By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard
Hello, it’s Tuesday, July 12, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
Firefighters race to defend ancient sequoias
Firefighters raced to protect a grove of ancient sequoia trees from the 2,720-acre Washburn fire in Yosemite National Park.
The fire, which more than doubled in size over the weekend, was within striking distance of the park’s Mariposa Grove, home to more than 500 mature sequoias including the Grizzly Giant, a 209-foot behemoth estimated to be about 3,000 years old.
But crews had their work cut out for them. Not long after officials declared 25% containment of the blaze, images captured by wildfire cameras showed an explosion of activity, including a massive pyrocumulus cloud signaling intense heat.
First image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope
Billions of years ago, long before a swirling cloud of gas and dust coalesced to form the sun, light left the earliest stars and began a long journey through space.
The world got its first glimpse of that ancient light courtesy of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the most sophisticated and ambitious deep-space viewing tool yet assembled.
It’s a snapshot of deep space, the light from innumerable galaxies swirling around a central point like the light thrown off from a disco ball.
Biden to meet with Saudis
Nothing about President Biden’s visit this week to the Middle East is going to be easy. The president will first arrive in Israel, a key U.S. ally in the region. Except the country’s government is in turmoil — its parliament has been dissolved, setting up the fifth national election in three years. He will also visit with Palestinians, who remain relegated to the margins of U.S. foreign policy.
After two days in Israel, the president will fly to Saudi Arabia to sit alongside rulers whom he has criticized for having poor human rights records. It’s among the most complex and controversial trips by Biden during his presidency. It will also be his first as president to the strategic and volatile region.
- Stephen K. Bannon, a former White House strategist and Trump ally, has told the House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection that he is now willing to testify.
- This week, the committee will for the first time focus on the relationship between people in former President Trump’s orbit and the extremist groups that planned and orchestrated the violence on Jan. 6, 2021.
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Five days passed before his body was found
Dominic Green signed out of work as he always did, exactly at 4:30 p.m. But the next day, a Thursday, Dominic didn’t send his 8 a.m. email. He missed the 4:30 p.m. sign-out too. Friday also came and went with no sign of Dominic.
Dominic, who was single and lived alone, had started his position as an epidemiologist in September, joining the 41% of white-collar workers who were fully remote, spending their days at home in jobs that were more disconnected and isolating than ever.
By the time Dominic’s body was discovered in his apartment Monday night, he was unrecognizable and had to be identified by the few fingerprints still visible on his hands. Several mysteries remained unsolved.
Helping his community heal and look forward
Modeled after its lively counterparts in Cambodia, Fresno Cambodian Nights launched in 2021, and immediately drew worldwide attention. There hadn’t been anything like it before in the United States. The night market is a way to connect with the past and share Cambodian culture into the future.
Danny Kim, a Fresno police sergeant, was inspired to start the traditional Khmer night market after a trip back to Cambodia with his father. He hoped the event, which is the first Friday of the month, will eventually become weekly and will grow to draw a diverse crowd.
“When you think of Cambodia, what do you think of? Genocide,” he said, answering his own question. “But here was Cambodian life and community being shared.”
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
Conservative activist calls off his request for a recount in an election won by a landslide. Randy Economy — a leader of the unsuccessful Republican-backed effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom last year — requested a recount in the race for Nevada County clerk-recorder and registrar of voters, part of a right-wing movement to take control of local and state election apparatuses across the nation.
Sea lions chased away beachgoers at San Diego’s La Jolla Cove. In a video that’s gained nearly 9 million views on TikTok, dozens of people could be seen scrambling from a pair of sea lions last week after getting too close to the animals. Sea lions: 1. Beachgoers: 0.
What causes homelessness? It’s not drugs or mental illness, a pair of researchers say. They put common narratives surrounding homelessness to the test. In a new University of California Press book, Clayton Page Aldern and Gregg Colburn said they found that communities with the highest housing costs had some of the highest rates of homelessness.
California gas prices are still far above other states, even as nationwide fuel costs fall. The average price per gallon of regular-grade gas in California is $6.088, followed not so closely by Hawaii, at an average of $5.617 per gallon.
‘Bad City’ alleges bad behavior — by a medical school dean, USC and within The Times. Times reporters dived deep to investigate the medical school dean at USC and the school’s response to his actions. But getting the story into print, a new book alleges, was as complicated as the investigation itself.
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Poland’s near-total abortion ban offers a grim glimpse of a possible U.S. future. Reproductive-rights activists in Poland, where abortion laws are among Europe’s strictest, have a stark message for their American counterparts: It’s going to be a long struggle. And some people are going to die unnecessarily.
The race to succeed Boris Johnson in Britain is becoming crowded and testy. Almost a dozen candidates are seeking to replace Johnson as leader of Britain’s Conservatives, and thereby as prime minister, and are campaigning to win over the party faithful. The new leader will be chosen in a two-stage election.
