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ENTERTAINMENT
February 20, 2014 | By Gary Goldstein
Part sword-and-sandal spectacle, part disaster epic, "Pompeii" accomplishes its ambitious agenda to largely engrossing effect. Sure, it's not the brainiest of outings, but director Paul W.S. Anderson (the man behind four of the "Resident Evil" films) keeps the action apace and the lava a-flowing with workmanlike energy and sufficient visual dazzle. Set in AD 79, immediately before and during the cataclysmic eruption of southern Italy's Mt. Vesuvius, the script by Janet Scott Batchler & Lee Batchler and Michael Robert Johnson places a star-crossed romance at the center of one of the ancient world's most legendary calamities.
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BUSINESS
February 18, 2014 | By Walter Hamilton
Families boosted their borrowing late last year at the fastest pace since the global financial crisis, a sign that Americans are gradually reopening their wallets as they feel more secure in their jobs. Household debt jumped $241 billion to $11.5 trillion in the fourth quarter, the biggest increase since the third quarter of 2007, according to data released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. "This quarter is the first time since before the Great Recession that household debt has increased over its year-ago levels, suggesting that after a long period of de-leveraging, households are borrowing again," said Wilbert van der Klaauw, an economist at the New York Fed. The pickup in debt was a welcome development after a string of disappointing economic reports in the last few weeks.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 15, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
Let's say you suffered an intensely personal tragedy. And let's say you also happened to have an incredible professional triumph at an Olympics, coming back from retirement and beating the odds at well past athletes' average age, in a sport that requires a level of kamikaze spirit found traditionally among the very young. And you not only competed but medaled. Should you then, in taking a broadcast victory lap the day of your win, have to discuss that personal tragedy in front of a national audience?
SPORTS
February 14, 2014 | By Stacy St. Clair
SOCHI, Russia - An Olympic medal had eluded Noelle Pikus-Pace in the cruelest of ways during her career. In 2005, a runaway bobsled struck her in an outrun of a Canadian track, shattering her leg and causing her to miss the Turin Games in 2006. Five years later, she missed a medal by one-tenth of a second in Vancouver. So, her jubilation was understandable Friday after she finished second in the women's skeleton event. FRAMEWORK: Best images from Sochi "This is better than gold for me," she said, through a mixture of tears and laughter.
SPORTS
February 13, 2014 | Stacy St. Clair
In the days leading up to the biggest skeleton race of her career, Noelle Pikus-Pace did something world-class athletes rarely do: She took some time off to soak in the Olympic atmosphere with her husband and children. The United States' top racer participated in only two of six official training runs here, passing on opportunities to familiarize herself with the course and its unusual uphill passes. It's an unorthodox approach -- especially with the women's competition starting Thursday -- but it's one that has worked for Pikus-Pace since she came out of retirement two years ago. "Being a mom is my first priority and it always will be. To be able to do this all together is a perfect storm," she said before the Games officially opened.
SPORTS
February 13, 2014 | By Stacy St. Clair
SOCHI, Russia -- With a heavy heart and a distracted mind, U.S. skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender pushed through her final training runs this week. Wednesday was the fifth anniversary of her father's death, an event so devastating she contemplated quitting her sport. Her two practice runs that day were among the slowest she had posted since arriving here nearly two weeks ago. "She tried to push through it, but it was an emotional day," U.S. coach Tuffy Latour said. "[Thursday] we can focus on the race.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 8, 2014 | Paloma Esquivel
Kianna Jackson disappeared first. The 20-year-old called her mother on Oct. 2 and told her she was taking the bus to Santa Ana from her home in Las Vegas for a court date. The next day she stopped answering her phone. Twenty days later, Monique Vargas, a 34-year-old mother of three, left her sister's birthday party, telling family she was walking to the market to buy groceries. They haven't seen her since. Another 20 days later, Martha Anaya, 28, asked her boyfriend to pick up their young daughter because she had to work.
TRAVEL
February 2, 2014 | By Katrina Woznicki
Taos, N.M., has had many lives: a pre-colonial Native American community, a Spanish settlement and, more recently, an artists' colony for those seeking a quieter pace. Today, many come to Taos to ski, but this resilient small town is enjoying an artistic renaissance after the 2008 economic downturn. The town of just 5,700 has about 80 galleries featuring imaginative, provocative art that captures Native American culture and the beauty of the Southwest. The tab: Our family of three spent about $300 a night for lodging and less than $150 a day on food and sightseeing.
BUSINESS
January 30, 2014 | By Don Lee
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. registered solid economic growth in the final three months of last year, buoyed by rising exports and the biggest increase in consumer spending in three years, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The economy's 3.2% annualized growth rate in the fourth quarter was in line with analysts' expectations and suggests that there was good momentum heading into this year. The pickup in personal spending was particularly encouraging as that accounts for more than two-thirds of American economic activity.
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