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Today's Headlines: Fire department warnings; tragic wrong turn; stadium economics

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


TOP STORIES

Firehouse folly

Times investigation last year sparked a crackdown on cheating that gave relatives of L.A. County firefighters an inside track for new jobs. Now it turns out a veteran fire captain's warnings about the problem in 2012 were largely ignored, according to an audit triggered by the Times report. Read how other red flags were ignored.

Dark road, wrong turn

The sky was dark and the road unfamiliar as Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez tried to find a job site in the fields near Oxnard. Now he sits in jail after a Metrolink train slammed into his pickup, injuring 28 people. He has a record of driving infractions, but it was unclear what charges he might face. Meanwhile, officials are looking anew at a crossing with a history of accidents.

When $400 million won't do

Why would a rich owner of an NFL team give up $400 million in public subsidies? To get richer. St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke seems to believe he can do better building an NFL stadium in Inglewood than he could with public subsidies in St. Louis. In the economics of today's NFL, what goes on around a stadium is as important as what happens inside it.

High court chess

States rights is often a rallying cry when Republicans take on the federal government. Now liberals may trot it out in defense of a challenge to Obamacare in the U.S. Supreme Court. It's based on a 1981 ruling by the Rehnquist court, and Obama backers hope it will be hard for two conservative justices to brush aside.

Winds of war, wounds of guilt

Spc. Arvin Reyes didn't even have a gun. So why, seven years after a horrific attack in Iraq, would Reyes track down his commander in Florida to say he had accidentally shot a medic, his  friend? It's called survivor's guilt -- why wasn't it me instead?

 CALIFORNIA

-- Kamala Harris seems a prohibitive favorite to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, but it's early and uncertainties abound.

-- A charter schools group aims to counter the teachers union in L.A. school board elections.

-- Proposition 47 means far fewer DNA samples taken from crime suspects. George Skelton explains why that's a worry.

-- Robin Thicke sings and even dances a little on the witness stand in his copyright fight with Marvin Gaye's children. 

BUSINESS

-- Apple is ordered to pay $533 million in an iTunes patent lawsuit.

-- House Republicans say they have a better idea on net neutrality.

-- The Labor Department extends caregiver leave rights to legally married same-sex couples.

NATION-WORLD

-- Two men are arrested in New York and one in Florida on suspicion of trying to help the Islamic State.

-- How a DEA agent's slaying led to justification for "extraordinary rendition."

-- French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo releases its first regular issue since Islamic extremists killed 12 people at its offices.

-- The Senate strikes a deal to avert a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security.

-- Supreme Court justices seem sympathetic to a woman denied a job because of a head scarf.

ENTERTAINMENT

-- Each of 13 songs on Gabriel Kahane's latest album, "The Ambassador," is based on a different L.A. address.

-- "Flipping the Script," a report on diversity in Hollywood, finds little progress for women or people of color.

-- TV critic Robert Lloyd gives "Parks and Recreation" a sweet send-off.

SPORTS

-- In the wacky art of distracting free-throw shooters, it's hard to top the basketball fanatics at Arizona State.

-- Angels baseball camp opens without Josh Hamilton, who was tied up with MLB officials in New York over an undisclosed disciplinary issue.

Passings: Jerry Lambert, 74, California jockey who won the California Gold Cup three times aboard Native Diver

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- What the Islamic State really wants

-- Greece and "The Merchants of Europe"

-- The making, and remaking, of the world's original ice hotel

-- Gov. Jan Brewer is sounding like reporter James Risen on the 1st Amendment

-- The first human head transplant could be closer than we think.

"All Things Must Pass"

It's one of the more peculiar casualties of the drought: the George Harrison Tree, planted in Griffith Park after the former Beatles member died in L.A. in 2001. You might guess what kind of insects did the deed. Read how the city made amends Wednesday.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.


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