Today: Saudis' Big Stick. What's in Your Hospital?

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


Saudi Arabia's Big Stick

The Saudis have long preferred to talk softly in the Mideast, but they have always carried a big stick. Now they're using it - masses of aircraft and other weaponry, much of it U.S.-supplied - on rebels in Yemen. It's partly a proxy fight between Iran and the Saudis. Read how it also may signal a fundamental shift in how the Saudis, and others, view the U.S. role in the region.

What's in Your Hospital?

If an infection spreads in a hospital, chances are you'll never find out. That's by design. L.A. County health officials investigate outbreaks in hospitals once or twice a month but don't publicize them, a common policy across the U.S. Health officials say it encourages hospitals to report outbreaks fully and quickly. Patient advocates have a decidedly different view.

Death in the Mediterranean

A crisis in the Mediterranean may have taken its ugliest turn yet. Hundreds of migrants - perhaps 950 or more - were feared lost after a boat carrying them from Africa to Europe capsized. Europe is struggling to cope with a flood of desperate migrants. Ironically, an Italian search and rescue operation was ended last year after claims it was just encouraging them to set sail.

Abortion and Science

In Montana, a bill would require a fetus to be anesthetized against pain before an abortion. In Arizona and Arkansas, doctors must tell women that drug-induced abortions can be "reversed" in mid-procedure. Abortion rights activists say such laws are based on "junk science." Abortion foes call it "old science" updated by "new doctors." Either way, it's a volatile new front in an old battle.

A Revolution Already Televised

"If Hillary Clinton loses the election it will not be television's fault." That's the take of TV critic Mary McNamara, who is our expert on surveying the cultural scene. She writes that some shows that reference the Democratic front-runner "are but tremors of a much bigger non-Clinton-specific event. From Westeros to the White House, female characters are in power, and no one within the narrative universe or the television audience thinks it's a big deal." Read her entire piece here.

Uncommon Senses

Jake Olson is blind, but he makes up for it with his other senses. He could trot onto the field in a USC Trojans uniform sometime soon and snap the ball at center. When will it happen? "I don't know. But it will happen" Coach Steve Sarkisian says. "When that day comes, it will be awesome." Gary Klein weaves a remarkable tale of perseverance in today's Great Read.


-- Next time you tip a waitress, ask yourself: Should that be part of her hourly pay? Restaurateurs, worried by moves toward higher minimum wages, say it should.

-- The Ventura fault is found to be more dangerous than earlier thought, capable of producing a tsunami as well as a major quake.

-- A suspect's prior clashes with police may factor into San Bernardino County's investigation into his beating, caught on video, after a chase.

-- Seeking to boost turnout, a nonprofit group will enter voters in a drawing for $25,000 in an L.A. school board election.

-- Explainer: A Q&A about the state's new water restrictions.


-- An Islamic State video purports to show the killings of two groups of Ethiopian Christians in Libya.

-- More than 90,000 people are fleeing clashes with Islamic State in Iraq’s Anbar province.

-- Five years after the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, new rules are proposed to prevent such disasters.


-- Shopping tools help people find the best cash prices for medical procedures.

-- A California bill would limit immobilizing cars on short notice when a borrower misses a payment.


-- Clippers defeat Spurs 107-92 in the first game of their NBA playoff series.

-- It's hardly an ideal habit, but the Ducks are becoming escape artists in their Stanley Cup playoff series.

-- Angels fall to Houston in Garrett Richards' return from a knee injury. Dodgers hit three more homers in their win over Colorado.

 -- The latest scores and stats.


-- L.A. Times Festival of Books: Recaps of some fascinating panel discussions. A list of the Times Book Prizes winners.

-- Box office: "Furious 7" remains No. 1 for a third week and sets a worldwide release record for Universal.

Passings: Robert V. Hine, 93, historian who wrote of losing and then regaining his sight.


-- The wonderfully elusive Chinese novel.

-- Eating to break 100: Tips from the world's longevity-prone "blue zones."

-- Dynasties: The enduring power of families in business and politics.


Budding Entrepreneurs: Cheryl Shuman calls herself "the Martha Stewart of marijuana." She runs the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club. A bout with cancer made her a pot user, and she sees fabulous possibilities, she told women at a "cannabis networking event." Read why many of them believe pot can heal not only "a multitude of illnesses," but also the economy.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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