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December 24, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Three American Express Co. subsidiaries have agreed to pay about $75 million in restitution and penalties for a variety of illegal practices involving hundreds of thousands of credit-card customers, regulators said Tuesday. American Express Travel Related Services Co. Inc., American Express Centurion Bank and American Express Bank were accused of unfair billing practices and deceptive marketing of add-on products, such as payment protection and credit monitoring. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered the companies to return $59.5 million to more than 335,000 customers.
July 1, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
Fugitive NSA leaker Edward Snowden issued a plaintive appeal Monday from his diplomatic limbo at a Moscow airport, accusing the Obama administration of using the "bad tools of political aggression" to render him stateless. Snowden, whose U.S. passport was revoked after he began his globe-trotting flight from justice for leaking national security secrets, lamented in a statement posted on the WikiLeaks website that President Obama was obstructing his right to seek asylum by threatening countries willing to grant it. Snowden has been holed up in a transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport for more than a week and the strain of being trapped in a judicial standoff of his own making was palpable in his accusatory statement.
July 1, 2013 | By Sergei L. Loiko and Carol J. Williams
MOSCOW - Edward Snowden plaintively appealed Monday from his diplomatic limbo in Moscow for relief from what he described as President Obama's use of "deception" and the "bad tools of political aggression" in pressuring other countries to deny him asylum. In a statement posted on WikiLeaks' website, the fugitive former National Security Agency analyst accused Obama of seeking to make him stateless. Snowden's first communication in more than a week exuded the strain of being trapped in a diplomatic no man's land and seeing earlier offers of refuge being rescinded.
June 12, 2013 | By Amy Nicholson
Picture Clint Eastwood blundering into a David Lynch movie and you'll have "The Rambler," Calvin Lee Reeder's hallucinatory hitchhiker horror about a taciturn ex-con (Dermot Mulroney) who keeps stumbling across strangers - and corpses - that might not actually exist. Either way, he doesn't much seem to care. He's just a cowboy trying to make it to his brother's pony farm in Oregon, but like Odysseus in blue jeans - albeit, a much less talkative Odysseus - he's beset by a dozen devils, including a fight promoter who forces him to battle a man with a hook, a traveling magician with a dream machine that makes people's heads explode, and a nameless beautiful blond (Lindsay Pulsipher, the star of Reeder's equally incoherent "The Oregonian")
May 31, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
What do Leon Panetta, Marc Morial and Corinthian Colleges have in common? Good question. Panetta and Morial are among our most distinguished public servants. Panetta earlier this year concluded a stint as secretary of Defense, one of a string of high-level government posts under Presidents Obama and Clinton, preceded by 16 years as a California congressman. Morial served two terms as mayor of New Orleans and is now chief executive of the National Urban League, a leading civil rights organization.
May 16, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Regard the hands of Ricky Jay. Watch them making cards do things cards never have done before, things cards didn't even know they could do. And for this master of manipulation, cards are just the beginning. Seeing is definitely not believing in the wonderfully titled "Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay," directed by Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein. This documentary provides an elegant, enthralling peek behind the curtain and into the you-won't-trust-your-eyes world of this celebrated contemporary conjurer.
May 16, 2013 | By Susan King
Renowned sleight-of-hand magician, actor, author and historian Ricky Jay learned his craft from the best in the field, including Al Fosso, Slydini, Cardini, Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller. These men never made a lot of money during their long careers, and in the case of Cardini, he didn't appear on television for fear of having his act exposed and copied. But to Jay, these master magicians were superstars. "I think the thing about these people who are so good is that they are perpetual students, as well as masters," said Jay, 65, in a recent phone interview.
May 8, 2013 | By Greg Braxton
There's no longer a mystery surrounding NBC's mystery drama "Deception. " It's been canceled. The series, which premiered in midseason, did not draw a large audience when it started and failed to engage enough viewers. The show starred Meagan Good as Joanna Locasto, a San Francisco narcotics detective who investigates a murder that has been linked to the Bowers, a powerful and wealthy family that once employed Joanna's mother as a maid. "Deception" was one of only two network dramas that featured an African American female in a lead role.
April 4, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Don't look to be entranced by "Trance. " It starts out like a house afire, but by the time it's over we're the ones feeling burned. A slick heist tale with more twists than sense, this is one movie that ends up outsmarting itself. Both the good and the bad things in "Trance" are traceable to director Danny Boyle, who assembled the capable cast (James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson) and has long wanted to film this project. As co-written by Joe Ahearne (whose 2001 British TV movie was the basis for this production)
April 2, 2013 | By Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times
— Of all the numbers dotted on a scorecard and drizzled around its margins as opening day extended into opening night, the most compelling number for the Angels might be this one: Number of times Jered Weaver hit 90 mph: zero. There might be no pitcher in the major leagues more crucial to the fortunes of his team. There might be no radar gun readings more unsettling that the ones at Great American Ball Park on Monday, the ones that tracked Weaver's fastball most often in the range of 84-87 mph. What matters most is getting outs, and Weaver got them.
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