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Business highlights

In 2017, anywhere investors threw money it multiplied

A look at the performance of stocks, bonds, gold, cryptocurrencies and the rest in 2017.

Roar of a rocket engine, click of a camera shutter — and a far-off photographer hopes for a great shot

A small group of photographers regularly rig up protective devices for their cameras and set them up near the launch pads at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to get some of the best shots of rocket launches.

We asked Californians to give us their tax returns. Here's how the GOP plan would affect them

How would California families see their tax bills change under new proposals passed by the House and Senate? We reviewed tax returns to find out. Homeowners and graduate students could pay more; others could fare better.

For tenants on the edge, paying the rent often takes more than half their income

California’s high housing costs have pushed many tenants to the edge of affordability. Even if they have steady work, the cost of putting a roof over their heads demands a staggering share of income. The problem has been building for decades.

A top secret desert assembly plant starts ramping up to build Northrop's B-21 bomber

At a top-secret factory in the California desert the Air Force is building its new B-21 bomber, a stealthy bat-winged jet that is designed to slip behind any adversary’s air defense system and deliver devastating airstrikes for decades to come.

Why builders of big L.A. projects are making concrete with gravel and sand shipped from Canada

Gravel is cheap to buy, but expensive to move. So why are new L.A. high-rises and the new Rams stadium using gravel shipped all the way from Canada?

Want to work in Hollywood? Here's the kind of nondisclosure agreements you have to sign first

Nondisclosure agreements are ubiquitous in Hollywood, but not all the agreements are the same. Some seem aimed at protecting filming locations, movie details and financial matters. Others explicitly seek to shield companies or celebrities from harassment suits.

Six women accuse filmmaker Brett Ratner of sexual harassment or misconduct

In interviews with the Los Angeles Times, six women – including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge — accused filmmaker Brett Ratner of sexual harassment or misconduct.

Mojave's thriving aerospace community spawns home-built airplane hobbyists

In their free time, a group of aerospace engineers build their own modified planes — then test-fly them.

200 more women share their James Toback stories after 38 accuse director of sexual harassment

After a story about director James Toback's alleged serial sexual harassment broke in the Los Angeles Times, the LAPD and New York District Attorney's office began fielding calls from a growing number of women.

Weinstein scandal puts nondisclosure agreements in the spotlight

The unfolding Weinstein scandal has sparked criticism that non-disclosure agreements allow powerful companies and individuals to stave off scrutiny and continue abusive practices. Now, there is a move afoot to place clear restrictions on their use.

Tesla's Model 3 'production hell' is testing Elon Musk's fix-as-you-go carmaking model

Tesla's Elon Musk is struggling with production for the new Model 3 electric sedan.

Babe Ruth will be a bad boy in a TV bio as Major League Baseball makes a pitch for younger viewers

The Babe Ruth project is part of an overall push by MLB to get exposure in entertainment genres and platforms that reach younger viewers.

Despite backlash over political ads, Facebook's role in elections will only grow

Russian meddling aside, Facebook stands to gain a surge in political advertising as a result of the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump's improbable victory helped showcase the platform's ability to persuade and fundraise by targeting users with uncanny precision.

It was Bob and Harvey Weinstein against the world. Then they turned on each other

Bob and Harvey Weinstein built an indie film powerhouse. Now the allegations against Harvey Weinstein have put the lesser known brother in the spotlight.

All data that move across Wi-Fi networks could be susceptible to hacking, researcher says

What consumers need to know about the vulnerability in the WPA2 protocol that protects Wi-Fi networks.

  • Q&A
He was asked to fix a bankrupt airline. Instead, he changed the way we fly

William Franke, the managing partner of Indigo Partners, helped save America West Airlines and launched the ultra-low-cost carrier in the U.S., a business model that has forced the major carriers to change how they do business.

In the era of Instagram, businesses use street art to attract customers

They come for Instagram — then stay to shop. That's the thinking of Los Angeles businesses that are commissioning street art murals on their storefronts in hopes of attracting new customers.

No one took Rose McGowan’s claims seriously. Now everyone is listening

Even before the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Rose McGowan was, in her words, Hollywood's "feminist whistleblowing badass."

Vineyards may have kept wine country fire from getting worse

Many vineyards in Napa and Sonoma appear to have survived the flames and may have helped keep the fire in check, according to fire, wine industry and agriculture officials.

Theme park Halloween celebrations go after adults with cocktails and late-night shows

Theme parks are offering more booze and late-night shows to draw adults — and their spending — into the Halloween celebration.

Did your Tamagotchi die of neglect in the late '90s? Now's your chance to take another shot

Tamagotchi, the Japanese digital pet on a keychain, is coming back for its 20th anniversary. The company behind the retro gadget is banking on 1990s nostalgia to fuel sales — but it's also hoping to win over children of the iPhone generation.

