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CONTENT
FEATURED NEWS FEEDS


NEWS (LAST 200)
News24.com | Johann Rupert is not an abe...
WTA gives increased protection for retur...
News24.com | Boy airlifted to hospital f...
Foul-mouthed Santa horrifies parents...
What is a lame duck? Theresa May compare...
Rockies hire hitting coach Magadan after...
Wild weather lashes Australia: Sydney an...
On Washington: It Took Quite a Push, but...
Shooting near West Bank settlement kills...
Vatican Expels 2 Cardinals Implicated in...
Boy killed in India by celebratory gunfi...
News24.com | Gandhi statue removed after...
Canadian Michael Spavor detained in Chin...
British professor, 60, becomes an intern...
Zuma must pay back millions in legal fee...
WATCH: #Idols winner Yanga surprised by ...
Putin leads 25th anniversary celebration...
Woman nabbed after newborn was heard cry...
Stephen Mangan sparks Twitter debate ove...
From the sublime to the ridiculous: 13 u...
Sport24.co.za | Willemse confident SAHRC...
Donald Trump warned 'no one is abov...
Child homelessness in England rises to h...
Phil Neville: Winning Womens World Cup w...
Philippines: Life inside one of the worl...
Man found covered in grease after two da...
£250,000 London studio flat is most pop...
Migrant group delivers ultimatum to the ...
Border post officers trained how to warm...
Video: Officers catch Texas boy jumping ...
At least two Israelis killed in West Ban...
Grace Millane: Shovel recovered in backp...
Police use of Tasers has rocketed by 50 ...
DR Congo election: Blaze hits electoral ...
US-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters push i...
Shovel linked to the murder of Grace Mil...
Sweden arrests 1 person suspected of pre...
Scottish parliament partly overstepped o...
Darrell Clarke: Bristol Rovers manager l...
Nothing has surprised me - Mourinho crit...
Minneapolis, Tackling Housing Crisis and...
Japan’s Justice Ministry reveals 174 f...
Shopper, 19, slams Boohoo after size 14 ...
Their Plans Derailed by a Wildfire, Seni...
WWF says Tanzania dam project could hurt...
Palestinian gunman kills two, wounds two...
Crowded underground stations and carriag...
Americas Cup: New challenger Stars & Str...
UK weather: Heavy snowfall to hit Britai...
Exhausted Yemenis demand halt to war...
Stocks wait for ECB signals, pound stron...
North Korean officials expressed regret ...
Foster couple who adopted two sets of tw...
Japan’s new defense guidelines will ou...
From the Bunnings onion ban to lifting t...
Lewis Hamilton earns first Formula One t...
ANZ Sports Scene: Kendra Cocksedge makes...
Natural Disasters And The Pause Button...
Cloudy but calm before Friday’s rain, ...
LATEST: Strasbourg gunman remains on the...
Kim Jong-un unlikely to visit Seoul this...
Marcelo mystified by Isco's refusal...
Made In Chelseas Jess Woodley unveils wi...
The Oil Industry’s Covert Campaign to ...
Bonmarché shares halve after sales slum...
D.C.-area forecast: Cloudy but calm befo...
Celtic captain Scott Brown left with dec...
Seven totally free ways to get into the ...
Senator bought then dropped defense stoc...
Ousmane Dembele asks for forgiveness dur...
Teen charged over vicious assault on St ...
Jesy Nelson turns heads in a racy red bu...
Dua Lipa sports bejweelled thigh-high bo...
Lisa Armstrong feels betrayed after bein...
Players restrain themselves over abuse, ...
Ask Cokie: Lame Duck Session Of Congress...
New Cameroon FA boss Seidou Mbombo Njoya...
Border Wall Funding May Lead To Governme...
Man held for £20,000 of drugs at Aberde...
KDB completes $375m transfer to GM Korea...
State yet to reinstate my security detai...
Palestinian gunman kills 2, wounds 2 nea...
Gregor Paul: How Black Ferns Kendra Cock...
Underground network raising money for Is...
All Aboard, December 16, 2018.
Florida Congressman Has Yet To Take Offi...
Home prices rose nearly 7 percent during...
Jennifer Lopez dazzles in ruffled coutur...
Parts of Holyrood Brexit bill struck dow...
Kiev may start major offensive in rebell...
89 rapists, drug peddlers charged in Lam...
Bok coaches to franchises a win-win for ...
NRL player De Belin charged with sexual ...
Kenya to face Zambia in Copa Coca Cola U...
[VIDEO] Universal Health Care: Why four ...
Cricket SA announces headline sponsor fo...
NUM strikers expected back at South Deep...
The Latest On The Mueller Investigation ...
Rita Ora teams a chic checked blazer wit...
‘May remains in power as nobody wants ...
Turkey sets up space agency – presiden...
French rugby starlet Nicolas Chauvin die...
Pakistan cricket captain calls on squad ...
Rugby: Black Ferns Kendra Cocksedge make...
Power Up: Brexit, Trumps wall and yellow...
LOOK: Regal wedding for corporate scions...
DG One leisure centre on course for summ...
After instigating trade war America will...
FOCUS: Migrants keep crossing Strait of ...
SA tourism agency celebrates award wins,...
France warns Theresa May therell be no r...
PM May survives party confidence vote bu...
Michy Batshuayi mocks Man Uniteds Phil J...
Nancy Pelosi Agrees To Term Limit To Ens...
A Song Of Tribute To The Lost Town Of Pa...
House GOP women looking for answers as t...
French police try to catch attack suspec...
Japan’s new defense guidelines will ou...
COP24: Coal-dependent Poland refrains fr...
News24.com | WATCH: Turkey train crash l...
A new direction for Japanese agriculture...
Universal human rights declaration, 70 y...
Apple is spending $1 billion on a new ca...
Donald Trump's suffocating presence...
U.S. And China Clash On Trade
What You Need To Know About Another Wild...
The strengthening case against Trump...
The pensioner addicted to penis fillers...
Pitch will backfire on Aussies: Vaughan...
I spared myself 400 hours of screen time...
FFA to see $32 million windfall from exp...
Haunting polar diary reveals how explore...
Unprecedented number of complaints again...
Recap: 2018 New Zealand Rugby Awards...
How to score the best car deal in Decemb...
The Latest: Shooting attack in West Bank...
Israeli rescue service chief says 2 kill...
Japan’s current economic expansion con...
Black South African politician says kill...
Swedish police arrest terrorist suspect ...
Free Solo: Why this rock climbing docume...
EU court upholds German public broadcast...
Fire destroys thousands of voting machin...
On Politics: Tabloid Company Agrees to C...
Dikembe Mutombo pays for Congo boys tumo...
Israel hunts down Palestinians behind pa...
EU parliament approves Japan trade deal,...
Nurseries told not to call children boys...
UK’s May seeks EU lifeline after survi...
Does This Look Right to You? HOLLAἸ4D ...
Southern Baptist Seminary Reviews Its Le...
Obrador moves to scrap Mexicos controver...
The Last of the Old-School Cabaret Artis...
Primary school tables: Poor pupils wont ...
Apple goes big in Austin; ECB meeting; B...
Biographical sketches of 2 Canadians det...
Glass fragments embedded in Hiroshima hi...
Former Strictly star Brendan Cole kicks ...
Photos from Japan space rovers show rock...
Globalization must center on people...
What gives them the right to bomb us? Ex...
A spotlight on Japan’s criminal justic...
Formula E: Best moments so far with driv...
EUs Tusk to meet UKs May for last-minute...
Patients spend a record £1BILLION on pr...
The Physical and Spiritual Art of Capoei...
Kate Middleton is spotted driving hersel...
Slay the single-payer myths: Ocasio-Cort...
Ireland of decades gone by is revealed i...
Gambling TV adverts ban confirmed
Former Sen. William Cohen Among Those Wh...
Justice Ministry reveals 174 foreign tec...
UKs May seeks EU lifeline after survivin...
Three rescued from West Virginia mine...
When Impeachment Is Mandatory
Can YOU spot the saucy scene in this inn...
Almost 15,000 Migrant Children Now Held ...
Nurse Denied Life Insurance Because She ...
Jude Laws daughter in The Holiday is now...
Darrell Clarke: Bristol Rovers manager l...
As Election Fraud Probe Centers On N.C.s...
Miley Cyrus reveals the surprising way s...
10 must-visit beaches in the Caribbean...
In France, School Lessons Ask: Which Twi...
Brazilian couple get light sentences in ...
Turkey says to launch new operation agai...
News24.com | NPA to appeal acquittal of ...
WATCH: Taariq Phillips sentenced to 10 y...
4th attacker convicted in murder of Chin...
China Arrests a 2nd Canadian, Escalating...
December: A month to decide what to stop...
Why campaigns to stop child marriage can...
Apple splashing $1 billion on new campus...
Palestinian gunman wounds four in West B...
News24.com | Refrain from hate speech or...
News Brief: Government Shutdown, Pelosi ...
What its like to sail on Celebrity Cruis...
The Soon To Be Chair of The House Foreig...
Whats To Come Following Failed No Confid...
The Hunt: Rolling the Dice on Developmen...

