FEDBUDGET-2ND-LEDE:WA - As the nation moved closer to a government shutdown Tuesday, the political protagonists traded blame Sunday over whose fault it will be if federal employees are furloughed and some federal services are closed.

FEDBUDGET-2ND-LEDE:WA — As the nation moved closer to a government shutdown Tuesday, the political protagonists traded blame Sunday over whose fault it will be if federal employees are furloughed and some federal services are closed.

The Republican-controlled House was in recess Sunday after voting overnight to keep the government funded through Dec. 15, but delay implementation of the national health-care law. The Democratic-controlled Senate remained in weekend recess, refusing to come back until its scheduled return at 2 p.m. Monday. And President Barack Obama remained out of sight Sunday.

900 (with trims) by William Douglas and David Lightman in Washington. MOVED

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Also moving as:

FEDBUDGET:TBW —650 by Michael A. Memoli. MOVED

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As key parts of health care law kick in, stakes are high for both parties

HEALTHCARE-POLITICS-ADV01:TBW —The debate over President Barack Obama’s signature health care law enters a crucial phase this week as the real effect on consumers starts to come into focus after more than 3½ years of partisan claims and counter-claims.

For both sides in the protracted battle over what has come to be called Obamacare, it is a moment of political peril.

1250 (with trims) by Noam N. Levey in Washington. MOVED

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War-weary Syrians have had enough

SYRIA:LA —After more than two years of war between government forces and rebels seeking to oust President Bashar Assad, Syrians are fed up with the constant checkpoints and other barriers, pervasive uncertainty and, of course, the lingering danger, highlighted by the frequent detonation of artillery and mortar rounds. No one knows how, or when, it will end.

1100 by Patrick McDonnell in Damascus, Syria. MOVED

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WASHINGTON

BP trial moves on to determine how much oil the Deepwater Horizon spilled

OILSPILL-BP:LA —The second phase of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill trial begins Monday in New Orleans, restarting a legal juggernaut that could saddle the energy giant with the largest environmental penalty in U.S. history, determine the future health of the Gulf of Mexico and calculate, finally, the amount of crude oil that spewed from the crippled well.

600 by Julie Cart. MOVED

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Lobbyist who wrote book about Justice Scalia might need his help

SCOTUS-LOBBYIST:TBW — Nine years ago, Kevin Ring was a young rising star in conservative legal circles here when he published his first book, “Scalia Dissents,” a tribute to Antonin Scalia as the Supreme Court’s “wittiest, most outspoken justice.”

This week, the former lawyer and lobbyist may well need an assist from Scalia if he is to avoid going to federal prison for nearly two years.

Ring’s last-chance appeal comes before the Supreme Court justices as they meet Monday for an annual fall ritual. They will sift through 2,000 appeal petitions that arrived during the summer in search of about a dozen cases that will get a full hearing and a decision.

850 (with trim) by David G. Savage in Washington.

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UNITED STATES

California health-insurance exchange chief has advocacy in his blood

CALIF-HEALTHCARE-CHIEF:LA —Republicans in Congress are railing against the health-care law as a government takeover of medicine. The program will harm patients and cost far too much, critics say. Supporters are being branded as socialists.

This isn’t just the latest political theater in Washington. It mirrors the scene 50 years ago during the contentious debate over Medicare.

Two brothers, Peter and Philip Lee, fought on the front lines back then, bucking the medical establishment to guarantee health care for seniors.

Now another Peter Lee — Peter’s son and Philip’s nephew — is carrying on the family tradition. He’s in charge of enrolling millions of Californians for health insurance under the law.

1650 (with trim) by Chad Terhune in Los Angeles.

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Economy has taken a toll on support for California bullet train, poll finds

CALIF-RAIL-POLL:LA —A majority of voters want the California bullet train project stopped and consider it a waste of money, even as state political leaders have struggled to bolster public support and make key compromises to satisfy critics, a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found.

1100 (with trim) by Ralph Vartabedian in Los Angeles.

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Family of slain Dodgers fan seeks witnesses to killing

BBN-DODGERS-DEATH:LA — Dozens of friends and relatives of slain Dodgers fan Jonathan Denver came together outside AT&T Park on Sunday before game time to pass out fliers seeking witnesses to the Wednesday night stabbing triggered by taunts of team rivalry.

Michael Montgomery was arrested after the incident and booked into San Francisco County Jail on Thursday afternoon. However, District Attorney George Gascon late Friday sent the case back to police for further investigation, saying more witnesses needed to be interviewed to support or rule out legally justified homicide.

600 by Lee Romney in San Francisco. MOVED

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John Calvert, sleight-of-hand artist for Hollywood, dies at 102

CALVERT-OBIT:LA —John Calvert, a Hollywood illusionist whose magic tricks won him many fans and several film roles, including three movies during the 1940s in which he played the detective known as the Falcon, has died. He was 102.

350 by David Ng. MOVED

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Frank L. Fouce, who brought theater, TV to Latino audiences, dies at 85

FOUCE-OBIT:LA —Frank L. Fouce, an impresario of Spanish-language entertainment who turned downtown Los Angeles’ historic Million Dollar Theater into a prestigious venue for a burgeoning Latino market and helped launch the television network that became Univision, died Sept. 22 in Los Angeles. He was 85.

The cause was lymphoma, said his daughter, Paula Fouce.

