Hello. I'm Davan Maharaj, the editor of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines you shouldn't miss today.
Franchises in Blood
Across North Africa and beyond, militants clamor to join Islamic State, the gang of warrior-extremists grabbing land and world attention in Iraq and Syria. Admission seems easy, if horrid: Kill innocent people on video and declare yourself an affiliate. Experts doubt they represent a true spread of Islamic State command. Read how they nonetheless serve its purposes.
Crossroads of America?
"Crossfire" might be more fitting for Indiana's motto. It faces withering fire over its new religious freedom law, which has a distinct whiff of anti-gay discrimination. As anti-Indiana boycotts grow, the governor is struggling to backpedal. The real effect could be broader. GOP presidential candidates are taking sides, sharpening a split on gay marriage that party elders hoped would go away.
The price of gasoline in California is like that weather adage often attributed to Mark Twain: Everybody complains, but nobody does anything about it. After plunging briefly, gas shot up 93 cents in a month and is 80 cents above the national average. It's easy to believe refiners are taking California for a ride. Maybe they are, but there a plenty of other explanations.
A Wider Wage Fight
One argument against L.A.'s effort to raise the minimum wage is that businesses would simply move outside the city limits. It looks like the wage movement might beat them to it. L.A. County supervisors decided to follow the city and at least study the issue. The 5-0 vote was another a statement from the board's new majority, which has tilted closer to labor causes.
-- - The grandson of J. Paul Getty is found dead in his home. Authorities say a preliminary investigation suggests foul play was not involved.
-- Korean is the fastest growing language class on many college campuses.
-- "We are not criminals." Demonstrators demand that L.A. legalize street vending.
-- Weirder and weirder: Anonymous emailers claiming to have briefly kidnapped Denise Huskins threaten police for suggesting it was all a hoax.
-- The U.S. resumes weapons deliveries to Egypt, which halted in 2013 after a military takeover there.
-- President Obama commutes the sentences of 22 drug offenders.
-- Lufthansa says the copilot who crashed a Germanwings airliner had told his flight school of his depression.
-- In Nigeria's election, Muhammadu Buhari defeats President Goodluck Jonathan, who is widely praised for conceding without a fight.
-- Difficult negotiations on curbing Iran's ability to build a nuclear weapon miss a Tuesday deadline and will go at least another day.
-- Possibly the greenest office building in the world is in Seattle.
-- Orange County faces a growing shortfall of houses and apartments to meet the needs of its workforce, a report warns.
-- A Fed policymaker hints at a rate hike of a "notch or two" in June.
-- Michael Hiltzik: Legalized bias is a great way to hinder growth.
-- Commuting times are getting longer, a national study finds.
-- As the Dodgers' TV blackout drags on, they're losing sight of their fans.
-- UCLA quarterback Jerry Neuheisel is out to prove his detractors wrong.
-- The latest sports scores and stats. NCAA tournament bracket.
-- Review: "Woman in Gold" -- an adequate film on the fate of a dazzling Klimt painting.
-- MeTV, one of those channels you can watch for free with a digital antenna, is striking a chord among viewers with classic favorites like "MASH" and "Bonanza."
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- "Take the comma. The New Yorker is fond of commas." A word nerd must-read.
-- Forget Cherry Garcia. How about Charoset, Ben and Jerry's Passover ice cream.
-- Selena's Legacy: Remembering a singer 20 years after her death.
ONLY IN L.A.
What a score for the L.A. County Museum of Art: a long-lost 18th-century casta painting by Miguel Cabrera. Experts say it's one of the most important finds of Mexican colonial art they can recall. Over 250 years, it traveled 12,000 miles, crossing the Atlantic twice and eventually landing on the floor under a Bay Area sofa. We have the remarkable, and exclusive, back story.
Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.