into white-hot partisanship ahead of the U.S. presidential election, with some accusing Obama appointees of deliberately downplaying Al Qaeda involvement for political reasons.