700 by Elaine Woo in Los Angeles. MOVED

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THE WORLD

Iran will negotiate, but US must drop sanctions, foreign minister says

IRAN:TBW — Iran’s foreign minister said Sunday that his country was willing to negotiate with the United States over its nuclear program but that Washington needed to reciprocate by stopping the sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

700 (with trim) by Don Lee in Washington. MOVED

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Netanyahu’s tough talk on Iran may find a less receptive audience at UN

ISRAEL-IRAN:WA —A diplomatic offensive at the United Nations last week by Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s new president, topped off by Rouhani’s phone conversation Friday with Obama, has challenged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to get his message across in a changed diplomatic atmosphere.

With Washington moving to negotiate with Iran about its nuclear program, Israeli officials have voiced concern about a possible weakening of economic sanctions and postponement of any military threat that could stop what they say is Tehran’s steady advance toward a nuclear bomb.

Netanyahu addressed the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday.

600 (with trim) by Joel Greenberg in Jerusalem. MOVED

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Caribbean nations press Old World for slavery reparations

CARIBBEAN-SLAVERY:MI —For almost every Caribbean leader who spoke to the United Nations General Assembly last week, one issue came up time and again: compensating descendants of enslaved and oppressed Africans in Europe’s former colonies for the generational and, arguably, irreparable damage of slavery.

“The legacy of slavery and colonialism in the Caribbean has severely impaired our development options,” Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer said. “Reparations must be directed toward repairing the damage inflicted by slavery and racism.”

1050 (with trim) by Jacqueline Charles and Aaron Morrison at the United Nations. MOVED

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Bomb at Pakistani bazaar kills 43; Taliban suspected

PAKISTAN:LA —A car bomb in Peshawar, the third in a particularly violent week for the northwestern Pakistani city, killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 100 on Sunday in a crowded market about 350 yards from where a memorial service was being held for the victims of a church bombing last week.

550 (with trim) by Zulfiqar Ali and Mark Magnier in Peshawar, Pakistan. MOVED

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VIDEO: Bomb kills dozens in Pakistan

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Attack on Nigerian college dorm kills 40

NIGERIA:LA — Gunmen in northern Nigeria burst into a college dormitory early Sunday morning, spraying bullets and killing students indiscriminately.

At least 40 people were killed, according to authorities.

Like in the attack in Nairobi, Kenya, last week, the gunmen are believed to come from a violent Islamist group with a long history of indiscriminate attacks, often killing Muslim civilians.

300 by Robyn Dixon in Johannesburg. MOVED

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Suicide bombing kills 25 in Iraq funeral

IRAQ:DPA — A suicide bomber Sunday blew himself up at a funeral in southern Iraq, killing at least 25 people and injuring 60, security officials said.

The bomber attacked a mosque in the mostly Shiite city of Hilla, about 60 miles south of Baghdad.

Two more civilians were killed and 22 wounded when two back-to-back car bombs exploded in Baquba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, independent broadcaster Alsumaria TV reporting, citing police.

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China opens new free-trade zone in Shanghai

CHINA-FREETRADE:LA —The Chinese government officially opened a new free-trade zone here Sunday that is long on promise and short on detail about how it will boost the economy.

The 11-square-mile zone is in northeastern Shanghai in an industrial area near the international airport.

Among other features, the zone is supposed to make it easier for foreign companies to open travel agencies, theaters, banks, brokerage houses and telecommunications firms, sell health insurance or make video games — businesses that ordinarily are restricted to Chinese companies or joint ventures. In all, 18 industries are to be liberalized.

500 by Barbara Demick in Shanghai. MOVED

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Italian prime minister calls for vote of confidence

ITALY:DPA —After only five months in power, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta called Sunday for a vote of confidence Wednesday after his party's relations with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's party sank to a new low.

President Giorgio Napolitano said a snap general election would be called only as a last resort.

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Olympic flame begins roundabout trip to Sochi

OLYMPIC-TORCH:DPA — The Olympic flame was lit Sunday at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in southern Greece to mark the symbolic start of the torch relay ahead of the Sochi Winter Games.

200 by Takis Tsafos in Athens, Greece. MOVED

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VIDEO: Olympic flame begins journey to Sochi for 2014 Winter Games

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MEDICINE

Christie’s weight loss makes gastric-banding surgery more popular

MED-CHRISTIE-WEIGHTLOSS:HK —After New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie secretly checked into a hospital for gastric-banding surgery this year, the issue of his weight suddenly reverberated in the national media three months later with a force befitting a potential presidential candidate.

Since then, he’s toured almost every inch of the Jersey Shore this summer and has made dozens of campaign stops across the state this fall. And the photos show a slimmer governor whose appearance is commented on by New Jerseyans almost everywhere he goes.

What it means for Christie’s political future is anybody’s guess. What it means for his health is good. What it means for the gastric-banding procedure Christie underwent is a popularity it has never seen before, according to surgeons.

1050 by Scott Fallon and Melissa Hayes. MOVED

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ENTERTAINMENT

‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2’ has sunny box-office start

MOVIE-BOXOFFICE:LA —It’s been weeks since a family-friendly film hit theaters, and judging by the opening-weekend result for “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,” moviegoers with kids were eager to return to the multiplex.

The 3-D animated sequel easily beat out three new nationwide releases this past weekend, collecting $35 million, according to an estimate from distributor Sony Pictures.

800 by Amy Kaufman in Los Angeles. (Moved as an entertainment story.) MOVED

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© 2013, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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