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November 6, 2013 | By Catherine Saillant
Los Angeles City Council members agreed Wednesday to dramatically cut the cost and speed up processing of sidewalk dining permits in the reawakening downtown core. Under a pilot program that was unanimously approved by the council, restaurant owners will pay about $577 for a sidewalk dining permit, compared to the typical $2,000 charged for city workers to process the paperwork. And instead of taking up to a year to obtain a permit, the wait should be just a few weeks, officials said.
November 4, 2013 | By David Zahniser
A man posing as a studio executive, but apparently actually working as an undercover FBI agent targeting state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello), contacted Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar's office last year with questions about city permits. Records and interviews indicate the agent represented himself as Rocky Patel, president of Los Angeles-based United Pacific Studios. Sometime last year, the councilman's spokesman said, Patel apparently sought information on securing a conditional use permit for a production studio in Huizar's district.
October 30, 2013 | By Richard Verrier
Los Angeles didn't get chosen as the location for the latest "Fast & Furious" movie, but it did land the spoof version of the popular car chasing franchise. The actual "Fast & Furious 7" has been filming in Atlanta to tap into Georgia's 30% tax credit, though some filming is expected to occur in L.A. But "SuperFast," a parody of Universal's "Fast and Furious" films, began filming in Vernon, south of downtown, last week. The independently produced movie comes from writer-directors Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg, known for the "Scary Movie" films and for parodies of "Twilight" with their satiric "Vampires Suck" and the historical epic "300" with their comical "Meet the Spartans.
October 15, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
The strange case of the racist writing had puzzled Concord, N.H., for two years, with police wondering who had written the magic-marker rants that suddenly appeared on the homes of African refugees. On Sept. 18, 2011, a Somali family found a small essay scrawled with disdain on the white clapboard siding of their home: You are not welcome here this town was a wonderful crime free place for hundreds of years. Your subhuman culture has already brought many crimes linked to your mud people.
October 12, 2013 | By Maeve Reston
Two presidential campaigns and 40 years of marriage and child-rearing behind her, Ann Romney finds herself in a surprising place: atop the bestseller lists with her own agenda in first position. Romney's new cookbook, "The Romney Family Table," started as an effort to stitch together family recipes. But at a time when her husband Mitt's loss in the 2012 campaign was still raw, she began writing and "it just flowed out. " Critics have mocked the book as a study in domestic perfection served on Oscar de la Renta tableware, but Romney said she wanted to show that their life "wasn't always perfect" and that raising five boys could be more than a little frustrating.
October 11, 2013 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON - The crabbers are getting, well, crabby. With the offices of the National Marine Fisheries Service closed because of the federal government shutdown, fishermen have been unable to get permits for the Alaska king crab season, which begins Tuesday. "Instead of a fiscal cliff, right now we're facing a fishing cliff in the Bering Sea unless Congress acts before the season is scheduled to start on Oct. 15," said Rep. Suzan DelBene, a Democrat from Washington state. "This is the first time in my 28 years of fishing that I haven't been in the Bering Sea in October getting ready to go fish," said Keith Colburn, a crabber who journeyed to Capitol Hill on Friday to testify at a hearing on the impact of the shutdown.
October 3, 2013 | By Cindy Chang, Richard Winton and Patrick McGreevy
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a landmark law Thursday granting driver's licenses to people who are in the country illegally, hailing the measure as an important expansion of immigrant rights and one that should serve as an example to other states. "This is only the first step. When a million people without their documents drive legally with respect to the state of California, the rest of this country will have to stand up and take notice," Brown said outside Los Angeles City Hall, with Archbishop Jose Gomez and other dignitaries in attendance.
September 27, 2013 | By Matt Hamilton
A Maryland-based Ku Klux Klan group plans on holding an event in Gettysburg National Military Park, site of the three-day Civil War battle, park officials said. The Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacy group, will stage a three-hour event on Oct. 5, on the battlefield's grounds, just a stone's throw from the national cemetery. President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address - regarded as one of most famous speeches in U.S. history - was delivered at the dedication of the national cemetery.
September 27, 2013 | By Kevin Baxter
Cuba's government has lifted its ban on professional sports, allowing athletes to sign contracts and compete for pay outside the island. The change will make it easier for Cubans to compete professionally in Europe and Asia, but it does not necessarily mean a new wave of Cuban baseball players will be landing in Major League Baseball. Professional sports in the United States are still bound by a 51-year-old embargo that bans nearly all business transactions between Americans and the Cuban government.
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