REVIEWS & PREVIEWS (LAST 60)
Ryan Kadro, executive producer of CBS Th...
Former L.A. Times publisher reportedly g...
California Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula ...
Oaklands suit against NFL raises serious...
Scott Boras holds court on the Bryce Har...
Retired appellate court justice William ...
Workers demonstrate at five hotels, a pr...
Buying Guide: The best drones
Review: In Kosovo drama The Marriage, th...
Review: The rural melodrama of Back Road...
Nikon Coolpix P1000 Review
New Laguna ordinance allows sidewalk ven...
Workers demonstrate at four hotels, a pr...
Red Sox reach minor league deal with Gor...
Jordy Mercer and Detroit Tigers agree to...
Easton baseball tournament set to begin ...
L.A. beefs up public funding for city ca...
Laguna Beach to expand public safety and...
Turkeys Erdogan promises to clear Kurds ...
#SAGsPrettyWhite? Screen Actors Guild co...
A museum of disgusting food provokes, bu...
He shot his neighbors Chihuahua with an ...
Animated Spider-Man to top The Mule and ...
L.A. architects, designers named among t...
Today: The Donald, Chuck and Nancy Show...
Times to launch prime-time TV show ‘L....
Paul Greengrass revisits terrorist massa...
Clippers suffer through an off night in ...
Speed limits are going up in L.A. so tha...
Essay: ‘I Read Morning, Night and in B...
Gunman who kills 2 in Strasbourg, France...
CBS board mum at annual meeting on Moonv...
Oxnard woman guilty in murder of 3-year-...
Supervisors OK 19,000-home development a...
L.A. County sheriff’s deputy charged w...
Monster Boy And The Cursed Kingdom Revie...
Rainbow Six Siege Year 4 Pass Now Availa...
Heres where to watch the SAG Award nomin...
Red Sox owner John W. Henry asks $25 mil...
Cal State Northridge plans off-campus ex...
Taco Bell founder’s compound returns t...
USC hires Chad Kauhaahaa as defensive co...
L.A. County Sheriffs deputy charged with...
Soccer! Sigi Schmid is hospitalized...
Philadelphia Phillies are poised to make...
Best art of 2018: Jasper Johns, Renaissa...
High school basketball: Monday scores...
Desert Child Review - Burning Fuel...
Time’s Person of the Year? Four journa...
Five takeaways from the Lakers 108-105 w...
Nikon Z6 First impressions review
Clippers cut it close against lowly Suns...
Monster Boy And The Cursed Kingdom Revie...
Buying Guide: The best lenses for Sony m...
Buying Guide: The best lenses for Nikon ...
Buying Guide: The best lenses for Canon ...
Nikon Z7 Review
Buying Guide: The best cameras under $50...
DJI Ronin-S review
Wacom Intuos Pro review


Ryan Kadro will leave his post as executive producer of “CBS This Morning” when his contract expires at the end of this year, according to two people familiar with the plan.

Kadro has led the program, co-anchored by Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King, John Dickerson and Bianna Golodryga, since 2016 and...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 20:05:00 PST )

The Los Angeles Times’ former publisher and editor, Davan Maharaj, reportedly received a $2.5-million settlement following his exit from Tribune Publishing Co. after revealing to a mediator he had recorded anti-Semitic comments allegedly made by the company’s largest shareholder, Michael Ferro.

... Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:00:00 PST )

About 800 hotels workers demonstrated Wednesday in front of five high-end hotels in Los Angeles and Orange counties in what union leaders say is a preview of upcoming strikes if contract agreements are not reached.

The workers from Unite Here Local 11 marched, banged drums and chanted throughout...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:55:00 PST )

Oakland is suing the NFL over the relocation of the Raiders, and that raises serious doubts about where the team will play next season while its Las Vegas stadium is being built.

“All options are on the table,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said Wednesday at the league’s annual December meetings.

Well,...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 16:50:00 PST )

Scott Boras climbed atop a platform before a ceiling-scraping imitation fir bedecked with silver, gold and emerald ornaments as dozens of reporters swelled around him. On the penultimate day of the winter meetings, Boras came bearing corrections, metaphors and reassurances about the strength of...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 16:45:00 PST )

In Kosovar filmmaker Blerta Zeqiri’s debut feature “The Marriage,” bride and groom are both trying to tamp down certain emotions before their upcoming wedding. Anita (Adriana Matoshi), one of the many Kosovans with missing loved ones from the war, would like to suspend feelings of loss and concentrate...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Movie Reviews (Tue, 4 Dec 2018 14:50:00 PST )

When mom (Juliette Lewis) goes to jail for killing their abusive dad, introverted, undereducated son Harley (Alex Pettyfer) proves wholly unequipped to take care of his three younger sisters — obnoxious, promiscuous teenager Amber (Nicola Peltz), embittered middle daughter Misty (Chiara Aurelia)...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Movie Reviews (Tue, 4 Dec 2018 13:55:00 PST )

After nearly an hour of deliberation among council members, staff and the public Tuesday night, the Laguna Beach City Council unanimously approved an ordinance allowing but strictly regulating sidewalk vendors.

The action followed a recent change in state law that goes into effect Jan. 1.

In the...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:45:00 PST )

Nearly 800 hotels workers demonstrated Wednesday in front of four high-end hotels in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Anaheim, in what union leaders say is a preview of upcoming strikes if contract agreements are not reached.

The workers from Unite Here Local 11 marched, banged drums and chanted...

Read More

Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:55:00 PST )

When Los Angeles laid out plans to beef up its system for giving public money to city candidates, groups like the California Clean Money Campaign applauded the move.

Doing so, they said, would help level the playing field for grass-roots candidates.

But as the city continued to hammer out more...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 12:50:00 PST )

Beach patrols will increase following a late-night discussion about public safety at the Laguna Beach City Council meeting Tuesday.

The council voted unanimously to fund a stronger police presence at Main Beach and Heisler Park. There also will be a new lifeguard tower at the south end of Main...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 12:45:00 PST )

Turkey will launch a military operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in northern Syria “within a matter of days,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday, threatening to upend an uneasy detente.

That could put it on a collision course with Washington, which backs the Kurds with thousands...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 12:45:00 PST )

With contenders such as “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Atlanta” receiving ensemble cast nominations and a nominations announcement delivered by Awkwafina and Laverne Cox, the Screen Actors Guild Awards looked to sidestep the criticism that has been levied around Hollywood of late surrounding a lack of...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 09:40:00 PST )

A 23-year-old man was arrested this week after authorities say he shot and killed his neighbor’s Chihuahua with an assault rifle after the animal urinated on his lawn and car.

Tulare County Sheriff’s Office deputies began investigating the incident Monday when the dog’s owner came into the office...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 08:25:00 PST )

Your ticket to the Disgusting Food Museum is a barf bag, like you’d see tucked into the back of an airplane seat. That should tell you much of what you need to know about this museum, a contrivance of Swedish psychologist Samuel West, who brought us the moderately amusing Museum of Failure in 2017...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 08:25:00 PST )

An innovative animated take on the “Spider-Man” superhero franchise is expected to top the North American box office this weekend, proving that the Marvel comic book character still has legs after multiple big-screen reboots, reimaginings and retoolings.

Sony Pictures Animation’s “Spider-Man: Into...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

Christmas came early this week for design devotees and architectural aficionados waiting to see who would be named to Architectural Digest’s prestigious AD100 for 2019, a list recognizing 100 top talents worldwide in the field of design, deemed the “best of the best” by the editorial staff at the...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

A strange confrontation in the Oval Office. The threat of a shutdown. Is this a preview of next year’s divided government?

