January 5, 2014 |
VALLEDUPAR, Colombia - A Colombian law enacted in 2011 gave hope to peasant farmer Miguel Serna and hundreds of thousands of other displaced farmers like him that they would soon recover the land that rebels, right-wing paramilitaries and drug traffickers forced them to abandon during decades of armed conflict. But such hopes have begun to fade in the face of government inaction. "It's a beautiful law that gave us hope we might recover our land. But we're still in limbo and under constant threat," said Serna, who in 1997 was forced by paramilitaries to flee his small farm in El Toco township in northern Colombia, along with dozens of his neighbors As leader of the community's displaced farmers, Serna has spearheaded efforts to recover the land under the Victims and Land Restitution Law. But only four families in his group of 80 have received favorable verdicts from special government land tribunals, and none has the money to clear and farm the properties, nor do they dare reoccupy them for fear of reprisal.
January 4, 2014 |
The front-end loader swung to the right and took a bite out of the shingled roof of the quaint cottage. The roar of the engine and crackle of buckling lumber carried down Elm Avenue in Manhattan Beach. Within 40 minutes, a demolition crew reduced the 1950s one-story to rubble. The 782-square-foot house would be replaced by a 3,300-square-foot Cape Cod. "It feels exactly like the good old days," said the property's developer, Mike Leonard. Those days of booming demolition and construction came during last decade's housing bubble.
January 4, 2014 |
Three people suffered minor injuries after a small plane made an emergency landing on a New York City expressway Saturday afternoon, emergency officials said. The plane, a Piper Cherokee Aircraft, had departed from Danbury, Conn., to go on a tour of the Statue of Liberty when there was "an on-board emergency," Nancy Silvestri, deputy press secretary of New York City's Office of Emergency Management, told the Los Angeles Times. The emergency landing happened at about 3:20 p.m. on the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx, she said.
January 3, 2014 |
SEATTLE - By the slimmest of margins, aerospace giant Boeing Co.'s largest union approved a controversial contract proposal that cut benefits in exchange for decades of work in Puget Sound on a new jetliner. The International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751, which represents more than 31,000 Boeing workers in Washington state, voted 51% Friday in favor of a contract to build the 777X, a more fuel-efficient version of its wide-body jet. It is the second time in two months that the union voted on a proposal by Boeing, the biggest private employer in the state with about 82,500 employees and a crucial part of the regional economy.
January 2, 2014 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - For nearly two decades, warfare in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has resulted in millions of deaths and cast the resource-rich region as the world capital of rape and crimes against humanity. One reason for the epidemic of violence is the greed that goes along with the gold, tin and coltan mined from its steep, green hillsides. An additional factor is the military interference by neighbors to the east, Rwanda and Uganda. Yet there's also an underlying cause that is rarely addressed: land rights, and conflicts over it, problems as enduring as the soil under one's feet, analysts say, complicated by factors present in so many of Africa's conflicts: years of chaos, fighting and displacement.
December 30, 2013 |
WARNING: In addition to observations about social networking apps, online dating and the mercurial “gig” economy , the following article also includes allusions to sex, spirituality and the nature of altruism. It's the story of the nicest gift I received this year, and for some readers it may even result in a few New Year's resolutions. It is the story of how I became an opinion blogger for the L.A. Times. The unlikely events began with a Tinder date at the Cat and Fiddle Restaurant in Hollywood.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 29, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - Obama administration policies stimulating an expansion of tribal gambling have touched off new battles over proposed tribal casinos in California and elsewhere. Since President Barack Obama took office, the Department of the Interior has recognized dozens of new tribes and approved requests from a handful of others to acquire land that could house a casino, contingent on deals between the tribes and their home states. The department rejected nearly all such applications under President George W. Bush.
December 26, 2013 |
China watched this month as the nation's first lunar rover rolled across the moon's surface. It was a moment of national pride when images of the six-wheel rover, dubbed Jade Rabbit, were transmitted live back to Earth, showing the red and gold Chinese flag on the moon for the first time. "Now as Jade Rabbit has made its touchdown on the moon surface," the state-run Xinhua news agency said, "the whole world again marvels at China's remarkable space capabilities. " The lunar triumph offered many Americans their first glimpse at an unfolding new space race involving countries with emerging economies.
December 24, 2013 |
Few of us will know what it means to have a genuine legacy, something that really needs to be cared for, protected, regarded. Performers such as Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone must know that issue all too well, each having created a coterie of legendary characters in their long careers. So in the new film "Grudge Match," which plays with the imagery and iconography of two of their best-known creations, are we all sharing a wink and a laugh as the points of reference somehow add something deeper to our understanding?
December 23, 2013 |
Angels-owned radio station KLAA (AM 830) has hired troubled ex-major leaguer Jim Leyritz to co-host a new sports talk show, a peculiar move for a club that lost promising young pitcher Nick Adenhart to a drunk-driving accident in 2009. Leyritz, a two-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees who had a brief stint with the Angels in 1997, was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol when he struck and killed a woman in a 2007 automobile accident. A Fort Lauderdale, Fla., jury in 2010 acquitted Leyritz of DUI manslaughter in the death of 30-year-old Fredia Ann Veitch, a mother of two, sparing the former catcher from a possible 15-year prison sentence.