After the toppling of its president and prime minister, Sri Lanka is beset by a political vacuum. Opposition leaders had yet to agree on who should replace the country’s roundly rejected leaders, whose residences were occupied on Saturday by protesters angry over the country’s deep economic woes.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
Emmy nominations are coming. Here are Glenn Whipp’s predictions. “Television networks and streaming platforms submitted 754 programs for Emmy consideration this year, and in preparing these Emmy nomination predictions I’m here to tell you I watched all of them. OK, most of them.”
Gendered awards have “no real rationale,” experts say. Why won’t Hollywood ditch them? When it comes to major awards such as the Oscars and the Emmys, only the acting categories are gendered; honors for directing, editing, writing and the crafts are not. Nonbinary actors argue that it’s time to let go of gender in awards.
Lea Michele is Broadway’s next “Funny Girl” as Beanie Feldstein has departed early. The “Glee” actress has been confirmed to follow Feldstein in the first Broadway revival of the beloved musical. Michele will assume the role on Sept. 6, marking her return to Broadway since exiting “Spring Awakening” in 2009.
In the ’90s, a new breed of rock star organized for abortion rights. Could that happen today? During a decade under conservative rule in the White House, many hard-won victories of the American feminist movement were being undermined or undone. So the grunge band L7, in conjunction with L.A. Weekly journalist Sue Cummings and the Feminist Majority Foundation, founded Rock for Choice, a series of benefit concerts that raised money for abortion rights groups and clinics in the United States.
Think rent is rising fast? It’s worse than you think. Non-public data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the rate of change in annual rental costs for new tenants is much higher than for tenants renewing a lease or the overall public number for rental inflation. The data suggest the cost of housing may continue to climb, despite some indicators to the contrary.
A drugmaker is seeking FDA approval for over-the-counter birth control. For the first time, a pharmaceutical company has asked for permission to sell a birth control pill over the counter in the U.S. HRA Pharma’s application sets up a high-stakes decision for health regulators amid legal and political battles over women’s reproductive health.
Think all those state bans on abortion are the final word? Maybe not. Now that Roe is overturned and states in half the country have banned abortion or are about to ban it, advocates are back — this time in state courts, attempting to block abortion bans. As well they should be, the editorial board writes — state bans on abortion may be more legally vulnerable than they seem.
Public bathrooms are a basic human right, but many cities aren’t even trying to meet the need. Although private companies can certainly choose to provide public access to restrooms, it is the government’s responsibility to ensure sanitation for all. And it’s time we held our political leaders accountable.
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Dodger Stadium concession workers are threatening to strike during the All-Star Game. Of the food and beverage workers at the stadium, 99% voted to authorize a strike, Unite Here spokeswoman Maria Hernandez said in a statement. The strike could begin “at any time,” and the Dodger Stadium All-Star festivities begin Saturday.
Will the Lakers get Kyrie Irving? NBA scouts and executives are torn. Some scouts and executives from around the NBA believe the Lakers made some good moves with limited money this offseason, yet others aren’t so sure.
New USC baseball coach Andy Stankiewicz sees an ‘opportunity’ to turn around the program. The Trojans have twice as many national titles as any other college baseball program, but have been to an NCAA regional just once in the last 17 years. Stankiewicz is USC’s sixth coach during that period, which yielded just two winning seasons but plenty of frustration and disappointment.
ONLY IN L.A.
How do you make friends in L.A.? It’s tough out here. In L.A., most of us live in one place, work in another and spend half of our day in a car accompanied only by our favorite podcast hosts. We might share a fleeting laugh at a bar with a stranger or reach for the same obscure item at the grocery store, but it is unlikely we will ever see that person again. So what’s the secret? How does one make friends in L.A.?
We’re looking for people who have found creative solutions to the problem of loneliness in our busy city. Tell us how you met the people in your inner circle and how you fostered those relationships.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Sixty years ago today, on July 12, 1962, the Rolling Stones played their first show, a performance at London’s Marquee Club. On the 50th anniversary of that gig, The Times’ Todd Martens wrote about the paper’s original reaction, in 1964, to the band. It wasn’t good — and it was all about their looks: “The Stones are not handsome or even cute, in any of the senses in which those words have been understood until just recently,” Bill Whitworth wrote in December 1964. “One of them looks like a chimpanzee.”
Another Times writer that year mentioned the Stones’ “loose-lipped, loose-hipped, long-haired (at least 3 in. longer than George Harrison’s) eccentricity,” adding that their hair made the Beatles’ styles “look as corny as a crewcut.”
The following year, Charles Champlin “got hip” to the Stones, Martens wrote. Yet Champlin still started his profile “by making Mick Jagger defend his look.” Jagger told the editor: “If we had our hair cut, we wouldn’t be so nauseatingly attractive now, would we?”
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