TOP STORIES

The Donald, Chuck and Nancy Show

For more than 15 minutes with the cameras rolling, President Trump, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

The Los Angeles Times will produce a prime-time news magazine television series for Charter Communications’ recently launched Spectrum News 1 channel, the companies said Tuesday.

The one-hour show, “L.A. Times Today,” will air Monday through Thursday starting in February and will take an in-depth...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

The film "22 July" revisits the summer day in 2011 when neo-Nazi Anders Breivik detonated a car bomb in Oslo, then gained access to a youth camp on the Norwegian island of Utøya and methodically shot 69 young people to death. "The film is obviously disturbing in the first 30 minutes or so," says...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 04:55:00 PST )

Toronto had made so many shots in Tuesday’s third quarter that by the time Delon Wright missed a three-pointer from the wing, the crowd at Staples Center let out a sigh of relief.

The shot hit the front of the rim and caromed nearly to midcourt where two Clippers, Patrick Beverley and Tyrone Wallace,...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Tue, 11 Dec 2018 22:55:00 PST )

Los Angeles officials on Tuesday raised speed limits on more than 100 miles of streets, saying the increases are the best way to quickly resolve a years-long problem that has prevented police officers from ticketing speeding drivers across the city.

Despite concerns from neighborhood groups, the...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Tue, 11 Dec 2018 15:20:00 PST )
The Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma recalls how his father’s gift for storytelling led his son to discover the worlds between covers. Read More

Source: The New York Times - Sunday Review (Mon, 03 Dec 2018 19:00:04 GMT )

An Oxnard woman was convicted Monday of second-degree murder after prosecutors say she tried to cover up the death of her 3-year-old daughter, whom she was abusing.

Jurors also found Mayra Alejandra Chavez, 27, guilty of felony torture and assault leading to the death of Kimberly Lopez in June...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Tue, 11 Dec 2018 13:25:00 PST )

French prosecutors are investigating the shooting that killed two at a Christmas market in Strasbourg on Monday as a potential terrorist attack.

The Paris prosecutor, who is in charge of anti-terrorism inquiries in France, is heading to Strasbourg, according to a statement from his office. The...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Tue, 11 Dec 2018 14:00:00 PST )

CBS Corp. finally held its annual meeting with shareholders — a ritual that had been twice postponed this year because of corporate turmoil. But during Tuesday’s 25-minute gathering there was no hint of the drama surrounding the company, nor any mention of the man who led it for 12 years: former...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Tue, 11 Dec 2018 13:50:00 PST )

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to approve the Centennial project at Tejon Ranch, clearing the way for a hotly debated master-planned community in a private wilderness area at the county’s edge.

“This is not just another sprawl project,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger,...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Tue, 11 Dec 2018 13:40:00 PST )

For the first time in nearly 20 years, a Los Angeles County law enforcement officer has been charged with killing an unarmed civilian while on duty.

Luke Liu is accused of shooting Francisco Garcia at a Norwalk gas station on Feb. 24, 2016, according to a complaint filed by the Los Angeles County...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Tue, 11 Dec 2018 13:35:00 PST )

A house that tacos built is back on the menu.

The longtime Rancho Santa Fe home of late Taco Bell founder Glen Bell has returned to market at $5.995 million, down about $1.5 million from when it first listed for sale in 2015.

The palm-studded estate encompasses 6.75 acres of grounds and includese...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:55:00 PST )

A letter discovered in a building at Cal State Northridge that threatens a mass shooting has prompted school officials to provide off-campus alternatives for final exams on Wednesday.

A student found the note, written in red ink on lined notebook paper, late Monday folded up on the floor of a classroom...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:50:00 PST )

Fresh off his squad’s World Series victory, Boston Red Sox owner John W. Henry is hoping to score a win in the real estate game. His palatial estate in Boca Raton is on the market for a cool $25 million.

Should it sell for even close to that, it’ll be a sizable return on investment for the billionaire....

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:45:00 PST )

Rainbow Six Siege's Operation Wind Bastion update recently arrived on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, marking the end of the game's third year. Ubisoft still has a lot more content in store for the shooter in 2019, however, including another batch of Operators. With the new season just around the corner, the publisher has already begun offering the Year 4 pass for Siege, and it grants holders some good benefits.

The Year 4 pass is available for purchase on all platforms. Much like previous Siege passes, it costs $30 and entitles players to a number of perks. Chief among them, those who purchase the Year 4 pass will receive seven-day early access to all eight of the new Operators being introduced to Siege in Year 4, and you won't have to grind for in-game currency in order to unlock them, as you would if you don't own the pass.

On top of that, Year 4 pass holders will get a handful of exclusive items, including eight uniforms and headgear, as well as the Lava 6 Charm. Owners will also receive 600 bonus R6 credits, along with a few other benefits through January 31, 2020, such as 5% Renown boost and a 10% discount in Siege's in-game shop.

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As an added bonus, everyone who picks the pass up before March 4, 2019 will get the Volcano Signature weapon skin. Those who own the Year 3 Pass will also receive an additional 600 RS credits when they pick up Year 4's. You can read more about the season pass on the official Rainbow Six Siege website.

Ubisoft has yet to announce the new Operators coming to Rainbow Six Siege in Year 4, but the recent Operation Wind Bastion update introduced Nomad and Kaid. The former is an Attacker whose primary weapons come with a device that launches wind-powered proximity mines, while the latter is a Defender who's equipped with deployable electroclaws. Operation Wind Bastion also introduced a new map named Fortress.

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Source: GameSpot Gaming Reviews (Tue, 11 Dec 2018 12:16:00 -0800)

It's difficult to talk about Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom without discussing Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap and its 2017 remake, because despite being produced by an entirely different development team, this game is, in fact, an official successor in the Wonder Boy series. But even though its history might be confusing, Monster Boy is a fantastic adventure in its own right, one that distinctly builds upon the best parts of Wonder Boy and adds some welcome modern conveniences for good measure.

You play as Jin, a blue-haired young man who must stop his drunk uncle Nabu from inflicting curses upon the kingdom's inhabitants and transforming them into animals. Unfortunately, the plot doesn't really expand beyond that initial premise. With the exception of some moments of levity provided by the cast of interesting supporting characters, the story is uninspired and concludes on a final act that feels shoehorned. But where Monster Boy's narrative lacks in imagination, it more than makes up for it with its well-honed character transformation mechanic.

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Over the course of the game, Jin unlocks an arsenal of equipment and gains five animal transformations--pig, snake, frog, lion, and dragon--each of whom has their own unique abilities. Jin's human, frog, lion, and dragon forms are also able to equip a variety of weapons, shields, and armor, all of which can be upgraded. Equipping items unlocks new abilities--one type of boots allow you to walk on clouds, while another allows you to double jump, for instance. Quickly swapping between all these different forms to take advantage of their strengths adds a continually enjoyable layer of thought to the platforming experience, and its strengths are regularly showcased by Monster Boy's excellent puzzle design.

You're eased into each new animal form and piece of equipment with some basic obstacles and enemies before being set loose to explore the titular Cursed Kingdom. Puzzles scattered throughout require some thought; on several occasions, you'll be forced to combine the use of several different powers and abilities in creative ways in order to progress forward or reach a treasure. It might be juggling two different animal forms, using particular equipment abilities, or taking advantage of environmental items, and when you eventually figure out how to get there, it always feels rewarding. Puzzles become increasingly complex, the variety of enemies becomes tougher, and the platforming sections feature additional obstacles that require more precise timing as you progress, but the growing challenges are balanced out well by a forgiving number of checkpoints, which help you keep motivated to give things another try.

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While the game is primarily linear, the Cursed Kingdom itself is enormous and features several different secret-filled areas (discovering everything will likely blow out your playtime to roughly 15-20 hours), and the variety of puzzles and charming locations that you find in far corners of the world are themselves an attractive incentive to reach. The experience is doubly rewarding when you unearth new paths while revisiting a previously-discovered area armed with a bigger arsenal of animal forms and skills, and Monster Boy even implements a teleportation mechanic to alleviate frustrations of excessive backtracking.

