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Today's Headlines: When friends feud; lines in the sand; skid row simmers

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


TOP STORIES

No offense, Mr. President, but ...

The sheer audacity of Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress today, against President Obama's wishes, almost overshadows his fears about Iranian nukes. He respects Obama, he says, but scolds him for negotiating with Tehran. Obama is fighting back with his own PR campaign. Read how all this could affect U.S.-Israeli relations.

Lines in the political sand

Gerrymandering -- drawing electoral districts to favor parties in power -- twists them into absurd shapes (the term merges a governor’s name with “salamander”). California and Arizona voters passed rules that shifted the drawing from legislators to nonpartisan groups. Reviews generally have been good. Read how a U.S. Supreme Court case brought by Arizona Republicans could change the maps again.

Simmering skid row

For years, the homeless on skid row have felt the squeeze of gentrification and demands that L.A. police, well, police these people. It exploded Sunday in the fatal shooting of a man by officers after he seemed to grab the gun of one in a struggle caught on video. Were the officers justified? A much larger debate looms, as columnist Sandy Banks notes, about the future of a district with the country's largest concentration of homeless people.  

Pollution goes viral in China

The hottest movie in China isn't a Hollywood blockbuster or Jackie Chan flick. "Under the Dome" is an online documentary. The villains: China's polluters. The heroes: None so far. It wasn't censored and was viewed 150 million times last weekend. As Beijing bureau chief Julie Makinen writes, L.A. even has a role; the filmmaker visited to learn about smog-fighting.

Water to wine might be cheaper

Twenty years ago, during a drought, Santa Barbara spent millions on a plant to turn Pacific saltwater into drinking water. Then the rain started falling, and the plant was mothballed. Now the city is spending $40 million to get it going again. Another in Carlsbad will cost $954 million. Don't equate desalinization with salvation, though.

CALIFORNIA

-- The state Supreme Court says statewide restrictions on where sex offenders live -- part of Jessica's Law -- may violate their rights.

-- An interesting look, with a graphic, at what's at stake in the effort to remodel the Burbank airport.

-- Statistics suggest a pattern of racial profiling by San Diego police in traffic stops.

-- Classroom tragedy: An upbeat, well-liked teacher is found dead in an apparent suicide at El Dorado High School in northern Orange County.

Passings: Dwight Grell, 73, a remarkable collector of Russian ballet memorabilia. It's kept as USC.

NATION-WORLD

-- Restless young musicians, emboldened by an official thaw with the U.S., test the limits of tolerance in Communist Cuba. Some land in jail, but few are silenced. Today's great read.

-- Texas back-step: Plunging prices are reversing boom times in oil-patch towns.

-- Nina Pham, a nurse who survived Ebola, sues the Houston hospital where she contracted it.

BUSINESS

-- Costo decides to drop AmEx for Visa as its official credit card partner starting next year.

-- The tech-heavy Nasdaq hits 5,000 for the first time since 2000. Things seem more stable this time.

-- Regardless of what you think of Obamacare, its demise in the Supreme Court would hit some people particularly hard.

ENTERTAINMENT

-- Charles Gaines' drawings aren't for the faint of heart, but you'll figure it out. An interview with the artist, whose works are being exhibited at the UCLA Hammer Museum.

-- Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla wows in a fiery L.A. Philharmonic Concert at the Disney Concert Hall.

SPORTS

-- As USC opens spring football practice, expectations of Coach Steve Sarkisian are even higher than last year.

-- How the lives of two 11-year-olds, linked by an illegal Little League arrangement, went in dramatically different directions. Bill Dwyre weaves the tale.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Republicans write: Six books by top party members, including five who may run for president.

-- What Russia has really lost: A telling remembrance of Boris Nemtsov.

-- For sincere, useful community journalism in a hard place, the Nome Nugget is almost always worth a look.

-- Venezuela's slow-motion coup: An authoritarian government lurches toward dictatorship.

ONLY IN L.A.

Hail, Surf City. Huntington Beach is known for its mile-long beaches, surfing competitions and killer waves. But hail? A layer coated city beaches, transforming the home of Jack Kelly (remember Bart Maverick?) into a snow-white beach blanket. You couldn’t stop some locals. They took to the hail with surfboards.  

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.


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