By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard
Hello, it’s Tuesday, Feb. 8, and Oscar nominations will be announced today. The big reveal, though somewhat subdued in this very bizarre awards season, will be livestreamed globally at 5:18 a.m. Pacific time.
There’s a lot of buzz around best picture for a few favorites, including Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” and Reinaldo Marcus Green’s “King Richard.” Entertainment columnist Glenn Whipp recently took a stab at guessing who might win in all 23 categories. Do his predictions mirror yours?
Now, here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
California will lift mask mandate
With the Omicron coronavirus surge rapidly receding, California will lift its universal mask mandate for indoor public places next week, state officials said Monday. They still will be required indoors for unvaccinated residents and for everyone in select settings, such as nursing homes or while aboard public transit.
The lifting of the indoor mask mandate statewide will apply to counties without local mask orders of their own, such as San Diego, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, as well as swaths of the San Joaquin Valley. Other counties with local mask orders will remain in place, such as in Los Angeles County and much of the San Francisco Bay Area.
More top coronavirus headlines
- California lawmakers have passed legislation to provide most workers with up to two weeks of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has terminated its contract with Kingston Healthcare Center in Bakersfield, prompting its corporate owners to shut it down.
- Australia will open its borders to all vaccinated tourists and business travelers from Feb. 21.
- Most all of us have felt the exhaustion of pandemic-era decision-making. It might help to know (as you’re tossing and turning over whether to cancel your nonrefundable vacation) that your struggle has a name: decision fatigue.
Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.
How Jose Huizar’s lavish Las Vegas jaunts tripped alarms for the FBI
When security at the Palazzo learned in July 2015 that billionaire developer Wei Huang was bringing politician Jose Huizar to Las Vegas on the resort’s luxury Gulfstream IV, it set off alarms. As a City Council member, Huizar could gamble at the Palazzo only after filing papers showing he was not using public funds.
Palazzo dealers kept close watch on Huang and Huizar when they arrived in a room for high rollers who typically bet with $25,000 and $100,000 chips. What they discovered triggered an FBI investigation that brought to light a sprawling corruption scandal at Los Angeles City Hall.
The details of that night are spelled out in an FBI affidavit that was recently made public and was at the center of a court dispute over a search warrant for Huizar’s emails.
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State election officials survived Trump. Will they survive the ballot box?
Secretaries of state became household names in the last election as they worked to keep voters safe during the pandemic and debunk election misinformation spread by former President Trump and others. Their decisions highlight the outsize role these officials increasingly play in elections.
Two dozen states will hold elections this fall to determine who oversees their elections. Trump has endorsed three candidates in those races, including a man seen outside the Capitol during last year’s Jan. 6 attack who has also acknowledged ties to the far-right Oath Keepers group.
After a Black student faced racist slurs, some wonder if O.C. will change
While playing basketball at Orange County’s Laguna Hills High School on Jan. 21, Makai Brown became the target of racial slurs shouted from the stands by a student. A video capturing the slurs has generated widespread outrage. Don Lemon interviewed the family on CNN. A group of local businessmen gave Makai a $20,000 college scholarship.
But his mother, Terrell Brown, and others wonder what will happen in O.C. where racial taunts of students of color, particularly at sporting events, still happen with alarming regularity. Terrell Brown, who moved to Irvine from the Atlanta area about four years ago, said the overt racism of the South is in some ways easier to deal with than O.C. racism.
Why SoFi Stadium may have the best cheap seats in football
When it comes to the design innovations of football stadiums in recent years, it would seem that a good deal of the innovating has been reserved primarily for the luxury suites. SoFi Stadium, Inglewood’s $5-billion new arena — site of Super Bowl LVI on Sunday and home to the Rams and the Chargers — has by no means evaded the luxury suite trend, writes columnist Carolina A. Miranda.
And while it’s less over-the-top than some stadiums, the facility’s premium spaces can cost you a small fortune. In the era of the luxury suite, however, the design of SoFi has managed something significant: cheap seats that can feel as special as some of the luxury seats below. Though “cheap” is a relative term. The exclusive vibe has to do with how the stadium is situated on the land.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
California’s single-payer healthcare effort is dead, but it isn’t going away. For decades, Democrats at the state Capitol have tried to transition single-payer from a widely shared ideology that every person deserves affordable care to a policy that would replace what many consider a broken healthcare system, only for their efforts to get mired in the politics.
U.S. Border Patrol boosts its staff as asylum seekers try to reach U.S. soil by driving across. Since CBP began stationing its officers at the limit line in car lanes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, tensions between asylum seekers desperate to reach U.S. soil and the officers told to block them have escalated. Meanwhile, advocates who support asylum seekers in the region have criticized CBP’s choice of resource allocation.