Monster Boy also boasts a brilliant visual and audio presentation that makes the Wonder Boy aesthetic shine, featuring a meticulously detailed hand-drawn art style. Each character is beautifully realized with their own delightful animation--little details, like the pig's sheepish look as he farts after eating a power-up plant or the frog eyeballing some flies as part of his idle animation, adds volumes to Jin's characterization and the game's charm. Every area of the Cursed Kingdom is also visually distinct and beautifully animated, and a couple of superb anime-style sequences that bookend the game help give it a slick, cohesive feel. The game's strong soundtrack helps round out the package and features both original pieces influenced by Wonder Boy's soundtrack, combined with new, rock-influenced arrangements of Wonder Boy's most memorable tunes, making it a great collection of music both new and old.

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Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom not only pays faithful homage to Wonder Boy, particularly The Dragon's Trap, but by refining the solid foundations of its spiritual predecessors with modern affordances, it becomes a rich platforming adventure in its own right. With a well-realized world filled to the brim with secrets and excellent platforming mechanics that always keeps things interesting, the Cursed Kingdom is a place you will want to discover every corner of.

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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Mon, 10 Dec 2018 18:00:00 -0800)

USC coach Clay Helton has made another addition to his staff, hiring former Boise State defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a to the same position for the Trojans, according to Kauha'aha'a's Twitter bio.

Kauha'aha'a (pronounced cow-ha-a-ha-a) spent one season at Boise State in 2018 after three...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews ( Tue, 11 Dec 2018 10:45:00 PST )

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy is being charged with voluntary manslaughter, marking the first time a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles County has been prosecuted for an on-duty shooting in nearly 20 years.

Luke Liu, 40, was scheduled to appear at an arraignment at the criminal courthouse...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Tue, 11 Dec 2018 10:55:00 PST )
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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews ( 星期二, 11 十二月 2018 08:51:00 PST )

Hello and welcome to the L.A. Times soccer newsletter. I’m Kevin Baxter, the Times’ soccer writer. We have a lot to talk about this week, but unfortunately we start with bad news: Former Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid, the winningest coach in MLS history, is in intensive care at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (星期二, 11 十二月 2018 10:00:00 PST )

In chronological order of their opening, these were the 10 most engaging art museum exhibitions that I saw this year within L.A.'s immediate orbit. (Good news for the holiday break: Six of them are still on view.)

"Jasper Johns: Something Resembling Truth," The Broad

A big survey, not a full retrospective,...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (星期二, 11 十二月 2018 09:00:00 PST )

Desert Child is a game of modern ambitions and sensibilities wrapped up in a retro aesthetic. It looks like an early-'90s DOS game rendering of a future where humanity has colonized Mars and built a city that feels like a mix between a Cowboy Bebop planet and modern-day Australia. The game's unique look, chilled vibe, and strong concept make for a great first impression, but unfortunately, by the end of it you'll realize that there's not much more to Desert Child than what you got in those opening minutes.

You play as a young man who leaves Earth in the game's opening, looking to conquer Mars' speeder bike circuit and earn enough money to prove himself in an upcoming championship. At the beginning of the game, you choose between four weapons to have mounted on the front of your vehicle, each with a different difficulty rating depending on how useful they are. All races are one-on-one and play out on a 2D plane viewed from a side-on perspective, which is a strange--but also a strangely enjoyable--way to compete. There are a handful of different tracks, all with unique obstacles, and when you start up a race you'll be thrown into one of them at random. While there are obstacles to avoid, winning comes down to using your boost effectively and firing your weapon at TVs planted around the track. Each TV you take out gives you a speed boost, and to maintain your maximum speed you need to consistently destroy the televisions on the track before your opponent does.

The first few times you race in Desert Child, it's thrilling. Your hoverbike controls well--it's floaty and fast but precise--and blasting away at everything in front of you and timing your boosts well is fun. The game captures the inherent excitement of hoverbike racing, but once it becomes clear that every race is going to be more-or-less the same, that excitement dulls considerably. You can't switch guns mid-game, the tracks all play very similarly, and the only real difference between opponents is that the very last one in the game is more difficult to beat than the others. I couldn't highlight a uniquely cool moment from any of the races I took part in across two playthroughs of the game, or a race where the game showed off a new trick or idea.

Desert Child also has the thin veneer of an RPG system. You spend much of the game's short running time wandering around a Martian city, exploring and poking at its different stores, NPCs, and the odd jobs it offers. There are only a handful of different environments for your unnamed protagonist to mosey through, and while they're lovely to look at the first few times, the game's small scale begins to feel limiting when you realize that the game world never changes in any significant way. After each race or job you take, the day progresses, and while some NPCs shift around and store stocks change, Mars very quickly starts to feel small and static.

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Your major objective is to raise $10,000 for a tournament while keeping yourself well fed, your bike in good working order, and not attracting the law by taking on too many dodgy missions in the nightlife district. The goal seems to be to capture some of the tedium of life in this town--there's a lot of walking around, visiting ramen stores, and switching between odd jobs. Some of these jobs are fun, but generally only for the first few times that you play them. For example, you can work as a pizza delivery person, riding a bicycle through one of the game's tracks while shooting pizza boxes at people; you can herd kangaroos, which involves following a group of them through a field and maneuvering your hoverbike behind any slackers so that they don't drop away from the pack; you can enter and intentionally lose a race for the local crime boss.

There are a few different minigames like this, but ultimately none of them really offers anything that feels like a meaningful twist on the existing racing (with the possible exception of the "hacking" minigame, in which you're attacked by floating Windows logos and marble busts--I could not figure out this job's victory conditions). Once you've quickly seen everything Mars has to offer, and especially once you've bought the game's entire soundtrack from the record shop (which is worth doing, because the music is great), there's nothing exciting to find or unlock.

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There are a lot of references in Desert Child that will hit harder with an Australian audience. There's a bridge dedicated to the welfare program Centrelink, complete with a job board that you can access different tasks from; the constant casual profanity is very Aussie; and there are little nods to local cultural touchstones dotted around Mars. The "Bring Back Tim Tams" graffiti might not hold the same appeal for all players, but it made me smile.

Before long, your focus will shift to saving up for the tournament, which boils down to racing and completing tasks over and over while storing your earnings in your bank to accrue interest. It's an uninteresting progression model, and the tournament itself is unexciting--you race three times, and if you lose any of them you must start again. You earn huge amounts of money even if you lose the first two races, which lets you buy all your hoverbike's potential upgrades and make things a bit easier on yourself. Winning the third race promptly ends the game, even though, narratively and mechanically, it really feels like things are just getting started.

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Desert Child exhibits a number of smaller issues, too. While the numerous misspellings feel like they could plausibly be an intentional part of the game's aesthetic, the lack of a pause option during races feels like an oversight, as does the fact that selecting "New Game" from the menu automatically starts up a new game without warning you that all previous data is going to be erased. Sometimes the equipment I'd put on my bike, like a laser sight for my gun, arbitrarily wouldn't work during a race, and I could never figure out why there were TVs scattered around during the pizza delivery game with seemingly no way to destroy them. Problems like this pop up all over Desert Child, and while most of them are minor, they add up.

Desert Child has a wonderful sense of style, and there are moments when it clicks. When you jet across the water on your bike firing a shotgun blast that shatters several televisions in front of you, or when you first start to wrap your head around the aesthetic of Mars, the game briefly, but brightly, shines. But Desert Child doesn't quite hang together, and by the end of its very brief runtime the things that seemed exciting just an hour prior have lost most of their luster. This could be a lovely proof of concept for a bigger game; as it stands, it's hard not to get caught up thinking about all that it could have been.

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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Tue, 11 Dec 2018 08:00:00 -0800)

Dwyane Wade’s final game against the Lakers meant a lot to one Laker who wasn’t LeBron James.

Josh Hart wears No. 3 because of Wade, a player he’s always idolized.

“That’s my role model, that’s my favorite player growing up,” Hart said. “Still is. Sometimes it’s tough when you’re playing that 48...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Tue, 11 Dec 2018 06:55:00 PST )

When it was over and the Clippers had just barely survived a short-handed and struggling Suns team at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Monday night, L.A. left the court feeling content with its 123-119 overtime victory.

“We won. That’s all you need to do,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.

