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August 13, 2011 | By Maher Abukhater, Los Angeles Times
A year ago, Palestinian Authority employee Fida Jiryis took out a $100,000 mortgage to purchase an apartment in Ramallah, one of thousands of first-time Palestinian home buyers to benefit from a recent push to improve the West Bank economy in preparation for eventual statehood. But several weeks ago, the 36-year-old copy editor sold her property in a panic when the Palestinian Authority cut June salaries by half and warned that it would be unable to meet July's payroll at all. Though the authority eventually paid full July salaries after workers threatened a general strike, officials say future paychecks remain at risk.
April 21, 2011 | By Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Sacramento -- State agencies have handed out millions of dollars in interest-free salary and travel advances to their employees without collecting repayment, according to audits from the controller's office. Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order Wednesday halting the practice. He said he was working with state Controller John Chiang to determine how widespread the practice has been and how much California is owed from employees who never paid back their loans.
April 20, 2011 | By Danny Heitman
In my home state of Louisiana, Wednesday's one-year anniversary of the BP oil rig explosion has arrived in the season of Lent, a time of spiritual reflection that, in this heavily Catholic region, is also touched by comic irony. That's because Lent, which is supposed to be a period of fasting and abstinence, is also a prime time to savor our local seafood. The meatless Fridays of the church calendar are meant to be a penance, but they have instead often become occasions for crawfish boils and shrimp gumbo, oyster po' boys and soft-shell crabs, rich étouffées and fragrant bisques.
March 17, 2011 | By Gerrick D. Kennedy and Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
Hip-hop singer Nate Dogg, who along with Snoop Dogg and Warren G is credited with crafting the blend of singing and rapping now known as G-funk, has died. He was 41. Nate Dogg, who was born Nathaniel D. Hale, died Tuesday at a Laguna Niguel care facility of complications from multiple strokes, said his attorney, Mark Geragos. By lending his gruff baritone vocals to ubiquitous hooks on hits by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Warren G, Nate Dogg rose to prominence along with the West Coast rap scene that was brewing in the early 1990s.
August 18, 2010 | By Jeff Gottlieb, Kimi Yoshino and Ruben Vives, Los Angeles Times
The city of Bell gave nearly $900,000 in loans to former City Administrator Robert Rizzo, city employees and at least two council members in the last several years, according to records reviewed by The Times. The documents show that Bell's former assistant city manager, Angela Spaccia, received two loans of at least $100,000 each and that council members Oscar Hernandez and Luis Artiga received $20,000 loans. Rizzo, whose huge salary sparked a scandal that forced him and other city officials to step down, received two loans for $80,000 each, city officials said.
November 23, 2009 | By Patrick Pacheco
At the start of the new musical "Fela!," protagonist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti welcomes the audience to a concert at what was known in Lagos, Nigeria in the late 1970s as the Shrine, an enclosure of corrugated tin and barbed wire. Re-created on the Eugene O'Neill Theatre stage, the Shrine throbs with scantily clad dancers and carries the scent of rebellion. The Nigerian military boot has just come down hard on the pop star and his followers in his self-declared "Republic of Kalakuta." "It's so good to see so many of you here . . . considering how dangerous this neighborhood is. And how dangerous we are," says actor Sahr Ngaujah as Fela, with an insouciant wink, toking on a doobie and prowling the stage.
November 8, 2009 | Irene Lacher
If Mary Poppins had a pied-à-terre in L.A., it would probably look something like Richard Sherman's home in Beverly Hills. Set back from the street across an expanse of emerald lawn, Sherman's storybook cottage has a doorbell that chimes "It's a Small World (After All)," courtesy of the Magic Castle creator Milt Larsen. Mary Poppins never hit the Pepsi pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair, where "Small World" -- a timeless tune composer-lyricist Sherman wrote with his brother, Robert -- made its debut.
October 17, 2009 | Suzanne Muchnic
In his early days, Ed Ruscha painted single words that packed a punch: "oof," "slam," "smash," "honk." In the '80s, he took a subtler approach, floating equivocal phrases in painted skies. Consider "I Think I'll . . .," a 1983 piece that has moved into the first family's living quarters at the White House, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The longer you look at the painting, the more words emerge from a streaky red sunset. The phrase "I think maybe I'll . . .," in large block letters, descends from the top left to lower right of the 53 3/4 -by-63 3/4 -inch canvas.
July 18, 2009 | Claire Noland
Dallas McKennon, an exuberant character actor and voice actor who helped enliven Gumby, Archie Andrews, Buzz Buzzard and many other animated characters, has died. He was 89. McKennon, who played the tavern keeper Cincinnatus on the 1960s TV series "Daniel Boone" and dozens of other codgers on film and television, died Tuesday of age-related causes at the Willapa Harbor Care Center in Raymond, Wash., according to his daughter Barbara Porter.
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