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WORLD
December 12, 2013 | By Barbara Demick
BEIJING - Jang Sung Taek, the uncle by marriage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was executed Friday for attempting to seize power for himself, the country's official news service reported early Friday. In a rambling report, the Korea Central News Agency denounced the “despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog" and said that he had attempted to “overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power.” The execution is the first by North Korea in decades of a top echelon official and raises questions about the stability of the increasingly erratic government.
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WORLD
December 9, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos
BEIRUT - Syrian government forces have regained control of a strategic town along the nation's major north-south highway, state media reported Monday, as troops advanced in a sweeping offensive designed to secure the route and sever opposition supply lines from nearby Lebanon. The dangerous highway is expected to be used as a corridor for the transport of Syria's toxic stockpiles as part of a United Nations-backed plan to rid the country of its chemical armaments. State news outlets reported that government forces had established “full control” of Nabek, about 50 miles northeast of Damascus along the highway, which links the capital to the central city of Homs.
WORLD
November 28, 2013 | By Nabih Bulos
BEIRUT - Syrian government forces have recaptured the western border town of Deir Attiyeh, less than a week after rebel forces had seized it in a counteroffensive, according to Syrian state television. Deir Attiyeh, with about 10,000 residents and a significant Christian minority, is viewed as a vital link on the main highway between Damascus, the seat of power of President Bashar Assad, and the city of Homs in the center of the country. It is also part of a strategic supply corridor for rebel forces.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 19, 2013 | By Ari Bloomekatz
Federal authorities said Tuesday that they have seized more than 200,000 children's dolls arriving from China at ports in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities after the toys tested positive for banned chemical compounds. The dolls showed high levels of phthalates, according to a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Ten shipments were seized from the ports of Los Angeles; Chicago; Dallas; Norfolk, Va.; Memphis, Tenn; Newark, N.J.; Portland, Ore., and Savannah, Ga. The seizures began in April and concluded Oct. 20. Authorities said the dolls seized were worth about $500,000.
NEWS
November 13, 2013 | By Noam N. Levey, This post has been updated with new developments.
WASHINGTON -- Just 106,000 Americans successfully signed up in October for health coverage through President Obama's healthcare law, the administration announced Wednesday in a report that underscored damage from the botched launch of the law and gave critics new fuel in their effort to roll it back. The tally falls well short of administration hopes that as many as 500,000 people would select a health plan in the first month of enrollment. Enrollment has been particularly weak in the 36 states whose new insurance marketplaces are being run by the federal government.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 11, 2013 | By David Ng
Authorities in Germany have seized more art that is possibly connected to the unprecedented discovery of more than 1,400 works revealed last week. The German newspaper Bild reported over the weekend that 22 pieces of art were recovered from an apartment in Stuttgart that is the residence of a man who is believed to be related to Cornelius Gurlitt, the art dealer who was keeping hundreds of valuable works in his Munich apartment. Gurlitt is the son of the late Hildebrand Gurlitt, a Nazi-era art dealer who was known to sell looted art. The Stuttgart apartment is reported to be the residence of Dr.
IMAGE
November 9, 2013 | By Vincent Boucher
Not long after James and Gwendolyn Jurney opened their men's store, Seize sur Vingt, in downtown Manhattan 15 years ago, a town car pulled up and, as they tell the story, a "nice man came in and started getting stuff. " Only when he was settling up did they realize he was a Hollywood titan. Now Jeffrey Katzenberg, a client ever since, doesn't have to go to New York to replenish his wardrobe with the store's signature slimly cut custom-tailored suits and shirts. In fact, he was the very first customer to be fitted at their new West Hollywood outpost on a quiet stretch of Melrose before they officially opened last month in suitably industry-related style with a party sponsored by the nascent Esquire Network.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 8, 2013 | By Ari Bloomekatz
Authorities detailed a large cache of guns, explosives and other weapons found Thursday night at the Riverside County home of an alleged arms dealer. Acting on a tip they received over the summer, state agents served a search warrant at the Eastvale home of Victor Christian Robles in the 6400 block of Pimlico Place, according to the state attorney general's office. Authorities said they confiscated: 36.4 grams of C-4 explosive, eight M228 grenade fuses, one igniter time-blasting fuse, one machine gun, one Uzi, one short-barrel shotgun, two Browning M-1919 .30-caliber, one AT4 rocket launcher tube, 40 assault rifles, 68 rifles and 101 handguns.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 8, 2013 | By Ari Bloomekatz
A home in Eastvale was raided Thursday by state agents who seized explosives and dozens of assault rifles. The search warrant was served at 6489 Pimlico Place, and law enforcement officers from the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Firearms led the raid, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise . "We're seizing explosives and assault weapons," an agent who declined to give his name told the Press-Enterprise. The agent said the explosives were C4.  ALSO: LAX shooting: Moment of silence planned for slain TSA agent Cancer patient's pre-surgery flash mob dance goes viral, inspires 90-foot Christmas tree arrives at Newport Beach's Fashion Island   Twitter: @aribloomekatz | Facebook ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com  
BUSINESS
November 7, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON - More than five years after the government seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, taxpayers are close to breaking even on the controversial bailouts of the mortgage finance giants. The companies said Thursday that they would make another set of large dividend payments to the Treasury after reporting third-quarter profits, continuing a turnaround fueled by the housing market rebound. Combined, the companies have received about $187.5 billion in bailout money, though none since early 2012.
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