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November 28, 2013 | By Ramin Mostaghim
TEHRAN -- The Iranian capital has long been known for its smog, but pollution in recent days has taken an eye-watering turn for the worse, hampering visibility and causing authorities to shutter schools and curtail the number of cars allowed in the city center. Children and the elderly have been told to stay indoors if possible, and the smog has forced even healthy residents to cut back on strolls and jogs. On Wednesday, only cars with license plates ending in even numbers were permitted on downtown streets.
November 27, 2013 | By Emily Foxhall
In a step toward re-imagining the classic Southern California seaside, Newport Beach city leaders have agreed to thin out the number of fire rings that dot the city's shoreline and seek the installation of natural gas fire pits instead. Sixty concrete fire rings on the sand in Balboa Peninsula and Corona del Mar have delighted beachgoers for decades and frustrated neighbors as everything from pizza boxes to couches went up in smoke. But as related health concerns from the billowing smoke have increased, so has the push to rid the beach of the fire pits.
November 23, 2013 | By Mike Bresnahan
The Lakers are 6-7, lingering in the bottom half of the Western Conference and running on a treadmill the size of a franchise while awaiting the return of Kobe Bryant. But how will Bryant look? What's the deal with Steve Nash? Who took over Jordan Hill's body? And what's the Grand Plan for the Lakers? Here are seven questions about the Lakers' immediate and distant future. What do the Lakers expect Kobe Bryant to be able to do when he returns? Here's the scary part: No one in the organization really knows.
November 22, 2013 | By Emily Foxhall
Newport Beach residents may soon be one step closer to roasting marshmallows beach-side over natural gas-burning fire rings. City staff plans to recommend Tuesday that council members approve city participation in a pilot project with the South Coast Air Quality Management District to install natural gas fire rings in certain beach areas  while removing some of the existing wood-fueled fire rings, the Daily Pilot reported. There are 33 fire rings in the sand near the Balboa Pier and 27 at Corona del Mar State Beach.
November 22, 2013 | By Joe Flint
After the coffee. Before buying my "Catching Fire" tickets. The Skinny: I've been tired all week and Friday morning is no exception. Was out late at premiere for TNT's "Mob City. " The party was nice although some of my fellow ink-stained wretches were griping that the bartenders were a little tight with the Maker's Mark. Friday's roundup includes the weekend box office preview and a recap of Sony's investor day. Daily Dose: Sony Corp. held its investor day Thursday (see below)
November 21, 2013 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
State Sen. Bill Emmerson says he's so fed up with the California Legislature that he's giving up and getting out. The Hemet Republican says his legislative fire no longer burns, his passion for politics has cooled. "I'm totally frustrated, and it's time for me to move on," the 68-year-old lawmaker told me. "I'm done. " Emmerson especially cites political polarization as a reason for vacating Sacramento. Ideological extremes, combined with powerful interests on both sides, too often stymie problem-solving, he complains.
November 20, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Second movies in a series can be such a comfort: We already know the key characters, we have a sense of where the plot is going, we just have to hang on and enjoy the thrills. Which is what happens with "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. " An effective piece of melodramatic popular entertainment that savvily builds on the foundation established by the first "Hunger Games" movie, "Catching Fire" layers in increased visual brio while remaining faithful to the essence of a trilogy popular enough to have more than 50 million copies in print.
November 19, 2013 | By Hannah Fry
A man found dead in a burned car in Irvine last week may have committed suicide, police said. The coroner is conducting toxicology tests and attempting to determine the cause of death. The process could take several weeks, said Lt. Julia Engen, spokeswoman for the Irvine Police Department. "We're investigating the possibility of a suicide," she said, adding that police don't suspect foul play. A jogger found the body of the man about 9:20 a.m. Wednesday near Michelson Drive and Harvard Avenue when he saw a car partially submerged in the San Diego Creek, according to police.
November 15, 2013 | By Joseph Serna and Kate Linthicum
An investigation into how a man burned to death at West Hollywood's annual Halloween carnival has confirmed witness statements that he accidentally set himself ablaze while lighting a cigarette, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced. Video from the event shows Gilbert Estrada, 51, engulfed in flames while some festival-goers continued to dance to electronic music and cheer. A department investigation revealed Estrada “attempted to light some type of cigarette and accidentally caught his costume on fire,” according to a statement released Thursday.
November 12, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
Jon Bonné's new book, “ The New California Wine: A guide to the producers and wines behind a revolution in taste ,” is a wonderful, engaging read with an actual narrative and a cast of characters who think outside the box, care about sustainability, and have a strong curiosity and work ethic.  I loved meeting vintners such as Ted Lemon ( Littorai Wines ), Steve Matthiasson ( Matthiasson Wines ), Abe Schoener ( the Scholium Project ) and Morgan Twain-Peterson ( Bedrock Wine Co. )
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