Hello. I'm Davan Maharaj, the editor of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines you shouldn't miss today.
It sounds so familiar: "Precision" airstrikes begin to rack up civilian casualties. This time it's the Saudis bombing Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Houthis aren't budging. "It's a disaster," one U.S. official says, bemoaning lack of "a realistic endgame." Al Qaeda's Yemen affiliate, meanwhile, is using the chaos to seize ground. The U.S. hopes more advisors and smart-bomb tech will help.
Boko Haram and the Smell of Death
"The whole town smelled of death,” said Mariam Adam, a midwife. “What really affected me is the way that we women had to bury the men. It’s something I’ll never forget in my life.” Few correspondents get accounts from towns ravaged by Boko Haram, the Nigerian extremist group. Our Africa correspondent, Robyn Dixon, learns the story from those who escaped. When Boko Haram took over a northern Nigerian city last year, men and boys as young as 10 were rounded up and shot, beheaded or burned alive. When the bloodbath stopped three days later, the streets were full of women pushing their dead sons, husbands, fathers and brothers in carts and wheelbarrows.
Vaping and the American Teen
With colorful designs and candy-store flavors, e-cigarettes seem designed to hook kids on nicotine. This just in: It's working. In 2011, only 1.5% of high school students were using vaping devices. By 2014, it had ballooned to 13.4%, a federal report says. That threatens to wipe out hard-won gains in the fight against teen smoking. Experts worry e-cigs are becoming a “gateway drug” that may steer teens toward tobacco.
The Art of Internment
Nancy Oda, who was born in a Tule Lake relocation camp during World War II, was furious. So were other Japanese Americans when they learned an auction house was selling off art works made in such camps -- brooches, name plates, watercolors, carvings. "This is wrong to sell our memories," Oda said. Read how the sale was halted and how the auction house is responding.
The Tricks of Trade
We may have to stop calling them "rare" bipartisan deals. Congressional leaders reached another one to give President Obama "fast-track" powers to cut a trade pact with Pacific nations. It's central to Obama's tilt toward Asia, where China is flexing its muscle, but some Democrats worry it will cost U.S. jobs. Republicans like it, though. Another big backer: Hollywood.
Hollywood and the Art House: The gripe against Hollywood used to be that its stars and power players weren’t particularly generous to local arts institutions. Not anymore. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, once a bastion of old money, has become a darling of the entertainment industry. The guest list for its 50th anniversary gala could easily be mistaken for a Hollywood awards show. The museum’s board of trustees members are younger and more connected to Hollywood than ever. This is no accident. David Ng explains how LACMA, in the words of longtime trustee Lynda Resnick, “totally morphed into a different place.”
-- How a recanter on the witness stand could complicate the murder trial of former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight.
-- L.A. spends more than $100,000 a year dealing with homeless people, including arrests and other police activity.
-- The SEC looks into the L.A. school district's use of bond funds for the ill-fated iPad program.
-- Use of an anti-racketeering law to convict Atlanta educators sparks a moral and legal debate.
-- Hillary Clinton tries to distance herself from President Obama while courting his supporters.
-- The Vatican abruptly ends its years-long investigation of American nuns.
-- More than 900 migrants from Africa have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean to Italy.
-- Dogs and humans: How those loving gazes deepen the bond.
-- Frederick's of Hollywood closes its stores and will sell only online.
-- Sony condemns WikiLeaks' release of more hacked material.
-- A look at Google's strategy for fighting antitrust charges in Europe.
-- Columnist David Lazarus has a question for Ask.com: Why do you hijack PCs?
-- Anaheim defeats Winnipeg 4-2 in the opener of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
-- Why the Lakers were so bad this season and how they can recover. GM Mitch Kupchak says they can get back in the hunt quickly.
-- NFL officials meet with the Raiders and Chargers about the stadium proposal in Carson.
-- The latest scores and stats.
-- The Force reawakens: A teaser for a new film energizes the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim.
-- Everything you need to know about attending this weekend's L.A. Times Festival of Books.
Passings: Jimmy Gunn, 66, defensive end who was part of USC's "Wild Bunch" in 1969. Martin Reiser, 87, groundbreaking staff psychologist for the L.A. Police Department.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- How unpredictable schedules hurt some of America's most vulnerable workers.
-- How West L.A. became a haven for Japanese Americans.
-- Seattleland: Mary Kay Letourneau returns to the spotlight with kids in tow.
-- A short but engaging 1972 review of the first McDonald's in New York City.
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
Demon Almonds: It's not clear when they became the scapegoat for California's drought, but a seminal moment was the assertion that it takes 1.1 gallons of water to make one nut. That's actually misleading, Columnist Robin Abcarian discovers (others claim it takes 106 gallons to make an ounce of beef). Read what happens when she gives almond farmers a chance to vent.
Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.