I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Republicans help Obama save his legacy trade legislation; Uber toughs it out in China; and Hollywood loses a stellar composer. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.
It's a strange day when Republicans conspire to help President Obama seal part of his legacy. That's what happened in the Senate, which voted -- against a Democratic headwind -- to grant him powers to negotiate a sweeping trans-Pacific trade deal. Opponents worry it will leave U.S. workers vulnerable to cheap foreign labor. Republicans, and Obama, say it's good for business and a counter to China's rising economic clout. Here's a primer on the trade deal.
Uber's China Adventure
If you think Uber has made some gutsy moves in the U.S., consider its ride-sharing adventure in China. Police crackdowns there make American regulators look tame, and the competition is cutthroat. Still, Uber has fought its way into nine cities. Analysts say it's more than exploiting an opportunity. China represents a big chunk of Uber's $40-billion valuation.
To Pay, or Not to Pay
It should be up to families of hostages held by terrorists, a new policy will say, even though it runs against Washington's rigid never-pay rule on ransoms. The confusion in such cases could be agonizing. One U.S. agency might threaten prosecution for paying a ransom; another might try to help. The new policy won't clear up everything, but it will end the threat of criminal penalties.
A Composer Who Soared
"The Wrath of Khan," "Cocoon," "Aliens," "Avatar," "Field of Dreams," "Titanic." Even if you don't know composer James Horner, you probably know his music. In work on 100 films, he won six Grammys and two Oscars. He also was an avid pilot, and apparently that was his undoing. He has died in a solo crash.
Suffering Becomes Art
Brutal weather. Murderous bandits. Crooked smugglers. Treacherous seas. Shipwrecks. These refugees in Greece, at the center of Europe's migration crisis, have seen it all. Now, they're reliving it -- on stage. Under the guidance of a popular Athens director, they hope for catharsis and even a little money. Meet a remarkable cast of characters in today's Great Read.
-- L.A. County supervisors back away, for now, on raising the minimum wage when Hilda Solis has second thoughts.
-- The L.A. City Council OKs a crackdown on homeless encampments. Columnist Steve Lopez, who knows his way around this community, writes that such laws focus too much on symptoms and not the core problem.
-- A judge rules that a proposed Sodomite Suppression Act is "patently unconstitutional" and can be barred from state ballots.
-- South Carolina legislators take the first steps toward possible removal of a Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds.
-- Hillary Clinton's image has taken some hits, but she still handily leads all Democratic challengers in the polls.
-- Chunnel trouble: A strike disrupts English Channel ferry and tunnel traffic.
-- Sears, Wal-Mart and some other big retailers say they will stop selling Confederate flags.
-- American Apparel makes some graphic allegations about former CEO Dov Charney.
-- Nearly 3 in 10 Americans have no emergency savings, a survey shows.
-- Justin Combs is just another UCLA football player -- except, it seems, when his father, Sean "Diddy" Combs, visits practice. Here's a closer look at the apparent confrontation that led to the elder Combs' arrest.
-- The Lakers have a big-little draft decision: Jahlil Okafor or D’Angelo Russell?
-- The latest scores and stats.
-- Man wrestles with machine: A review of USA's new series "Mr. Robot," which premieres tonight.
-- Dick Van Patten, 86, an actor best known for his role in TV's "Eight Is Enough," dies of complications from diabetes.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- "They were brave in the extreme." Air & Space Smithsonian interviews author David McCullough on the Wright Brothers.
-- The L.A. Times Book Club's latest pick: "Finding Samuel Lowe," by Paula Williams Madison.
-- A conservative-led Supreme Court's surprising move to the left (The Upshot, New York Times).
ONLY IN L.A.
El Machete, Hella Hot Hot, 9 Circles of Hell, Overkill, PuckerButt -- if you're a true chile head, this item from our Daily Dish blog might get you salivating. The first California Hot Sauce Expo will heat up Long Beach on July 11 and 12. It's not free ($10 if you buy a ticket online), but given the nature of the fare, the $50 craft brew package might be worth the outlay.
Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.