LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The ''Mahabharata,'' a nine-hour play in three parts that has been playing to sellout audiences during the Los Angeles Festival, became even longer when a performance was interrupted by a power failure.

The lights went out 4 1/2 hours into the production that hits the highpoints of a 19,000-page, 3,000-year-old story from India, and the failure took two hours to fix.

Then festival director Robert Fitzgerald thanked the audience for their patience and said:

''It is an Indian tradition that when the 'Mahabharata' is interrupted, it must be started from the beginning.''

He was joking. But it did take an additional five hours to complete the play at 12:30 a.m. Sunday, 11 1/2 hours after the audience first sat down. Fewer than 20 people left before the end.

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DUBLIN, Ga. (AP) - While most beagles chase rabbits or play with children, Timmy Tindol has to work, using his nose to sniff out a tiny but destructive quarry.

The 4-year-old dog is one of 50 termite and ant detection dogs trained and owned by Bob Outman of Belmont, Calif., who leases the dogs to pest control companies across the country.

Timmy's handler, Garey Clark, said Outman decided to put his trade to work and train the dogs for insect inspection after his home was mistakenly diagnosed as termite-free.

Outman ''was in the house three weeks before he found termites,'' said Clark. ''He couldn't believe they didn't have something to detect termites in hidden areas.''

The dogs allow otherwise unreachable trouble areas to be pinpointed and treated, said Ray Crim, vice president of Tindol Services in Atlanta, which leases Timmy Tindol.

''The dog is just like an X-ray machine,'' he said.

Outman's dogs have chalked up such an impressive performance record that Timmy is covered under a $1 million professional liability insurance policy from Lloyd's of London.

''To get (Lloyd's) to insure a dog's decision on an inspection, you've got to show them something,'' said Clark.