Newsletter

Today: Papal Smackdown. Snowpack's Back.

I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.

TOP STORIES

Think Different: Behind Apple's Legal Fight

In the late 1990s, Apple used the slogan "Think Different" in its ads. That could also be applied to its battle with the FBI pitting privacy against national security. Experts say this week's court order differed from those issued in the past, in that it requires Apple to create new software, rather than providing technology already at hand. Of note: The company's legal team includes two lawyers who successfully challenged California's ban on same-sex marriage. Tell us on Facebook: Should Apple help the FBI?

Trump and the Pope Throw It Down

In a campaign filled with "firsts," this ranks right up there: Pope Francis took a jab at Donald Trump, saying, "A person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian." And the candidate jabbed right back: "For a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful." Trump has feuded with President Obama, Jeb Bush, Megyn Kelly and Rosie O'Donnell, to name just a few, so why not the pope? Looking at the numbers, it probably won't hurt him.

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

In L.A., you'd never guess it — in a couple of days, it'll be sunny and near 80 degrees again — but up in Northern California, El Niño has brought the snowpack back to 94% of normal. That's great news for the resorts in Lake Tahoe. Will it also be good news for the drought? Read on to see why we won't know until April 1.

A Supreme Battle Test

Obamacare. Immigration. The debt ceiling. Are these past battles between President Obama and GOP lawmakers indicative of what will happen in the fight over a new justice for the Supreme Court? Democrats think if the White House stands firm, the opposition will crack — indeed, a few have said it’s too soon to rule out an Obama nominee. Republicans say it’s a false comparison and predict Americans will agree with them. Meanwhile, here are some candidates the president may consider.

Track Change for the Bullet Train

The would-be California bullet train is facing high construction costs, political opposition and legal entanglements. Now, it's trying to take the path of lesser resistance: Rather than building the first segment from Fresno to Burbank, the state is now planning to run it from the Kern County line to San Jose. Here's why that won't solve all of its problems.

CALIFORNIA

-- L.A. files a $20-million lawsuit against the Da Vinci Apartments' developer after a huge downtown fire.

-- The Porter Ranch gas leak has been permanently capped, state officials say.

-- L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti says he supports letting voters decide on overhauling the leadership of the Department of Water and Power.

-- Sentenced to prison, teenage "parachute kids" deliver a warning to adults in China.

NATION-WORLD

-- American warplanes hit multiple ISIS targets in Libya overnight.

-- The Democrats and GOP presidential candidates held competing events. Here's what happened.

-- Critics of South Dakota's transgender bathroom bill are threatening to boycott the state.

-- Peter Santilli, charged in the Oregon standoff, is among a new breed of journalists.

-- Seizures of illegal drugs soar in China; most suspects are "farmers and unemployed."

-- Bill Cosby demands settlement money back from his accuser in a sex assault case.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Kenneth Turan: The Oscars revolution has been messy, but diversity in storytelling deepens the art and enriches us.

-- How the new horror film "The Witch" brings the 17th century to life.

-- The Jordanian film "Theeb" made an arduous journey to an Oscar nomination.

-- A poster exhibition stopping in L.A. gives voice to Mexico's missing 43 students.

-- Donald and Kiefer Sutherland finally play father and son in the western "Forsaken."

-- Why Adele's Grammy Awards disaster was just what we wanted.

-- New ABC President Channing Dungey is "the smartest person they've got."

BUSINESS

-- How far should data encryption go?

-- Members of Congress call for an investigation of Shell over climate change.

-- Why airlines' frequent-flier programs are rewarding big spenders.

SPORTS

-- A close look at the Angels as spring training begins. Plus: The Dodgers' Andrew Friedman explains the grand plan.

-- The Lakers' Byron Scott defends his coaching style.

-- The Zika virus could add to the stress level of Olympians headed to the Rio Games this summer.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- The ups and downs of teen bloggers on Tumblr. (The New Republic)

-- When Allen Ginsberg wrote a poem about Bernie Sanders. (Forward)

-- Behind the scenes at LA18, a TV station that caters to Asian American viewers. (Los Angeles Magazine)

-- The man who made the Moka espresso maker famous is buried in a replica coffee pot. (CNN)

ONLY IN L.A.

What has three legs, is named B-337 and runs? A bobcat, the first three-legged specimen caught by National Park Service biologists in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The plan is to track B-337 and study her along with 336 others in the area. Read on for more about her earless kitten and to see video of her release back into the wild.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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