Newsletter

Today: Battle of New Hampshire. Super Ads.

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

Tough Immigration Talk in … New Hampshire?

New Hampshire shares a border with Canada stretching about 58 miles, but it's the border a couple of thousand miles away that is consuming much of the GOP talk ahead of Tuesday's primary. Columnist Cathleen Decker looks at the dynamics of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio using illegal immigration to frame the discussion.

The Real Progressive Is ...

Meanwhile in the Granite State, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton met in their first head-to-head debate. Immigration did come up, albeit late, but they spent much of their time trying to prove who has the better progressive street cred. Here's the blow-by-blow of their exchanges over Wall Street, Islamic State, capital punishment and more.

How Super Bowl Ads Got So Big

"Game on" at the Super Bowl this Sunday: Drake for T-Mobile versus Christopher Walken for Kia. Steven Tyler for Skittles versus Dame Helen Mirren for Budweiser. Oh, and there's the football too. But the biggest TV advertising event of the year in the U.S. didn't just happen. Apple's "1984" spot, USA Today's "Ad Meter" and the changing media landscape conspired to make what it is now. Watch some of the ads here, and find our full coverage of the game and all its hoopla here.

Black Films Mattered at This Show

The Tree of Life Awards didn't have a TV deal or the fanfare of today's kudofests. For those attending the so-called Black Oscars, it didn't matter. "It began as a way to fill a void in the city and in the community," says Gil Robertson, president of the African American Film Critics Assn. When eight black actors were nominated for the 2007 Oscars ceremony, the Tree of Life Awards went into retirement. Now some are wondering if that was premature.

Looming Large: Persian Rugs

Some people in L.A. have Persian rug wishes and Iranian caviar dreams. The recent nuclear deal is good news for them. After a nearly six-year ban on imports from the Islamic Republic, the first shipments of rugs are finally arriving here. Caviar, pistachios and saffron could follow. But not everyone is enthralled with doing deals involving Tehran.

Only the Freshest $2 Bills Will Do

Lunar New Year starts Monday, and in the run-up to the big celebration for many in the Vietnamese and Chinese communities, certain preparations must be made. For some, it might be buying a sticky rice cake or small peach tree. For banks, it means stocking millions of dollars in crisp new bills for presenting in red envelopes. The most popular denomination: $2.

CALIFORNIA

-- Two teenagers are charged with murder in the Montecito Heights killings of two young women.

-- The University of California tries to up its diversity game.

-- Sad trombone: Time expires for the would-be winner of a $63-million Lotto jackpot.

-- #101SlowJam is no oldies request show. It's a 40-hour headache this weekend.

NATION-WORLD

-- The Pentagon looks to boost defenses in Europe to counter Russia.

-- Sixteen people face felony charges in the Oregon standoff; four of them are still holding out.

-- A Vatican panel starts a meeting on sexual abuse by watching "Spotlight."

-- Bill Cosby's court defeat: How it happened, and what happens next.

-- Young feminists are choosing Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. Tell us on Facebook: Should she get the feminist vote?

-- BMI mislabels 54 million Americans as "overweight" or "obese," a study says.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Video: Watch the scenes that might win the lead actor and actress nominees an Oscar.

-- Mick Jagger had an idea for a Martin Scorsese project about the music world. Twenty years later, the result is HBO's "Vinyl."

-- Maurice White, the founder and leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, has died at 74.

-- Meet the synchronized swimming troupe the Aqualillies, now featured in the Coen brothers film "Hail Caesar!" PS: Here's our review.

-- TV review: Spike Lee's Michael Jackson documentary really shakes it down.

-- How LACMA found its zoot suit — and set a new auction record.

-- The L.A. Phil's mesmerizing assistant conductor leaps to the Birmingham orchestra.

BUSINESS

-- Viacom Inc. has a new chairman to replace Sumner Redstone, but the move has exposed a boardroom rift.

-- David Lazarus: Martin Shkreli isn't alone in ripping off patients with crazy drug prices.

-- Chicago entrepreneur Michael Ferro buys a large stake in The Times' owner.

-- China's shutdown for Lunar New Year hits local businesses.

SPORTS

-- Clippers owner Steve Ballmer says Blake Griffin will face "consequences" after punching the team's assistant equipment manager.

-- BMX and X Games star Dave Mirra has died at 41.

-- A fencer will be the first U.S. Olympian to compete while wearing a hijab.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- The details of Hillary Clinton's speaking engagements, as revealed in a 2014 story. (Washington Post)

-- The violent world of illegal logging. (National Geographic)

-- Ghana put its own lurid twist on movie posters in the 1980s and '90s. (The Atlantic)

-- Photos of the San Francisco Bay Area, 100 (or so) years ago and today. (The Guardian)

ONLY IN L.A.

An anonymous art collective last year surreptitiously built a teahouse in Griffith Park with wood reclaimed from the 2007 fire. For their next act: "Petal Drop LA (01)," a performance in which they'll pour 7,000 cups of flower petals over viewers in a downtown alleyway. The drop takes place Saturday. Given that the weather forecast is sunny and near 80, it could be the closest thing to rain we’ll see for at least a week.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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