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Today's Headlines: Bibi vs. Barack; 'maternity hotels'; another lousy turnout

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


TOP STORIES

Bibi vs. Barack?

It was the most-watched duel in town: Benjamin Netanyahu versus President Obama. The Israeli leader, addressing Congress against Obama's wishes, chastised him about a far-from-done nuclear deal with Iran. Obama, responding from across town, chose dry understatement, but to good effect: "He didn't offer any viable alternatives." Result of this round: A draw?

Race and revenue

Imagine a town where 90% of people who receive citations and 93% of people arrested are African Americans. A Justice Department report on Ferguson, Mo., said, in essence, that the town's mostly white leaders and police were shaking down blacks (67% of the town's population) for revenue. No wonder, it said, that simmering tensions exploded last year when a black youth was killed in a confrontation with an officer.

Google's new 'lookout' on Apple

What kind of building do you design for a company that's everywhere? One that covers all the bases. Architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne reviews Google's plans for its big new campus in Mountain View, Calif. "Instead of turning inward like many of our peers," Google tsk-tsked, "the new Google campus prioritizes transparency and inclusion." Could that be a zinger aimed at Apple, which is building a doughnut-shaped campus in nearby Cupertino?

Born in the U.S.A.

Complaints are frequent, but not much is done. So it has seemed in neighborhoods that suspect that there are "maternity hotels" in their midst. They host foreign women who give birth here to guarantee U.S. citizenship for their kids. Federal agents finally made a big show of raiding several suspected sites in our area Tuesday -- a start, but perhaps just a setback for a big business.

What elections?

All the numbers aren’t in, but no-shows may be the big story again in L.A.-area elections. Those who did show up were giving a big thumbs up to measures that could boost future turnout.  They would align local elections with big-interest state and national ballots. Go here for updates on L.A. City Council, school board and other races.

CALIFORNIA

-- A look at the deep pockets behind Mayor Eric Garcetti's Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles.

-- The homeless skid row man killed in a struggle with L.A. police had a troubled, violent past

-- "There are still days when I’m as shocked as I was 10 years ago." Columnist Steve Lopez, who knows a thing or two about skid row, revisits. 

-- A veteran engineer hurt a week ago when a Metrolink train slammed into a pickup truck dies from his injuries

-- California orders 12 oil-field storage wells closed to protect groundwater.

-- Robert McElroy, an auxiliary bishop in the Roman Catholic archdiocese in San Francisco, will become the bishop of the San Diego diocese.

-- In a prison journalism class, inmates write their own obituaries -- and find out a lot about themselves. Today's great read

NATION-WORLD

-- After weeks of brinkmanship, the House passes a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security.

-- Hillary Rodham Clinton is under scrutiny for using a personal email account for government business while she was secretary of State.

-- David Petraeus, the retired general and former CIA chief, admitted that he passed classified information to his mistress. He agreed to pay a $40,000 fine.

-- Thousands pay respects at a funeral for Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was gunned down last week near the Kremlin.

 -- A Nigerian militant group's videos of executions suggests an effort to mimic Islamic State. 

BUSINESS

-- Heady days for high-tech stocks, or a return to the bad old days of the dot-com era? Michael Hiltzik compares and contrasts

-- How Obamacare foes beat a clever and novel path to the Supreme Court this week. 

-- Chief executives at top companies have their best sales expectations in three years, a survey shows.

-- Why are women leaving tech in droves? Join a live discussion Thursday at 3:30 p.m. PST.

ENTERTAINMENT

-- A black-tie ball at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. A multimillion-dollar promotional campaign. AMC is plotting a "Mad Men" final season to remember.

-- From "Fresh Prince" to stale king? Critics wonder whether Will Smith's reign as box-office royalty might be over

SPORTS

-- The dismal late-season Lakers and the word everyone is thinking, if not saying: "Tank." 

-- Can't wait for baseball season? Here's your guide to the Cactus League

Passings: Alex Johnson, 72, former California Angels star and 1970 American League batting champ; Alex Baum, 92, a tireless bicycling advocate in car-centric L.A.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Full transcript of Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress and President Obama's remarks afterward.

-- Greeks in crisis. "We need to explain ourselves." Spiegel talks to six in different walks of life.

ONLY IN L.A.

The Narbonne High girls' basketball team wanted to do a nice thing. Players wore uniforms with pink lettering in a shout-out for breast-cancer awareness. Foul! An obscure uniform-colors rule bounced them from championship play. Cooler heads prevailed, but there's plenty more absurdity in this story. 

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.


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