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Newsletter: Today: Cosby Charged. L.A. Crime. Syrian Sanctuary.

I’m Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Here are the story lines I don’t want you to miss today. On this New Year’s Eve, we’re also continuing to look back at some of our best journalism of 2015.

TOP STORIES

Bill Cosby, the Accused

More than 40 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. Now, Cosby is facing criminal charges after Pennsylvania prosecutors charged him with aggravated indecent assault in connection with a 2004 encounter. As with previous accusations, Cosby’s lawyer denied the charges. Here is the criminal complaint as well as a chronicle of the accusations against the 78-year-old-entertainer.

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L.A.'s Life of Crime

For the first time in more than a decade, all categories of crime rose across Los Angeles, according to LAPD data. Violent crime in L.A. rose nearly 20% in 2015. Property crime, up 10%. The biggest increase: aggravated assault, by more than 27%. Take a closer look at the numbers and what’s being done to fight back.

A Cramped Sanctuary for Syrian Refugees

If the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees were a city, it would be Jordan’s fourth largest. It has two field hospitals, two supermarkets, nine schools, nine clinics, more than 80 mosques and more than 3,000 shops. It’s also fenced in and cramped, making many wonder whether they should stay or go — and that leads to some harrowing returns to Syria. A look inside the camp, in words and pictures, in the latest installment of our Fleeing Syria series.

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How Big Oil Braced for Climate Change

It was two-pronged strategy: Publicly emphasize doubt about climate change science, while internally gird for rising sea levels and warming temperatures. As we told you in October, Exxon took that approach in the late 1980s. Records and interviews show the strategy was widespread within the oil industry during the 1990s and early 2000s. Read the latest in The Times’ and Columbia University’s joint investigation.

Turn This Freeway Into a Park?

The 2 Freeway was originally supposed to connect with the 101, but opposition going back a half-century stopped that. Today, it spills into Glendale Boulevard. Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne has an idea to make the stub end of the 2 more useful: as an urban park, a bikeway, a new neighborhood with housing and schools, and a place to capture storm water. Here’s why he says we can live with a little less freeway.

BEST OF 2015, PART 2

-- Inside the chase of the San Bernardino attackers.

-- The Pentagon’s $10-billion bet gone bad.

-- Jonathan Gold’s 101 best restaurants in the L.A. area.

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-- Steve Lopez: The shrinking middle class.

-- Is 2015 the tipping point for women and minorities in Hollywood?

-- In Bel-Air, someone is using 1,300 gallons of water an hour.

-- Sixty things you might not know about Disneyland. Plus: The joy of going there solo.

-- Video: Ronda Rousey breaks down her victories.

-- The final days of Mötley Crüe.

-- The year in graphics and data visualization.

Check out tomorrow’s newsletter for more. If you missed Part 1, it’s here.

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CALIFORNIA

-- Enrique Marquez Jr. faces more charges related to the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

-- Departing L.A. County probation chief Jerry Powers will receive nearly $295,000 in severance.

-- Can Medi-Cal keep up with its huge growth?

-- Officials are upbeat about the snowpack but cautious about the drought.

NATION-WORLD

-- A new year and new laws in the U.S.: on guns, voting and minimum wage.

-- Evacuees wait out historic floods still spreading through the Midwest.

-- A 10th suspect is arrested in connection with the Paris attacks that killed 130.

-- Egypt’s expanding crackdown now appears to include cultural institutions.

-- Brazil balks at Israel’s pick for ambassador over his settler ties.

-- Argentina’s “little trees” — i.e. money changers — are getting chopped down by the new president.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Police say they found “hundreds of images” they’ll use as evidence in the child porn case against “Glee” actor Mark Salling.

-- Selling Stardom: Paying for a shot at Oscar gold.

-- Video game trends for 2016: virtual reality and further blurred lines between TV and gaming.

-- From Rihanna to Kanye West to Frank Ocean, eight music comebacks that would be welcome.

-- Welcome back for a final visit to “Downton Abbey.”

BUSINESS

-- Test your knowledge of business news in 2015 with our quiz.

-- The PUC’s Michael Picker on San Onofre, San Bruno and California’s energy outlook.

SPORTS

-- USC was unable to hold onto a fourth-quarter lead and fell to Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl, 23-21.

-- The Dodgers signed pitcher Scott Kazmir to a three-year deal.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- How Gabriel García Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” came to be. (Vanity Fair)

-- The state of education: Experts give their reasons for hope and despair. (The Atlantic)

-- Did this year seem to fly by? Here’s why. (Vox)

ONLY IN L.A.

If you look carefully at the Rose Parade, you will see intricate artistry. You may even become aware of the three kinds of glue used to affix petals to the floats. But you won’t see any potted orange trees or fresh citrus leaves this year. They’re sidelined because the parade goes through a quarantine area for a citrus disease called huanglongbing, which translates from Chinese as “yellow dragon disease.” That said, we won’t rule out seeing a yellow dragon in the parade.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.


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