“Like on...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Mon, 10 Dec 2018 21:55:00 PST )

It's difficult to talk about Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom without discussing Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap and its 2017 remake, because despite being produced by an entirely different development team, this game is, in fact, an official successor in the Wonder Boy series. But even though its history might be confusing, Monster Boy is a fantastic adventure in its own right, one that distinctly builds upon the best parts of Wonder Boy and adds some welcome modern conveniences for good measure.

You play as Jin, a blue-haired young man who must stop his drunk uncle Nabu from inflicting curses upon the kingdom's inhabitants and transforming them into animals. Unfortunately, the plot doesn't really expand beyond that initial premise. With the exception of some moments of levity provided by the cast of interesting supporting characters, the story is uninspired and concludes on a final act that feels shoehorned. But where Monster Boy's narrative lacks in imagination, it more than makes up for it with its well-honed character transformation mechanic.

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Over the course of the game, Jin unlocks an arsenal of equipment and gains five animal transformations--pig, snake, frog, lion, and dragon--each of whom has their own unique abilities. Jin's human, frog, lion, and dragon forms are also able to equip a variety of weapons, shields, and armor, all of which can be upgraded. Equipping items unlocks new abilities--one type of boots allow you to walk on clouds, while another allows you to double jump, for instance. Quickly swapping between all these different forms to take advantage of their strengths adds a continually enjoyable layer of thought to the platforming experience, and its strengths are regularly showcased by Monster Boy's excellent puzzle design.

You're eased into each new animal form and piece of equipment with some basic obstacles and enemies before being set loose to explore the titular Cursed Kingdom. Puzzles scattered throughout require some thought; on several occasions, you'll be forced to combine the use of several different powers and abilities in creative ways in order to progress forward or reach a treasure. It might be juggling two different animal forms, using particular equipment abilities, or taking advantage of environmental items, and when you eventually figure out how to get there, it always feels rewarding. Puzzles become increasingly complex, the variety of enemies becomes tougher, and the platforming sections feature additional obstacles that require more precise timing as you progress, but the growing challenges are balanced out well by a forgiving number of checkpoints, which help you keep motivated to give things another try.

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While the game is primarily linear, the Cursed Kingdom itself is enormous and features several different secret-filled areas (discovering everything will likely blow out your playtime to roughly 15-20 hours), and the variety of puzzles and charming locations that you find in far corners of the world are themselves an attractive incentive to reach. The experience is doubly rewarding when you unearth new paths while revisiting a previously-discovered area armed with a bigger arsenal of animal forms and skills, and Monster Boy even implements a teleportation mechanic to alleviate frustrations of excessive backtracking.

Monster Boy also boasts a brilliant visual and audio presentation that makes the Wonder Boy aesthetic shine, featuring a meticulously detailed hand-drawn art style. Each character is beautifully realized with their own delightful animation--little details, like the pig's sheepish look as he farts after eating a power-up plant or the frog eyeballing some flies as part of his idle animation, adds volumes to Jin's characterization and the game's charm. Every area of the Cursed Kingdom is also visually distinct and beautifully animated, and a couple of superb anime-style sequences that bookend the game help give it a slick, cohesive feel. The game's strong soundtrack helps round out the package and features both original pieces influenced by Wonder Boy's soundtrack, combined with new, rock-influenced arrangements of Wonder Boy's most memorable tunes, making it a great collection of music both new and old.

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Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom not only pays faithful homage to Wonder Boy, particularly The Dragon's Trap, but by refining the solid foundations of its spiritual predecessors with modern affordances, it becomes a rich platforming adventure in its own right. With a well-realized world filled to the brim with secrets and excellent platforming mechanics that always keeps things interesting, the Cursed Kingdom is a place you will want to discover every corner of.

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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Mon, 10 Dec 2018 18:00:00 -0800)
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Source: Depreview - All Reviews & Previews (Mon, 05 Nov 2018 14:00:00 Z)
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Source: Depreview - All Reviews & Previews (Wed, 28 Nov 2018 14:00:00 Z)

The Supreme Court signaled Monday it is not anxious to revisit the abortion controversy in the year ahead, disappointing conservative activists who were cheered by the appointment of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

After weeks of debate behind closed doors, a divided court turned down appeals backed...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Mon, 10 Dec 2018 11:45:00 PST )

Some DLC is minor--new character skins, a new weapon, a random new mode thrown in for fun. But other DLC and expansions are game-changing, letting you experience a game from an entirely new perspective or vastly improving what was already there. In 2018, the best expansions reinvented games for the better. This includes Destiny 2, which had a rough time earlier in the year and got just the boost it needed, as well as Civilization VI, which had a strong foundation and whose first DLC refined it in a number of ways. All the expansions on this list were released in the calendar year, though some of the base games were released earlier. In no particular order, here are the best expansions of 2018.

Destiny 2: Forsaken

[Read the review]

After two mediocre expansions, Destiny 2 was struggling going into the final quarter of 2018. It had a good foundation in its outstanding shooting and movement mechanics as well as a variety of activities for different types of players, but it was lacking a compelling endgame for the most dedicated Guardians. Forsaken finally answered the call--so much so that it took weeks for us to properly dive into all of it. A fun new mode in Gambit, extensive endgame activities like the Ascendant Challenge, and a new Raid added a much-needed layer of satisfying things to do and powerful loot to chase. Forsaken both filled in what was missing from Destiny 2 and reminded us what we liked about the game in the first place.

No Man's Sky: Next

[Read the review]

When it released in 2016, No Man's Sky was caught between what it was in reality and what people expected it to be. The Next update not only added a number of things that had been promised at launch, but it also doubled down on the best parts of No Man's Sky as it's always been. Next introduced true multiplayer--a much-requested feature--as well as base building and other sandbox-y elements. It also brought with it a number of improvements, namely visual enhancements that made the already ethereal world feel even more alive and look more beautiful. Perhaps most importantly, Next made us give No Man's Sky a second chance--it reminded us of the awe-inspiring, breathtakingly lonely game that No Man's Sky had always been.

Prey: Mooncrash

Prey was a divisive game for us in 2017, as its outstanding level design and rewarding combat were somewhat let down by uneven pacing and a lackluster story. The Mooncrash DLC capitalizes on all the best things about Prey--meaning its immersive sim elements--by recontextualizing them in the structure of a roguelike and keeping the story to a minimum. Because Mooncrash takes place in a simulation that you can reset, you're encouraged to experiment and find creative solutions to problems in the environment. That is, after all, what we liked about Prey in the first place, and Mooncrash allows us to enjoy it all over again.

Civilization VI: Rise and Fall

[Read the review]

As the first expansion to Civ VI, Rise and Fall faced a difficult challenge: How do you add to a game that's already deep to begin with? The base game has plenty going on, and any new features could have been in danger of bloating its systems. But Rise and Fall added smart tweaks and improvements that complemented the base game while changing it for the better. The headlining feature, the Ages system, introduced rewards for improvement and consequences for stagnation. This in effect helps prevent players from coasting to victory on a strong lead and gives an edge to underdogs who play smart. That, alongside smaller improvements, make Rise and Fall a standout expansion in 2018.

Sonic Mania Plus

[Read the review]

Sonic Mania had both the nostalgia factor and smart design, making it one of the best--if not the best--Sonic games ever made. Sonic Mania Plus, an update to the digital version that was included with the physical one, made it even better. It added new characters with their own unique abilities as well as Encore mode, which takes you through remixed versions of the base game's stages. Both the new characters and the new mode let you experience Sonic Mania differently than you did before, and that in turn showcases what's so great about the game to begin with.

GameSpot will be unveiling our picks for the best games and entertainment of 2018 throughout December. Head to our Best of 2018 hub to see all the winners so far.

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Source: GameSpot Gaming Reviews (Mon, 10 Dec 2018 10:03:00 -0800)

A Tulare police officer was injured and his canine partner, Bane, was fatally shot following a pursuit Sunday night.

One suspect was shot and killed in the gun battle, authorities said. Another suspect was gravely injured, and a third was taken into custody, said Sgt. Jon Hamlin, a spokesman with...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews ( Mon, 10 Dec 2018 08:55:00 PST )

The Rams failed to take advantage of an opportunity to clinch a bye in the wild-card round of the playoffs and also lost ground in their bid to gain home-field advantage through the playoffs. Here’s what we learned from their 15-6 loss to the Chicago Bears.

