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Extraordinary

TRAVEL
September 11, 2011
As I ponder the most beautiful places I've visited in America, my head fills with visions of the rocky Maine coast in summer, when long days ease into evenings of buttery soft-shelled lobster and chilled white wine. My mind sees the Northwest in winter, when wild Pacific storms lash century-old pines that cling tenaciously to basalt bluffs - and I get to watch the show from a window seat by a blazing hearth. But when I think of America, my beautiful, there's another place that captures my heart and soul: Delancey Street Restaurant in San Francisco.
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WORLD
July 31, 2011 | By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times
Each year, when the holy month of Ramadan arrives, Ibrahim Shwehdi is gripped by ineffable sadness. A month of reflection and mercy is, for him, an occasion of grief and loss. It was during Ramadan in 1984, just before Libyans sat down at sunset to break the daily fast, that Shwehdi's brother Sadiq Hamed Shwehdi was hanged before a crowd at a Benghazi basketball arena. The execution was televised live, and people across eastern Libya watched in horror as thousands in the arena cheered.
OPINION
July 31, 2011 | Ellie Herman, Ellie Herman is a teacher at Animo Pat Brown Charter High School in South Los Angeles
The kid in the back wants me to define "logic. " The girl next to him looks bewildered. The boy in front of me dutifully takes notes even though he has severe auditory processing issues and doesn't understand a word I'm saying. Eight kids forgot their essays, but one has a good excuse because she had another epileptic seizure last night. The shy, quiet girl next to me hasn't done homework for weeks, ever since she was jumped by a knife-wielding gangbanger as she walked to school. The boy next to her is asleep with his head on the desk because he works nights at a factory to support his family.
SPORTS
July 19, 2011 | T.J. Simers
Let's begin with what we know. They don't come more likable or approachable than Mark Gubicza, Gooby to his friends, the Angels broadcaster and former pitcher for the Kansas City Royals. As carefree as anyone might appear, he was bubbling over with excitement Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. Big game with Texas, all right, but Gooby is already looking forward to Monday, every mom and dad in the place probably jumping for joy as well if they only knew. "Off the medication Monday," he says, and Gooby's beaming.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 24, 2011 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Director Chris Weitz's new drama, "A Better Life," should be a much better movie than it is, but emotions get in the way. It's a quintessential L.A. story of a hard-pressed illegal immigrant family — in this case a father and son — living with the constant fear of deportation. Rather than being compelling, though, the film is weighted down by clichés. A pity, since the issues could hardly be more timely. Weitz, working from a screenplay by Eric Eason ("Manito"), wears his heart on his sleeve in every scene.
SPORTS
June 5, 2011 | By Mike DiGiovanna
Last December, Bobby Wilson married a woman he met in 2004 while playing minor league baseball in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. But the Angels' reserve catcher readily admits she was not his first love. Wilson wistfully recalled that his first soul mate had a nice tan, leathery skin and a musky scent he found intoxicating. The two were inseparable for five years. And his wife isn't even jealous. That's because the object of Wilson's affection was a Rawlings infielder's mitt he got when he was 5 years old. "I don't think that glove left my side for five years," says Wilson, 28. "I carried it to school with me. As soon as we got home, we played baseball until dinner.
NATIONAL
May 26, 2011 | By Ken Dilanian, Washington Bureau
It stands among the most public American foul-ups in the war on terrorism: A 2003 CIA operation to snatch an Islamic cleric from the streets of Milan and secretly deliver him to an Egyptian prison was exposed in embarrassing detail by an Italian prosecutor, who won convictions against 23 Americans on kidnapping and related offenses. The cleric, known as Abu Omar, said he was tortured in Egypt almost daily for seven months. Some of the CIA officers who had arranged the kidnapping spent thousands of dollars afterward staying at luxurious Italian resorts, according to Italian investigators who pieced together their movements using cellphone and hotel records.
OPINION
May 18, 2011
In a perfunctory order, the Supreme Court on Monday denied a day in court to five alleged victims of one of the grossest abuses of the war on terror: "extraordinary rendition. " That's the euphemism for transferring suspects abroad for interrogation and, it's alleged, torture. Besides denying the five any form of redress for their grievances, the court's action endorses the federal government's overuse of the so-called state secrets privilege to short-circuit the judicial process. That makes the court's action doubly shameful.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 17, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
Five foreign men who sued a San Jose-based CIA contractor for its alleged role in abducting them abroad and spiriting them to secret interrogation sites have exhausted their legal avenues for getting the practice known as "extraordinary rendition" branded a human rights violation. The U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday to let stand a federal appeals court ruling that the president has the power to scuttle the men's lawsuit because state secrets, such as how CIA operatives interrogate terror suspects, could be revealed if the case went to trial.
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