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January 21, 2014 | By Abby Sewell
Los Angeles County probation officials have made substantial strides in reducing criminal misconduct committed by department employees, according to a report released Tuesday. Officials said the improvement - with cases falling from 74 in 2011 to 32 last year - was the result of an expanded internal investigations team and the imposition of more stringent professional standards for the department's roughly 5,000 employees. "We've come light-years from where we were to where we are today," probation Chief Jerry Powers said.
January 21, 2014 | By August Brown
Pussy Riot may no longer be a formal band , but the activists will still make a high-profile appearance at a Brooklyn music venue next month. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina will appear alongside the Flaming Lips, Imagine Dragons, Ms. Lauryn Hill and many others for Amnesty International's  Bringing Human Rights Home event at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Feb. 5. "We are happy to support Amnesty International's work on behalf of human rights and political prisoners," Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina said in a statement.
January 16, 2014 | By John Horn
Hours before writer-director Damien Chazelle's "Whiplash" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Sony Pictures Worldwide bought international rights to the drama about a jazz drummer (Miles Teller) and his ruthless music teacher (J.K. Simmons). The deal, according to a source close to the transaction and one of the first of the festival, does not include rights to distribute the film in North America. The movie is expected to be one of the hottest acquisition titles for U.S. markets at this year's festival, which runs from Thursday to Jan. 26. The exact terms and territories of the Sony deal were not immediately available.
January 15, 2014 | By Meg James
Discovery Communications is boosting its digital chief, JB Perrette, to the role of president of Discovery Networks International. Perrette will replace Mark Hollinger, a 23-year Discovery veteran who last fall said that he would be stepping down. The cable programming giant, based in Silver Spring, Md., announced Perrette's promotion on Wednesday. Hollinger will work with Perrette during the transition, Discovery said. Biggest box office flops of 2013 Perrette, 42, joined Discovery in the fall of 2011 to head its digital initiatives.
January 14, 2014 | Patt Morrison
Anita L. DeFrantz has her bags packed for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia - but heck, she's had her bags packed for athletic events around the world for the last 40 years, as a competitor and as a member of the International Olympic Committee (currently on the executive board) and the U.S. Olympic Committee (board member). DeFrantz was a bronze medalist in the first Olympics that allowed female rowers, in 1976. In her "free" time, she heads the LA84 Foundation, a legacy of L.A.'s 1984 Olympic Games that has brought sports opportunities to more than 2 million children.
January 13, 2014 | By Kevin Baxter
Five days after acquiring Brazilian forward Samuel on transfer, the Galaxy added another forward with international experience by signing Canadian Rob Friend from TSV 1860 Munich, a second-division German club. Friend, who turns 33 next week, played in Norway and the Netherlands before going to Germany in 2007. He has 75 goals in 11 seasons with eight clubs. Details of his Galaxy deal were not announced. "The addition of Rob Friend to our roster brings a different dimension to our attack," Bruce Arena, the Galaxy's coach and general manager, said in a statement.
January 11, 2014 | By Deborah Vankin
Tom Hanks jokingly referred to last Saturday's Palm Springs International Film Festival gala as “This little, intimate, Sonny Bono rec-room chicken dinner get-together for two-and-a-half-thousand people. "  This Saturday's luncheon at Palm Springs' Spencer's Restaurant, at which the PSIFF announced the festival's 2014 juried award winners, was slightly more modest--but the scope of international films represented among the winners was far reaching and impressive. Felix van Groeningen's “The Broken Circle Breakdown” (Belgium)
January 9, 2014 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski
LAS VEGAS - Local resident Tony Holdip stood admiring the latest technological lust object on display at the world's largest consumer electronics show as a friend joined a crowd of amateur photographers snapping pictures of the immense 110-inch Samsung TV. "This is unbelievable," Holdip said, and commented on the set's brightness and image clarity. "The only problem I can see with this is it's possibly too big. " The Samsung Electronics Co. television set represents the next generation in home entertainment, "ultra-high-definition," or "4K," TV sets that boast four times the resolution of HDTV displays found in American households.
January 8, 2014 | By Howard Blume
This post has been corrected. The Los Angeles teachers union was notably absent in the debate this week over replacing Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, reflecting a difficult situation for United Teachers Los Angeles. The union, embroiled in its own internal elections and facing financial pressures, put no discernible pressure on board members in advance. This silence surprised some observers because LaMotte, who died in December, was a staunch union ally and the Board of Education is sharply divided on key issues affecting teachers.
January 7, 2014 | By Nabih Bulos
BEIRUT - The initial consignment of Syria's most toxic chemical weapons material was shipped out of the country Tuesday, international officials said, advancing a cleanup effort widely seen as a success in the midst of a long civil war that has cost more than 100,000 lives. The announcement came as the leader of an Al Qaeda-linked rebel group tried to broker a cease-fire among Syrian opposition factions that have been battling one another. A "first quantity" of so-called priority chemical materials was moved from two sites to the Syrian port of Latakia and loaded onto a Danish commercial vessel, Sigrid Kaag, who heads the international effort to rid the country of its chemical arsenal, said in a statement.
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