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January 25, 2013 | By Corina Knoll
More than two years after the Bell corruption case erupted, the prosecution called its first witness Friday in an effort to show that the leaders of the small, working-class city became some of the highest-paid city politicians in California by serving on boards that sometimes met just so they could approve further pay hikes. Rebecca Valdez, Bell's city clerk who has been granted immunity in exchange for her testimony, testified that it was her job to take notes at council meetings, including marking the start and end time of the various boards on which council members served, such as the Solid Waste and Recycling Authority.
January 18, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
As waiting rooms in other parts of the U.S. have been clogged with sniffling, feverish hordes, California has seemed to avoid the worst of this year's flu - so far. But that may change, as officials in California said this week that flu activity in the state had reached “a widespread level,” and that the number of visits to doctors and hospitals for the treatment of flu-like illness was higher than usual for mid-January.  (For more on...
September 18, 2012 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
Parents who indulge in an occasional cocktail around their kids have all been there: You're drinking it and they want to try it. "No, it's a drink for grown-ups," springs to your lips. But then you ask yourself, "When I cast alcohol as the forbidden fruit, doesn't that just make it more alluring?" If you've ever been stuck on the horns of that dilemma, you have company. In a recent survey of "pro-sipping" attitudes among mothers of young children in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, 1 in 4 expressed the belief that allowing a child a sip of an alcoholic drink would likely deter him or her from further drinking because either the taste would discourage it or because alcohol's cachet would decline when it comes with a parent's permission.
July 26, 2012 | By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times
The psychedelic image above is a super-close-up view of the skin -- and the brightly colored blobs are immune cells. What's it about? Read on. Evidence is mounting that the bacteria that live on our bodies affect our health, for good or ill. It's a hot area of research , much of it centered on the gut -- and no wonder, for this is the spot where the richest bacterial communities are found. The bugs that dwell there seem to help our immune systems develop along the right lines, among other things.
July 20, 2012 | By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
Decades after writer-director Nelson Lyon released the X-rated sex comedy "The Telephone Book" in 1971, the film was hailed as a neglected masterpiece. By then Lyons was a former "Saturday Night Live" writer long known for a darker connection: He went on a drug-fueled binge with John Belushi during the comedian's final days in 1982. "He was blamed for Belushi's death, and it ruined his career," said Dennis Perrin, author of "Mr. Mike," a 1999 biography of former "Saturday Night Live" head writer Michael O'Donoghue, who had been Lyon's writing partner.
April 25, 2012 | By Manuel Pastor and Kafi Blumenfield
In 1992, the acquittal of four police officers accused of beating Rodney King was the match that ignited a city, setting off a wave of violence that left 53 dead, thousands injured and hundreds of businesses destroyed. There was a lot of accumulated tinder to burn. Los Angeles was struggling with a faltering and de-industrialized economy that left too many without good jobs, a wave of demographic transition that caused ethnic and generational tensions, and a widening gap between rich and poor that was just beginning to emerge into public view - a bit like the U.S. today.
April 25, 2012 | By Paul Pringle, Rong-Gong Lin II and Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times
Invoking his right against self-incrimination, the former finance director of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum declined to testify before a grand jury about alleged corruption at the stadium, then answered questions after a judge granted him limited immunity, transcripts of the proceedings show. Ronald Lederkramer, once the Coliseum's No. 2 executive, left the Coliseum late last year after The Times reported that he used his personal credit card to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars in stadium equipment to pocket valuable reward points.
April 8, 2012 | By Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times
People buy target-date mutual funds to avoid unpleasant surprises. But older investors in these retirement-oriented funds — and more broadly, any investors who hold fixed-income securities — could be in for an unexpected jolt if interest rates rise sharply, as they threatened to do in the first quarter. Interest rates fell to generational lows in recent years as the economy struggled in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. But with the economy gathering steam lately, many investment professionals say rates are much likelier to rise than fall.
April 5, 2012 | By Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times
For more than a year, Russia has prohibited its government-run museums from sending artworks to exhibitions in the United States. The ban has frustrated and puzzled American museum officials, because it was spurred by a legal decision unrelated to anything the museums themselves have done. Diplomacy has failed to lift it. Hopes have risen recently that the impasse can be broken by a bipartisan bill that passed unopposed in the U.S. House of Representativeson March 19 and is pending in the Senate judiciary committee.
March 27, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Blocking "don't destroy me" signals that normally sit on the surface of tumor cells and render them resistant to immune-cell attack slows the growth of a broad range of human cancers when they're implanted in mice, researchers have found. The approach, reported by immunologists at the Stanford University School of Medicine, was effective against ovarian, breast, colon, bladder, liver, prostate and brain cancer cells. If the work can be repeated in people, the approach may someday help doctors marshal defender cells in patients' own bodies to fight cancers, the researchers said.
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