Can Weinstein Co. survive without Harvey Weinstein?

The future looks grim for Weinstein Co. as leaders scramble to contain the fallout from Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment scandal.

The Nobel Prize winner in economics may have 'nudged' you to make better choices

The Nobel prize in economics has been awarded to Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago whose theories of behavioral economics have had broad impact on public policy.

Downtown's historic office buildings, once abandoned, are again drawing tenants

In a trend that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago, historic office buildings are being returned to the office market instead of converted to apartments, condominiums or hotels, which has been common for the last decade and a half.

Nordstrom's newest store aims for a personal touch — and no clothing racks

Department store chain Nordstrom is experimenting with a new concept store where you can meet with a personal shopper, get a manicure and down a beer.

As bids for Amazon's headquarters come due, tech has a chance to spread the wealth

Amazon is pondering a move outside the coastal tech enclaves, raising questions about the costs of clustering and whether the industry – and America – would be better off spreading tech jobs elsewhere.

Book the next rocket to New York? What it'll take to realize Elon Musk's bizarre travel plan

SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk's plans to transport people from one corner of the world to another via rocket will have some logistical hurdles, experts said.

Few Californians have earthquake insurance, but interest has jumped since the Mexico quakes

A low percentage of California homeowners and renters have earthquake insurance

Airline seats are not getting bigger, but designers are trying to make them more comfortable

At an exposition of airline interior makers, seats were still shown with little legroom but with new designs to make sitting more comfortable.

Dying shopping malls can make room for new condos and apartments, helping ease the housing crisis

As America’s malls struggle to compete with Amazon and other online giants, acres of prime real estate are opening for redevelopment and offering developers a rare shot to remake swaths of land.

How one election changed Disneyland’s relationship with its hometown

The Walt Disney Co. has long been able to secure incentives that have helped expand the Disneyland Resort. But now a new Anaheim City Council majority says it wants to put residents first.

Even after a brutal hurricane season, airlines are doing just fine

Two massive hurricanes have put a strain on airlines, but the industry is taking it in stride, thanks to high profits and technological advances.

Like a zombie, profit dispute over AMC's 'The Walking Dead' refuses to die

Frank Darabont along with five other executive producers allege that AMC isn't sharing profits from the hit series.

Americans still love eating out. So why are restaurants like Chili's, BJ's and Cheesecake Factory struggling?

Chili's and other casual-dining firms are struggling with drooping sales

How L.A.'s Halo Top became America's bestselling ice cream pint

Halo Top's recipe for lower calorie, more healthful ice cream has rocked the ice cream industry.

U.S. astronauts are climbing back into space capsules. Here's how they've improved over the past 50 years

Boeing Co. and SpaceX are relying on the tried-and-true design as the two companies each develop spacecraft under NASA contracts to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.

Frequent flier programs generate profits for airlines and frustration for travelers

Frequent flier programs have become a major revenue source for airlines, even more than bag fees. But passengers aren't happy about the programs' typical restrictions.

People's Bitmoji obsession gives Snapchat a quiet edge in augmented reality

They’ve become such an important form of self-expression that it’s common to encounter people who say they regularly update their Bitmoji avatars to reflect new hair-dos and fashion styles.

Hallmark Channel isn't winning Emmys, but red states love it

As TV gets edgier, more traditional-minded viewers are moving to Hallmark for refuge.

Amazon likely won't get mega-subsidies from California, but new headquarters could still land in L.A.

Experts said California officials are likely to be less generous than other states in their effort to woe Amazon, despite losing several big corporate headquarters in recent years.

Apple says iPhone X's Face ID can't be easily spoofed. But your face isn't exactly private

Are consumers ready to rely on Face ID, Apple's new facial recognition tool, to unlock the iPhone X.

American households finally earn more than they did in 1999 

The median U.S. household's income finally topped pre-recession levels last year and has reached an all-time high after years of sluggish growth.

Lawmakers move to add other states to oversight of California's electric grid

In the name of clean energy, California lawmakers are moving to change oversight of the state’s power grid to include other western states.

Hurricane Harvey ravaged cars and trucks — bad for drivers, good for automakers

Texans look to get back on the road again after Hurricane Harvey's damage to cars and trucks.

A new generation of young home buyers is tiptoeing into the market

Eight years into the economic recovery, young Americans are increasingly taking out a mortgage, more comfortable in their jobs and reaching an age when people tend to put down roots.

Counterfeit Yeezys and the booming sneaker black market

Kanye West's signature shoe, known as Yeezys, are among the most coveted sneakers in the world. No wonder there's a thriving global market for replicas.

