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February 13, 2014 | By Joseph Serna and Matt Stevens
At least 17 people reported a car heading the wrong way on two freeways before a head-on collision in Diamond Bar that killed six, the California Highway Patrol said Thursday. CHP officials said the 911 callers reported seeing the vehicle on the 57 and 60 freeways early Sunday morning. Police said witnesses told them the car driven by Olivia Carolee Culbreath appeared to be going more than 100 mph. "They were describing the vehicle, saying it was going the wrong way at a high rate of speed," CHP Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said.
February 12, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Doomed from the start. No phrase better captures the last two playoff-free seasons for the Angels, who were 18-25 and eight games back in the American League West by mid-May 2012 and 15-27 and 12 games back by mid-May 2013. After lavishing $240 million on Albert Pujols before 2012 and $125 million on Josh Hamilton before 2013, the Angels spent modestly this off-season, their only free-agent splurge on reliever Joe Smith for three years and $15.75 million. Expectations are lower for 2014 - most projections have the Angels finishing third in the division - but if they are to contend, they must hit stride opening day, a mission they hope to accomplish by infusing spring training with a keener focus and greater sense of urgency.
February 12, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
HOMS, Syria - They appeared like a defeated army, gray blankets draping their shoulders, baggy clothes flowing over withered frames, faces gaunt and exhausted. At least half a dozen had lost limbs; others arrived in wheelchairs and on stretchers. Some wore bloody bandages. Many dragged heavily on cigarettes, like condemned men savoring their last smokes. "We couldn't stand it in there anymore," said Wassim, 23, a scraggly survivor seated Wednesday with other men at a glass-topped round table in a once-elegant banquet hall here, now a tattered makeshift shelter on the edge of a war zone.
February 11, 2014 | By David Pierson
TULARE, Calif. - California's drought could prove devastating to the state's farmers and ranchers. But the dry spell has brought a gusher of new business to companies that provide them with water. That much was clear at this year's World Ag Expo, which kicked off Tuesday in Tulare, a town of 60,000 about 45 miles south of Fresno. At one booth was a well repair company that had to add extra shifts to meet all the agricultural demand for groundwater. Nearby, a firm that provides turbine pumps for wells said orders were coming in so furiously it was running out of parts.
February 7, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
HOMS, Syria - They were stuck in their apartments for long stretches, hustling for whatever food was available. Sniper fire and shelling were constant. There was only occasional cellphone contact with the outside world. Running water and electricity were rare. A complex deal hammered out by the Syrian government, the United Nations and rebels led to a temporary cease-fire and the evacuation of 83 people from the Old City of Homs, many of them trapped for a year or more inside a rubble-strewn battleground.
February 6, 2014 | By David Horsey
The severe drought in California and much of the West is a reminder that civilized life is a paper-thin veneer that overlays the deep upheavals of nature. Humans carry on blithely, holding fast to the illusion that the natural world can be tamed and exploited with no unavoidable consequences. Then we get slammed by a hurricane, a flood, a tornado, a wildfire, a drought or a freezing polar vortex that lets us know how wrong we are.  Yet, after each disaster, we forget again -- which is the reason so few of us give any sustained attention to the climate change peril.
February 5, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration will set up 10 centers around the country to help farmers and ranchers adjust to the increasing frequency of severe weather and other risks associated with climate change. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the sites Wednesday, saying the goal was to help the agriculture industry adjust to new conditions, including extended fire seasons, invasive pests, flooding and drought. "It's a reflection of the changing weather patterns that will indeed impact and affect crop production, livestock production," Vilsack told reporters.
February 4, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
JUBA, South Sudan - Toddlers tottering in the dust, elderly men sitting in the shade to escape the sapping heat, clustering flies, the drifting smoke of cooking fires, and the sour smell of far too many people crowded into a small space. If things are bad now at the displaced persons camp near the main U.N. peacekeeping base in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, they'll soon be much worse. The rains are coming. By April or May they'll bring malaria, mud, perhaps cholera, and make life in these camps even more miserable.
February 3, 2014 | By Alexandra Sandels
BEIRUT - The general command of Al Qaeda has declared publicly that it has no link to one of its best-known affiliates, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which is waging a brutal guerrilla war in both Middle Eastern nations. The Islamic State is "not a branch of Al Qaeda,” has no “organizational relationship” with Al Qaeda and its actions cannot be linked to Al Qaeda, declared a blunt statement issued by Al Qaeda's Pakistan-based central command. The statement was posted on several jihadist websites early Monday.
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