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January 13, 2014 | By Richard Fausset
MEXICO CITY - Federal authorities rushed Monday to head off a mini-civil war in the "hot land" of Mexico's Michoacan state, urging rural vigilantes to lay down their arms and go home rather than attempt to seize a city of 90,000 that has become a stronghold of a drug cartel calling itself the Knights Templar. The armed peasant groups emerged last year to fight off the cartel, which had metastasized throughout the southwestern state, coordinating the lucrative methamphetamine trade and extortion rackets and wielding significant control over the major container port of Lazaro Cardenas.
January 9, 2014 | By Ken Dilanian and Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - A classified Pentagon report concludes that leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have set back U.S. efforts against terrorism, cybercrime, human trafficking and weapons proliferation, leaders of the House Intelligence Committee say. A damage assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency indicates most of the estimated 1.7 million classified documents that officials say Snowden copied from NSA computers involve...
January 8, 2014 | Sam Farmer
RENTON, Wash. - One side has five Super Bowl rings, six most-valuable-player awards, 35 Pro Bowls and 62 postseason starts. On the other, the boundless promise of what might be. There are eight remaining quarterbacks in the NFL playoffs, and they fall neatly into two categories. It's the decorated superstars, each with at least 10 years' experience - Denver's Peyton Manning, New England's Tom Brady, New Orleans' Drew Brees and San Diego's Philip Rivers - and the skyrocketing next generation, each with three seasons or fewer and a combined eight playoff games - Indianapolis' Andrew Luck, Carolina's Cam Newton, San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick and Seattle's Russell Wilson.
January 8, 2014 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
The highest compliment I ever paid an editor was to say that she had changed the way I think about commas. That may not sound like much, but it was revolutionary to me. Commas, punctuation, good grammar -- these are precision tools, designed for clarity. If you're a writer, they're all you have. But no ... not only if you're a writer; they are also essential if you want to accurately express your thoughts. As Fiona Maazel observes in a terrific little essay for the Millions : “On the spectrum of world problems that need bemoaning, is bad grammar really one of them?
January 2, 2014 | Helene Elliott
It has come to this for the Lakers: Kendall Marshall, barely two weeks removed from the NBA D-League, will start at point guard Friday against Utah as the Lakers try to end a six-game losing streak. His primary qualification for starting? "He's played two pretty good games," Coach Mike D'Antoni said, and he could have added that Marshall's next-best qualification is having a pulse. These are lean days for the Lakers, still minus Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Xavier Henry and Jordan Farmar - at least at last count.
December 30, 2013 | By Herb Smith
This is the season of giving, when we give to the people we love as well as to people we have never even met. And the gift you may think of as insignificant and of little consequence to a charity is often the very thing that will make all the difference to people in need. It turns out that nonprofit organizations receive most of their annual contributions during the final quarter of the year. A cynic would attribute this surge to the imperatives of the tax code, and others to some amorphous, benevolent, seasonal spirit.
December 26, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
Volkswagen Group of America will easily clear sales of 100,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S. this year, marking a milestone for both the German carmaker and the auto industry. Although diesel engines date back to the dawn of the automotive age, it's a technology that American consumers have never taken to. Credit their memory of an older generation of smelly, smoky and hesitant diesel cars. But by building a generation of fuel-efficient, clean and quiet turbo diesels with lots of zip, and making a diesel an engine option in almost every vehicle VW and its luxury Audi brand sell here, the German company has become a pioneer for the technology.
December 20, 2013 | By Emily Dwass
When my son and daughter were youngsters, once a year I'd have a disagreement with their pediatric dentist. He wanted to do routine annual X-rays, and I would protest because neither child ever had any cavities. His response: Dental X-rays are an important diagnostic tool, representing a small speck in the sea of radiation that we receive by inhabiting planet Earth. It turns out we both were right. Dental X-rays are essential for detecting serious oral and systemic health problems, and generally the amount of radiation is very low. But new thinking on dental X-rays is that the "one size fits all" schedule is outdated.
December 16, 2013 | By James C. Taylor
NEW YORK - The reports of her death are only slightly exaggerated. The U.S. premiere Friday night of the highly anticipated, all-star, high-culture event “The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic” opened with three actors, wearing masks to represent the Serbian performance artist, lying on top of three coffins. Before the show, director Robert Wilson told a gala dinner crowd assembled in the Park Avenue Armory that he and Abramovic had wanted to work together for a long time, but it was only in 2007 that she inspired him with this request: “I want you to stage my funeral.” The three coffins, he explained, represent the three cities in which she has resided: Belgrade, Amsterdam and New York - and what followed that striking, exquisitely lighted tableau was a two-hour, 40-minute opera-cabaret-dance-oral history about Abramovic's life, from its humble beginnings in Communist Yugoslavia to her rise on the international art scene, to her “death” in 2013 (the program is a broadsheet newspaper with the headline: “Artist Marina Abramovic dies at 67.”)
December 13, 2013 | By Kerry Cavanaugh
It's been a rough few weeks for public employee unions. First, a federal judge in the Detroit bankruptcy case ruled the city's public employee pensions could be cut just like any other debt, challenging the belief that the retirement benefits were untouchable. Now, a new Field Poll finds Californians are souring on labor unions. The state has traditionally been fairly pro-organized labor, but there's been a marked decline in public opinion over the last two years, according to the independent survey of 1,000 voters.
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