September 21, 2013 |
Mush on? That seems to be the new theme of the USC football team, which beat Utah State by a field goal Saturday in a game that Coach Lane Kiffin accurately described as "mushy. " An hour before the game, in the usually teeming streets around the Coliseum, there was smooth traffic and zero buzz. At kickoff, the Coliseum was about half full with a crowd that was barely awake. During the game, there were scattered boos, a few strong cheers, and mostly shrugs. It felt like the desolate Dodger Stadium in the last days of the Frank McCourt era. The Trojans even played like the Dodgers in those final days, barely hanging on as if waiting for somebody to rescue them.
September 20, 2013 |
ROME -- After expressing frustration with the Roman Catholic Church's focus on hot-button doctrinal issues, Pope Francis launched a stinging attack on abortion Friday, calling it the product of a “throwaway culture.” “Every baby who is not born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ,” he told an audience of Catholic gynecologists at the Vatican. The comments came the day after an Italian Jesuit magazine published a lengthy interview with the pope in which he said the church had become “obsessed” with controversial issues such as abortion, and called instead for a focus on healing and mercy.
September 19, 2013 |
A long-gestating movie about the late rapper Tupac Shakur is closer to fruition, with Morgan Creek Productions and Emmet Furla Films announcing Thursday that they plan to co-finance and co-produce the film. Shakur's mother, Afeni Shakur, will executive produce the movie, which is scheduled to begin production in Atlanta next year. Eddie Gonzales and Jeremy Haft, who wrote the 2011 direct-to-video crime drama "Street Kings II," are currently working on a script about the influential rapper, who has sold more than 75 million albums.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 18, 2013 |
Air quality regulators have ordered the embattled Vernon battery recycler Exide Technologies to cut production after an air monitor revealed lead emissions had exceeded health standards over a 30-day period. The excessive lead emissions occurred even as elected officials and community members across southeast Los Angeles have been calling for the plant's closure amid an outcry over high arsenic emissions. Last week, in an unprecedented move, state and Los Angeles County officials unveiled a plan to make blood tests for lead available to a quarter of a million people who might be affected by the emissions.
September 18, 2013 |
Even before he took office, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti vowed to name a film czar to serve as an industry advocate in City Hall and to help stop runaway production. But nearly three months later, Garcetti is still searching for someone to fill the position, underscoring the challenges of finding the right person for what some might consider the impossible job of persuading Sacramento to do more to help Hollywood. "It's been a struggle for everyone who wants this to happen and wants this to move forward, but it doesn't surprise me," said Ed Duffy, business agent and vice president for Teamsters Local 399, which represents location managers, casting directors and studio drivers.
September 17, 2013 |
Shares of nutritional products maker Herbalife Ltd. hit a 52-week high Tuesday, putting billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman deeper in the hole on his $1-billion bet that the stock will go to zero. Herbalife shares reached a one-year intra-day high of $73.91 and a closing high of $73.29 on speculation that the company may start aggressively repurchasing its shares. The Los Angeles company was one of the more volatile stocks on Wall Street after Ackman accused the company last December of operating a pyramid scheme and said he took a $1-billion short position in the stock, meaning he would profit from a price drop.
September 16, 2013 |
Walt Disney is once again turning to the Brothers Grimm for theatrical inspiration. The studio that brought the classic Grimm's fairy tale "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" to the big screen in 1937, said it began production last week on “Into the Woods,” a film adaptation of the award-winning musical that is a modern take on the popular Grimm stories. The movie, set for release on Dec. 25, 2014, will shoot in studio and on location throughout England, Disney said in a statement.
September 16, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - To many investors and economists, the prospects for a new Federal Reserve chief became clearer - and brighter - after former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers dropped out of contention for the post. The same can't be said for the lackluster U.S. economy. Even if former UC Berkeley economist Janet L. Yellen, now the Fed's vice chair, gets the nod as the next leader of the central bank, she will inherit a job that is getting only more difficult. With productivity gains weak, the housing market showing signs of cooling and another nasty Washington fight looming over the debt limit and the budget, Yellen and her colleagues are looking at a very uncertain economy as they head into an important two-day policy-setting meeting Tuesday.
September 15, 2013 |
For the last 18 years, Jakks Pacific Inc. has been a player in the ultra-competitive Southern California toy-making business, up against the likes of giant Mattel Inc. in El Segundo and others. But Jakks' roster of toys - including the Smurfs, Monsuno action figures and Winx Club fairy dolls - have not been pulling in the fun for investors. Sales have declined five straight years. In the most recent quarter, revenue fell 27% and the Malibu company lost $46.9 million compared with net income of $214,000 a year earlier.
September 12, 2013 |
Wal-Mart is pledging to cut down or eliminate 10 chemicals found in household and beauty products currently on its shelves, the mega-retailer said Thursday. At a meeting focused on the chain's sustainability efforts, executives said they would begin monitoring the scale-back in January. The move is “the first chemical policy of this scope by a major multinational retailer,” according to a statement from the nonprofit advocacy group Clean Production Action. “Wal-Mart's policy signals a new era of going beyond regulatory compliance to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals,” Mark Rossi, the group's co-director, said in the statement.