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Today: This Way to the Beach They Don't Want You to See

I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Today is Friday, July 3, and here are some story lines I don't want you to miss.


TOP STORIES

Catch the Merger Wave

Merger fever is coursing through the healthcare industry, as insurers, hospitals and drug companies vie for Obamacare spending that could top $1 trillion over the next decade. On Thursday, Woodland Hills insurer Health Net agreed to be acquired by St. Louis-based Centene, creating a Medicaid colossus. Then, in the latest deal, Aetna announced it would buy rival Humana. As the corporate competition for healthcare dollars grows fierce, consumer advocates predict that ordinary Americans won’t see savings anytime soon.

Fiorina Rising

Her poll numbers hover around 3%, but Carly Fiorina is killing it on the campaign trail.  Early in the race, many Republicans had written her off as unelectable: She has never held public office and she was fired as Hewlett-Packard's CEO. But after hearing Fiorina's message, and watching her stir up grass-roots enthusiasm, GOP activists are beginning to take notice. The next test: Will she crack the top 10 to win a spot at the first Republican debate?

Welcome to 'Billionaires Beach'

Just in time for a hot holiday weekend, a new pathway to the sands of Malibu has opened to the public. It's paved, it's wheelchair-accessible and, in true Malibu style, it was the center of a years-long battle between the California Coastal Commission and a beachfront landowner. The new accessway -- which leads to Carbon Beach, the sumptuous strand that's home to the likes of David Geffen, Larry Ellison and Jamie McCourt -- won't be officially unveiled until next week, but lucky visitors have already stumbled across it.

International Studies

The UC system released its profile of this fall's freshman class, and here's what you need to know: Across the nine undergraduate campuses, only 60% of in-state applicants made the cut, apparently a new low. UCLA was the most selective, admitting 16.2% of California applicants. At both UCLA and Berkeley, foreign and out-of-state students were capped at 30%, as promised by UC President Janet Napolitano. But the number of out-of-staters at Irvine, San Diego and Davis saw a big increase. Among the Californians admitted, 36.3% are Asian American, 29.6% are Latino, 25.4% are white and 4.3% are African Americans.

Mourning Glory

"At your own grandmother's funeral. Dressed like a girl," his aunt hissed as he made his way toward the casket in the historic basilica. But Paul Valdez was determined to wear the ornate black frock to honor Eva Griego, who had made a name for herself as Santa Fe, N.M.'s go-to dressmaker for communions, quinceañeras and weddings -- and who never faltered in her support of a gay grandson who dressed in drag. The tale of Eva and Paul is today's Great Read.

CALIFORNIA

-- L.A. failed to collect from the Oscars, Dodgers games, Hollywood Bowl concerts and other special events for traffic officers' overtime pay, an internal audit has found.

-- Mayor Eric Garcetti's approach to L.A.'s tough new laws targeting homeless encampments doesn't please opponents or supporters.

-- A park in Long Beach is renamed for Mexican American singer Jenni Rivera, who died in a plane crash in 2012.

-- Here's a map of places around Southern California where you can see fireworks on the Fourth of July.

NATION-WORLD

-- BP agrees to pay a $18.7-billion settlement five years after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

-- Another company dumps Donald Trump as controversy threatens to bite into his brand.

-- Greece news media are taking sides in coverage of the upcoming vote on an international bailout offer.

-- Syria's lost generation: Children are the main breadwinners in many families.

BUSINESS

-- Unpaid Hollywood interns who were part of a class-action lawsuit are dealt a setback by a federal appeals court.

-- Whole Foods Market's co-CEOs admit overcharging customers after an investigation by New York City. A year ago the grocer paid nearly $800,0000 in penalties for overcharging in California stores.

-- With an eye on the growing clout of Latinos, Univision files for an IPO.

SPORTS

-- Going into Sunday's final against Japan in the Women's World Cup, the U.S. soccer team looks to step out of the shadow of the 1999 championship team.

-- Two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal loses to 102nd-ranked Dustin Brown in the second round.

-- Sean "Diddy" Combs won't face felony charges over his arrest at UCLA in an incident involving an assistant football coach and his son, a Bruin player.

-- The latest scores and stats.

ENTERTAINMENT

-- A new documentary looks squarely in the face of Amy Winehouse's demons. The British singer died in 2011 at age 27.

-- Our world is inundated by photographs. A new exhibition at the UCLA Hammer Museum shows the distinction between making photographs and taking them, art critic Christopher Knight writes.

-- Mural artist Kent Twitchell is extra busy at his canvas: L.A.'s streets.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- How to get to know strangers on a train, by way of the books they're reading, according to the Atlantic's CityLab.

-- In the summer of 1995, a heat wave in Chicago left 739 dead. Chicago magazine takes a look back.

-- The Washington Post unravels an admissions hoax involving a South Korean math prodigy, Harvard and Stanford. The pressure to excel is palpable.

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

Phew. San Diegans have been nervous about losing Comic-Con, the sprawling convention that has been mashing together movies, comic books and related pop culture for more than 40 years, to its northern neighbors Los Angeles or Anaheim. On Thursday, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced that the event will stay in San Diego until at least 2018, even though plans to expand the city's convention center remain unsettled. Now about that football team....

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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