The Rams defense should be encouraged

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Mon, 10 Dec 2018 08:55:00 PST )

Hello, my name is John Cherwa, and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as I thank all you readers for writing the newsletter today.

As I mentioned, thanks to all of you who sent in your thoughts on who was the best mudder you’ve ever seen. I couldn’t use all your comments, so I apologize,...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Mon, 10 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

Stafford Taylor was his usual self, vigorous and sharp-minded, when he left a friend’s party late on the Fourth of July.

But sometime after, the 64-year-old Malibu artist and master carpenter was attacked and left wandering Pacific Coast Highway. He didn’t receive medical attention for hours, his...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Mon, 10 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

Olivia de Havilland was more than just angry when she learned how she was portrayed in last year’s FX limited series “Feud: Bette and Joan.” The Hollywood legend felt blindsided by the show.

“Mystification and indignation,” the 102-year-old star of “Gone with the Wind,” “The Heiress” and other...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Mon, 10 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

Welcome to California Inc., the weekly newsletter of the L.A. Times Business Section.

I'm Business columnist David Lazarus, and here's a rundown of upcoming stories this week and the highlights of last week.

Investors are hoping this week will be better than last for Wall Street, which has been...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Mon, 10 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

Question: I’m trying to maneuver my way through the world of visas and realize I need help. Three of us are traveling to Cambodia and Vietnam. Is it better to get the visa yourself or have a visa service do it? Also, what about getting a visa on arrival? Another question: The flight to Cambodia...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Mon, 10 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

After 17 years of war in Afghanistan, there’s no obvious way out.

TOP STORIES

An Impatient President and the Forever War

In Afghanistan, where America has waged its longest war and seen more than 2,400 military personnel die, attacks by Taliban insurgents have increased at an alarming rate. The...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Mon, 10 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

The idea of what the Super Smash Bros. games are, and what they can be, has been different things during the series' 20-year history. What began as an accessible multiplayer game also became a highly competitive one-on-one game. But it's also been noted for having a comprehensive single-player adventure, as well as becoming a sort of virtual museum catalog, exhibiting knowledge and audiovisual artifacts from the histories of its increasingly diverse crossover cast. Ultimate embraces all these aspects, and each has been notably refined, added to, and improved for the better. Everyone, and basically everything, from previous games is here--all existing characters, nearly all existing stages, along with the flexibility to play and enjoy those things in different ways. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a comprehensive, considered, and charming package that builds on an already strong and enduring fighting system.

If you've ever spent time with a Smash game, then you likely have a good idea of how Ultimate works. Competing players deal damage to their opponents in order to more easily knock them off the stage. The controls remain relatively approachable for a competitive combat game; three different buttons in tandem with basic directional movements are all you need to access a character's variety of attacks and special abilities. There are a large variety of items and power-ups to mix things up (if you want to) and interesting, dynamic stages to fight on (also if you want to). You can find complexities past this, of course--once you quickly experience the breadth of a character's skillset, it allows you to begin thinking about the nuances of a fight (again, if you want to). Thinking about optimal positioning, figuring out what attacks can easily combo off of another, working out what the best move for each situation is, and playing mind games with your human opponents can quickly become considerations, and the allure of Smash as a fighting game is how easy it is to reach that stage.

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Complexity also comes with the wide variety of techniques afforded by Ultimate's staggeringly large roster of over 70 characters. Smash's continuing accessibility is a fortunate trait in this regard, because once you understand the basic idea of how to control a character, many of the barriers to trying out a completely new one are gone. Every fighter who has appeared in the previous four Smash games is here, along with some brand-new ones, and the presence of so many diverse and unorthodox styles to both wield and compete against is just as attractive as the presence of the characters themselves. In fact, it's still astounding that a game featuring characters from Mario Bros, Sonic The Hedgehog, Pac-Man, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy, and Street Fighter all interacting with each other actually exists.

On a more technical level, Ultimate makes a number of under-the-hood alterations that, at this early stage, seem like positive changes that make Smash feel noticeably faster and more exciting to both watch and play. Characters take more damage in one-on-one fights; continuous dodging is punished with increased vulnerability; fighters can perform any ground-based attack, including smash moves, immediately out of a running state; and short-hop aerial attacks (previously a moderately demanding technique) can be easily performed by pressing two buttons simultaneously. Refinements like these might go unnoticed by most, but they help define Ultimate's core gameplay as a tangible evolution of the series' core mechanics.

A number of Ultimate's more superficial changes also help Smash's general quality-of-life experience, too. Some make it a more readable game--additions to the UI communicate previously hidden elements like meter charges and Villager's captured items, a simple radar helps keep track of characters off-screen, and a slow motion, zoom-in visual effect when critical hits connect make these moments more exciting to watch. Other changes help streamline the core multiplayer experience and add compelling options. Match rules can now be pre-defined with a swath of modifiers and saved for quick selection later. Stage selection occurs before character selection, so you can make more informed decisions on which fighter to use.

On top of a built-in tournament bracket mode, Ultimate also features a number of additional Smash styles. Super Sudden Death returns, as does Custom Smash, which allows you to create matches with wacky modifiers. Squad Strike is a personal favorite, which allows you to play 3v3 or 5v5 tag-team battles (think King of Fighters), and Smashdown is a great, engaging mode that makes the most of the game's large roster by disqualifying characters that have already been used as a series of matches continues, challenging your ability to do well with characters who you might not be familiar with.

The most significant addition to Ultimate, however, lies in its single-player content. Ultimate once again features a Classic Mode where each individual fighter has their own unique ladder of opponents to defeat, but the bigger deal is World of Light, Ultimate's surprisingly substantial RPG-style campaign. It's a convoluted setup--beginning as Kirby, you go on a long journey throughout a huge world map to rescue Smash's other fighters (who have incidentally been cloned in large numbers) from the big bad's control. Along the way, you'll do battles with Spirits, characters hailing from other video games that, while not directly engaging in combat, have taken control of clones, altered them in their images, and unleashed them on you.

Though there is some light puzzling, the world is naturally filled with hundreds upon hundreds of fights--there are over 1200 Spirit characters, and the vast majority have their own unique battle stages that use the game's match variables to represent their essence. The Goomba Spirit, for example, will put you up against an army of tiny Donkey Kongs. Meanwhile, the Excitebike Spirit might throw three Warios at you who only use their Side+B motorbike attacks.

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It may seem like a tenuous idea at first, but these fights are incredibly entertaining. It's hard not to appreciate the creativity of using Smash's assets to represent a thousand different characters. Zero Suit Samus might stand in for a battle with The Boss from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater by donning a silver-palette costume and fighting you in a flower-filled Final Destination, but she also stands in for the spirit of Alexandra Roivas from Eternal Darkness by using a black-palette costume and fighting you in the haunted Luigi's Mansion stage, with a modifier that makes the screen occasionally flip upside down (Eternal Darkness was a GameCube horror game whose signature feature were "Sanity Effects", which skewed the game in spooky ways to represent the character's loosening grip on reality). If I knew the character, I often found myself thinking about how clever their Spirit battle was.

Defeating a Spirit will add it to your collection, and Spirits also act as World of Light's RPG system. There are two types of Spirit: Primary and Support. Primary Spirits have their own power number and can be leveled up through various means to help make your actual fighter stronger. Primary Spirits also have one of four associated classes, which determine combat effectiveness in a rock-scissors-paper-style system. These are both major considerations to take into account before a battle, and making sure you're not going into a fight at a massive disadvantage adds a nice dimension to the amusing unpredictability of this mode. What you also need to take into account are the modifiers that might be enabled on each stage, which is where Support Spirits come in. They can be attached to Primary Spirits in a limited quantity and can mitigate the effect of things like poisonous floors, pitch-black stages, or reversed controls, or they can simply buff certain attacks.

There are a few Spirit fights that can be frustrating, however. Stages that are a 1v4 pile-on are downright annoying, despite how well-equipped you might be, as are stages where you compete against powerful assist trophies. On the flip side, once you find yourself towards the end of the campaign, there are certain loadouts that can trivialize most stages, earning you victory in less than a second. Regardless, there's a compulsive quality to collecting Spirits, and not just because they might make you stronger. It's exciting to see which obscure character you run into next, feel validated for recognizing them, and see how the game interprets them in a Spirit battle. There's also just a superficial joy to collecting, say, the complete Elite Beat Agents cast (Osu! Takatae! Ouendan characters are here too), even though these trophies lack the frills of previous Smash games.

