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Today: Murder Charge for Cop. Mideast Nukes.

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


TOP STORIES

Caught On Video, Then Murder Charge

It began with a traffic stop in South Carolina and ended with a murder charge against North Charleston Officer Michael Thomas Slager. The white officer claimed in a report Monday that Walter Lamer Scott, a black man, wrestled him for a police stun gun. Video released last night showed Slager chasing Scott and firing eight shots at him. The shooting reignited a debate on excessive police force and race relations, after killings of unarmed men in New York, Cleveland and Ferguson. "It's not about race. It's about power," an attorney for the Scott family told The Times. "That officer thought he could just shoot this man. He thought Mr. Scott was expendable."

Mideast Nukes

Israel is hardly the only Mideast nation worried that Iran someday will have nukes. That's why  President Obama is offering firmer pledges to defend Saudi Arabia from possible attack in exchange for support for a deal to limit Iran's nuclear program. Would that include a U.S. "nuclear umbrella"? That isn't clear. But if Iran gets a bomb, the Saudis will want one too.

The Libertarian Way?

Sen. Rand Paul isn't sure the Republican tent's big enough to elect a U.S. president. So he's charting a daring path, with un-GOP-like appeals to blacks, Latinos and people who hate foreign wars and the feds spying on their cellphones. He's also trying to appeal to traditional Republicans, though, and that's the rub. Attacks from the right already have started.

NFL in L.A.: Nine Scenarios

The question no longer is whether the NFL returns to L.A., but how. In play: the Rams, Chargers and Raiders; stadium plans well underway in Inglewood and Carson; and owners who seem ready to move in 2016. That adds up to nine possible outcomes, writes the Times' Sam Farmer, who also handicaps them. In first place: Rams in Inglewood. In last place: No NFL moves.

Kolkata Blues ... and White

To make a baseball comparison that would be lost on cricket-mad India, one of that country's biggest cities has been done up a bit like Dodger Stadium on opening day. It started when a rabble-rousing politician came to power and decided that Kolkata needed a makeover. She decreed that everything be painted blue and white. And she meant everything: government buildings, police stations, curbs, overpasses, bus stops, food stalls, bridges, taxis, tree trunks, traffic cones and even trash compactors. It's today's Great Read by Shashank Bengali.

Hard Water Rules

So far, the emphasis has been on gentle nudging and "education." It has actually saved a lot of water in many areas, but it probably won't be enough. With the drought in its fourth year, some urban areas are being told to cut use by 35% in the next year. Read what water providers, under growing pressure from the state, could do to make people conserve more.

Counting Calories and Gallons

Weight watchers count calories. In drought-stricken California, perhaps people should count how much water it takes to make their meals. My breakfast of eggs, potatoes, asparagus and grapefruit juice required 293 gallons! I know because the Times Graphics Department put together this cool interactive graphic. See how much water your meal consumed.

CALIFORNIA

-- Fire rips through part of a commercial building near downtown L.A., briefly trapping people until firefighters could evacuate them by ladder.

-- Traffic court fines and escalating penalties lead to license suspensions for 1 in 6 drivers, a study finds. The poor are hit hardest.

-- Some nonprofit charities in the area struggle with the idea of having to pay a higher minimum wage.

-- How a firefighters union defends the L.A. county department's practice of hiring large number of relatives.

-- L.A. County agrees to pay $5.3 million in a fatal shooting by deputies in Compton in 2012.

NATION-WORLD

-- Gallup, N.M. -- "Drunk Town USA" -- fights a deadly winter combination of alcohol and freezing weather.

-- Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen appears to be capitalizing on the chaos there to extend its reach.

-- Assailants kill at least 16 Mexican police in an ambush in Jalisco state.

BUSINESS

-- Pacific Gas & Electric Co. may face a record $1.6-billion penalty for negligence leading to the deadly natural gas explosion in San Bruno.

-- Consumer groups ask the FCC whether phone companies can do more to block robocalls.

-- California enlists Google and Microsoft in the war on unlicensed payday lenders.

SPORTS

-- Bill Plaschke: Tiger Woods shows a kinder, gentler side on his return to the Masters.

-- UConn beats Notre Dame for its third consecutive NCAA women's basketball title.

-- The latest scores and stats. 

ENTERTAINMENT

-- Billy Crystal and Josh Gad are TV's newest odd couple in FX's “The Comedians,” which premieres Thursday.

-- Don McLean's "American Pie" manuscript sells for $1.2 million.

Passings: Stan Freberg, 88, master of comedy parodies and commercials. James Best, 88, actor who played the sheriff in "The Dukes of Hazzard."

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- The politics behind Obama's coming visit to Kenya.

-- Why Jamaicans wish Obama would visit more often.

-- Grape expectations: Historic wineries in Northern California.

-- Defeats may have made Shabab more disciplined -- and deadlier

ONLY IN L.A.

Angelenos don't care much what outsiders say. Sometimes it's worth a listen. Our SoCal Moments team took special note of the photos of a recent British transplant, Nicola Buck, a mother of two, and asked for some comments.  ("In England the tendency is to downplay your talents. ... In Los Angeles, you are who you say you are."). Check out a Briton's take on L.A. 

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.


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