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Today: Land of the Media Giants

Today: Land of the Media Giants
The AT&T-Time Warner merger was approved Tuesday by a federal judge. (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

A court ruling that allows the AT&T-Time Warner deal to proceed represents a defeat for the U.S. Justice Department and perhaps a reshaping of the media landscape.

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Land of the Media Giants

A federal judge has cleared the way for AT&T’s $85.4-billion purchase of Time Warner, saying the U.S. Department of Justice failed to prove any of its arguments against the merger. The decision means the deal could close by next week, creating a giant that combines wireless and satellite services with movie franchises, hit TV shows and CNN, a favorite target of President Trump. Analysts believe it also opens the door but not necessarily the floodgates to more mega-mergers. Case in point: Comcast could announce as soon as today that it is making another run at buying much of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. As usual, these deals are pitched as bringing huge benefits to consumers. Skeptical? Columnist Michael Hiltzik says you’re not alone.

History Repeating?

The diplomatic history of U.S.-North Korean relations is littered with broken promises to denuclearize and deals gone sour. Will the outcome of the camera-friendly summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un be different? Much hard work remains to be done. Already, Pyongyang has made clear it views the commitments made in Singapore in terms that are strikingly different from the White House perspective. Meanwhile, many Republicans in Congress joined Democrats in expressing doubt about Trump’s claim that the summit began “a new history.” They, along with overseas allies and the Pentagon, also are raising alarms about Trump announcing a halt to joint military exercises with South Korea, which has long been a goal of North Korea, China and Russia.

More From the Summit

-- A White House-produced video that looked like a cross between a propaganda film and movie trailer was one of the more surreal moments in a summit that even Kim compared to a science fiction movie.

-- First person: “I grew up within striking distance of North Korea’s artillery. Covering the summit was sobering and personal.”

‘Dreamers’ Deferred, Again

With the support of Democrats, a group of moderate Republicans came close to forcing votes on a bipartisan immigration bill in the House over the objection of GOP leaders. But unlike in a game of horseshoes, “close” doesn’t count. Instead, the dissident Republicans, who are frustrated by Congress’ failure to resolve the legal status of “Dreamers,” backed down and accepted a proposal by Speaker Paul D. Ryan to have the House debate two bills next week — both of which have only Republican support, because they would include new immigration restrictions and money for Trump’s border wall.

More Politics

-- Lawyers for former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe have filed a lawsuit saying the Justice Department has repeatedly refused to provide documents related to his firing.

-- White House trade advisor Peter Navarro has walked back his inflammatory statement that there was a “special place in hell” reserved for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

-- An Orange County lawyer has asked a bankruptcy judge to seize much of the $577,000 donated to porn actress Stormy Daniels to pay legal bills in her suit against Trump, as part of a $10-million judgment last month against Eagan Avenatti, the Newport Beach firm of Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti.

The New Tri-State Area?

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California, here we go again. Officials say a plan to split the Golden State into three new jurisdictions has apparently gathered enough signatures to go before voters in November. The proposal is backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, who has previously supported ill-fated efforts to create six California states. Even if this measure passes on election day, though, it would be only the beginning of a long, arduous journey to three Californias.

Rising From the Rubble

On Oct. 17, 1989, the deadly Loma Prieta earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area. Three decades later, in the South of Market Street district, a new city is rising out of the destruction. Rather than repair and retrofit the damaged Embarcadero Freeway, leaders chose to envision something bolder. Now the area is home to the city’s tallest building, the $1-billion Salesforce Tower, and a soon-to-open transit center. Yet there is concern about how successful the transformation will be.

The Salesforce Tower dominates the San Francisco skyline.
The Salesforce Tower dominates the San Francisco skyline. (Josh Edelson / For The Times)

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- In Gaza, a 12-year-old amputee still has his dreams.

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-- Emmy contender lighting round: Neil Patrick Harris, Hayley Atwell, Brian Tyree Henry, Sam Heughan, Niecy Nash, Sarah Silverman, Kyle MacLachlan and more answer our questions.