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Some hubs in the World of Light map are also themed around certain games and bundle related Spirits together to great effect--Dracula's Castle from Castlevania, which changes the map into a 2D side-scroller, and the globe from Street Fighter II, complete with the iconic airplane noises, are personal standouts. Despite the dramatic overtones of World of Spirit's setup, the homages you find within it feel like a nice commemoration of the games and characters without feeling like a pandering nostalgia play. One of the most rewarding homages of all, however, lies in Ultimate's huge library of video game music. Over 800 tracks, which include originals as well as fantastic new arrangements, can all be set as stage soundtracks as well enjoyed through the game's music player.

There is one significant struggle that Ultimate comes up against, however, which lies in the nature of the console itself. Playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in the Switch's handheld mode is simply not a great experience. In situations where there are more than two characters on screen, the view of the action often becomes too wide, making the fighters too small to see properly, and it can be difficult to tell what you or your opponent is doing. The game's penchant for flashy special effects and busy, colorful stages doesn't help things at all, and unless you're playing a one-on-one match, you'll likely suffer some blameless losses. This is a situational disadvantage and may not affect all players, but it puts a damper on the idea of Smash on the go.

The need to unlock characters also has the potential to be an initial annoyance, especially if your goal is to jump straight into multiplayer and start learning one of the six brand-new characters. In my time with the game, I split my attention between playing World of Light (where rescuing characters unlocks them everywhere) and multiplayer matches, where the constant drip-feed of "New Challenger" unlock opportunities (which you can easily retry if you fail) came regularly. I naturally earned the entire roster in roughly 10 hours of playtime, but your mileage may vary.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate also features online modes, but they were not active during Ultimate's pre-launch period. The game features skill-based matchmaking, private lobbies, and voice chat via Nintendo's smartphone app. It also features a system where defeating another player will earn you their personalized player tag, which can be used as a currency to unlock spirits, music, and costume items for Mii fighters. I'll begin testing these features once the service launches with the game's public release and will finalize the review score once I've had substantial time with the matchmaking experience.

Situational downers don't stop Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from shining as a flexible multiplayer game that can be as freewheeling or as firm as you want it to be. Its entertaining single-player content helps keep the game rich with interesting things to do, as well as bolstering its spirit of loving homage to the games that have graced Nintendo consoles. Ultimate's diverse content is compelling, its strong mechanics are refined, and the encompassing collection is simply superb.

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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Thu, 06 Dec 2018 05:00:00 -0800)
SERIES

The Neighborhood When Malcolm (Sheaun McKinney) is robbed and won't reveal the thief, Calvin and Dave (Cedric the Entertainer, Max Greenfield) team up to crack the case of the missing sneakers in this new episode. 8 p.m. CBS

The Voice The top eight perform. 8 p.m. NBC

Arrow Oliver and the...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 9 Dec 2018 20:00:00 PST )

Austin Ekeler was knocked “a little dizzy,” according to his coach.

Darius Philon didn’t play for a few snaps because of a hurting lower leg.

Joey Bosa finished despite what he called “a little dislocation” of his pinky.

And then the Chargers had to overcome the real obstacle Sunday to beat Cincinnati...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 9 Dec 2018 20:00:00 PST )

If the Chargers win the Super Bowl, will there be a parade for them?

A question once asked rhetorically to joke about the team’s low profile now has to be taken with a modicum of seriousness by city leaders.

The Chargers are a 10-win team in the aftermath of a 26-21 victory over the Cincinnati...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 9 Dec 2018 20:00:00 PST )

A punk-fueled homage to ’80s-style horror, “The Ranger” takes its time getting to a full-blooded boil, ambling through a Linklater-esque first half before accelerating toward a more generic and gory finale.

Chloë Levine stars as Chelsea, whom we meet as a young girl (played sweetly in a prologue...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Movie Reviews (Thu, 6 Sep 2018 12:20:00 PDT )

‘What a year, to say the least,” said Jon M. Chu at Saturday night’s Unforgettable Gala. This was in reference to his own life — getting married, having a baby, and directing the monstrously profitable movie “Crazy Rich Asians” — as well as for Asian representation in Hollywood and beyond.

“We...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 9 Dec 2018 15:25:00 PST )

In the months after the 2015 season, Major League Baseball teams doled out nine-figure free-agent contracts like they were bats and balls, essential items needed to field a team, rather than time bombs which ticked closer to detonation with each passing day.

The deals only look astounding in retrospect....

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 9 Dec 2018 14:50:00 PST )

Kenyan Drake ran the last 52 yards as the Miami Dolphins scored on a pass and double lateral on the wild final play Sunday to beat the New England Patriots 34-33.

The Patriots were 16 seconds from clinching their 10th consecutive AFC East title when the Dolphins scored on the 69-yard play to rally...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 9 Dec 2018 14:40:00 PST )

For the birth of their first child, social worker Diane Vidalakis and her husband chose one of Pasadena’s most prominent obstetricians, Dr. Patrick Sutton, vice chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Huntington Memorial Hospital.

Labor initially progressed smoothly, with the couple listening to...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews ( Sun, 9 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

Rams (11-1) at Chicago (8-4)

When Rams have the ball

After one of his least efficient performances of the season in Week 13 at Detroit, Rams quarterback Jared Goff faces a Bears defense that leads the NFL with 30 takeaways, including 21 interceptions. Edge-rushing linebacker Khalil Mack has nine...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 9 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

What a terrible idea on Page 1 of Sunday’s Travel section ["Hidden realms await," Dec. 2]. You recommended that travelers "go now" to visit this "fragile ecosystem." That is not responsible travel. Ecosystems that are fragile should be protected from travelers.

Bruce Schelden

Playa del Rey

Coffee...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 9 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

Hello, my name is John Cherwa, and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter, as we finish up with the Del Mar stewards’ rulings.

It was quite a display of talent and power on Saturday as Improbable won the Grade 1 $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity by five lengths. What it does is set up an interesting...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 9 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

Technology continues its inexorable march into the mountains of North America this winter.

Vail Resorts, corporate parent of California’s Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood, is debuting Emma, a digital assistant that can answer ski-related queries in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 9 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )
Dec. 12

Once Upon a Deadpool

PG-13 remix of the raunchy 2016 action-comedy “Deadpool” includes new footage. With Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Josh Brolin, Fred Savage. Written by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Ryan Reynolds. Directed by David Leitch. (1:56) PG-13.

Dec. 13

Bird Box

A mother must...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Movie Reviews (Sun, 9 Dec 2018 05:00:00 PST )

As November’s election results become clear, so does a new California conundrum: Voters may like the top-two primary — which doesn’t guarantee any political party a spot on the fall ballot — but a lot of them skipped last month’s contests in which the only choices were candidates with the same...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sun, 9 Dec 2018 00:05:00 PST )

There's a particular milestone of growing up that goes relatively unexamined as far as shared experiences go, and that is the moment you realize your parents had deep inner lives of their own before you were born. That's true for Cosmic Top Secret's writer/director/protagonist Trine Laier, whose parents are hiding one of the coolest secrets imaginable, and yet that palpable sense of a once-impenetrable boundary having been crossed between them is still huge. Cosmic Top Secret trying to translate those feelings into a video game makes it remarkable. Ironically, what stops it from being brilliant is that it's not very good at being an engaging video game.

The game's title refers to an actual security designation within the Danish equivalent of the Department of Defense, which, unbeknownst to Trine until her late 30s, was the security level both her parents held while working there on a classified spy project during the most tense years of the Cold War. Determined to get the full details, Trine ropes both her parents into doing interviews for a documentary on their lives. The project runs into major snags since neither of her parents know if their work is declassified, even after Trine actually gives the Department of Defense a call and has a high-ranking official essentially debrief them on what's safe.

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Cosmic Top Secret is a series of five relatively self-contained open worlds, all relating to a specific point in Trine's time trying to squeeze what she can from her parents. It all takes place in a papercraft, pop-up-book representation of her journey; imagine the living papier-mache world of Media Molecule's Tearaway, except crafted by 50 years of shredded classified documents, and you have an idea of what Cosmic Top Secret feels like.

