Today: L.A. River Rush. The Pyongyang Puzzle.

I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.



Trying to Prevent the Next Porter Ranch

More than 10 weeks have gone by since a natural gas well in Aliso Canyon started leaking. A huge amount of planet-warming methane has entered the atmosphere. Porter Ranch residents say they've been sickened, and many have moved. After paying a visit this week, Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency and stepped up inspections and safety measures for all natural gas storage facilities in the state. But what does that mean? Read on.

A Friend of Bill, but of Hillary …

Supermarket magnate and investor Ron Burkle was tight with Bill Clinton: The billionaire held fundraisers at his estate, and they once jetted around the world. So what has Burkle done for the Clintons lately? Nothing. "They never asked me for a penny," he said of Hillary Clinton's campaign. Instead, he's raising money for Republican John Kasich — though he might end up backing Hillary Clinton anyway. In a rare interview, he has plenty to say.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like North Korea?

North Korea is already one of the most isolated nations in the world. Past U.N. sanctions haven't persuaded Pyongyang. Is anyone able to muster the will to rein in its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programs? Our analysis shows North Korea will come in for a new round of knuckle-rapping after its claim of detonating an H bomb, but a lot of fingers are being pointed.

Yes, a River Does Run Through L.A.

With this week's rain, the Los Angeles River has roared back to life. Though a trickle most of the time, the river is once again proving to be a formidable force: mesmerizing and dangerous. Here is a look back at its history and a glimpse forward of how it will handle El Niño in words, photos and video.

More on El Niño:

-- A new storm hits; mudflow in Santa Clarita forces evacuations.

Why Car Companies Are Shifting Gears

In the old days, new car buyers would ask about horsepower. Now, it's about technology: collision avoidance, backup cameras, entertainment systems and so on. That's why a dozen of the world's biggest automakers and newcomers like Faraday Future went to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. "I have no doubt the auto industry will change more in the next five to 10 years than it has in the last 50," General Motors' CEO said. Here is how car companies are getting faster.



-- Video: He is getting his PhD and is homeless. The latest in our "On the Streets" series.

-- L.A. County prosecutors won't charge Bill Cosby in two sexual assault cases.

-- Enrique Marquez Jr. pleaded not guilty to federal terror charges.

-- George Skelton: Who pays when a lawmaker quits? The taxpayers, of course.


-- 17 miners are stuck 900 feet underground at a central New York salt mine but are not in danger.

-- A Texas state trooper is indicted and faces possible firing in the Sandra Bland case.

-- Oregon standoff: Who's really getting hurt by federal grazing laws?

-- People are starving in East Africa again, and little help is on the way.

-- The "new Jihadi John" in an Islamic State video is identified as a British Muslim convert.

-- Photos: Here's what you find when a Paris canal is drained.


-- "American Idol's" swan song has begun. But what did we think of the very first season?

-- "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" passes "Avatar" as U.S. box-office champ (not adjusting for inflation).

-- Jenny on the cell block? Jennifer Lopez plays a mildly corrupt Brooklyn cop in the TV series "Shades of Blue."

-- Oscar season is suddenly welcoming all kinds of movies. We're looking at you, "Mad Max."

-- Theater review: Choreography helps save the show in "Bullets Over Broadway."

-- Composer-conductor Pierre Boulez, who died at age 90, reveled in challenging music's status quo.

-- Video chat: Saoirse Ronan discusses the film "Brooklyn," awards and people flubbing her name.



-- China stocks on Thursday plunged to a halt after just 14 minutes of trading.

-- Macy's will slash 4,800 jobs and close 40 stores after disappointing holidays.

-- The EPA finds that honeybees are threatened by a common pesticide.

-- You can buy an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, but it's expensive: $599.


-- Helene Elliott: The Lakers are caught between Kobe Bryant's past and young players' future.

-- Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza are elected to baseball's Hall of Fame.


-- Meet the North Korean newscaster who came out of retirement to announce the nuclear test. (Mashable)

-- Tyler Perry doesn't care what his critics think. Oprah Winfrey, Cicely Tyson and his audiences have his back. (Vulture)

-- Time for hipster bingo in England. (The Guardian)


Leave it to the owner of a food stand called Eggslut to start a — wait for it — incubator for culinary projects. Alvin Cailan's idea is to bring out fellow chefs to do innovative pop-ups and residencies at a space in Chinatown called Unit 120. "Like CBGB was for rock and roll," he says. Or "like an open mic night." Here's what is on the menu.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.