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March 2, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali, Los Angeles Times
KABUL, Afghanistan - Late last year, before leaving Forward Operating Base Tillman for the last time, U.S. troops took apart every inch of the remote outpost near the border with Pakistan, from the dirt-packed barricades to the flat-screen TVs in the intelligence center. Mohibullah Samim, the governor of Paktika province, where the base was located, called it a waste. "I was against dismantling it," Samim said. "It would have been better to hand it over to the Afghan army to keep the border area safe.
February 26, 2013 | By Nicole Sperling
The National Hispanic Media Coalition issued an open letter Tuesday to the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expressing their unhappiness that the late "Real Women Have Curves" actress Lupe Ontiveros was not included in the telecast's "In Memoriam" segment. Ontiveros died in July. She was 69. The letter explains that Ontiveros was not a member of the academy, which was the reason for her omission, but it adds that the actress, sponsored by actors Miguel Sandoval and Edward James Olmos, was denied membership in the organization when she applied.  IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Oscars 2013:   Winner list   |   Red carpet   |   Highlights "It is astonishing that an actress of Ontiveros' caliber and experience was denied membership to the Academy," said the letter.
February 26, 2013 | By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times
CAIRO - In another blow to Egypt's troubled democratic transition, the main opposition coalition announced Tuesday that it would boycott upcoming parliamentary elections because it didn't trust the Islamic-led government of President Mohamed Morsi to guarantee a fair vote. The decision by the secular and liberal National Salvation Front was widely expected after the nation's highest court ruled this month that provisions in the election law were unconstitutional. The opposition's strategy virtually ensures that Islamists, notably the Muslim Brotherhood and the ultraconservative Nour Party, will dominate the new legislature after the vote, which begins in April.
February 26, 2013 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy isn't on the ballot Tuesday, but you'd hardly know it, based on the undercurrent of the school board election. A coalition of local organizations, wealthy donors and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have decided that the election is all about keeping Deasy on the job and accelerating the aggressive policies he's putting into place. This group has come together for the campaign through a political action committee called the Coalition for School Reform.
February 23, 2013 | Steve Lopez
If you're like me, your mailbox is getting stuffed with political mailers. What to do? The best course of action is to take a shovel and dig a hole in the backyard, toss the mailers in and set them ablaze. At best, they're filled with useless simplifications and generalizations about candidates and issues, and a lot of them contain gross exaggerations or distortions, if not outright lies. If you live in Los Angeles and it seems like you're getting more of this junk than ever, it's because millions of dollars are being spent by committees to either support or demolish candidates for City Council, mayor and school board.
February 20, 2013 | By Noam N. Levey, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Nearly 100 medical procedures, tests and therapies are overused and often unnecessary, a coalition of leading medical societies says in a new report aimed at improving healthcare and controlling runaway costs. The medical interventions - including early caesarean deliveries, CT scans for head injuries in children and annual Pap tests for middle-aged women - may be necessary in some cases, the physician groups said. But often they are not beneficial and may even cause harm.
February 19, 2013 | By Edmund Sanders
JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced an agreement Tuesday night to bring his onetime political foe Tzipi Livni, head of the centrist Movement Party, into his pending coalition government. Livni, a former foreign minister who ran against Netanyahu in 2009 and served as opposition leader for much of the last four years, will become justice minister under the plan, both leaders announced during a joint appearance. Her party will also lead the Environmental Protection Ministry.
February 17, 2013 | By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times
JERUSALEM - A new odd couple in Israeli politics has become the biggest obstacle to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's effort to form the next government. The surprise alliance between Yair Lapid, 49, the rising star of Tel Aviv's secular elite, and Naftali Bennett, 40, the yarmulke-wearing head of a religious-nationalist party, has added an unexpected wrinkle to coalition talks. Nearly a month after the election, Netanyahu has yet to announce a single partner, with a mid-March deadline looming.
February 11, 2013 | By Raja Abdulrahim and Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
BEIRUT - A minibus explosion at a crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border killed more than a dozen people Monday, and some activists said its target might have been one of the leading figures in the Syrian opposition. The blast struck the Turkish side of the border minutes after George Sabra, vice president of the Syrian National Coalition, passed through, several opposition activists said. Sabra was returning to Turkey after a trip to the city of Aleppo, in nearby Idlib province, said opposition activist Ahmad Aasi.
February 10, 2013 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
Outside groups are mounting campaigns to influence the outcome of three races for seats on the Los Angeles Board of Education. The Coalition for School Reform has raised more than $1.5 million, mostly from a small group of wealthy donors who helped fund past campaigns. The coalition is conducting an independent campaign in support of its preferred candidates for three open board seats in the March 5 election. Separate independent campaigns are being paid for by the teachers union, unions representing other district employees and the L.A. County Federation of Labor.
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