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 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 |
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 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 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.
September 10, 2013 |
Ron Burkle, who became a billionaire reviving faltering supermarket chains, will try to turn the money-losing Fresh & Easy stores into a profitable venture. Burkle's Yucaipa Cos. has agreed to buy the El Segundo chain for an undisclosed amount from British supermarket giant Tesco, which is bailing from the U.S. scene after losing about $2 billion over five years. Yucaipa will acquire more than 150 of Fresh & Easy's 200 mostly Southern California stores and its Riverside distribution and production facilities, keeping more than 4,000 employees.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 10, 2013 |
Emmy-Award winning production designer Charles Lisanby, known for his lavish sets during the golden age of TV variety specials, died Aug. 23 in Los Angeles. He was 89. According to his longtime agent and manager, Bob Goodman, Lisanby had recently fallen. The cause of death, according to Morgan's Funeral Home, was sepsis. Lisanby created huge, meticulous sets for specials starring Barry Manilow, Diana Ross and many others, as well as for an Oscars show and ice show telecasts. But he was a cultured world traveler who drove his assistants and crews to distraction not only for his attention to detail but also for insisting on listening to opera broadcasts as they worked.
September 9, 2013 |
In the world of postmodern opera production, setting "Carmen" on a cruise ship or "La Bohème" on a submarine is no longer considered eccentric. Stage directors are paid to come up with concepts. And so for his Long Beach Opera production of Peter Lieberson's "King Gesar" on Saturday night, Andreas Mitisek had both the Queen Mary and a submarine docked in front of it. His backdrop was the Long Beach skyline. He even included the sounds of Long Beach's beloved Lobster Festival wafting over the bay. What was unusual, though, was that this was no concept.
September 8, 2013 |
Like many grocery shoppers, Michele Ricketts dreads long checkout lines. But lately, she's been breezing by the cash register at her neighborhood Ralphs even with the usual crowds at the store. "In the last month, I have noticed it was faster," said Ricketts, 27, an actress from the Miracle Mile. "I thought I was dreaming. " She wasn't. To shave precious minutes off wait times, Ralphs has been installing technology to measure foot traffic in nearly all of its supermarkets.