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Newsletter: Today: Democrats Push Garland; FBI Delays Showdown With Apple

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

The Court of Public Opinion

A broad coalition of activists is putting pressure on GOP leaders to reverse course and consider Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court. In Pennsylvania, protesters picketed Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, who is seeking a second term and opposes Garland’s confirmation. Polls show most Americans disapprove of the refusal to give Garland a Senate hearing.

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Uncle Sam One Ups Apple in This Hackathon

As a possible showdown loomed in federal court between the U.S. government and Apple this week, prosecutors asked for — and won — a delay. The reason: Authorities now believe they may not need the tech giant’s help to unlock the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the shooters in the December massacre that killed 14 people in San Bernardino. An “outside party” demonstrated “a possible method” to crack it, the U.S. attorney said. “We must first test this method to ensure it doesn’t destroy the data on the phone, but we remain cautiously optimistic,” a Justice Department spokeswoman said.

Afro-Cubans and Obama as the Symbol of What’s Possible

Racism has long been a taboo subject in communist Cuba, where Fidel Castro’s revolution 60 years ago promised — but failed — to wipe out racial divisions. President Obama’s visit to the island nation this week is of special significance to Afro-Cubans, who are barred from establishing their traditional houses of worship and are poorly represented in the top ranks of the Cuban military and Communist Party. “Maybe without an enemy, everyone here can begin to look more closely at things inside our own country,” said one activist.

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In the World’s Most Populous Democracy, Looking for a Few Big Men

As the NBA expands its international reach, the league is trying to foster a basketball culture in a country of 1.25 billion potential fans: India. The challenge? Less than 1% of the population plays basketball. So the league has sent coaches across the country to teach the game, has launched a traveling festival and tournament, and is seeking the first Indian NBA star. “It’s my dream, it’s my family’s dream,” says one hopeful, 20-year-old Loveneet Singh Atwal.

CALIFORNIA

— The defense opens in the Grim Sleeper trial.

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— In Santa Clarita, a 6-year-old girl is removed from her foster parents.

Seventy pounds of cocaine are seized at LAX.

NATION-WORLD

— Deadly explosions go off in Brussels at an airport and a metro station. Multiple deaths and injures are being reported.

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— As Brazil’s government teeters, what are the possible scenarios?

— At the capital, Donald Trump meets the establishment.

— A jury gives Hulk Hogan $25 million in punitive damages.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

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— Justin Bieber rediscovers his purpose.

— The Purple One turns to prose.

BUSINESS

Digital First wins approval to buy OC Register.

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— Apple CEO on iPhone battle: “We will not shrink from this responsibility.”

SPORTS

— The Clippers are slumping, their identity elusive.

— Serena Williams and others decry offensive remarks.

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WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING


A nation, divided. (Washington Post)

The long fall of Phoebe Jonchuck. (Tampa Bay Times)

Amid a graying fleet of nuclear plants, a hunt for solutions. (New York Times)

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ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

It is one of California’s most painful memories. Soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an order that uprooted thousands of Japanese Americans and confined them to internment camps. One of them was Fusa Takahashi, who grew up in a Japanese farming community in the San Joaquin Valley and was interned with her parents and six siblings in 1942. Now 88, she and other California-based activists are asking the U.S. government to honor the service of Japanese American soldiers — many of whom joined the U.S. Army straight out of the camps — with a postage stamp. “A stamp is universal and it’s something tangible,” she said. “For our future generation, I want them to be proud of what they are, where they come from and what their heritage is.” The Postal Service is considering it.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.


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