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NATIONAL
April 3, 2014 | By Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON - Democrats struggling to combat a flood of outside money pouring in to defeat their candidates have found at least a temporary solution: If you can't beat them, brand them. The latest strategy of Democratic messaging is tying Republican candidates and policies to the party's most prominent - and at times vilified - financial patrons, billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) initiated the strategy last month when he decried the brothers - whose last name is pronounced "coke" - from the Senate floor as "shadowy billionaires" and "un-American.
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WORLD
March 30, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - The top U.S. and Russian diplomats agreed Sunday to work with Ukrainian government officials to ease the crisis triggered by Russia's annexation of Crimea, but remained far apart on other key points after four hours of negotiations in Paris. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the meeting constructive. Lavrov's remarks suggested that Moscow may now be more willing to work with the interim Ukrainian government, which it has previously dismissed as illegitimate.
BUSINESS
March 30, 2014 | Michael Hiltzik
As often happens when the financial demands on government social programs rise, there's been a lot of talk lately about the need to return to the traditional American system of community and faith-based help for the needy: charity, not government handouts. One hears this most often from fiscal conservatives such as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who spoke on the radio not long ago about how suburbanites shouldn't drive past blighted neighborhoods and say, "I'm paying my taxes, government's going to fix that.
BUSINESS
March 28, 2014 | By Hugo Martín
Even before the disappearance of its Boeing 777, Malaysia Airlines faced financial turbulence and stiff competition from low-cost carriers in Asia. Still, airline experts say Malaysia's flagship carrier could survive the economic blow of the disaster by responding with new management and a safety campaign, among other changes. "The airline needs to show it is committed to safety, security and reliability," said Henry H. Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst for advisory firm Hudson Crossing.
WORLD
March 27, 2014 | By Henry Chu and Batsheva Sobelman
TOLEDO, Spain - The Jews who flock to the two medieval synagogues in this walled city are tourists, not worshipers. No one of their faith has practiced it in the temples' exquisitely decorated precincts since 1492. That was the year King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, besides dispatching Christopher Columbus to look for a passage to India, decreed that the Jews of Spain had to either convert to Christianity or quit the country. Many fled - and were robbed, beaten or raped on the way out. Those who stayed faced possible torture and a gruesome death in the Spanish Inquisition.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 27, 2014 | By Howard Blume
A groundbreaking, two-month trial challenging teacher job protections in California concluded Thursday with both sides asserting that the interests of students are at stake. The case, Vergara vs. California, seeks to overturn a set of laws that affect how teachers are fired, laid off and granted tenure. The Silicon Valley-based group Students Matter brought the lawsuit on behalf of nine plaintiffs, contending that the regulations hinder the removal of ineffective teachers. The result is a workforce with thousands of "grossly ineffective" teachers, which disproportionately hurts low-income and minority students, attorneys said.
NATIONAL
March 26, 2014 | By Lalita Clozel
WASHINGTON - The head of the Internal Revenue Service said Wednesday that it would take years to turn over all the documents subpoenaed by the House Oversight and Government Reform committee in its investigation of the IRS' alleged targeting of conservative groups. During a confrontational hearing, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said he needed more time to comply with the committee's request for the email correspondence of Lois Lerner, a former IRS official in charge of the agency's nonprofit division.
NATIONAL
March 22, 2014 | By Ralph Vartabedian
In a Louisiana swamp several miles upriver from the Gulf of Mexico, about 3,000 construction workers are building a massive industrial facility to liquefy natural gas, preparing for a new era when the U.S. will begin exporting energy around the globe. The $12-billion project is one of the largest single industrial investments in the nation, part of a massive transformation of the energy sector that has led to a boom in drilling, transportation and refining from coast to coast. Five years ago, the idea of exporting U.S. gas and oil was not only unheard of, but, in the case of most U.S. crude oil, illegal.
WORLD
March 22, 2014 | By Nabih Bulos and Patrick J. McDonnell
IRBID, Jordan - The Free Syrian Army commander, head of a moderate rebel force fighting just across the border in southern Syria, watched helplessly for months as better-funded Islamist militant groups peeled off half the 2,000 fighters from his brigade. That changed in February when an intelligence operative from a country he refuses to name handed him an envelope full of cash - salaries for his remaining combatants. "It's a good amount of money; I can keep my fighters," the commander said, as scented smoke from his arghileh [water pipe]
NEWS
March 21, 2014 | By Scott Martelle
In case there were any doubts about Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan's slide into authoritarianism, they disappeared in one fell tweet Thursday when the government blocked access to the Twitter social media site. Though in the end, the move may have backfired. The editorial page noted shortly after Erdogan's Justice and Development Party pushed through a change in Turkish law last month granting Erdogan's government the power to block Internet sites that the move threatened democratic free expression and corruption probes.
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