Trump Meets ‘the Trump of Asia’
President Trump is in Manila for a summit of Southeast Asian nations, though that will almost certainly be overshadowed by his meeting with Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine president who has a history of human rights abuses and has been called “the Trump of Asia” for his over-the-top statements. It follows Trump’s stop in Vietnam, where he met with Putin and appeared to vouch for the Russian president’s assurances that the Kremlin had not meddled in the 2016 U.S. elections despite the U.S. intelligence community’s reports to the contrary. Trump also returned to his Twitter name-calling battle with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly’s response? "Believe it or not, I do not follow the tweets.”
-- On his trip, Trump is pushing an ambitious, if still vague, new foreign policy: a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”
-- Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions will face more grilling Tuesday on Capitol Hill about his knowledge of meetings with Russian officials.
The Battle of Alabama Is Tied
Even in today’s helter-skelter politics, it once seemed inconceivable that the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama would face a serious challenge. But just days after allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls hit Roy Moore, a new poll finds the race is a toss-up between him and his Democratic rival, Doug Jones. Moore has called the allegations “fake news” but also admitted that, as a man in his 30s, he had dated teenagers. The situation has split Republicans, and if Moore were to not step down but lose the Dec. 12 election, it would narrow the GOP’s Senate majority to 51 seats and threaten the Trump agenda.
Never Tried a Case? No Problem! Be a Judge for Life
Another Alabamian in the news: Brett J. Talley, a 36-year-old graduate of Harvard Law School who has practiced for only three years, has never tried a case and was unanimously rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Assn. He’s also blogged about “Hillary Rotten Clinton.” After Trump nominated him and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee approved, Talley’s now in line for a lifetime appointment as a federal judge. His nomination will move to the Senate floor.
Life in the Fire Danger Zone
After wine country fires destroyed thousands of homes, Californians have wondered: Could it happen where we live? An L.A. Times analysis of state fire hazard maps shows about 550,000 residences in Southern California lie in the highest-risk areas — and that number would double if regions with a lower but still significant risk were added. One problem is that it’s hard to predict fire behavior; another is that stricter codes focus on newer homes, but older dwellings can remain vulnerable.
Fixing PCH, Where the Rubble Meets the Road
When the mountain gave way at Mud Creek on the Big Sur coast, 5 million cubic yards of rock and mud descended toward the Pacific Ocean. In its way was Highway 1. That was in May, and now Caltrans engineers are in the midst of a $40-million project to rebuild the highway, even as “the earth is still adjusting and trying to find a state of equilibrium.”
OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND
-- A top-secret desert assembly plant is ramping up to build the B-21 bomber, which is good news for Northrop Grumman and job seekers.
-- California Gov. Jerry Brown’s legacy is a major question for the candidates looking to replace him next year.
-- A Seattle journalist said he could make women porn stars. Instead, police say, he raped those seeking fame.
-- Sparked by the #MeToo campaign, hundreds of sexual assault survivors rallied and marched in Hollywood.
-- This high school student is a top cross-country runner and boxing prospect.
-- State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said all abuse complaints in the state Capitol will now be handled by independent investigators.
-- Most sheriffs in the state have fiercely opposed the “sanctuary state” law, but soon they’ll have to abide by it.
-- Enrollment of first-time international students in colleges and universities has fallen for the first time in years, down roughly 3% in California and nationally.
-- Authorities say Disneyland shut down two bacteria-contaminated cooling towers after several cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Louis C.K.’s admission of sexual misconduct has put a halt to his career and his extensive associations with several top networks.
-- Tiffany Haddish became the first black female stand-up comic to host “Saturday Night Live,” in a show that took on the “sex monsters.”
-- Inside the Governors Awards, the Oscars show you don’t see on TV.
-- The Hollywood Bowl went vegetarian: How Morrissey made the most of Morrissey Day in L.A.
Liz Smith got the scoops: on Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s messy relationship, Donald and Ivana Trump’s divorce, and Woody Allen and Mia Farrow’s impending parenthood. But the gossip columnist, whose syndicated work once appeared in the L.A. Times and who died over the weekend at age 94, didn’t take herself too seriously: “When you look at it realistically, what I do is pretty insignificant.”
-- A magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit along the border of Iran and Iraq, killing hundreds of people in Iran.
-- Lebanon’s prime minister appeared on TV for the first time after flying to Saudi Arabia and resigning, but it’s only added to the mystery.
-- The case of the missing Taiwanese air force jet: Did the pilot defect to mainland China?
-- Japanese conglomerate SoftBank could buy a stake in Uber.
-- Hollywood is having to look closer to home for financing after a dramatic drop-off in Chinese money.
-- If you’re thinking of an early retirement, don’t jump into it without considering these things.
-- Californians are deeply split over NFL players’ protests during the national anthem, a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll has found.
-- UCLA’s basketball team has returned from Shanghai without the three players arrested on shoplifting charges; they remain in a Hangzhou hotel.
-- Roy Moore’s alleged pursuit of a young girl is the symptom of a larger problem in evangelical circles: child marriage.
-- A hundred years ago, one Hollywood studio was a great, safe place for a woman to work.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- An independence march in Warsaw attracted throngs of far-right demonstrators chanting slogans such as “Pure Poland, white Poland!” (The Guardian)
-- The world’s largest surveillance camera maker has its products everywhere, including on a U.S. Army base. Could China be sneaking a peep? (Wall Street Journal)
-- A sampling of poems written in English by soldiers and civilians in World War I. (Poetry Foundation)
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
“A lot of people get confused and think we’re a bunch of drunkards. We’re actually a nonprofit historical organization.” Welcome to the Order of E. Clampus Vitus, a.k.a. the Clampers, a men’s fraternal organization that pays homage to bits of Gold Country history that others overlook. Their motto: Credo Quia Absurdum, a Latin phrase that means “I believe because it’s absurd.”