Today: Ramadi Falls. The Clipper Curse.

Hello. I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times.

An important city in Iraq falls to Islamic State, and the L.A. Clippers still can't shake an old curse. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.


The Fall of Ramadi

Iraq war veterans may recall Anbar province with a mix of pride and pain. They won control only after fierce fighting and many losses. Now its capital, Ramadi, 60 miles from Baghdad, is in militant hands after Iraqi troops fled an Islamic State onslaught. The U.S. has said Islamic State fighters were on the defensive in Iraq, but Ramadi shows they still pack some punch.

A Quiet Terror

It's not the yellow-orange-red of the old terrorism threat scale, but alarms are quietly sounding. They're prompting police alerts, tighter security at military bases and more surveillance everywhere. The worry: possible "lone wolf" attacks inspired, in part, by Islamic State propaganda on social media. A U.S. official says it's a "new phase in the global terrorist threat."

Another Stadium Plan

There's yet another L.A. stadium on the drawing board, but it's not for an NFL team. The expansion Los Angeles Football Club aims to make a 22,000-seat soccer stadium the centerpiece of a privately financed project at the site of the Sports Arena in Exposition Park. There are a few hurdles, but key city leaders are blessing it. Find the details and an artist's rendering here.

Gone Lawns

The drought-driven "war on lawns" has barely begun and already Californians are surrendering. Demand for water district turf rebates -- cash-for-grass subsidies -- has exploded in the Southland. To save water, the equivalent of more than 2,100 football fields of grass may be on their way out. Of course, this being California, not everyone thinks this is such a wise strategy.

An Early Stumble

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana) already faced an uphill battle against state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris to succeed Sen. Barbara Boxer. Then, three days after announcing her candidacy, she was apologizing to the state Democratic convention for what some took as a crude gesture insulting to Native Americans. A small mistake, perhaps, but this is a statewide stage.

The Clipper Curse

This loss demolished not only their season but their flashy new narrative. These were the L.A. Clippers who would step out of the Lakers' shadow after the Donald Sterling fiasco. Instead, they blew a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference finals and were finished off Sunday. Bill Plaschke explores an old "curse" that reappeared as the Houston Rockets.


-- Dean Potter, a renowned extreme athlete known for his climbing exploits in Yosemite and elsewhere, is killed in a BASE jumping accident.

-- The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to shield the identity of major political donors in California.

-- For L.A. police investigators, crimes against child victims are hard to shake off.

-- The DWP seems more worried about columnist Steve Lopez than about an 85-year-old water customer with a complaint. That, Lopez writes, is a mistake.


-- At least nine people are killed in gunfire involving rival motorcycle gangs in Waco, Texas.

-- Bird flu hits hard in egg producing Iowa; 25 million hens may be lost.

-- Full rail service resumed today in the busy Northeastern corridor. It had been halted by last week's Amtrak crash.

-- The U.S. identifies the Marines killed in a chopper crash during an aid mission in Nepal.


-- Michael Hiltzik: Despite the Amtrak crash, infrastructure spending remains a low priority.

-- Airfares to Mexico and Central America drop after Southwest Airlines starts selling tickets to those destinations.


-- The Ducks beat the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-1, in the first game of the Western Conference finals.

-- The Dodgers' Don Mattingly is selected to coach the National League All-Star team.


-- "This unmanned drone doesn’t surveil you, you surveil it." A review of late artist Chris Burden's dramatic final work, on display at LACMA.

Weekend Box Office: "Pitch Perfect 2" surpasses industry expectations to grab the top spot. "Mad Max: Fury Road" is second.

-- Everything cocktails: Jonathan Gold's guide to drinking and more: recipes, reviews, ideas.

Passings: Garo Yepremian, 70, NFL kicker who was part of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins.


-- The tyranny of constant contact.

-- Getting a grip: How the strength of your handshake might predict how long you live.

-- Killings and the Kremlin: What does Russia's history of political assassination reveal about its leaders?


It was like a Hollywood clubhouse, a sort of Italian-Jewish deli-diner where stars could dine quietly and locals could catch up. It was the pride of a Mafia boss' younger brother, who chose a different path in his early years. Now, the times have caught up to Bill Gotti and Victor's Square Restaurant. Today's Great Read chronicles what the neighborhood gained -- and is losing.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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