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Today: Tragedy Adrift. Biker World.

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

Tragedy is adrift in the seas of Southeast Asia, and U.S. owners of 34 million vehicles may get airbag recalls soon. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.


TOP STORIES

Tragedy Adrift

In Southeast Asia's Andaman Sea and Straits of Malacca, 8,000 refugees may be adrift with nowhere to land. Those who find solid ground show scars -- burns and cuts -- suffered back home in Myanmar. Most are Rohingya, a Muslim minority. Myanmar doesn't want them, and neither, it seems, does anyone else. Here's an up-close look at their desperate plight.

Beyond Recall

Airbags are one of the most effective safety innovations in cars. So when one can hurt or kill,  it's an extra-big deal. Takata Corp., after balking, gave in to federal regulators and declared air bags in nearly 34 million vehicles defective. It's the largest vehicle recall in U.S. history and it could expand. Might it affect your car? Here's the NHTSA recall page.

A Drought Miracle

Almost anything's possible when the Department of Water and Power is involved, but this is a stunner. The oft-reviled agency has managed to drive together near-mortal enemies in the Owens Valley: ranchers and environmentalists. It's a little complex, but it started with a low snowpack and water cuts to the ranchers. Read how that got everybody howling -- and moving.

Minimum Happiness

As expected, the L.A. City Council has OKd plans to raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour by 2020. That fully satisfies nobody. Unions wanted higher raises faster. Businesses wanted lower raises more slowly. Still, it was a win for higher-pay activists. One councilman boasted that L.A. was now leading the nation. Some businesses were wondering where.

Biker World

Since the 1960s, the image of the savage American motorcycle gang has largely faded. It burst back into national attention with the sports-bar shootout in Waco, Texas, that killed nine and led to 170 arrests. Here's a look at the status of eight major gangs; the latest from Waco and a look back at how a 1947 riot in Hollister, Calif., made it an early symbol of bikers running amok.

CALIFORNIA

-- Two of three L.A. school board incumbents were trailing in early election returns. David Ryu was leading Carolyn Ramsey in a City Council race. Find the latest here.

-- A police shooting in Glendora, a $4.7-million settlement and why police cameras may not provide the transparency people expect.

-- An escort sentenced in a Google executive's death could face similar charges in Georgia.

-- Police say a Palo Alto pilot stole a plane and is missing at sea.

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FOR THE RECORD

In an earlier version of this newsletter, we reported that a police shooting in Glendale resulted in a $4.7-million settlement. The shooting was in Gardena.

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NATION-WORLD

-- Iraq, alarmed at Islamic State advances, ramps up recruitment of volunteers to fight back.

-- The State Department says it wants to release 55,000 emails by former Secretary Hillary Cinton in January -- just in time for the Iowa caucuses.

-- Palestinians press their goal of booting Israel out of world soccer.

-- Dozens are killed in a Colombian town hit by flooding and a mudslide.

BUSINESS

-- Chinese investment in U.S. businesses, next to nothing 15 years ago, now tops $50 billion and is soaring higher.

-- Southern California's median home price is up 6.2% from a year ago.

-- What the Supreme Court's 401(k) ruling could mean for you.

 SPORTS

-- The Lakers win the No. 2 spot in the NBA draft pick lottery.

-- The NFL pushes back extra-point kicks to the 15-yard-line, but you can still go for 2 from the 2.

-- The latest scores and stats.

ENTERTAINMENT

-- Blythe Danner steps out with a star turn in "I'll See You in My Dreams."

-- China is the promising new comic-con frontier.

-- Bite Night 2015: The Times celebrates inventive dishes and rock-star chefs (photos).

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- The night the Ali-Liston fight came to Lewiston, Maine.

-- The case for drinking whole milk.

-- Why have so many people never heard of the MOVE bombing?

-- 10 Nora Ephron quotations to inspire anyone.

-- How 19th-century newspapers prefigured today's Internet.

ONLY IN L.A.

The Department of Water and Power's new billing system is the story that just keeps on giving. Columnist Steve Lopez has another: A massive bill ($51,649.32), this time sent to Russian immigrants who fear they'll lose their water and power or go broke trying to pay. Meanwhile, the DWP is looking for millions to replace its decrepit pipes. Read: rate increases.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.


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