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November 22, 2011 | By Rebecca Keegan, Los Angeles Times
Cinema trends ebb and flow, but one facet of Hollywood moviemaking proving remarkably consistent is gender inequality, according to a study being released Monday by USC's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. In a survey of the top 100-grossing movies of 2009 — including "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" — researchers found that 32.8% of the 4,342 speaking characters were female and 67.2% were male, a percentage identical to that of the top-grossing movies of 2008.
October 5, 2011 | By Kevin A. Sabet
Prohibition — America's notoriously "failed social experiment" to rid the country of alcohol — took center stage this week as PBS broadcast Ken Burns' highly acclaimed series on the subject. And already, it has been seized on by drug legalization advocates, who say it proves that drug prohibition should be abandoned. But a closer look at what resulted from alcohol prohibition and its relevance to today's anti-drug effort reveals a far more nuanced picture than the legalization lobby might like to admit.
August 25, 2011 | By Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times
Students in the Santa Monica-Malibu school district have grown accustomed to whole wheat pasta and lunchtime salad bars, with vegetables delivered fresh every day from a farmers market. But to the chagrin of some healthful food advocates and parents, chocolate milk will continue to be served too. The school board debated late into the night Wednesday before deciding to keep it on the menu. But parents can request that their children not receive chocolate milk. Like many districts across the country, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District had joined the debate about whether the calcium that is valuable for growing children is worth the trade-off of sugar and calories that come with the flavored milk.
August 9, 2011
The Los Angeles City Council has spent months batting around a proposal for a $1.2-billion football stadium to be built downtown. Skeptics have questioned the project's impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, its ability to revive the city's struggling Convention Center and its power to generate significant new tax revenue. The process has not always been pretty — and the city's public officials have not always inspired confidence — but the most important questions now have been asked and answered as well as they can be in such an early stage of such a complex project.
July 16, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
A U.S. appeals court rejected a constitutional challenge to the government's use of body-imaging scanners at the nation's airports, ruling that the need to detect hidden explosives outweighs the privacy rights of travelers. The 3-0 decision announced Friday noted that passengers may avoid the scans by opting to undergo a pat-down by a screening agent. But since the body scanners became standard last year, more than 98% of air travelers have chosen to step into a machine, raise their arms and pose for "advanced imaging," the Transportation Security Administration said.
May 29, 2011 | By Jill U. Adams, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Osteoporosis drugs can definitely strengthen bones. However, studies and patient reports over the last four years have uncovered a surprising danger: In some cases, these drugs seem to be breaking bones instead of protecting them. Now a new study from Sweden has helped put that risk of drug-induced breaks into perspective. The study concluded that the drugs, such as Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, Atelvia and Reclast, caused one broken femur for every 2,000 people who used them for a year.
April 29, 2011 | Jack Dolan and Carol J. Williams
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday canceled construction of a $356-million death row at San Quentin prison, saying it would be "unconscionable" to spend so much on condemned inmates as the state is slashing budgets for education and other social services. "At a time when children, the disabled and seniors face painful cuts to essential programs, the state of California cannot justify a massive expenditure of public dollars for the worst criminals," Brown said in a statement. The cancellation will save the state's general fund $28.5 million a year for 25 years, the cost of financing the construction loan, said Brown spokesman Gil Duran.
April 12, 2011 | By Andrew Zajac, Washington Bureau
Two drugs used against kidney cancer won the endorsement of a federal advisory panel Tuesday to treat a form of pancreatic cancer that strikes several hundred Americans each year. The panel found that the benefits of Novartis Pharmaceuticals' Afinitor and Pfizer's Sutent outweighed their toxic side effects, increasing the likelihood that the Food and Drug Administration would approve their use for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. The drugs provide significant new treatment options with the potential to extend the lives of patients diagnosed with the tumors.
April 9, 2011 | By Ned Parker and Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times
Rebel leaders in Libya said Friday that they must accept accidental deaths caused by NATO airstrikes as a consequence of international efforts to protect civilians. "You have to look at the big pictures. The benefits outweigh the damage," rebel spokesman Mustafa Gheriani said. "We have to accept these kinds of mistakes and hope not too many take place. NATO is important for us and has saved a lot of lives. " A NATO-led alliance is leading a battle to prevent Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi's forces from harming civilians in several parts of the country, especially the rebel-controlled east, where pro-Kadafi forces and those opposed to the longtime ruler have been locked in a battlefield stalemate.
March 17, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
With reports that a radiation plume from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could reach Southern California as soon as Friday, worried citizens have been hoarding potassium iodide pills, wondering if it's OK to go outside and otherwise fretting over an invisible, and somewhat unpredictable, threat. But all that worrying might cause more harm than the radiation itself, experts say. Here are some answers to common concerns. How much radiation do scientists think will arrive here?
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