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June 29, 2013
I highly recommend the all-day Discover Yosemite tour. It picked us up at Tenaya Lodge, where we were staying, at 8:30 a.m. and took us to all the major lookouts on what turned out to be a picture-perfect day. The driver-guide was very knowledgeable about the history and geology of the region. We returned to the lodge at 5 p.m. The price was $118 for adults (age 16 and older) and included a box lunch that we ate near Yosemite Falls. It was wonderful to have someone else do the driving (and parking)
June 8, 2013 | By Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather
For sheriff's Capt. Andres Ramirez, Aug. 31, 1985, was "one of those dates you can never forget. Then 25 and a young deputy assigned to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department East L.A. station, Ramirez was heading that afternoon to what he thought was a routine call -- a 415 disturbance, a possible fight. He was just around the corner from the 3800 block of Hubbard Street, so he responded “like I would any other call,” he said. On Hubbard Street, he found a man sitting on the sidewalk, leaning up against a fence.
June 7, 2013 | By Alexandra Sandels
BEIRUT -- He sits on a couch in an inconspicuous building in a southern suburb of Beirut. A baseball cap pulled down low, his eyes twitching, Hassan, a Hezbollah squad leader, describes killing more than 20 men in three weeks in the Syrian town of Qusair. “It was a street war. We went from room to room, from house to house, from window to window,” said  Hassan, who is in his late 30s and sports a light beard. “It was guerrilla warfare with gangs, not a war with a traditional army .... So it needed a bit more work.
May 23, 2013 | By Wendy Smith, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Although Khaled Hosseini has lived in the United States since he was 15, he remains engaged in the struggles of his native Afghanistan, which he has made palpable for Western readers in two bestselling novels, "The Kite Runner" and "A Thousand Splendid Suns. " His beautifully written, masterfully crafted new book, "And the Mountains Echoed," spans nearly 60 years of Afghan history as it investigates the consequences of a desperate act that scars two young lives and resonates through many others.
May 1, 2013 | By Mery Mogollon
CARACAS -- Political tensions that have boiled steadily in Venezuela since last month's presidential election exploded on the floor of Congress , with lawmakers slugging it out in a brawl that left several injured. Pro- and anti-government legislators blamed each other for the fight that erupted Tuesday night after the head of the Congress, Diosdado Cabello, refused to give opposition members a turn to speak unless they first recognized the election of leftist President Nicolas Maduro.
April 26, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times
History is said to be written by the victors. Fiction, by contrast, is largely the work of injured bystanders. Edna O'Brien, who retells her provocative life in "Country Girl," represents a classic Irish case. A novelist whose promise found fulfillment in the short-story form, she had to exile herself, like Joyce and Beckett, to become herself. Mad Ireland hurt her into prose the way Auden said it had hurt Yeats into poetry. A lush vocabulary was her revenge on her lush of a father, who remained captive to the bottle even when dry. Sentences, stylishly turned out, perked up the drabness of impecunious circumstances.
April 17, 2013 | By Tracy Wilkinson and Mery Mogollon, Los Angeles Times
CARACAS, Venezuela - Even before any legal motion was filed, the pro-government head of Venezuela's Supreme Court on Wednesday slapped down demands for a recount of the hotly contested presidential election that gave a narrow victory to Hugo Chavez's acolyte, Nicolas Maduro. It was another blow to efforts to challenge Maduro's win and comes as opposition members say they also fear a wave of political and legal repression. The United States, meanwhile, said it had not yet decided whether to recognize Maduro as Chavez's duly elected successor, stoking rancor in the Maduro camp that was directed at Washington.
April 17, 2013 | By Mery Mogollon and Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela's attorney general said Tuesday that seven people had been killed and 61 injured in post-presidential election clashes between police, supporters of newly elected President Nicolas Maduro and challenger Henrique Capriles, who has demanded a recount. Atty. Gen. Luisa Ortega Diaz also said that 135 people had been arrested since election results were announced late Sunday that gave Maduro a victory by 1.5 percentage points. Capriles, the governor of Miranda state, has charged that Maduro stole the election, citing 3,200 alleged irregularities in Sunday's balloting.
April 15, 2013 | By Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
CARACAS, Venezuela - Nicolas Maduro's narrow victory in an election to serve out the late Hugo Chavez's presidential term in Venezuela will complicate tackling major issues on his agenda: fixing a crumbling economy, addressing violent crime and restoring relations with the United States. The election results, coming amid allegations by rival Henrique Capriles of widespread voting abuses, will make governing this polarized country even more difficult because Maduro will lack the broader public support enjoyed by his colorful predecessor, analysts said Monday.
April 11, 2013 | By Nicole Sperling, Los Angeles Times
At 35, Kelly Oxford is Hollywood's latest "It" girl, a Twitter superstar with a following of more than 460,000, who last year sold her first screenplay to Warner Bros. (Drew Barrymore is in talks to direct) and will soon begin work on a television pilot. Now the Canadian-born mother of three has published a book of essays, "Everything is Perfect When You're a Liar" (It Books: 318 pp., $25.99), which chronicles her misadventures growing up in Edmonton. Oxford's writing is marked by the same wry voice that's made her a social media sensation.
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