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January 25, 2011 | By Ned Parker and Salar Jaff, Los Angeles Times
Two car bombs exploded Monday near Karbala as Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority visited the shrine city for a major religious holiday, security and medical officials said. The blasts killed at least 22 people. The bombs went off as thousands of pilgrims marched into Karbala to mark Arbaeen, the end of the 40-day mourning period for the Shiite religious figure Imam Hussein, whose 7th century death in battle cemented Islam's Shiite-Sunni schism. It was the second major attack in the religious city since Thursday, when a pair of bombs killed 56 people and wounded 189. On Monday, the first bomb went off in a car parked south of the city, close to one of Thursday's blast sites, killing at least eight people and wounding 35. The second bomb went off east of the city, killing at least 14 and wounding at least 40, officials said.
January 21, 2011 | By Salar Jaff and Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times
At least 56 people were killed Thursday in a pair of suicide car bombings that targeted pilgrims marching on foot into the Shiite Muslim shrine city of Karbala ahead of a major holiday. The attacks in the lead-up to Arbaeen, a holiday honoring Shiite icon Imam Hussein, also wounded at least 189 people, said medical officials who provided the death toll. The blasts horrified and angered members of the country's Shiite religious majority, many of whom are still scarred by memories of major bombings by Sunni extremists that devastated their community.
November 7, 2010 | By Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times
It's time to brush up on your pop culture references and talk about "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. " The genre-breaking cult hit is being released on DVD and Blu-ray. In case you're so behind on your pop culture news, a breakdown: The film, based on a graphic novel series, follows a young man's quest to fend off the seven evil exes of his lady love. Yes, lanky Michael Cera is capable of kicking some rogue butt (we're just as surprised). Oh, and there's an 8-bit Nintendo-style Universal Studios ride opening ?
November 7, 2010 | By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.98 Equal parts imaginative and aggravating, Edgar Wright's adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's "Scott Pilgrim" graphic novel series stars Michael Cera as the dim, self-centered Canadian indie-rocker, who has to fight the seven super-powered exes of his would-be girlfriend Ramona (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Why does Scott like the mumbly, charmless Ramona? Why does Ramona like the childish, thoughtless Scott?
October 3, 2010 | By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
They're the size of a medium pizza, as thin as a Communion wafer, and they melt in your mouth. They are tortillas ? and they are the driving force behind pilgrimages to a tiny Mexican restaurant on Tucson's west side. And for many pilgrims, it's impossible to leave with just a dozen. A woman once shipped the tortillas to her son 5,000 miles away ? in Japan. Recent destinations include Texas, Colorado and Wyoming. One family from San Diego lugs between 10 and 30 dozen home after each Tucson sojourn.
September 9, 2010 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
The rental house on Cape Cod where I've spent part of nearly every August since I was 9 years old has an amazing library. It's one of the appeals of the place: the opportunity to dig around in all those books, familiar and unfamiliar at once. They're not my books — and yet, after all this time, I know them so intimately that it almost feels as if they were. I discovered Georges Simenon in this house, one rainy afternoon when I was in my teens, and also P. G. Wodehouse, read Steinbeck's "Burning Bright" and "The Moon Is Down," worked my way through Bellow and Dickens and the collected writings of JFK. Many of these authors I've come to gather on my own shelves, but there is something about the randomness, the serendipity, of what a friend calls the guest house library, a way of simultaneously getting outside of and coming closer to oneself.
August 17, 2010 | By Ben Fritz and John Horn, Los Angeles Times
For Amy Berciano, this was the moviegoing weekend of the summer. More than a year before "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" hit movie theaters, the 20-year-old UCLA junior became a huge fan of the graphic novels that inspired the film. At July's Comic-Con International in San Diego, she waited more than an hour to meet the cast and filmmakers; "I even kissed [director] Edgar Wright on the cheek!" she bragged. After attending the debut midnight screening of the movie Thursday night while dressed as one of the characters — Knives Chao, Scott Pilgrim's obsessive ex-girlfriend — Berciano declared herself eminently satisfied.
August 16, 2010 | By Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
Nostalgia dominated cutting-edge at the box office this weekend. "The Expendables," directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone with a crew of aging action stars, proved far and away the most popular movie in theaters as it sold a strong $35-million worth of tickets in the U.S. and Canada, according to studio estimates. With men of all ages and a surprising number of women in attendance, it decimated "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. " The well-reviewed melange of video game and other pop culture references, based on a cult favorite series of graphic novels, opened to a weak $10.5 million.
August 13, 2010 | By Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
One of the biggest action stars of the 1980s is poised to destroy the competition at the box office. "The Expendables," directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone, has men of all ages excited to come to theaters this weekend, with pre-release surveys indicating it will sell about $35 million worth of tickets in the U.S. and Canada. An adaptation of the bestselling book "Eat Pray Love," starring Julia Roberts, is expected to draw a smaller number of adult women and open to around $25 million.
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