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July 21, 2011 | By David Pierson, Los Angeles Times
Hobbled by leg and foot injuries, Yao Ming surprised no one when he confirmed his retirement from basketball Wednesday in his birthplace of Shanghai to a live global television audience. Fans across China commemorated the bittersweet news by posting streams of gratitude online and tuning in to a five-hour special on state television lionizing the sports star who brought glory to the nation on and off the court. "The NBA can survive without Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets can survive without Yao Ming, but we cannot survive without Yao Ming," read a comment on a Chinese Twitter-like tribute page that received 1.5 million entries within hours.
June 4, 2011 | By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
Wal-Mart wants to extract more green out of greening. The retail giant's supercenter in Lancaster recently installed fuel cells that provide half of the electricity to the 222,876-square-foot store. It has punched holes in the roof for skylights that provide 70% of the store's lighting needs during the day. To help keep the scorching sun at bay and cool the building naturally, it has painted the roof white. The store has been recognized for being eco-friendly, but Wal-Mart Stores Inc. officials say they're actually happier with how the upgrades have improved the bottom line.
April 15, 2011 | Hector Tobar
The Bell City Council was reborn this week after a nine-month scandal that landed all but one of the previous members in jail. Five new members sat at a table Monday for their first official meeting and joined with the audience of several hundred in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Then the first person to sign up to speak to the new council approached a microphone, looking a bit nervous. " Los felicito ," Jaime Luna began in Spanish. ("I congratulate you. ") He thanked the new members for having the courage to run for office and assume the responsibility of managing a city bankrupted by corruption and thievery.
January 30, 2011 | By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times
As Yousef Ahmed, a 25-year-old protester, marched along a riverfront boulevard Saturday, a soldier atop one tank extended an arm and helped him climb aboard. They embraced and posed for a picture. "He's my cousin," Ahmed said, laughing. He said he has 10 other relatives serving in the military. "I asked him if the army had orders to attack us. He said, 'You're family. How can we harm our family?'" In stark contrast to the ugly clashes between Egyptian police officers and protesters, the nation's soldiers were greeted like rock stars when they moved into Cairo's restive streets.
January 9, 2011 | By Nate Jackson, Los Angeles Times
The gig: As chief executive of Goodwill Southern California, Doug Barr runs the fourth-largest branch of the national nonprofit organization, responsible for 65 retail stores, 42 donation centers and 24 service locations in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Sales of donated clothes and household goods provide the bulk of the organization's revenue, enabling it to provide opportunities for disadvantaged and disabled local residents in employment, job training and education.
December 31, 2010 | By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times
Its prices were low. But in the end, the downtown Los Angeles used-goods shop simply wasn't used enough. That's the reasoning behind the planned closure Friday of the 35-year-old Goodwill Store at 235 S. Broadway. "The downtown store is actually in the lower-to-middle range in terms of volume of business," said Sasha Itzikman, director of marketing for Goodwill Industries of Southern California. Nonetheless, countless downtown loft apartments and business offices have been outfitted with quirky artwork and inexpensive furnishings since the store opened in 1975.
December 5, 2010 | By Cyndia Zwahlen
Small businesses may be struggling these days, but many have not given up on supporting local charities. In East Los Angeles, restaurant owner Jim Roman said he has given away hundreds of meals of barbecued ribs and chicken to support neighborhood charities and school clubs in the 18 months his small eatery has been open, even though he is barely breaking even. On Saturday, for example, he'll be feeding 40 volunteers who will be helping to pack and give away bags of food for families invited to a holiday event organized by Volunteers of East Los Angeles.
November 4, 2010 | By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
The State Department on Wednesday formally designated an Iranian anti-government group as a foreign terrorist organization, which some analysts took as a gesture of U.S. goodwill toward Tehran. The group, Jundallah, is a Sunni Muslim organization that has killed dozens of Iranian civilians and military personnel with the declared aim of defending the Baluch minority in Iran's remote southeastern corner. Tehran has accused the United States of supporting the group to destabilize the government, and has demanded that Washington regard Jundallah as a terrorist organization.
October 16, 2010 | By Steven Zeitchik and Zoran Cirjakovic
No A-list Hollywood celebrity has done more to try to soothe the wounds in the Balkans than Angelina Jolie. Through her Jolie-Pitt Foundation, she has donated millions of dollars to groups active in the region, such as Doctors Without Borders and Global Action for Children. And last spring, Jolie and partner Brad Pitt visited Bosnia to assist the nearly 120,000 people who remain displaced, unable to return to their homes. But Jolie finds herself in the difficult position of reopening those wounds with a new movie set against the backdrop of the 1992-1995 conflict.
October 13, 2010 | By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
China moved Tuesday to ease its conflict with Southeast Asian neighbors over its territorial claims, releasing Vietnamese fishermen jailed for working in disputed waters and softening its language at a meeting of defense ministers. The moves suggested that Beijing is rethinking its aggressive assertion of claims to disputed waters and islands, which has heightened tensions with its neighbors. At a meeting in Hanoi with defense ministers of the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations, Chinese officials avoided their previous declarations that the South China Sea is a "core interest.
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