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Today's headlines: Healthy justice?; voter no-shows; fleeing Libya

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


TOP STORIES

Tale of two justices

Here we go again: Obamacare hangs in the balance at the divided Supreme Court. Insurance subsidies for 7 million Americans are at stake. Most eyes are on two conservative swing votes: Anthony Kennedy and John G. Roberts Jr. In oral arguments Wednesday, Kennedy offered a smidgen of hope to the law's backers. Roberts wasn't tipping his hand. 

1 in 10: the lonely L.A. voter

Depressing news: Fewer than 10% of L.A. voters bothered to cast ballots Tuesday. Better news: Those who did OKd changes that will align local ballots with more-exciting state and federal elections. It's no cure-all, though. Some Angelenos have what they consider good reasons for skipping elections (more on that below, in "Only in L.A."). At least L.A. isn't alone.

Desperate crossings

How bad is it in Libya? About 3,000 migrants died trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe last year, but that isn't scaring anyone.  About 9,000, mostly from Libya, have reached Italy so far this year. It's not just North Africa. Italian rescuers found hundreds of Syrians aboard rusty cargo ships bearing down on the coast -- apparently left on autopilot.

How climate shaped who we are

A fragment of a jawbone is prompting scientists to reorder the branches of the human ancestral tree. It places early members of the genus Homo in East Africa almost half a million years earlier than previously believed -- when the climate was shifting from rainy and lush to arid. With larger brains, ability to make stone tools, and teeth suited to chewing a variety of foods, they adapted and thrived. Said one paleoanthropologist: “Was climate change the motivator for evolutionary change in early humans? I am sure it played some sort of role.”

Information spreads with superbug

At least one good thing came out of the discovery of a deadly superbug in patients at the UCLA hospital: Others sat up and took notice. Cedars-Sinai is the latest in Southern California to report cases -- four confirmed, more possible. The culprit appears to be a type of medical scope that is difficult to sterilize.

CALIFORNIA

-- For the first time, research links the region's years of smog-cleanup efforts to stronger lungs in children. 

-- L.A. City Councilman Herb Wesson wins a third and final term

-- Three L.A. school board seats are headed for runoff elections in May. Charter school backers are showing more clout. An analysis.

-- Despite the promise of millions, Hermosa beach voters reject oil drilling.

-- Gunfire involving two motorcycle groups leaves two dead and five wounded in San Bernardino.

-- A federal appeals court says the Bay Area city of Sunnyvale can enforce an ordinance prohibiting large-capacity gun magazines.

-- A state senator introduces a bill that would require vaccines for adults who work in preschool and day-care centers.

Passings: John Mockler, 73, author of California's Proposition 98 on school funding.

NATION-WORLD

-- House Republicans keep the Benghazi dispute alive with a subpoena for Hillary Clinton's private emails

-- The capital murder trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused in the Boston Marathon bombing, begins after many delays.

-- The Justice Department calls for police reform in Ferguson, Mo., but won't charge an officer who killed a teen last year.

-- The girlfriend of slain Russian opposition leader goes into hiding, but she had a few intriguing things to say first.

-- In India, debate rages over a ban on a film about a notorious New Delhi gang rape.

BUSINESS

-- California gas prices rise $1 in a month and are the nation's highest. 

-- AEG plans a $500-million expansion to its Marriott complex at L.A. Live as demand for hotel rooms rises in downtown L.A. 

-- L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti orders city departments to support the film industry.

-- McDonald's will phase out chicken raised with antibiotics.

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

ENTERTAINMENT

-- Thursday-night crime: ABC's "American Crime" and USA's "Dig" make their debuts tonight. Each is bold in its own way. 

-- The surprise comedy hit "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" now has a sequel -- naturally called "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." Meet some of the people behind it.  

SPORTS

-- An arbitrator will have to break a split decision on whether Angeles outfield Josh Hamilton should enter rehab for substance abuse.

-- As stadium backers file a ballot initiative in Carson, more details emerge about a proposal that could bring two NFL teams to the L.A. 

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- The brutal reign of the East India Company, the planet's original corporate raider.

-- The New Cuba? A look at Marc Frank's timely "Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana."

-- Columbia Journalism Review: White House-press relations are about as bad as it gets.

ONLY IN L.A.

"Which election?" Columnist Steve Lopez, who knows a thing or two about the streets and politics of L.A., grabs a video crew and ventures out in search of someone -- anyone -- who voted in Tuesday's city election. 

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.


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