From marching alongside her mother at a military base to going orienteering--a sort of free-form competitive hike--with her father in a local forest, everything takes on a sort of twisted, mesmerizing magic. That abstract interpretation includes the paper doll avatars of Trine, her parents, and all their former colleagues, rendered as googly-eyed exaggerations that shift, change, break, and rip along with whatever their current mental and physical status is. While in real life Trine's father injured his shoulder while orienteering, his paper doll self in-game gets its arm torn off, and you have to find it. Trine being reminded of a specific family tragedy might cause her doll version to fall apart entirely, meaning you have to put her back together again to finish the conversation. It's a sort of emotional sleight-of-hand that could only have been executed in games, trying to inhabit a documentarian's feelings and internal dialogue. It's a magic trick not every game--even the ones specifically aiming to evoke emotions from the player--pull off as successfully as Cosmic Top Secret does.

All the while, Trine herself must explore each environment, sifting through the chaos of years of espionage history for the clues to lead her closer to the truth. The process had to take months of looking through filing cabinets in real life, but the game portrays it as a huge collect-a-thon of Trine running around the open world. Everything is clearly marked on the map, which is conveniently laid out like an alphanumeric grid, and there's no puzzle so difficult that it'd require consulting a wiki. There's just so much of it, and it's not until you pick something up that you know whether the item will actually unlock the next snippet of story or not. Thankfully, every single item in the game unlocks a piece of obscure history (like the secret operation to steal a sample of former Russian president Nikita Khrushchev's feces), a fascinating anecdote (a man imprisoned for years for taking the wrong pictures in Poland), or a video clip of the real-life interviews Trine conducted with her parents.

Had Cosmic Top Secret been a documentary, this is the kind of meticulous detail she'd have to leave on the cutting room floor. As sheer experience in the realm of gaming, it's all contextual gold, giving you an extensive picture of not just Trine's parents as people but the world they operated in--even as they try to keep Trine at arm's length from it.

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The caginess has a universal feel to it. Many parents talk to their kids as kids for so long, transitioning to talking to them like adults can be difficult. Trine's parents are so used to talking around their work in the name of national security, they actually don't even remember how to talk about it. Much of the actual story structure of the game is about Trine finding her parents at just the right moment or coming at a question at just the right angle to get them to open up. What they reveal isn't necessarily the stuff they make award-winning cable shows about--no, they didn't assassinate anybody or anything like that--but it does tell quite a bit about the kinds of people her parents were, how that knowledge relates to her and how that changes how she sees her parents.

In trying to relate to her parents lives as agents of the state, Trine has to come to grips with the fact that her parents were not just her parents and not just spies, but grown adults with their own regrets and secrets and feelings. Many of them come from when they were younger than Trine was when she made the game. She speaks to former colleagues who had never met her but knew her parents as friends or by reputation, maybe the first times Trine hears her parents spoken of in such a way.

One of the big revelations that stops the investigation in its tracks a moment is Trine's mother remembers her first husband, who died young, and whose best friend became her second husband and, eventually, Trine's father. By her admission, Trine doesn't think about it much because it breaks her heart, but her mother tosses the matter out as mere trivia, a fact of life she's long come to terms with. The game is full of these tiny moments of reckoning for Trine, and these are the times when the game transcends being a simple mystery into a story of poignance. In a documentary, those thoughts and feelings would be essentially carried by narration, dialogue and candid moments surreptitiously caught by an intrepid cameraperson. Cosmic Top Secret, however, is less about saying how Trine feels--or even about showing it--and more about thoroughly immersing the player in a vast, interpretive world of her feelings about it.

Cosmic Top Secret's very existence and ethos makes it special in the realm of gaming.

The trouble comes while navigating through Trine's feelings on everything, and unfortunately, that's not a metaphor. You move in Cosmic Top Secret by moving your mouse over Trine, which crumples her up into a tiny ball of trash you can roll around a stage. It's extremely easy to lose control and send the ball flying off into corners, and you're unable to reel the ball back and stop, turn on a dime, or even just roll straight--which you need to do far too often and far too precisely to be enjoyable. Later, one of the middle stages has Trine turning into a paper airplane that has the reverse problem, where the controls barely respond to the degree you need to land on the very small platforms you're guided to. Combine those problems with a finicky camera that actively limits your rotation until Trine turns around, and for large chunks of the game, you're stalled not because you're reading about fascinating history but because you're trying to wrestle the game's controls into submission. There's this concept that a game that's primarily about exploration needs some sort of challenging gameplay element to be considered a "real game," and seeing Cosmic Top Secret trip over its own feet for the sake of adding that extra challenge should put that argument to bed once and for all.

Cosmic Top Secret's very existence and ethos makes it special in the realm of gaming. It's conceptually brilliant and heartwarming. Arguably, it's still worth fighting the game's mechanics just because Trine--and you, by proxy--deserves to know the truth and hear every angle of these peoples' captivating story firsthand. Trine started her journey with curiosity and finds herself closer to the people who raised her than ever, while also giving them the ultimate familial gift: a literal living history of their youth, and their work for the greater good, through the fantastical, imaginative eye of their clearly talented, inquisitive daughter. But there's a barrier to entry here, and it has nothing to do with the embarrassment of asking a parent what they were like when they were younger or their hesitation with the truth, and everything to do with the aggravation of even exploring the world in which their story is told.

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Source: GameSpot - Reviews (Fri, 30 Nov 2018 14:01:00 -0800)

The reigning champion U.S. was drawn Saturday into a group including Thailand, Chile and Sweden for next summer’s Women’s World Cup in France.

The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world, have a long history with No. 9 Sweden, having played them five times in the group stage of a World Cup, including...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 8 Dec 2018 10:40:00 PST )

The postman had just delivered a Korean-language newspaper to 4416 Cather Ave. when he saw a plane plunging toward him.

“Everything was in slow motion,” said Bill Dusting, a veteran letter-carrier. “My first thought was, ‘Well, this is going to be quick and painless.’ ”

It was neither. On that...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (星期六, 8 十二月 2018 09:50:00 PST )

Mikaela Shiffrin won a World Cup super-G on Saturday, confirming the slalom great's arrival as a pure speed racer and all-round threat.

Shiffrin, who got her first career super-G win last weekend, was 0.28 seconds faster than Lara Gut-Behrami and 0.42 clear of third-placed Tina Weirather on the...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 8 Dec 2018 07:55:00 PST )

To the editor: On Dec. 5, the world watched the state funeral for President George H.W. Bush. The differences between him and our current president, Donald Trump, were very apparent to all.

Bush honored the presidency by valuing honesty, integrity and compromise for the common good. He put family...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 8 Dec 2018 03:00:00 PST )

To the editor: On Dec. 5, the world watched the state funeral for President George H.W. Bush. The differences between him and our current president, Donald Trump, were very apparent to all.

Bush honored the presidency by valuing honesty, integrity and compromise for the common good. He put family...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 8 Dec 2018 03:00:00 PST )

One of the most nominated songs at the 61st Grammy Awards first reached many listeners as part of the 60th Grammy Awards.

A three-way pileup involving a young country singer, an established EDM star and an up-and-coming dance-pop production team, “The Middle” premiered during January’s annual telecast...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 8 Dec 2018 03:00:00 PST )

To the editor: I write because of a highly objectionable letter published Nov. 29 in the Los Angeles Times. It was penned by William David Stone, who basically defended President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s actions that led to the tragic and unlawful forced removal and incarceration of 120,000 people...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 8 Dec 2018 03:00:00 PST )

It’s never really cold outside in Los Angeles. Oh, sure, we have unseasonably cool weather — of the low-in-the-mid-40s variety — but a normal mid-winter evening outside just doesn’t expose us to the same kind of hypothermia threat as spending a few minutes outside in Minnesota.

But judging by the...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 8 Dec 2018 03:00:00 PST )

Politics are a joke, and right now, more folks want to laugh than cry over the state of the union.

For proof, look no further than the unlikely ratings success of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” and on a platform designed in a much tamer, apolitical era. Colbert has trounced the competition...

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Source: Los Angeles Times - Restaurant Reviews (Sat, 8 Dec 2018 03:00:00 PST )


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