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March 16, 2014 | By Jason Song
The nearly two-minute UC Irvine video looks like an appeal to prospective students, featuring a montage of undergraduates walking around campus, dancing in classrooms and celebrating big basketball victories. But the target audience becomes obvious at the end, when 7-foot-6 freshman center Mamadou Ndiaye looks directly into the camera while towering over a cardboard cutout of Barack Obama and says: "Mr. President, we should play ball together. " The video is the latest and perhaps most visible attempt by a university to attract a high-profile graduation speaker.
March 14, 2014 | By Lalita Clozel
WASHINGTON -- Same-sex spouses must be provided equal access to family healthcare plans offered by insurers in the Affordable Care Act marketplace exchanges, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Friday. Beginning next year, “insurance companies will not be permitted to discriminate against married same-sex couples when offering coverage,” Matthew Heinz, the agency's director of provider and LGBT outreach, said in a blog post. According to the guidelines, insurance companies that provide family plans to heterosexual couples will not be allowed to deny similar plans to same-sex married couples.
March 14, 2014 | By Irene Lechowitzky, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Welcome to Borrego Springs, Calif., population 3,400, in the middle of nowhere (actually, about 150 miles southeast of L.A.). Throw away the smartphone; this is a place to unplug. This designated Dark Sky Community offers breathtaking views of the stars at night. The days aren't too shabby either, as my husband and I learned on a late February getaway. Be sure to stop at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center (200 Palm Canyon Drive; [760] 767-4205,
March 13, 2014 | By Salvador Rodriguez
Starting next month, United Airlines will let users watch hundreds of movies and TV shows free on their laptops and Apple iOS mobile devices. The airline said customers with compatible devices will be able to watch more than 150 movies and nearly 200 TV shows without having to pay any fees. To watch the free content, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users will have to download the latest version of the United app. The airline said laptop owners will have to download and install a browser plug-in to watch certain types of content.
March 13, 2014 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film critic
"Le Week-End" is a sour and misanthropic film masquerading as an honest and sensitive romance. A painful and unremittingly bleak look at a difficult marriage, it wants us to sit through a range of domestic horrors without offering much of anything as a reward. This is especially disheartening because on an abstract level the film's participants on both sides of the camera are talented individuals with strong resumes. Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan, who star as the unhappy couple, are two of Britain's top actors.
March 12, 2014 | By Paresh Dave
A 7-year-old Virginia boy struggling with a serious infection began a potentially lifesaving drug treatment Wednesday after his family's awareness campaign went viral and spurred the FDA and a pharmaceutical company to fast-track a new drug trial. First-grader Josh Hardy contracted adenovirus during a bone marrow transplant, which he needed as part of his treatment for leukemia. Though the viral infection typically has mild effects, Josh's cancer-weakened immune system has been more susceptible.
March 10, 2014 | By Meg James
Comcast Corp. has signed a licensing agreement with Sony Pictures Entertainment that will increase the number of titles offered for sale through Comcast's recently launched digital store. The deal with Sony is noteworthy because it allows Comcast customers to purchase digital copies of such Oscar-nominated movies as "American Hustle," and "Captain Phillips" from Comcast's Xfinity On Demand digital service. "American Hustle" will be available beginning Tuesday, and "Captain Phillips" and other movies, including "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2," will be available within a few weeks.
March 10, 2014 | By David Zucchino
FT. BRAGG, N.C. - The Army improperly interfered with the decision to reject Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair's offer to plead guilty to lesser charges in his sexual assault case, a military judge ruled Monday. Col. James L. Pohl said there was evidence that Army officials had exerted "unlawful command influence" when a three-star general turned down Sinclair's offer before the trial. The judge gave defense attorneys the option of renewing Sinclair's original plea offer or making a different one; in any case, he said, the case must be overseen by a new command authority.
March 9, 2014 | By Chad Terhune and Eryn Brown
A pair of new drugs to treat hepatitis C offer a cure for millions of Americans afflicted with the disease - but at a potentially staggering cost to taxpayers and health plans. Until now, therapies for hepatitis C helped only about half of patients and posed numerous side effects, such as flu-like symptoms, anemia or depression. In comparison, clinical trials of Sovaldi and Olysio have shown cure rates of 80% to 90% with far fewer complications. That progress, though, comes at a price.
March 9, 2014 | By Jen Leo
If you're a farm-to-table foodie or just a fan of farms and farmers, this website and app are for you. Name: and iOS app. The app is available for Android, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. What it does: Offers a directory of restaurants around the United States that serve food from local farmers. You can also search state by state for farms that are open to the public and offer hayrides, mazes, petting zoos, bed-and-breakfasts, you-pick-it orchards and much more.
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