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March 19, 2013 | By Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO - As the Dominican Republic danced through the night, the Dodgers held their breath. They must wait to see if their shortstop can play on opening day. Hanley Ramirez injured his right thumb in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday, in which the Dominican beat Puerto Rico, 3-0. Ramirez is expected to undergo an MRI exam Wednesday in Arizona, according to Dominican Republic General Manager Moises Alou....
March 18, 2013 | By Bill Shaikin
SAN FRANCISCO - On the home front, the reviews for the World Baseball Classic have not been kind. The United States team was knocked out by Puerto Rico. The brightest American stars wanted no part of the tournament and, as a result, neither did the casual fan. None of this really bothers Bud Selig. If it bothers you, the commissioner said, you are missing the point. "Focusing on the United States team, frankly, is almost irrelevant," Selig said Monday. A tournament that started with 28 countries is down to two. The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico - neighbors in the Caribbean - will play for the WBC championship Tuesday.
March 16, 2013 | By Bill Shaikin
SAN FRANCISCO -- All the kids played soccer. Loek van Mil wanted to be different, so he played baseball. This was in the Netherlands, two decades ago, where the youth coaches were the ones that had been exchange students in the United States during the disco era. Van Mil did balance drills, for no good baseball reason. "There is no real use in standing there like a flamingo," van Mil said. The coaches have gotten better, and so have the players. The Netherlands is in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic for the first time, with a Monday date against the Dominican Republic.
January 11, 2013 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG - Opposition forces in the Central African Republic who took control of a large swath of the country in recent weeks have succeeded in forcing President Francois Bozize's government to share power, officials said Friday. In a deal averting a battle for control of Bangui, the capital, Bozize and the oppositionĀ agreed to a coalition government during peace talks in Libreville, the Gabon capital. Chad's foreign minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat, who attended the talks, released a statement announcing the peace agreement.
December 31, 2012 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- The African Union on Monday warned rebels who are threatening to oust the Central African Republic government that they would face isolation in Africa, suspension from the organization and sanctions if they do so. Nkosana Dlamini-Zuma, commission chairwoman of the AU, warned the coalition of rebels called Seleka, or the Alliance, that other African nations would not tolerate the removal of a government by force....
December 28, 2012 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - U.S. diplomats evacuated from the capital of the Central African Republic on Friday, the State Department reported, after a coalition of rebel groups swept across the country in recent days, seizing towns and diamond mining areas and threatening to oust the government. Residents of Bangui also fled by car, or by boat across the Ubangi River to the Democratic Republic of Congo, while others scoured markets stocking up on food in case war comes to the capital, according to news agencies.
December 21, 2012 | By Russ Parsons
It was almost 25 years ago that Jean Louis DeMori and Antonio Tomassi opened an unprepossessing little Italian restaurant on a strip of no-man's land across from Cedars-Sinai Hospital. It was called Locanda Veneta and it kicked off the first round of terrific, small, very specific Italian restaurants in Southern California. Today, they're trying to repeat the magic in another part of town. This week the two opened Maccheroni Republic on a formerly bedraggled strip of Broadway downtown, almost across the street from the Grand Central Market.
December 7, 2012 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
MOSCOW - A journalist with Russian state television was killed and a government official was injured in separate attacks in the country's violence-ridden North Caucasus region, authorities said Thursday. Kazbek Gekkiyev, a 28-year-old anchor for the Russia-1 state television channel, was gunned down late Wednesday in downtown Nalchik, capital of the Kabardino-Balkarian republic, officials said. The journalist was allegedly approached by two men who asked whether he was Gekkiyev. When he confirmed his identity, the assailants reportedly shot him several times and fled.
November 19, 2012 | By Emily Alpert
Reports of escalating clashes in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo raised renewed fears of outright war Monday, as rebels again neared the provincial capital of Goma. The M23 rebels had pledged to halt their push toward Goma in order to negotiate, but government officials shot down the idea of talks, saying they were useless because Rwanda was pulling the strings behind the scenes. New violence erupted on the outskirts of Goma only hours after rebels made their pledge, the Associated Press reported.
November 9, 2012 | Rob Spillman, Special to the Los Angeles Times
There Was a Country A Personal History of Biafra Chinua Achebe Penguin Press: 352 pp., $27.95 Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian author of the groundbreaking 1958 novel "Things Fall Apart," is widely considered the most influential African writer of the 20th century. A staple in school curricula worldwide and with more than 10 million copies in print, Achebe's novel is an African story told in an African manner by an African - remarkable for colonial times. While Achebe identifies himself as a Nigerian author, he is also Igbo, one of the three most dominant tribes in the vast country of more than 200 million people.
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