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ENTERTAINMENT
November 29, 2013 | By Randy Lewis
This post has been updated. See note below for details. This year's crop of holiday music releases demonstrates anew that the only rule of success in this specialized genre is that there are no rules. Who'd have predicted that the standouts in a year of big name entries would include R&B superstar Mary J. Blige, the erstwhile king of British pub rock (Nick Lowe) and an Indian classical music virtuoso (James Whetzel)? Here is Calendar's annual assessment of the highs and lows of seasonal music collections for 2013.
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WORLD
November 13, 2013 | By David Zucchino
KABUL, Afghanistan - In a harsh indictment of the Western-funded drug eradication effort in Afghanistan, the United Nations on Wednesday reported an increase of nearly 50% in the 2013 opium harvest, with land used for cultivation reaching an all-time high. The annual survey underscored the growing threat in the world's largest opium-producing nation. The unchecked spread of opium cultivation has brought widespread corruption, political instability and enormous profits for the Taliban insurgency, which controls Afghanistan's primary poppy-growing provinces.
NEWS
October 15, 2013 | By Jeff Spurrier
At nearly every community garden in Los Angeles, and at every school garden too, someone is probably growing carrots. Sweet, crunchy and familiar, a freshly uprooted carrot is a fun surprise, like unwrapping a present, wrapped in earth. But even though the domesticated carrot ( Daucus carota subspecies sativus ) is so common, it can be surprisingly difficult to grow. There are three key tricks to growing carrots successfully, but before we dive into that, know that carrots don't flower until the second year.
NATIONAL
October 11, 2013 | By Jenny Deam
SPRINGFIELD, Colo. - Out near a lonely highway southwest of town, a farmer's son stuck some seeds in the ground last spring to see what would happen. What he pulled from the soil made history and has sown new hope for struggling farmers both here and across the nation. Last weekend, 41-year-old Ryan Loflin, a fifth-generation Coloradan, along with an enthusiastic crew of 45 volunteers, harvested what is being called the first U.S. crop of commercial hemp in more than half a century.
NEWS
September 3, 2013 | By Jeff Spurrier
One of the enduring lessons of gardening life is to remember the recommendations of other gardeners. More than a year ago, musician and edible gardening consultant Lauri Krantz told me that she was stunned by a harvest of Jerusalem artichokes from only eight plants. Krantz, whom I profiled last year , had put them in a garden for chefs Suzanne Goin and David Lentz, mostly for the pretty yellow blooms that appear in August and last for a month. While transitioning the garden to fall, Krantz found more than 400 edible tubers in the soil, so many she needed help carrying them out of the garden.
NEWS
August 21, 2013 | By Booth Moore, Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic
With the global marketing blitzes for films these days, it's not uncommon to see celebrities walking dozens of red carpets in dozens of high-profile looks in so many days. While it's fun for style watchers, today's never-ending red carpet means a fashion trend can go from a "do" to a "don't" in a heartbeat. Exhibit A: The crop top. It looked edgy back in September 2011 when Gwyneth Paltrow wore a jet black beaded top and skirt by  Emilio Pucci to the Emmy Awards, and was chic in a different, more sleek way in November 2012, when Kristen Stewart wore a cropped white Balenciaga bustier top and black trousers to the "On the Road" premiere.
WORLD
August 12, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
FLORENCIA, Colombia - The expansion of China's middle class isn't some abstract notion in this sweltering corner of Colombia's Amazon River basin. It's driving a private-public partnership trying to steer the local economy away from illegal coca farming and toward filling Asia's growing demand for expensive ornamental fish. Fish farming around Florencia, a city of 165,000 people, is focused on the silver arowana, a highly coveted species called dragonfish in China. Each silver arowana costs pennies to raise but sells at retail for up to $40 in Hong Kong, where collectors view an aquarium filled with nine arowanas as a sign of good luck.
NEWS
July 31, 2013 | By Booth Moore and Adam Tschorn
Top of crops: Proving that no matter how many times designers show crop tops on the runway, the only place they truly translate is in Hollywood, Shailene Woodley (who seems to have a particular penchant for the crop) stepped out in the above Proenza Schouler look at a screening from "The Spectacular Now" Tuesday night in Los Angeles. The cropped top and skirt ensemble is from Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez's Resort 2014 collection. The dream-catcher necklace by H.O.W.L.
SPORTS
July 29, 2013 | By Kevin Baxter
Scott Servais knew what he was getting himself into when he took over the Angels scouting and player development departments two years ago. The farm system he inherited was ranked as the worst in Major League Baseball by Baseball America. Two years of ill-advised trades had left the team with no minor league depth and two winters of big free-agent signings had left it void of a first-round draft pick for two years. The Angels also had virtually no presence in Latin America, a hotbed for talent.
BUSINESS
July 18, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
Monsanto Co. said Thursday it will largely drop its bid to grow some of its genetically modified crops in Europe. The world's largest seed-maker has nine pending applications with the European Commission, the executive body for the European Union. A spokesman said the company plans to withdraw eight of those applications. The requests "have been going nowhere fast for several years," said Brandon Mitchener, a spokesman for the St. Louis-based company's European entity. "There's no end in sight ... due to political obstructionism.
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