CALIFORNIA

-- Columnist Steve Lopez profiles a United States Marine and Vietnam veteran who never gave up on Santa Barbara’s homeless, even as many looked away.

-- The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has voted to expand services for homeless people with toilets in Venice and overnight parking in Hollywood and North Hollywood.

-- The upscale Beverly Crest and Benedict Canyon areas on L.A.’s Westside got a stark reminder of the fire season ahead as a brush fire broke out and forced temporary evacuations.

-- A bank has seized a Tulare County dairy farm owned by Rep. David Valadao and his family to resolve more than $8 million in loans that have not been repaid, according to court documents.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- An Italian court has ruled that one of the J. Paul Getty Museum’s most prized antiquities, the Greek bronze known as “Statue of a Victorious Youth,” should be repatriated to Italy. But the Getty intends to fight, once again.

-- The remake of the 1972 blaxploitation hit “Superfly” is flashy, violent and fitfully compelling, according to film critic Justin Chang.

-- Theater critic Charles McNulty says a Beverly Hills production of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” is worth seeing for two major reasons: stars Lesley Manville and Jeremy Irons.

-- Rose McGowan has been indicted by a Virginia grand jury on one felony count of cocaine possession. The actress has maintained she’s innocent.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

Malcolm McDowell became a signature symbol of brutal youth in Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film “A Clockwork Orange,” but for years he resented the shadow that his character, Alex, cast over his career. It wasn’t until about three decades later, he says, that he came to appreciate the role’s importance. Today, McDowell turns 75.

NATION-WORLD

-- South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford lost the Republican nomination for his congressional seat after Trump called him “nothing but trouble,” while in Nevada, brothel owner Dennis Hof has become the Republican nominee for a state assembly seat.

-- In Arizona, a string of killings two weeks ago unsettled the state. But for Connie Jones, it was the end she had been fearing and preparing for, after her former husband had threatened her.

-- Palestinians and their supporters are asking an emergency meeting of the U.N. General Assembly to adopt a resolution deploring what they call Israel’s “excessive use of force.”

-- A raccoon stranded on the ledge of a building in St. Paul, Minn., captivated onlookers and generated interest on social media after it started scaling an office building.

BUSINESS

-- California’s nonprofit hospitals are providing far less free and reduced-cost medical care than they did a few years ago, raising questions about the role and obligations of those institutions in the age of Obamacare.

-- Tesla is cutting about 9% of its workers as it restructures and aims to become profitable, Chief Executive Elon Musk said.

SPORTS

-- Soccer fans are pouring into Russia for the start of the World Cup, even if the Kremlin’s relationship with the West is icy these days.

-- In other soccer news, FIFA on Wednesday awarded the 2026 World Cup to the United States, Mexico and Canada. The so-called United Bid was chosen over a rival proposal from Morocco.

-- Columnist Bill Plaschke argues that the Lakers need some Magic to land LeBron James or other stars and be relevant again.

OPINION

-- Cecile Richards, a former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, says conservatives are winning in their fight to roll back abortion rights. But most people support Roe vs. Wade.

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-- Stockton’s $500 basic income experiment is a commie-libertarian pipe dream, columnist Gustavo Arellano writes.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Several prominent Russians have been identified as having contact with National Rifle Assn. officials during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, according to photographs and an NRA source. (McClatchy)

-- Newspaper executives say a single tariff benefiting one paper factory in Washington state could prompt the loss of thousands of U.S. newspaper jobs. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

-- Is Netflix putting too much content out there? (Vulture)

ONLY IN L.A.

Leave the gun, take the taco? L.A. County sheriff’s officials say that when a gunman posing as an undercover police officer threatened a family eating street tacos in their van in the San Gabriel Valley, the mother of four offered the man a taco and told him she needed to grab napkins for him from the food truck. That quick thinking set the table for her to summon help.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends. Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.

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