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ENTERTAINMENT
April 7, 2014 | By David Ng
SAN DIEGO - Judging by the audience's reaction, the villain at the San Diego Opera's swan-song production of "Don Quixote" may have taken the stage before the curtain was even raised. As the house lights were about to go down Saturday night, Ian Campbell made a surprise appearance on stage - to raucous boos and heckling from many in the crowd of nearly 3,000. Even so, he also managed to win applause, and at one point several dozen people stood up in his support. Campbell, the company's longtime general and artistic director, is under fire for pushing to close the opera, which has suffered from declining attendance and donations.
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SPORTS
April 5, 2014 | By Ben Bolch
The Portland Trail Blazers expected to make the playoffs. They never envisioned practically wrapping up a spot by the day after Christmas. A 24-5 start gave them the best record in the NBA and made them the league's biggest marvel. "I would lie," center Robin Lopez admitted this week, "if I said the beginning of the season didn't surprise me. " The next three months would be startling in a different sort of way. The Blazers have gone 25-23 since their world-beater days, though they're on the verge of clinching their first playoff berth since 2011 and still have a chance to secure home-court advantage in the first round.
NEWS
April 4, 2014 | By Susan Denley
Singer-songwriter Lorde tells Fashion magazine that she feels empowered when she wears suits and other menswear, as she did when she performed in trousers and a white shirt at the Grammys. (But she wears a spangled Dolce & Gabbana dress on the mag's May cover.) [Fashion magazine] Oscar winner and red carpet darling Lupita Nyong'o is Lancome's new brand ambassador, the company announced via news release on on Friday. David Beckham's next H&M collaboration, a men's swimsuit line, is set to debut in May. [People]
BUSINESS
April 3, 2014 | David Lazarus
Among the frequently asked questions on Yelp's website, there's this: "Will Yelp remove or reorder bad reviews if a business pays for sponsorship?" And the answer: "No. You can't pay us to remove or reorder your bad reviews - it's just that simple. " It's not that simple, at least if you listen to the many small-business owners who say Yelp routinely uses bad reviews and competitors' ads as leverage to get merchants to cough up some cash. "They continually harass you and strong-arm you to get you to pay for their service," said Randy Boelsems, 64, who runs a boating supply company in Fountain Valley.
NEWS
April 3, 2014 | By Ted Rall
Anything can be a point of pride. Your local baseball team. The weather. Political corruption. The genesis of Thursday's cartoon is a barroom argument I found myself having at least 20 years ago with a Chicagoan. "The Illinois state Legislature," he stated confidently, "is the most corrupt in the country. " I made cases for my home state of Ohio and my adopted home of New York. Overhearing us, a third man approached, loaded for bear, to make clear that anyone who challenged Harrisburg, home of Pennsylvania's statehouse, as the stinkiest cesspool in all of American politics would have to deal with him and his voluminous knowledge of the Keystone State's seemingly infinite list of dirty deeds.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 1, 2014 | By Randy Lewis
A lyric from the title track from New Zealand rocker Neil Finn's new solo album, "Dizzy Heights," crystallizes much of what the erstwhile member of Crowded House, Split Enz and the Finn Brothers is up to on his latest work. "Help me make up a new sound," he sings, and indeed, much of what he's created for "Dizzy Heights" embodies that idea with spacious aural landscapes and often exotic arrangements surrounding lyrics that delve into a multiplicity of emotions. It's often a far cry from the Beatle-esque pop with which Finn built his reputation as one of the finest songwriters of the 1980s and '90s.
NATIONAL
March 31, 2014 | By Ken Dilanian, This article has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details
FT. MEADE, Md. - In nearly nine years as head of the nation's largest intelligence agency, Gen. Keith Alexander presided over a vast expansion of digital spying, acquiring information in a volume his predecessors would have found unimaginable. In Iraq, for example, the National Security Agency went from intercepting only about half of enemy signals and taking hours to process them to being able to collect, sort and make available details of every Iraqi insurgent email, text message and phone-location signal in real time, said John "Chris" Inglis, who recently retired as the NSA's top civilian.
SPORTS
March 30, 2014 | Chris Dufresne
Three referees and a technician huddled at the scorer's table late Sunday afternoon and determined, after a lengthy review, that next week's Final Four in North Texas was set. Utilizing information culled from hundreds of cameras set up at games around the country over two weeks, the NCAA confirmed the schools moving on as Florida, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Kentucky. The NCAA also announced the MVEI (most valuable electronic instrument) of the Elite Eight was the replay monitor.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 25, 2014 | By Robert J. Lopez and Ben Welsh
John Mireles spent six years preparing to become a firefighter. The Signal Hill resident took fire science classes and worked nights on an ambulance crew, in addition to his full-time day job. He said he passed the Los Angeles Fire Department written exam, made it through an interview and background check and reached the final stages of the hiring process. But last week he was among hundreds of candidates who received a terse, two-sentence email from city personnel officials: They would no longer be hiring from a pool of applicants who had advanced through a yearlong screening process.
SPORTS
March 23, 2014 | By Mike Bresnahan
The surreal state of the Lakers - they lose even when they win. They beat the Orlando Magic, 103-94, Sunday at Staples Center and ended a four-game losing streak with a career-high 28 points from Jordan Hill. But Pau Gasol couldn't finish the game, staying in the locker room at halftime after feeling dizzy and nauseated. He received three liters of IV solution, a sizable amount, and was to spend the night at a hospital for precautionary reasons. Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni theorized it was an illness or influenza though admitted he did not know what caused Gasol's discomfort.
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