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Long before revelations in the spring that the Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix had manipulated waiting lists to hide that veterans were facing long delays to see doctors, senior department officials in Washington had been made aware of serious problems at the hospital, according to filings before a federal administrative board.

The documents in the case of the Phoenix hospital director, Sharon Helman, who had been contesting her Nov. 24 firing, provided new details of how much officials knew about the medical center -- including patient backlogs, shortages of medical personnel and clinic space, and long waiting lists...

Richard A. Oppel Jr.

HONOLULU -- President Barack Obama for the first time used his Christmas Day visit to the troops to talk about the end of America’s longest war.

“We’ve been in continuous war now for over 13 years,” Obama told troops gathered in the mess hall at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. “Next week we will be ending our combat mission in Afghanistan.”

“Hurrah!” one service member shouted.

Obama continued, “Because of the extraordinary service of the men and women in the armed forces, Afghanistan has a chance to rebuild its own country.”...

Amy Chozick

SEATTLE -- Their scars are constant reminders of when a car accident in the summer of 2010 turned their lives upside-down.

You can see where Elizabeth Gonzalez had a tracheotomy to help her breathe and where the screws were placed in her back. Similar scars are visible on her husband, Ismael Duran Duran: on his back, where he also had surgery, as well as on his arms from windshield glass.

Four years ago the couple lived in a condo in Kirkland, Wash., and Duran had a good-paying job driving garbage trucks for a waste-management company. They had two daughters and Gonzalez was three months pregnant with their third.

"Life was good," Duran said...

Coral Garnick

Investors in stock markets are cautioned that past performance is not a guide to future events. For scientists who study earthquakes and tsunamis, the opposite is true: Where the earth’s crusts are colliding, the only certainty is that the ground will shake again one day.

By sifting through the geological and archeological record, researchers can try to piece together historic patterns for seismic events. Known as paleo-seismology, such research is a form of time-travel into the past where displaced rock and plants tell a story of tectonic upheaval and churning oceans. In some cases, these centuries-old events can be pinpointed to within a few years...

Simon Montlake

Just stand at the airport and you’ll see travelers of all kinds: workers headed to the North Slope, fishermen flying to the crab boats in Dutch Harbor or police officers escorting prisoners to court hearings. In the next concourse you might see newlyweds going to their honeymoon, kids going to Grandma’s house or students going back to school.

What kind of traveler will you be next year? It’s a fair question, since the odds are good that we’ll all take a trip or two. Or three. It’s the Alaska way.

Home for the holidays...

Scott McMurren

One of my first assignments at the Anchorage Daily News some 20 years ago involved writing about a Fairbanks drummer who was experimenting with avant-garde music informed by recorded natural sounds, mathematical formulas and ecological implications.

This year John Luther Adams won the Pulitzer Prize in music.

Though he now lives in New York City, his selection, the latest in a string of major national awards, was a point of pride among Alaskans...

Mike Dunham

Did I waste my time by going to this show? Or will something about this stick with me for weeks or years to come?

That’s the big question you ask yourself anytime you attend an art event, whether it's live, static, recorded or whatever.

When the genre is one person on a stage, there are reasons to be nervous. Monologues usually get dismissed as second-class theater, introspective, self-important, one-sided and, by definition, lacking that lifeblood of drama -- dialogue. But as the curtain comes down on the 2014 theater season, two monologues have stuck with me...

Mike Dunham

By the time New Year’s Eve comes rolling in, if you’re like me, you might be over the meatiness of the holidays, where turkey, ham, brisket and prime rib all seem to make appearances throughout these weeks of entertaining and eating.

So, just in time for New Year’s, some friends shared some of their beautiful fish from this summer’s catch. I thought I’d gussy up the fillets a bit with greens and puff pastry for Salmon Wellington, based on a traditional beef Wellington recipe, but without the beef.

It’s an impressive dish and quite easy to make. And who doesn’t love anything wrapped in layers of buttery pastry? You can improvise on the filling. I’ve made this with everything from sautéed mushroom and creamed spinach or sorrel to a bright green pesto...

Kim Sunée
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By the time New Year’s Eve comes rolling in, if you’re like me, you might be over the meatiness of the holidays, where turkey, ham, brisket and prime rib all seem to make appearances throughout these weeks of entertaining and eating...

Kim Sunée

SOCCER Channel 3:45 a.m. West Ham United at Chelsea FC NBCS 39 6 a.m. English: Newcastle at Man. United NBCS 39 8:30 a.m. English: Queens Park Rangers at Arsenal NBCS 39 RODEO Channel 6 a.m. Bull Riding: Cheyenne, Wyo., Round 1* FS1 41 COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL GAMES Channel 9 a.m. Heart of Dallas: Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech ESPN 34 12:30 p.m. Quick Lane: N. Carolina vs. Rutgers ESPN 34 4 p.m. St. Petersburg: N. Carolina St. vs. C. Florida ESPN 34 10:30 p.m. Quick Lane: N. Carolina vs. Rutgers* ESP2 35 11 p.m. St. Petersburg: N. Carolina St. vs. C. Fla.* ESPN 34 12:30 a.m. Bahamas: C. Michigan vs. W. Kentucky* ESP2 35 BOXING Channel 8 p.m. Manuel Avila vs. Sergio Frias* Root 36...