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March 15, 2014 | By Deborah Vankin
The sound of a woman descending into madness is rich and piercing - and oddly beautiful. In a quiet rehearsal room at the Los Angeles Opera, music director James Conlon gathers about half a dozen people around a grand piano. Among them is Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova and French musician Thomas Bloch, who's just arrived from Paris with a rare, treasured instrument, the glass harmonica. Bloch takes a seat at what looks like an antique pedal sewing machine with gold-rimmed glass discs rotating on its spindle.
March 15, 2014 | By David Pierson
FALLON, Nev. - The dairy plant with its tangle of stainless steel pipes rises out of the parched landscape here like a beckoning oasis. Perched on the outskirts of this desert town dotted with small churches and roadside casinos, the factory represents a potential lifeline for nearly two dozen nearby dairy farmers. In a few weeks, every drop of milk collected from the surrounding farms will be brought to the plant and converted into fine powder inside a towering heating chamber specially made for the $85-million facility.
March 14, 2014 | By Tim Logan
Three community groups sued Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday, demanding he restore more than $350 million in mortgage settlement funds that were used to plug state budget holes two years ago. The money - from California's slice of the $25 billion national mortgage settlement with banks in 2012 - was supposed to fund housing counseling and foreclosure relief programs. But with the state facing a $16-billion budget deficit that spring, Brown diverted it to the state's general fund and to pay down interest on housing bonds.
March 14, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
Looking for a job as a bud-tender? Get in line. A marijuana-industry job fair in Colorado saw a massive turnout Thursday of job seekers who waited in line for information about employment in the expanding industry following the legalization of recreational marijuana use in the state. More than a dozen companies were looking for candidates to fill jobs as bud-tenders (those who work behind the counter and dispense pot), marketers, marijuana trimmers and even accountants. Some prospective candidates came from as far away as California and New Mexico hoping to nab a coveted job. The fair's organizers had expected a turnout of about 700 people, the Denver Post reported . But by some estimates, the number was more like 1,200.  The state is experiencing an economic boom as companies rush to meet growing demand.
March 9, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - Forget farmers vs. fishermen - or south state vs. north state. California's current water war is being waged most intensely by farmers against fellow farmers. It's a Central Valley civil war. And within that vast food-producing region - Bakersfield to Redding - it's the San Joaquin Valley vs. the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Southern California is a paying participant, siding with the San Joaquin, but in a less combative role. Its goal is to ensure a more reliable flow of delta water over the Tehachapi.
March 6, 2014 | By Henry Chu
LONDON - The European Union on Thursday reiterated its demand that Russia withdraw its forces in the Crimea, called off talks on a trade pact with Moscow and warned of economic sanctions if the situation in Ukraine worsens. However, the leaders ducked imposing such penalties immediately, which the U.S. has done and which some EU countries urged. At an emergency summit in Brussels, leaders from the 28 EU member states said that direct talks between Russia and Ukraine must start “within the next few days” to defuse the tension over Moscow's incursion into the Crimea.
March 4, 2014 | By Eric Sondheimer
 To say that Trey Dickerson is good at adjusting to his surroundings might be an understatement. He came to Los Angeles from Queens, N.Y., as a sophomore and was a starting guard at Van Nuys Montclair Prep when the school dropped its sports program. Then he went to L.A. Price, where he was a standout on the 2011-12 team. Colleges wanted him but he wasn't an NCAA qualifier, so he went to prep school, God's Academy in Dallas, Texas. He committed to Murray State last year and was taking summer classes, then reversed course and enrolled at a junior college, Williston State College in North Dakota, where he has become one of the top junior college guards in the country, with scholarship offers from Washington, Washington State, Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas and St. Louis.
March 3, 2014 | Sergei L. Loiko and Carol J. Williams
The Kremlin power play in Ukraine's strategic Crimea region escalated Sunday with Russian-backed authorities ordering Ukrainian army and navy units to surrender their weapons as an outraged international community warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that he risks censure for violating Ukraine's sovereignty. The United States accused Moscow of reinforcing an estimated 6,000 naval and ground troops in Crimea with additional personnel and announced that Secretary of State John F. Kerry would fly to Kiev, Ukraine's capital, on Tuesday in a show of support for the beleaguered Ukrainian government.
February 28, 2014 | By Emmett Rensin, guest blogger
This week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi indicated that Democrats would attempt to pass a proposed federal minimum wage hike using an obscure House parliamentary procedure. Called a “ discharge petition ,” the tactic brings a bill - in this case, a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour over two years - directly to the floor of the House, bypassing the Republican-controlled committees that have so far blocked such a vote. The reason is simple: The GOP disapproves of the minimum wage, but with most Americans in favor of raising it, House Republicans would rather not cast that vote ahead of the midterm elections.
February 28, 2014 | By John Horn
Anyone who has seen director Alfonso Cuarón and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki work together might think they spend all of their time arguing like an old married couple, the squabbles punctuated by all manner of Spanish swear words. "They are very intense," said David Heyman, a producer of "Gravity," their Oscar-nominated and most celebrated collaboration. "They are both perfectionists and unrelenting in their pursuit of that perfection. " But like some old married couples, underneath their disagreements rest a deep and abiding trust and respect.
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