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Today's Headlines: Feds and gigabytes; 'Jihadi John'; the Cruz app; Kamala who?

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


TOP STORIES

Federal Gigabyte Commission

After a fight that made the wonky concept of "net neutrality" a rallying cry, the Federal Communications Commission tightened rules on how telecom and cable giants can operate Internet services. It's aimed at keeping info flowing freely for everyone. Like most divides, this one is partisan; many Republicans don't like it. One sector with much at stake: Hollywood.

'Jihadi John'

Now we know the real name of the English-speaker in those Islamic State beheading videos: Mohammed Emwazi, 27, a Kuwaiti-born British citizen raised in London. The revelation has some calling for a harder line against known radicals in Britain. Some who know Emwazi, however, say it might have been police harassment that pushed him over the edge.

The Cruz app

Ted Cruz, the rebellious GOP senator with presidential ambitions, likens himself to "a disruptive app" like Uber. So will the Cruz app revolutionize the federal government or simply burden it with endless loops and drain its batteries? Not only Democrats are asking. Cruz has alienated a fair share of his GOP colleagues. Take a closer look at a proud troublemaker from Texas.

Kamala who?

What if you run for the U.S. Senate in California and more than half of the state’s 18 million registered voters can’t pick you out of a political lineup? That’s the challenge facing Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic front-runner to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, a USC Dornsife-L.A. Times polls finds. Republican pollster: "She’s not some huge titan." Democratic pollster: "I wouldn’t trade her starting position.” 

Do water hogs get soaked?

A simple concept when water is scarce: The more you use, the higher the rate you pay. A group of San Juan Capistrano taxpayers says that's not right, and a lower court has agreed. If an appeals court follows suit, it could change how millions of Californians pay for water and deprive water districts of a widely used conservation strategy.

Bronze Age survivor meets chain saw

This bristlecone pine took root in the high Nevada desert long before Egyptians built the  pyramids in Giza. The tree outlasted the Roman empire, European colonialism and other powerful forces. So why take a chain saw to it? Carolina Miranda’s story about Prometheus, the puissant pine, is your great read today.

CALIFORNIA

-- Oil producers in Kern County have been leaving chemical-laden wastewater in hundreds of unlined trenches without permits, a survey obtained by The Times shows.

-- The driver whose pickup sent a Metrolink train off the rails in Oxnard is released without charges, for now.

-- Illegal street racing turns deadly in Chatsworth: two spectators killed.

-- A transgender woman's last words, in a 911 call, help lead police to a suspect in her killing.

-- California issues 110,000 driver's licenses to immigrants in seven weeks.

-- Robin Abcarian explores an artificial turf war between HOAs and homeowners who are trying to save water.

NATION-WORLD

-- The Congressional standoff over Homeland Security goes down to the wire.

-- Islamic State is suspected in threatening messages sent to U.S. military spouses.

-- In Havana, the home of future U.S. Embassy is also a home of intrigue.

-- An Argentine judge tosses out a criminal case against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

-- It's no longer a crime in South Korea to cheat on your spouse.

BUSINESS

-- Refinery workers striking against Tesoro in Carson say it's more about fatigue and safety than money.

-- A New York commercial lender promises its buyout of Pasadena's OneWest Bank will be good for poor neighborhoods OneWest has served.

ENTERTAINMENT

-- Film review: Will Smith and Margot Robbie sizzle in "Focus."

-- The anti-Brian Williams? Scott Pelley's no-frills style could help CBS siphon off NBC viewers.

-- Bob Seger turns a page with a Nashville sound and liberal lyrics.

SPORTS

-- The status of Josh Hamilton and his discipline issue with Major League Baseball remains a mystery. Not good for the Angels.

-- Gimmick or not, the NHL shootout remains a big part of the game.

--LeBron James is upset that college recruiters already are approaching his 10-year-old son. How young is too young? Should you be able to commit to college before hitting puberty?

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- "My Saga, Part 1." Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard travels through North America.

-- Jill Abramson's forthcoming book probably won't settle many scores with the New York Times.

-- Is Oklahoma's state vegetable really a fruit? The watermelon as a wedge issue.

-- The Eiffel Tower generates its own power with wind turbines.

ONLY IN L.A.

Who hid Mack's plaque? The studio Mack Sennett built in what is now Echo Park was the birthplace of the Keystone Cops. It now has other uses, but a plaque commemorates this historic slice of L.A. So where has it been all these years? Nita Lelyveld explains an effort to put things right.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.


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