A cold case heats up afterthree decades. But the DNA delivers a surprise. Thirty years after Claire Hough was killed, a new round of forensic testing pointed to two suspects. One was familiar to the police.
Warm weather is on tap this week in Southern California. By mid-week, temperatures are expected to climb into the mid-80s in many valley and coastal areas, “where most people are not accustomed to this type of winter heat,” the National Weather Service said. The peak heat will occur between Wednesday and Friday.
A nun is sentenced to year in prison for stealing $835,000 from a Torrance elementary school. Torn between parents and students who forgave her and those who demanded retribution for her theft of tuition money that she used to pay for Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe vacations, U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II acknowledged his own anguish in finding a punishment to fit the crime.
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Prominent Israelis and Palestinians issue a new proposal to revive Mideast peace efforts. The plan includes several controversial elements, and it’s unclear whether it has any support among leaders on either side. But it could help shape the debate over the conflict and will be presented to a senior U.S. official and the United Nations secretary-general this week.
President Biden vows to end the German-Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 if Ukraine is invaded. Even as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Biden sought to convey a united front, the German leader would not explicitly back up Biden’s threat. He promised only there would be no daylight between Germany, which controls the pipeline, and its NATO partners.
Black colleges are alarmed by bomb threats, but undeterred. The FBI is now investigating last week’s bomb threats against at least 17 historically Black colleges and universities across the United States. The targeted universities have resumed operations since the lockdowns. But many still worry about future threats and efforts to prosecute those responsible.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
‘Matrix Resurrections’ co-producer sues Warner Bros. over HBO Max release. The company that co-financed the “Matrix” movies is accusing the Burbank studio of destroying the franchise’s value by releasing the latest sequel for streaming and in theaters at the same time. The lawsuit is the latest example of a flashpoint in Hollywood as the pandemic lingers.
Zendaya hopes ‘Euphoria’ fans ‘still see the good’ in her character. The show has earned a divisive reputation for its unflinching and graphic portrayal of teen drug addiction and violence. Sunday’s episode was especially intense, sparking complex discussions online about exploring trauma on-screen.
The Razzies think Bruce Willis was bad enough to earn his own award category this year. Willis is nominated for a Razzie for his work in “Cosmic Sin” — and a bunch of other 2021 releases.
Tesla is expecting a racism complaint from a California civil rights watchdog. The state employment civil rights agency told the company “it has grounds to file a civil complaint against Tesla,” according to the electric car maker’s 10-K annual report, released Monday.
Mikaela Shiffrin is no stranger to heartbreak. Now can she bounce back in Beijing? In two years, Shiffrin has experienced the sudden death of her father, a back injury and a positive test for the coronavirus.
Clash at the Coliseum is a blueprint for NASCAR’s plan to expand into untapped markets. NASCAR plans to employ the model used for Clash at the Coliseum to other large venues in big cities. Auto Club Speedway in Fontana could be downsized.
Super Bowl XI lives in Madden family history lore. Mike Madden looks back on the Oakland Raiders’ magical 1976 season, which culminated with his dad, John Madden, guiding the team to a Super Bowl title.
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No more stock trading for members of Congress. Elected officials trading stocks raises the concern that they may benefit from their access to sensitive information. It’s time to end the practice.
Work life will never be the same. We need some in-person days and some remote. Getting employees back to the office is now a major challenge. Companies that want more in-person work will have to overcome some serious hurdles.
ONLY IN L.A.
Where we love to eat near SoFi Stadium. African American, Mexican and Central American, Jamaican, Belizean, Japanese and other cultures converge near the stadium to create a unique culinary map. Whether you’re pining for a decent postgame meal or a pregame snack, The Times’ Food staff, editors and our local friends have you covered. Get Nigerian jollof rice in Inglewood, a banh mi in Westchester, old-school diner fare in Hyde Park and more.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Forty-nine years ago today, The Times reported on the move underway to demolish Santa Monica’s historic pier, which opened in 1909 to much fanfare about its “indestructible” concrete construction: “Crowds swarmed onto the 1,600-foot-long structure to enjoy band concerts and swimming and boating races, as a flotilla of naval vessels floated offshore. Capping the festivities was a performance of ‘The Surrender of Rex Neptune,’ in which the god of the sea, known for battering piers into splinters just for fun, admitted to Queen Santa Monica that he had met his match in this sturdy dock.”
Unfortunately, by 1973, the pier had greatly deteriorated and was costly to maintain. But the City Council was “bombarded” by those in support of keeping the pier, The Times reported, including Robert Redford. The actor was filming “The Sting” on Santa Monica Pier at the time and took time out to voice his support and lament: “There is nothing left that is distinctive anymore.” The city subsequently created an entity to oversee pier management and oversee restoration efforts.
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