Behind a $13 shirt, a $6-an-hour worker

How Forever 21 and other retailers avoid liability for factories that underpay workers to sew their clothes

Hollywood is suffering its worst-attended summer movie season in 25 years

A sobering reality has gripped Hollywood as domestic film industry revenue fell an estimated 16% during the all-important summer season.

Donald Tang, former Bear Stearns money man in China, now wants to remake himself in Hollywood

Tang recently made a splash in Hollywood by buying Open Road Films, the U.S. distributor of Oscar-winning film "Spotlight."

Little name recognition, little baggage: why Uber chose Dara Khosrowshahi as its new CEO

Uber has chosen Expedia chief Dara Khosrowshahi to be its new CEO — but does he have what it takes?

If GOP scales back the mortgage interest deduction, Californians would be hit hardest

Republicans crafting legislation to overhaul the federal tax system are considering placing new limits on the home mortgage interest deduction, and many Californians could feel the pain.

1 million people pay nothing for cellphone service, so how does FreedomPop make money?

FreedomPop, a Los Angeles start-up, has been copied by T-Mobile, nearly purchased by Sprint and a partner to carriers around the world. What's next?

Millennials are spending big on trendy places to sweat

Another reason millennials won't be able to buy houses: they're abandoning old-school, $30-a-month gyms for high-cost, trendy boutique studios.

Depressed but can't see a therapist? This chatbot could help

Could a chatbot help those who can't access traditional mental healthcare?

When musicians want their songs in TV shows, movies and streaming sites, they go here

Boutique licensing firms such as Songtradr help independent musicians get songs in TV shows and movies and on streaming sites.

Nostalgia TV makes a comeback. How Hulu and Netflix are breathing new life into old TV shows

Streaming services are bringing new audiences to old shows such as “The Golden Girls,” “Full House” and “The West Wing.” For some viewers it's like "comfort food."

How Mel Gibson's promising indie film went off the rails

"The Professor and the Madman" has capsized under an ugly legal dispute. Mel Gibson is accusing producer Nicolas Chartier of preventing on-location shooting in Oxford, among other things.

Can white supremacist groups be blocked from raising money online? There's a campaign to try

The backlash against white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups is spreading into the financial system, with activists urging major credit card companies to cut off payments to some groups.

It's years away, but 70-story downtown tower could change L.A. skyline and 'relationship with vertical living'

Miami-based developer Crescent Heights wants to build a residential high-rise at 11th and Olive streets that would be the third-tallest building in L.A.

Wal-Mart is buying trendy e-commerce sites. The cool kids are not having it

Walmart hopes to leverage the popularity of these niche, trendy sites with subsets of consumers who wouldn’t be caught dead in a Walmart store. And the kids are not having it.

Protests against Google are postponed as culture wars roil Silicon Valley

Conservatives postpone their plan to march on Google offices, citing 'alt-left' threats. It's the latest sign that the culture wars have arrived in Silicon Valley.

Shonda Rhimes' move to Netflix from ABC could spark war for talent

Netflix has already punched back against Disney’s plans to pull its content from the streaming platform by 2019 — by luring away one of Disney ABC’s most prolific content creators, Shonda Rhimes.

Money flowing into the natural hair industry is a blessing and curse for those who built it up

The natural hair industry was a niche business that served an audience of black customers who felt ignored by the biggest beauty brands. But that's changing.

A new all-electric delivery truck is on the way, and it's not from Tesla

A new company, Chanje, will soon start selling an all-electric trucks.

Frisbees, Hula Hoops and Hacky Sacks. Southern California's Wham-O looks to reinvent its toys for the digital age

Of the many entertainment-centric outfits disrupted by the digital era, few have been upended like Wham-O.

By firing engineer, Google shows what you can say — and what you can't — at work

What type of speech must a company allow? And what kinds of opinions can you be fired for harboring?

How do you shut down a failing financial giant? Lawmakers can't seem to agree

Did Dodd-Frank end bank bailouts or guarantee they'll return in the next financial crisis?

As prices rise, mortgage lenders are making it easier to buy a house

Changes in the mortgage industry are afoot, with the goal of loosening some of the strict standards established after the subprime crisis — rules some blame for impeding sales.

The start-ups that will help your company avoid becoming the next Uber

A new breed of start-up is trying to save companies from their own bad behavior.

'Microsoft Office Specialist World Champion' is a real thing, and these kids are it

Students from all 50 countries competed in the "Olympics" of PowerPoint, Word and Excel.

TV news — via Snapchat? Here are some ways broadcast news is trying to stay afloat

Traditional TV news channels are making a greater digital push

The next Air Force One is sitting in the Mojave Desert, report says

The U.S. Air Force is reportedly finalizing a deal to purchase two Boeing 747 aircraft that were abandoned by a now-defunct Russian airline.

