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WORLD
May 26, 2013 | By Chris Kraul, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
BOGOTA, Colombia -- In a milestone first step in efforts to end Latin America's longest-running insurgency, Colombia's largest rebel group and the government said Sunday in Havana that they had reached an agreement on land reform, the first of six points that would make up an eventual peace deal.   The agreement on agrarian reform, considered a crucial element of any broader accord, is a boost for President Juan Manuel Santos, who last summer took the risky political move of restarting peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
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WORLD
May 26, 2013 | By Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
BOGOTA, Colombia - In a milestone first step in efforts to end Latin America's longest-running insurgency, Colombia's largest rebel group and the government said Sunday that they had reached an agreement on land reform, the first of six points that could make up an eventual peace deal. The agreement on agrarian reform, considered a crucial element of any broader accord, is a boost for President Juan Manuel Santos, who last summer took the risky political move of restarting peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
WORLD
May 21, 2013 | By Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
BOGOTA, Colombia - Leftist rebel Reinel Usuga surrendered this month because he was afraid of dying in battle and being buried in an unmarked grave even as rebel leaders negotiate a possible peace agreement that would make such a death pointless - perhaps even absurd. But Usuga, 30, a squad commander with the 57th Front Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, said in an interview days after his surrender that another issue irked him: The apparent "comfort" of rebel leaders negotiating in Cuba was an irritating juxtaposition to the everyday risks he and his comrades were facing in the jungle.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 14, 2013 | By Robert Abele
The press notes for "If I Were You" indicate that writer-director Joan Carr-Wiggin's favorite director is Preston Sturges, but there's little of the master's zip, wit or taste for desperate absurdity in this ill-conceived marital farce. Moments after discovering her husband is cheating - unbeknown to him - Madelyn (Marcia Gay Harden) follows the distraught mistress (Leonor Watling) home, saves her from suicide, then befriends her as a way of keeping tabs on the affair. REVIEW: More movie reviews from the Times To complicate matters, Madelyn, who is also grappling with her mother's terminal illness, lands the role of King Lear in a local play, the same production in which Watling's character plays the fool.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 7, 2013 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
"Identity Thief" is a larcenous bit of funny business. It probably should be locked up for its crimes and misdemeanors against moviemaking. But its stars, Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, steal so many laughs from such improbable places that the bumps in this revenge/road trip farce can be mostly forgiven, though not forgotten. Directed by Seth Gordon, the film has the same R-rated tenor of his relatively horrible "Horrible Bosses" and his really dreary "Four Christmases. " More problematic, it has the same difficulty with the connective tissue - anything but the really funny stuff sags or is superfluous.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 15, 2012 | By Nicole Sperling and Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
Quentin Tarantino had been shooting "Django Unchained" for two solid weeks at a plantation outside New Orleans, but a pall of uncertainty hung over the cast and crew: Just what kind of slavery movie was this going to be? After all, this was a white writer-director with a blaxploitation fixation whose previous film, "Inglourious Basterds," was a wisecracking Holocaust revenge farce. Now it was February in Louisiana, and he had scores of African American extras on set playing field hands, house servants and "ponies" (pretty black girls who served as companions to slave owners)
ENTERTAINMENT
November 15, 2012 | By David Ng
Porn on Broadway? No, it's not the second coming of "Oh! Calcutta!" It's a new comedy called "The Performers," set amid the colorful vulgarity of an adult-movie awards show. The play opened Wednesday at the Longacre Theatre with a cast that includes Henry Winkler, Alicia Silverstone, Daniel Breaker and Cheyenne Jackson. "The Performers," by David West Read, follows a tabloid journalist (Breaker) who is attending the awards show to interview a former high school classmate (Jackson)
WORLD
October 15, 2012 | By Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
BOGOTA, Colombia - Among the many thorny issues to be hammered out in peace talks beginning Wednesday in Oslo between Colombia's government and the country's largest rebel group is what sort of post-conflict political role will be afforded to the insurgents. Guaranteeing a political voice for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is one of the five main issues in the talks, which are to begin in the Norwegian capital and then move to Havana. The other points to be negotiated are agrarian reform, victims' rights, an end to the rebels' alleged drug trafficking and logistics for stopping the conflict.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 8, 2012 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Charles Smith is just your average, bumbling occupant of the Oval Office. Up for reelection, he doesn't stand much of a chance of gaining a second term. His wife is already asking whether she can take one of the White House couches she had reupholstered when they leave. Even those seeking favors are apt to remind him that his poll numbers are "lower than Gandhi's cholesterol. " From this desperate political situation, David Mamet, playwriting's graying enfant terrible, spins a retro farce that will have many wondering whether the ghost of Sid Caesar has taken possession of the author of such foul-mouthed dramatic landmarks as "American Buffalo" and "Glengarry Glen Ross.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 4, 2012 | By Sheri Linden
Indie comedies set in the 'burbs are a dime a dozen, and they usually paint the nonmetro regions as repositories of conformity and inertia. "The Oranges" takes its place in that familiar realm, holding out more than the usual promise, thanks to an exceptionally strong ensemble: It stars Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt and Allison Janney. But if this story of midlife crisis among longtime neighbors has flickers of heart, it's only because the actors can convey more in a glance than the pages of on-the-nose dialogue they're asked to deliver.
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