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November 15, 2012 | By Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
Novelist Louise Erdrich and journalist Katherine Boo took the top prizes at the National Book Awards in New York on Wednesday night. Although set half a world apart, both women's books express what Boo described as "small stories in so-called hidden places. " Erdrich won the fiction award for "The Round House," set among the Turtle Mountain Chippewa. The author of more than a dozen novels, Erdrich spoke in Ojibwe and English in her speech, citing "the grace and endurance of Native women.
October 12, 2012 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
ANTAKYA, Turkey - A Syrian passenger jet forced to land in Turkey while on a scheduled flight from Moscow to Damascus was carrying ammunition and other items destined for the Syrian Defense Ministry, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday. The assertion was in line with Turkish allegations that the Syrian Arab Airlines craft - with a reported 37 passengers and crew members on board - was ferrying "inappropriate" material to Damascus, prompting Turkish F-16 fighter jets to force it to land Wednesday at Ankara's Esenboga International Airport.
July 19, 2012 | By Patrick J. McDonnell and Alexandra Sandels, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
BEIRUT - As fighting continuing for a fifth day in the Syrian capital, rebels on Thursday stormed major crossings along the Turkish and Iraqi borders that could serve as strategic links for supplies and personnel in the battle to oust President Bashar Assad. Opposition activists said rebels took control of the Turkish border crossing of Bab Hawa, along the main road to Aleppo, Syria's second-largest city. Rebels also reportedly seized several border posts along the Iraqi frontier, including the Abu Kamal gate near the Iraqi town of Qaim, a major transit point into Syria.
June 23, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
NASA led the way for Americans in space, but now the U.S. space agency is actively encouraging companies to take over primary responsibility for getting in and out of Earth's orbit. Last month, a capsule built and operated by SpaceX completed a nine-day cargo-hauling mission to the International Space Station, becoming the first private-sector spacecraft to make such a journey. But it won't be the last. Ed Mango, manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, is charged with helping companies develop vehicles that could ferry astronauts - and eventually, perhaps, civilians - on routine trips to space.
May 21, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Anyone who needs a quick, inexpensive getaway that's within an hour of Los Angeles, here's a great idea with a great price: Catalina Island packages that come with ferry ticket and hotel starting at just $59 a night per person.  The deal: These Catalina Express Packages allow you to choose from 20 hotels in Avalon. Each hotel offers a different deal, and best prices are offered for Sunday-Thursday stays. A handy map on the website shows you how close each one is to the beach.
May 6, 2012 | By Margo Pfeiff, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Birds twitter and sunshine twinkles through groves of bamboo and banyan trees adorned with cascades of orchids. With every step, my Vibram boot soles crush hibiscus blossoms littering a pathway, while butterflies flutter around a group of elderly folks welcoming the morning with the gracious silent semaphore of tai chi. At a clearing where remnants of a World War ll gun emplacement rust, half-swallowed in greenery, an opening in the jungle reveals...
March 11, 2012 | By Alexandra Sandels, Los Angeles Times
  In an apartment on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, an opposition activist retrieves stashes of medicine and bandages from hiding places. "What we need most right now are empty blood bags, oxygen masks and tetanus shots - and also a heart defibrillator," says the medical volunteer, tallying packages of antibiotics soon to be channeled out to protest strongholds. The trick is to move the supplies quickly so no evidence remains if security forces raid the premises, says the activist, who, like others interviewed, declined to be named for security reasons.
March 5, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Victoria, British Columbia, pops with blooms in spring. Tulips, cherry trees and more can be seen around the Canadian city and at Butchart Gardens . Clipper Vacations has a ferry and hotel package that's good for visitors short on time and money. Prices start at $138 a person for round-trip ferry from Seattle to Victoria and two nights in a hotel. The deal: The Springtacular Sale is based on double occupancy and includes two round-trip Victoria Clipper ferry tickets plus two nights in the Harbour Towers Hotel.
February 6, 2012 | By Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times
Many of the best-received commercials during Sunday's Super Bowl referenced movies — they just weren't for movies heading to the local cineplex any time soon. Several car ads that sparked some of the biggest interest on Twitter and other social-media platforms during the big game alluded to classic older films. Meanwhile, studio spots for major upcoming releases — including Marvel's "Avengers," Universal's "Battleship," Disney's "John Carter" and Paramount's "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" — passed without any great excitement or anticipation from a large number of online commenters.
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