Hello. I'm Davan Maharaj, the editor of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines you shouldn't miss today.
Nepal's Big One
A magnitude 7.8 earthquake near a capital could humble any nation. In impoverished, remote Nepal - death count 3,700 and rising - it has been utterly devastating. Strong aftershocks have sent people screaming into the streets of ruined Katmandu. The Times' Julie Makinen reports on an eerie mix of numbness and chaos at the airport. Climbers high on Mt. Everest struggle with the deadliest disaster in the peak's history. Among the missing in Katmandu: A couple from Santa Monica who have nurtured special ties to Nepalese artists.
Beyond Shorter Showers
Everyone has an idea for coping with the drought: desalination; water pipelines from Seattle; icebergs. Columnist Michael Hiltzik explains why desalination, an energy gobbler, isn't a good solution, even though some plants are coming online. George Skelton takes on the pipeline-iceberg crowd. Scholars and water managers offer insights in an op-ed collection, "Beyond Shorter Showers."
Japan's Military Role
Japan was a menacing enemy. China was a feeble ally. How things have changed since World War II. You might not blame the Greatest Generation for doing a double-take when Shinzo Abe becomes the first Japanese prime minister to address a joint session of Congress. Also once unthinkable: He'll talk about strengthening Japan's military to assist the U.S. in Asia.
The Politics of No
For about 30 U.S. House members of both parties, including several from California, voting on a recent parade of budget proposals was simple: no, no, no and no. They come from rare competitive districts where anything you vote for can and will be used against you, especially if it involves spending. Read how vulnerable members of Congress try to finesse this dilemma.
Hard Sell on the Streets
Time and again, a bicycle cop hands Rosa Calderon a ticket. Time after time, she returns with her cart to hawk water and sodas in downtown L.A., risking big fines. So it goes every day for police and throngs of street vendors. Emily Alpert Reyes' chronicle of this duel encapsulates the simmering debate over whether to legalize street vending in L.A. It's today's Great Read.
-- Graffiti artists move into the national parks, dismaying the outdoor-recreation and nature communities.
-- A material witness in a federal investigation of “maternity tourism” operations is arrested trying to leave the country.
-- How the Vatican and American nuns got past their intense discord. A Q&A.
-- A White House review of hostage policy may recommend that the government not block ransom payments by family members.
-- Peru considers resuming a policy of shooting down small aircraft suspected of ferrying cocaine.
-- "Plastic wood" being used to refurbish a famed boardwalk isn't going over well in New York's Coney Island.
-- Troubled Corinthian Colleges Inc., based in Orange County, is closing more than two dozen of its remaining schools.
-- The abrupt closure of a 13-year-old Wal-Mart store is a hard blow to working-class Pico Rivera.
-- The Clippers defeat the San Antonio Spurs, 114-105, to even their playoff series.
-- The Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames are third-period-comeback clones. How they stack up in their NHL playoff series.
-- The latest scores and stats.
-- Sign up at http://countdown.la/fight to receive The Times' special edition coverage of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight on May 2.
-- Movie sneaks: Previews of a summer film buffet that is overflowing.
-- How the Stagecoach Country Music Festival has blossomed in its short life.
-- Weekend box office: "Furious 7" is tops again in the U.S. "Avengers: Age of Ultron" scores big overseas.
Passings: Don M. Mankiewicz, 93, novelist and screenwriter who created TV’s “Ironside” and “Marcus Welby, M.D.”
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Stacking up the administration's drone claims.
-- Earth's upheaval: "The summit of Mt. Everest is marine limestone."
-- "Bed, bath, and begone." The Dutch are stumped by asylum seekers who won't leave.
ONLY IN L.A.
Santa Monica prides itself as a model of civic engagement, so results of a two-year effort to build a "well-being" index were a little sobering. For example, many people felt they had little influence on local decision-making. One in five young people reported feeling lonely. This was no off-the-wall scheme. It got $1 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Read how the city hopes to use it.
Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.