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  • Finally, a gravestone for little Viola Vanclief
    Finally, a gravestone for little Viola Vanclief

    For four years, the little girl lay in an unmarked grave beneath the low hum of high-voltage lines — a buzzing lullaby.

  • A Ukrainian minibus driver's surprise tour of war duty
    A Ukrainian minibus driver's surprise tour of war duty

    The Ukrainian special forces sergeant jumped into the front seat of Alexander Kosenko's white minibus with two Kalashnikovs slung over his shoulders, his vest stuffed with a dozen ammo clips, some hand grenades and a couple of machete-size daggers.

  • Men and violence: Sizing up how men size up one another
    Men and violence: Sizing up how men size up one another

    Daniel Fessler is out at UCLA's Drake Track Stadium to do a bit of discreet academic observation. Spying, really, with a smidgen of fibbing.

  • Joanne Carson's Capote-edited memoir chapter still in limbo
    Joanne Carson's Capote-edited memoir chapter still in limbo

    Joanne Carson is perfectly content to give Truman Capote credit for writing the most beautiful moment of her never-finished memoir, a passage about falling in love with the man who would become king of late-night television.

  • For the nostalgic, the Dodger Dog is a home run
    For the nostalgic, the Dodger Dog is a home run

    The sausage is long and perfectly pipe cleaner straight. The bread hugs it like a glove one size too small, and at both ends, the vaguely orange meat protrudes. It comes twisted up in a silver foil wrapper branded in blue, retrieved from a covered metal heating tray, where it has waited —...

  • 'Bookcycle' peddles a new take on feminism
    'Bookcycle' peddles a new take on feminism

    On a mural-lined corner of Echo Park, a dozen people gather around a tricycle painted a summery yellow. But even more eye-catching than the color is its main feature: a triple-decker shelf filled with books.

  • Police chief's apology sows healing, friendship
    Police chief's apology sows healing, friendship

    The phone call that changed Police Chief Kevin Murphy's life came late on a Friday afternoon last year: The mayor of this cordial Southern capital asked him to greet a delegation arriving the next morning from Washington.

  • For writers in juvenile hall, sentences can be liberating
    For writers in juvenile hall, sentences can be liberating

    Eminem's "The Monster" ricocheted off the cinder-block walls and worn linoleum floor at Sylmar's Juvenile Hall.

  • 'Hi, do you have water?' In a Central Calif. town, answer is often no.
    'Hi, do you have water?' In a Central Calif. town, answer is often no.

    The grandmother sat outside in her Sunday best next to a house with peeling paint, her canned iced tea resting on top of a washing machine that didn't work. She'd been without running water for four months.

  • For China's Uighurs, knifings taint an ancient craft
    For China's Uighurs, knifings taint an ancient craft

    Here on the fertile edge of the Taklimakan Desert, people have long believed that placing a knife on their bedside keeps away bad dreams. On a baby's seventh day of life, it's tradition for parents to briefly slip a blade under the sleeping infant's head to guarantee a long and healthy life.

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