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Memorable Great Reads of 2014

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Russian hopes of money, glory die on Ukraine battlefields

When Alexander Zhitinev left in November to fight with the pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine, winter had just begun unleashing its fury on the wind-lashed steppe of this impoverished 18th century frontier town.

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  • Masai woman rebels by insisting on being equal
    Masai woman rebels by insisting on being equal

    Some men have threatened to place a black magic curse on her. One came to her door with a machete threatening to kill her. Others have advised her husband to beat her to instill discipline, offering to do the job themselves if he was too softhearted.

  • Talk show host's stoner dream comes true, and it's high time
    Talk show host's stoner dream comes true, and it's high time

    It's 1:30 on a Monday afternoon, and on a quiet dead-end street in Culver City, three comedians are getting stoned and debating whether astronauts are, on average, handsomer than most people.

  • Fancy feathers rule at pigeon fans' competition
    Fancy feathers rule at pigeon fans' competition

    Mike Tyson slips off his black leather jacket and takes a white homing pigeon from Luthor Nelson's hands. The former boxer — and pigeon fancier — easily tosses it up with one hand. Then he helps open four wooden crates that hold 99 more of the birds.

  • A painstaking effort to reunite forgotten films with their owners
    A painstaking effort to reunite forgotten films with their owners

    Inside a 260,000-square-foot warehouse just over the Grapevine off Interstate 5, an archivist from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences clambered up a ladder to inspect a stack of dusty 35-millimeter film cans.

  • Capitol minister aims to deliver state leaders from temptation
    Capitol minister aims to deliver state leaders from temptation

    Amid the crush of lobbyists, lawyers and lawmakers packing the hallways of the Capitol in the final days of each legislative session, one figure moves through the corridors with noticeable serenity.

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