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NATIONAL
January 5, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - Congress comes back to session this week with leaders of both parties planning a war of words in 2014 - dueling agendas that promise little substantive legislation but lots of messages aimed at establishing clear contrasts for voters heading toward the midterm election. After they dispatch a few must-pass fiscal measures early in the year, legislators seem unlikely to put together major accomplishments. Rather, the Republican-led House and the Democratic-controlled Senate will essentially become something like sound stages for the advertising wars that will unfold in the handful of states and districts that could decide partisan control of the next Congress.
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NATIONAL
January 5, 2014 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - Lawmakers took to the airwaves Sunday to argue about extending long-term unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans who were cut off last month, a politically sensitive issue in an election year. Democrats urged their Republican counterparts to join in granting emergency unemployment benefits. Republicans countered that they want to explore other options, including new job training initiatives. Both sides intend to highlight the dispute during this year's midterm election campaigns.
TRAVEL
January 5, 2014 | By Catharine Hamm
Question: Each year half a million knee replacements are done in this country, and almost as many hip replacements. These metal implants almost always set off the alarm in the screenings (I know). But the screening of a traveler with an implant is quite variable. Why doesn't the Transportation Security Administration have a standard exam for us "bionic" travelers? R. E. Berg Newport Beach Answer: We've criticized the TSA for treating all of us as potential evildoers, and in an interview in December 2013, TSA administrator John Pistole said the agency was moving away from its one-size-is-the-right-size philosophy.
SCIENCE
January 4, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
Researchers in Japan are fighting gravity with sound. In the video above, you can watch as a series of small, lightweight objects float and dance in thin air -- manipulated by invisible ultrasound waves. The sound waves are not just invisible, but also silent to our human ears.  "The human ear can detect up to 20 kHz frequency, but we use 40 kHz transducers that are out of the range that humans can detect," said Yoichi Ochiai, a PhD student at the University of Tokyo who put the video together.
BUSINESS
January 2, 2014 | By Maria La Ganga and W.J. Hennigan
SEATTLE - Waving angry signs and clenched fists, several hundred union members rallied Thursday afternoon for a vote against a contract that would cut their benefits but guarantee that Boeing Co. builds its latest wide-body jet in the Puget Sound area. "This is the fight of our lives," said local union leader Wilson Ferguson of the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers as the raucous crowd in the union's hall cheered. "This is the front line of the labor movement right now. Thank you for coming out and supporting us. " The machinists union, which represents more than 31,000 Boeing workers in Washington state, is planning to vote Friday on a contract aimed at keeping the aerospace giant's 777X project in the region.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 30, 2013 | By Nardine Saad
Keira Knightley may be married, but she's still sounding the feminist horn for women in Hollywood. The English actress covers Harper's Bazaar UK's February issue and opened up about the male-dominated field she works in. The 28-year-old said she thinks "it's great that the discussions are finally being allowed to be had" about feminism. PHOTOS: 50 most beautiful female celebrities "Somehow, it [feminism] became a dirty word. I thought it was really weird for a long time, and I think it's great that we're coming out of that," the "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" star said.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 28, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
NEW YORK - This has been the season of the concert hall. The one named after Walt Disney turned 10. How that venue has revolutionized musical life in L.A. and beyond has been the subject of much consideration. Though the economy bubbles and bursts, this great space, having lost none of its contemporary luster, continues to inspire an international concert hall building boom. That makes this latest push to get music the heck out of Disney and every other concert hall all the more a remarkable phenomenon in 2013.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 23, 2013 | By Ryan Faughnder
The Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles matchup Sunday was no contest on the field -- and a runaway winner in the prime-time ratings. NBC's Sunday Night Football, which presented the Eagles' 54-11 victory, drew an average of about 16 million viewers and a rating of 5.5 among key 18-to-49-year-olds from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST, according to early numbers from Nielsen.  Despite the blowout, the numbers were up from last week's game, going...
ENTERTAINMENT
December 18, 2013 | By Meredith Blake
As anyone who's watched even a few minutes of A&E's reality hit "Duck Dynasty" can tell you, Phil Robertson is a pretty conservative guy.  But in an interview published in January's GQ Magazine , the duck call inventor and Roberston family patriarch  goes on record with comments about the sinfulness of gays and black people under Jim Crow that are about as forward-thinking as his Old Testament facial hair.  In the profile, an unedited Robertson...
ENTERTAINMENT
December 13, 2013 | By Randy Lewis
Beyonce's surprise album drop constitutes an early holiday gift to fans, but it also figures to bolster her own bank account considerably, enough that it may combine with her other business ventures to deliver her most lucrative year yet, Forbes reports . Whatever she gleans out of the $15.99 downloads of “Beyonce,” the new “visual album” that posted with zero fanfare early Friday on iTunes, will add to revenue from her “Mrs....
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