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March 13, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
With the first hint of spring sunshine last month, shoppers began emerging from hibernation, fueling hopes that a particularly bitter winter was to blame for the sour economic signals of recent months. Retail sales rose 0.3% to $427.2 billion in February from the previous month, marking the first increase in the gauge since November, according to the Commerce Department. The measure is considered a key indicator of economic health because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity.
March 13, 2014 | David Lazarus
In his 30 years as a pharmacist, including three at a CVS Caremark store in Northern California, Wayne Wilson said it was all too common for drugstore employees to steal prescription drugs, which would often make their way to the black market. "It happens far more often than people realize," he told me. "I used to be shocked. I'm not shocked any more. " Wilson said he personally intervened after a CVS pharmacy worker in Eureka was caught slipping painkillers into his pocket. That worker was arrested and fired, he said.
March 12, 2014 | Frederick N. Rasmussen
Leo Bretholz, a Holocaust survivor who became a major voice in the campaign to gain reparations from companies that transported victims to concentration camps during World War II, died in his sleep Saturday at his home in Pikesville, Md. He was 93. Bretholz played a leading role in a campaign to require SNCF, the French railway system that historians have said conveyed 76,000 people to Nazi camps, to pay reparations to U.S. Holocaust survivors....
March 10, 2014 | By Richard Fausset
MEXICO CITY - If nothing else, the slaying of cartel boss Nazario Moreno Gonzalez by Mexican soldiers may have burst the bubble of mysticism that had made him one of the stranger figures to emerge in the country's drug war. Moreno, whose nicknames included "El Mas Loco" ("The Craziest"), was a founder of Michoacan state's La Familia drug cartel and its offshoot, the Knights Templar - groups that have moved massive amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs north to the United States.
March 3, 2014 | Sergei L. Loiko and Carol J. Williams
The Kremlin power play in Ukraine's strategic Crimea region escalated Sunday with Russian-backed authorities ordering Ukrainian army and navy units to surrender their weapons as an outraged international community warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that he risks censure for violating Ukraine's sovereignty. The United States accused Moscow of reinforcing an estimated 6,000 naval and ground troops in Crimea with additional personnel and announced that Secretary of State John F. Kerry would fly to Kiev, Ukraine's capital, on Tuesday in a show of support for the beleaguered Ukrainian government.
March 3, 2014 | By Paul Richter and Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON - Russia's military action in Crimea has strengthened support for economic aid to beleaguered Ukraine, yet the multibillion-dollar package under discussion in world capitals still must navigate a treacherous course. With Russian troops now essentially in control of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, President Obama challenged lawmakers who have been demanding tough action to start with an aid package to help shore up the fledgling government in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. Obama said Monday that he'd heard "a lot of talk from Congress about what should be done.
March 2, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
Southern California home building is stuck at historic lows, one of many factors conspiring against middle-class buyers in a recovery marked by high prices and low supply. Despite explosive price gains last year, builders and their Wall Street financiers remain hesitant to make big bets on the rebound. The slow construction is among many hurdles facing buyers seeking affordable homes. Cash-rich investors - many of them buying homes to rent out, rather than resell - have eaten into supply, especially at the lower end of the market.
February 27, 2014 | By Richard Verrier
A new report by the Milken Institute could provide fresh ammunition to proponents of an expanded state film and TV tax credit. Set to be released Thursday, the study entitled "A Hollywood Exit: What California Must Do to Remain Competitive in Entertainment -- and Keep Jobs," paints a bleak picture of the jobs California has lost to New York and other rivals due to the proliferation of film tax credits and rebates. Among the key findings: California lost 16,137 film and TV industry jobs between 2004 and 2012, an 11% decline, according to figures from U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
February 20, 2014 | Sam Farmer
INDIANAPOLIS - A scant three weeks into the off-season, the NFL is dealing with three public relations infernos, two involving current players. There's the Miami Dolphins bullying saga, chronicled in a just-released investigation that pulled back the curtain on the team's toxic locker room culture. The Dolphins have fired their offensive line coach and longtime trainer, and player suspensions could be in the works. There's the arrest of retired Pro Bowl safety Darren Sharper, most recently an NFL Network analyst, on charges that he drugged and raped two women.
February 20, 2014 | By Alan Zarembo
Many federal programs aimed at preventing psychological problems in military service members and their families have not been evaluated correctly to determine if they are working and are not supported by science, a new report commissioned by the Defense Department says. "A lot of their programs don't have any good data behind them," said Kenneth Warner, a professor of public health at the University of Michigan who led the Institute of Medicine committee that produced the report.
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