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California

Newsletter: Today: A Price on Freedom. Immigration’s Court Date.

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

TOP STORIES

Attack at Pakistani University

Gunmen entered Bacha Khan University in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday and began firing. At least 20 people, including students and a professor, are dead. The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. Here’s what else we know so far.

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Putting a Price on Freedom

The cases of Bruce Lisker and Kash Delano Register were unrelated but had striking parallels. Both were arrested as teens and said LAPD detectives fabricated evidence of their guilt. Both won their freedom after attorneys challenged that police work. And now, L.A. will pay to settle their lawsuits: $7.6 million to Lisker, who was released from prison in 2009 after a Times investigation, and $16.7 million to Register. Here’s why it could have been more.

Exxon Mobil Under Scrutiny

California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris is reviewing what Exxon Mobil knew about global warming and what it told investors, a person close to the investigation said. Prosecutors are trying to determine if the company committed securities fraud or broke environmental laws. The move comes after The Times and Columbia University, as well as InsideClimate News, published reports about Exxon’s internal documents and public position in the 1980s and ‘90s. An Exxon Mobil spokesman previously has said the company denies any wrongdoing in regard to the climate change reports.

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Who Were Those Iranian Prisoners?

The prisoner swap announced alongside the historic nuclear deal with Iran came as a surprise. Iran agreed to free five. In exchange, the U.S. let go seven, as well as dropping warrants against 14 fugitives. Though the Obama administration portrayed those 21 as little more than sanctions-busters, many were allegedly assisting Iran’s military, spy services and nuclear program. At least two suspects allegedly lent logistical support to Hezbollah. Read on to find out more about them.

Why the Oscars Fuss Matters

As we told you about yesterday, the Oscars’ all-white acting nominations for a second year in a row have prompted calls for a boycott — as well as a heated counter-response. With all the troubles in the world, some are asking, what does it matter? Times senior culture editor Mary McNamara has an answer: “Film is art, and art matters. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, the images we choose to create and share reveal who we are — our hopes, our fears, our secrets, strengths and shortcomings.” Does it matter to you? Join the conversation on Facebook.

Immigration Will Have Its Day in Court

A landmark ruling on immigration law and executive power could come in the thick of this year’s presidential campaign. At issue: President Obama’s authority to give a “lawful presence” and work permits to as many as 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. A decision is likely to come in June, ahead of July’s nominating conventions. Even if the court rules in Obama’s favor, implementing the program could be tricky.

CALIFORNIA

-- Small businesses in Porter Ranch feel the pinch amid the gas leak.

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-- Steve Lopez: Little Tokyo mourns a homeless man whose “spirit would shine.”

-- The California Medical Assn. has issued guidelines to physicians on the state’s assisted suicide law.

-- A foodie hot spot opens in Watts in an attempt to redefine fast food.

NATION-WORLD

-- Long after most U.S. troops have left Iraq, a U.N. report says civilians are dying in “obscene” numbers.

-- Where are Iran’s billions in frozen assets, and how soon will it get them back?

-- A European Union leader says the EU could “fail as a political project” amid the migrant crisis.

-- Chris Christie stumps for votes in Iowa: “I’m like a fungus. I grow on people.”

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-- Say goodbye to free parking at Aria, Bellagio and 10 other Las Vegas hotels.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Linda Ronstadt remembers Glenn Frey, including their poker game with Smokey Robinson.

-- What is an L.A. artist? The Hammer Museum answers with its “Made in L.A.” biennial lineup.

-- “Younger” creator Darren Star and actress Sutton Foster discuss their TV Land comedy.

-- Coachella won’t be the first place to see the Guns N’ Roses reunion.

-- Viacom and CBS are hit with a shareholder lawsuit over Sumner Redstone’s condition.

-- A trailer containing $250,000 in artworks by Matisse, Chagall and others was stolen in Chatsworth, police say.

BUSINESS

-- Warning of “great challenges” this year, the IMF cuts its world economic growth forecast.

-- Is the best use of all that El Niño water to pour it out on dry soil? UC Davis researchers try it out.

-- Commercial real estate in Inglewood is getting a boost from the Rams’ arrival, agents say.

SPORTS

-- Bill Plaschke: The San Diego Chargers should stay right where they are, thank you very much.

-- Rams updates: The team’s offense has a lot of room for improvement; Stan Kroenke seeks to borrow about $1 billion for the proposed stadium.

-- Hockey enforcer John Scott will keep his All-Star captaincy, despite being traded and sent to minors.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Up to 500 kinds of bugs are living in your house, according to a study.(National Geographic)

-- North Korea reportedly says it has invented hangover-free liquor. (BBC)

-- The making of Adele’s “Carpool Karaoke” video with James Corden. (Vulture)

-- How many more elements can be added to the periodic table? (Smithsonian)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

When the late Pulitzer Prize-winning Times sports columnist Jim Murray first saw the PGA West Stadium Course east of Palm Springs, he wrote: “You need a camel, a canoe, a priest and a tourniquet to get through it.” And when players showed up for the 1987 Bob Hope Classic, they hated it, never to return — until now. Here’s why the PGA Tour is back, even if the golfers don’t have a dromedary in tow.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.


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