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NEWS
December 18, 2013 | By Ken Dilanian and Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON -- A presidential task force has urged the White House to adopt significant new curbs on the National Security Agency, including that the spy agency stop bulk collection of domestic telephone records and that the U.S. consider “no spying agreements” with close allies overseas. The five-member panel said their 46 recommendations were designed to add transparency, accountability and oversight over the NSA, a secretive electronic spying agency that has operated in the shadows even as its ability to intercept Internet traffic and eavesdrop on other communications has burgeoned in recent years.
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NATIONAL
December 18, 2013 | By Ken Dilanian and Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON - A presidential task force has urged President Obama to impose significant curbs on National Security Agency operations, including an end to bulk collection of domestic telephone records, reform of a secret surveillance court and limits to spying on close foreign allies. The independent five-member panel said its 46 recommendations were designed to add transparency and accountability at the NSA, which has vastly expanded its ability to secretly intercept Internet traffic and other communications since the Sept.
TRAVEL
December 14, 2013 | Los Angeles Times
We just returned from a two-week tour of northern Vietnam, with the itinerary planned by Win An Tours. It featured a mixture of biking, hiking and kayaking; traveling was by boat, train and bus. Every detail was planned yet flexible. We visited a national park, the Sapa region (the "roof" of Indochina) and the Ha Long Bay area. Our guides were helpful, knowledgeable and entertaining. Win An Tours, Hanoi, Vietnam; http://www.winantours.com Kaaren Page San Diego
WORLD
December 13, 2013 | By Ken Dilanian
WASHINGTON -- A presidential task force presented its recommendations to the White House on Friday on how to restore public confidence in domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency, which has been buffeted by leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden. The independent panel submitted more than 40 recommendations for changes, said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council. She declined to provide any details, but a senior U.S. intelligence official said he did not believe the changes would fundamentally alter how the spy agency conducts operations.
BUSINESS
December 13, 2013 | By Salvador Rodriguez
Yahoo's email service outage, or what has come to be known on Twitter as #YahooMailFail, is entering its fifth day and continues to keep some users from accessing their messages. The company said Thursday that it has restored access to email for 97% of the affected users. It said it was able to deliver 80% of the messages those users missed during the outage, which began late Monday night. By now, those figures have likely improved, but many users are still tweeting that they cannot access their accounts.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 12, 2013 | By David Zahniser
A Los Angeles employee relations officer delivered a stinging defeat to the city's labor leaders Thursday, saying that they failed to meet a procedural deadline for challenging a hotly contested rollback in public employee pension benefits. Hearing Officer Luella Nelson recommended that the Employee Relations Board, a five-member panel that decides labor disputes at City Hall, dismiss a challenge to the City Council's decision to cut pension pay for employees hired after July 1. Council members voted to scale back pension benefits and increase the retirement age in October 2012.
NATIONAL
December 10, 2013 | By Tina Susman
NEW YORK -- A train derailment that killed four passengers could have been averted if the train had been equipped with recommended technology to automatically slow speeding trains, federal investigators said in the latest push to pressure railroads to implement the system. The National Transportation Safety Board said Monday that investigators had found no problems with the speed sensors, brake controls or the so-called dead man's pedal -- a sort of emergency brake -- of the Metro-North train that derailed on Nov. 24 in the Bronx.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 7, 2013 | By Frank Shyong
Southern California Gas Co. officials are asking customers to reduce their heating usage in order to help conserve natural gas supplies as a cold snap descends across the region. Freezing and near-freezing temperatures are expected to continue into the middle of next week. The gas company, which serves about 21 million people, sends out this alert about once a year as a precaution. "There's no immediate threat of any supply disruption," said Javier Mendoza, spokesman for Southern California Gas. "These are just some simple tips for conservation.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 2, 2013 | By Randall Roberts
Howe Gelb, "The Coincidentalist" (New West) Over 30 years and nearly as many albums, Arizona songwriter Howe Gelb has walked a singular path, one that has drawn a cultish following devoted to his guitar- and piano-based wanderings. He got his start as part of L.A.'s country punk scene with Giant Sand in the early '80s but hit the desert and has since released a string - nay, a rope - of underappreciated curios. "I'm a Vortexan at heart," he explains in "Vortexas," and he's right: Twang-accented but structurally cubist, the songs on his new album often travel wormholes few songwriters dare.
TRAVEL
November 30, 2013
The Majestic Colonial Punta Cana is truly majestic. This all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic has something for everyone, but upgrade to the adults-only section and you will not be disappointed. With the upgrade you have an assigned butler 24/7 as well as two private swimming pools with Bali beds and numerous restaurant choices. The grounds are immaculate, and every employee has a smile. Majestic Colonial Punta Cana, Playa Bavaro, Punta Cana; (809) 221-9898, http://www.majestic-resorts.com Lynette Baker Santa Barbara
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