S&P 500 will exclude Snap because its stock gives new shareholders no power

Snap Inc. and other companies that limit shareholders’ voting rights are no longer eligible to join the Standard & Poor’s 500 index — a rule that could hurt demand for Snap stock.

Apple removes VPN services from App Store in China, making it harder to circumvent online censors

Apple removes VPNs from its App Store in China to comply with new rules.

For mall stores, back-to-school shopping can't come soon enough

Brick-and-mortar stores are still popular during the back-to-school shopping season.

Should California start its own bank to serve marijuana companies? It wouldn't be easy

Some cannabis entrepreneurs see a state- or city-owned bank as a solution to the marijuana industry's banking problems. They might be right, but it's complicated.

Worried about election hacking, L.A. County officials are turning to hackers for help

Los Angeles County voting officials are designing a new system for elections. This week, they'll head to one of the hacking world's biggest conventions to learn about their tactics.

In solar eclipse’s ‘path of totality,’ rooms go for $1,000 and vendors sell every trinket under the sun

The Great Solar Eclipse is expected to bring millions of visitors to various places across the United States.

Find yourself in Westeros or Hogwarts with Hollywood's new projection technology

L.A., with its never-ending calendar of Hollywood premieres, parties and private events, has become a hotbed for projection mapping.

Warren Buffett is building up a 'recession resistant' energy powerhouse

Warren Buffett's empire continues to grow throughout the West.

Swan, flamingo and Pegasus pool floats. How one L.A. business blew up after a nod from Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift's Instagram shots with Funboy's luxury, artsy pool floats went viral, and the Venice company soared.

As California's labor shortage grows, farmers race to replace workers with robots

A shortage of farm labor has exposed a tech gap, leaving California to wonder if machines can pick strawberries, lettuce, and other crops

Why the grim reaper of retail hasn't come to claim Best Buy

Best Buy, once left for dead, has rebounded and is holding its own against e-commerce rival Amazon.com.

A new generation of giant rockets is about to blast off

SpaceX's long-awaited Falcon Heavy rocket is just one of a handful of heavy-lift rockets being developed by companies and NASA.

Companies like Uber are staying private longer. Who's holding them accountable?

When executives, boards, and investors drop the ball, who keeps private companies in check?

Airbnb host must pay $5,000 for canceling reservation based on race

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing is imposing a $5,000 fine on an Airbnb host who rejected a guest based on race.

Girl Scouts offers merit badges for making friends, painting and horseback riding. Up next: cybersecurity

Girl Scout troops are set to roll out cybersecurity badges in 2018.

Disneyland raised prices to shorten waits. Here are the results

Variable pricing launched last year at Disneyland may have cut wait times slightly but not by much.

Hollywood's summer box-office lesson: Reviews matter

Studios aren't known for releasing critically acclaimed movies during the summer. But audiences are rejecting everything else.

Wells Fargo's $142-million sham accounts settlement: What you need to know

Think Wells Fargo opened a bogus account for you? Here's what you need to know to participate in the bank's $142-million class-action settlement.

Why some pot businesses hide their cash — and others truck it straight to a federal vault

As broad marijuana legalization looms in California, most banks still won't work with cannabis companies, creating wide-ranging headaches for the industry.

Cars are full of tech that gets outdated fast — so people are leasing, not buying

The number of Americans leasing cars has skyrocketed as automakers add features such as navigation, automated parking, lane-departure prevention, blind-spot monitoring and advanced cruise control.

Bad week for Elon Musk's Tesla. Good week for short sellers

In Tesla’s Model S, a crash could still smack the driver’s head against the steering wheel despite the electric car maker’s effort to fix the problem, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said.

This Chinese billionaire rode into town late last year looking like a Hollywood conqueror. What happened?

Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin arrived in Los Angeles in October to a reception befitting a true Hollywood mogul. Today, it's a different picture.

Silicon Valley has a new vision for the pizzeria. It involves lots of robots

A Silicon Valley pizzeria has a chief technology officer -- Josh Goldberg, the person who looks after the pizza-making robots.

Volvo plans to electrify all of its cars. Are the days of the combustion engine numbered?

Volvo said every car it makes starting in 2019 will have an electric motor, signaling an industry shift toward electrified cars and China’s intention to become a major player in that market.

California's lakes are full again but fishing remains in a drought

With the drought over, popular fishing lakes are busy again. But the fish now have more water in which to hide.

Sexual harassment claims prompt venture capitalists to apologize, change policies and head to counseling

In the last week, venture capitalist Mark Suster says he’s found that “what I think didn’t need to be said, I guess, needs to be said.”

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