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March 9, 2014 | By Henry Chu
MADRID - Reminders of her son hang close to Pilar Manjon's heart. There's the necklace she wears with his name, Daniel, and the golden pendant bearing his first initial. A locket holds a tiny snapshot of his handsome face, smiling with the promise of a life that was abruptly cut short, along with scores of others, a decade ago in the deadliest Islamic terrorist attack on European soil. Daniel, 20, was heading into downtown Madrid the morning of March 11, 2004, when a series of bombs exploded within minutes aboard four packed commuter trains.
March 7, 2014 | By Salvador Rodriguez
After Newsweek published a report alleging he is the founder of bitcoin, 64-year-old Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto spoke with the Associated Press to deny his involvement with the cryptocurrency. The AP uploaded footage of the interview to YouTube on Thursday evening. In the video, Nakamoto said he was an engineer, as stated in the Newsweek piece, but he didn't create bitcoin. Nakamoto said he wants to clear his name. VIDEO: How Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto chose which reporter to speak to [Video]
March 6, 2014 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Strive as one might for objectivity, certain shows come equipped with viewer expectations. So when Denis Leary announced that USA would be debuting his comedic accompaniment to "Rescue Me," a natural reaction, at least among Leary fans, would have been "Yay. " Then, when the first episode of "Sirens," which premieres Thursday, turned out to be one long (literally and figuratively) penis joke, an equally natural reaction might have been "Gaack. " Which is no doubt why USA sent three episodes for review.
March 5, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
KIEV, Ukraine -- Russian and Ukrainian officials dug in on their armed standoff over the strategic Crimean peninsula on Wednesday, with the new head of national security for Ukraine saying the Kremlin needed to acknowledge the failure of its “blitzkrieg” against the southern territory and Russia's foreign minister insisting that Moscow isn't calling the shots there. Ukrainian National Council for Defense and Security chief Andriy Parubiy described the tug of war over Crimea as tense and dangerous but said there had been only two new “provocations” by Russian forces overnight and both had failed to wrest Ukrainian military installations from Kiev's control.
March 4, 2014 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
I've been waiting for Denis Johnson to write more short fiction. His 1992 collection “Jesus' Son,” which gathers 11 linked stories about a recovering drug addict, is one of the signal achievements of contemporary American literature, a book so spare and beautiful and knowing that it makes my eyes weep blood. Johnson had published only a couple of stories since “Jesus' Son”; one of the last, “Xmas in Las Vegas,” appeared in Tin House more than a decade ago. In the current issue of the New Yorker, however, he has another: “The Largesse of the Sea Maiden,” the first-person account of an advertising executive named Bill Whitman, who has come to the realization “that I've lived longer in the past, now, than I can expect to live in the future.
March 2, 2014 | By Edward Frenkel
Imagine you had to take an art class in which you were taught how to paint a fence or a wall, but you were never shown the paintings of the great masters, and you weren't even told that such paintings existed. Pretty soon you'd be asking, why study art? That's absurd, of course, but it's surprisingly close to the way we teach children mathematics. In elementary and middle school and even into high school, we hide math's great masterpieces from students' view. The arithmetic, algebraic equations and geometric proofs we do teach are important, but they are to mathematics what whitewashing a fence is to Picasso - so reductive it's almost a lie. Most of us never get to see the real mathematics because our current math curriculum is more than 1,000 years old. For example, the formula for solutions of quadratic equations was in al-Khwarizmi's book published in 830, and Euclid laid the foundations of Euclidean geometry around 300 BC. If the same time warp were true in physics or biology, we wouldn't know about the solar system, the atom and DNA. This creates an extraordinary educational gap for our kids, schools and society.
March 2, 2014 | By Lisa Zamosky
Peter Altschuler's back surgery had been a long time coming. The 66-year-old marketing professional and actor from Santa Monica slipped a disc about 10 years ago, and he's been coping with it ever since. A series of injections kept him pain-free for years, he said, but by 2012 they stopped doing their job. "I was in constant discomfort," he says. His doctors said it was time for surgery. Although old enough to qualify for Medicare, Altschuler held on to an insurance policy he'd had through a professional association before turning 65. As most health plans do, his insurer required him to obtain prior approval for his procedure.
February 26, 2014 | Marc Lifsher
Hundreds of thousands of jobless Californians last year appealed decisions of the troubled Employment Development Department, adding to months of delays in getting unemployment benefits. After holding hearings, administrative law judges at the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board rejected many of the EDD's cursory, highly technical decisions. They threw out or revised more than half of the earlier denials, belatedly awarding long-sought assistance of up to $450 per week.
February 25, 2014 | By Lalita Clozel
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced on Tuesday a ban against issuing U.S. visas to foreigners implicated in wartime sexual violence. “No one at the highest level of military or governance who has presided over, or engaged in, or knew of, or adopted these kinds of attacks is ever going to receive a visa to travel into the United States of America from this day forward,” Kerry said during talks with his British counterpart, William Hague. Hague applauded the announcement.
February 24, 2014 | David Lazarus
Netflix is paying cable giant Comcast a pile of cash for what the companies say will be "no preferential network treatment. " Sure, because corporations routinely give money to one another just for the fun of it. The reality is that Netflix is handing Comcast an unspecified chunk of change, likely millions of dollars, for what they say is a "more direct connection" to the cable company's broadband network. That's preferential treatment. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.
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