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Stories for January 28, 2010

NATURE: Wild Balkans

Jan. 28
NATURE: Wild Balkans  Tease photo

Thick forests, vast wetlands, deep chasms - this is a wild, inaccessible place that belongs more to myth than reality. The landscape looks as if it was taken straight form Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings." But here there are neither orcs nor elves; rather, bears and wolves. This is not Middle Earth; rather it is middle Europe -the Balkans. Through the centuries this land has burned its way into the soul and spirit of its people. The jagged contours have thrown long dark shadows over the history of the peninsula, always in the middle, between forces of the East and the West.

High-Speed Rail In California Getting $2 Billion

Jan. 28
Kevin Freking, AP
Tease photo

The most advanced planning and a willingness to help pay put California at the top when it came to securing federal funding for high-speed rail, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Thursday.

Hubert Keller: Secrets Of A Chef: Verrine

Jan. 28
Tease photo

Chef Keller presents the current culinary rage in France called verrine, or serving foods in different shaped glasses. It's both practical and beautiful, allowing guests to easily carry their food at a gathering.

High-Speed Rail On Track For $8 Billion In Grants

Jan. 28
Associated Press
Tease photo

High-speed-rail projects in California, Florida and Illinois are among the big winners of $8 billion in grants announced Thursday — the start of what some Democrats tout as a national rail-building program that could rival the interstate highways begun in the Eisenhower era.

Should More Companies Advertise On School Campuses?

Jan. 28
By Ana Tintocalis

The San Diego Unified School District is considering whether companies should be allowed to advertise on campuses in exchange for much needed revenue.

Calif. Senate Approves Single-Payer Health Care

Jan. 28
Don Thompson, AP
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The California Senate has approved creating a government-run health care system, ignoring a veto pledge from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

World Leaders Agree To Afghan Handover Timetable

Jan. 28
Michele Kelemen, NPR
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World leaders meeting in London on Thursday agreed on a timetable for the handover of security duties in Afghan provinces starting in late 2010 or early 2011. The leaders also pledged funds for a plan aimed at persuading Taliban fighters to renounce violence.

Federal Stimulus Gives $51 Million To Amtrak's Surfliner Route

Jan. 28
City News Service

California was awarded $51 million in federal economic stimulus funding today to make improvements to Amtrak's Surfliner route, which links San Diego and San Luis Obispo via Los Angeles.

Weekend Preview: Count Basie Orchestra, The Piano Lesson, No Child, The Residents, And The North Park Craft Mafia

Jan. 28
These Days

On this weekend preview, we'll look at two new plays on San Diego stages as well as an avant-garde band called The Residents and the Count Basie Orchestra that still knows how to swing.

San Diego Opera Opens 2010 Season With 'La Bohème'

Jan. 28
These Days

The San Diego Opera opens their 2010 season with Giacomo Puccini's classic La Bohème. We'll talk with members of the cast, including San Diego-based soprano Priti Gandhi, who performs the role of the irrepressible flirt Musetta in La Bohème. We'll also talk with San Diego Opera's Dr. Nic Reveles about why La Bohème is such an enduring story.

Local Analysis Of President Obama's State Of The Union

Jan. 28
These Days
Tease photo

What were the highlights from President Barack Obama's first State of the Union address? We speak to a White House correspondent, a pair of local congressmen, and a political science professor about the speech.

State Universities Want More Students To Graduate

Jan. 28
TERENCE CHEA, AP
Tease photo

For years, American colleges and universities have focused on getting more students to seek higher education. Now they want to make sure more of their students leave campus with a diploma.

Culture Lust Weekend: Plastic Fantastic, Josephine Baker, and La Bohème

Jan. 28
By Angela Carone, Meredith Hattam
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This Culture Lust Weekend: Plastic Fantastic at the OMA, movie night with Josephine Baker, and the S.D. Opera goes to Paris.

44 Inch Chest

Jan. 28
By Beth Accomando
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The writers and star of “Sexy Beast” have re-teamed for “44 Inch Chest” (opening January 29 at Landmark's Ken Cinema). Both films cast Ray Winstone as an unlikely romantic stuck in a violent world. You can also listen to my radio feature.

Camp Pendleton Expands Main Gate Capacity

Jan. 28
By Alison St John
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Camp Pendleton Marine Base is undertaking a major overhaul of its main gate in Oceanside. The $5 million project should eventually help prevent traffic heading onto the Marine base from backing up on Interstate 5.

$1 Billion May Be Needed For Lines Tied To Sunrise Powerlink

Jan. 28
By Amita Sharma

The cost to California ratepayers of moving energy through SDG&E's planned $2 billion Sunrise Powerlink project may go up another billion dollars. That's because planners of the state's power grid now say major reinforcements are needed to move energy from the desert to the customer.

San Diegan Testifies In Sacramento About In-Home Care

Jan. 28
By Amita Sharma

California lawmakers got feedback yesterday on how new rules to catch cheating within an in-home care program for the disabled are working.

SDSU, Baja Calif. Public Safety Agree To Share Info And Resources

Jan. 28
By Amy Isackson

San Diego State University officials and Baja California's Secretary of Public Safety plan to work together to create systems to securely share information across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Plastic Bag Legislation May Resurface In Sacramento

Jan. 28
By Ed Joyce

Legislation to require California grocery and convenience stores to charge shoppers for paper or plastic bags did not make it out of committee this week. But environmental groups plan to push for legislation intended to reduce plastic litter in state waterways.