I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Homeland Security worries about corruption in its border protection agency; and President Obama takes a big step in his quest for friendlier relations with Cuba. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.
Customs and Border Protection, as the name implies, is supposed to protect us from nefarious things from abroad. A Homeland Security report says, however, that it is open to "systematic corruption" from drug cartels and smugglers and is "chronically slow" to police itself. It says "true levels" of corruption aren't known and hundreds more investigators are needed to find out.
His Plan in Havana
Half a century after President Eisenhower cut ties with Fidel Castro's Cuba, President Obama is announcing a U.S.-Cuba deal to reopen embassies in D.C. and Havana. It's the most authoritative step he can take on his own in his quest to end what many now view as a failed Cold War-era policy. There's disagreement in Congress, though, and it must decide the fate of the trade embargo.
Dues Unto Others
As if this term wasn't memorable enough, the Supreme Court is setting up for another with cases on abortion, affirmative action and, now, union funding. The future of public employee unions could turn on a California case it has agreed to hear: Should workers who don't join unions still have to pay dues? A "no" would be a body blow to public unions, especially in California.
More Shots in the Arm
What do California, Mississippi and West Virginia have in common? They are the only states that ban vaccination waivers for kids in public schools based on religious or other personal beliefs. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill, siding firmly with science after falling vaccination rates and a measles outbreak that started in Disneyland. It takes effect in 2016. Medical waivers are still OK.
Talk About Perseverance
Miriam Finder Tasini escaped the Nazis and a Siberian prison camp. She struggled through Central Asia and fought malaria and dysentery on deportation trains and cramped ships. She landed in exile in the Middle East. All by age 7. Now, she's a 79-year-old retired UCLA professor in Bel-Air -- and she's fighting yet another indignity. Her story is today's Great Read.
-- L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti backs off of tough new ordinances on homeless people and says he wants them softened before they are enforced.
-- The state's multibillion-dollar road repair needs could mean more taxes and fees for motorists.
-- Fox in the henhouse? Columnist Steve Lopez takes a critical look at Plains All American Pipeline’s role in the cleanup, and the spin, after the Santa Barbara oil spill.
-- Helium is leaking through the Newport-Inglewood earthquake fault, and scientists aren't certain what it means.
-- Greece becomes the first developed country to fail to repay money due the International Monetary Fund and loses access to European bailout loans that have helped keep it solvent.
-- A transport plane crashes in the Indonesian city of Medan, killing at least 140.
-- Texas county clerks wrestle with a moral and legal dilemma on same-sex marriage.
-- The Republican field grows to 14: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announces he's running for president.
-- Jeb Bush releases 33 years of tax returns as part of his presidential campaign.
-- The failure of a SpaceX rocket on a space station mission is a huge setback for the company's ambitious launch program.
-- Consumer Watchdog alleges gasoline price manipulation by California refiners.
-- How President Obama's new overtime rules would work and who would be affected.
-- Prosecutors charge two Uber France executives with "deceptive commercial practices."
-- USA! The Americans take down a highly touted German soccer team with a 2-0 semifinal win in the Women's World Cup. Next up in the final: England or Japan.
-- Bill Dwyre: It's a dark day at Wimbledon for Jack Sock, the second best U.S. player. He suffers a trouncing by Australian Sam Groth.
-- The latest scores and stats.
-- "Magic Mike XXL" has plenty of abs and raunch amid a skimpy plot.
-- The Grateful Dead and the old, weird America: In their "Fare Thee Well" tour, the surviving members are on to something authentic.
Passings: George Wentzlaff, 69, former child star who stole scenes from the likes of Grant and Monroe.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Zocalo Public Square explains how the Civil War was won by immigrant soldiers.
-- Vulture assesses "the rewriting of David Foster Wallace."
-- Loving guns but hating the NRA (Washington Post).
-- After practically inventing the Internet news business, Arianna Huffington is still setting the pace (NYT Magazine).
ONLY IN L.A.
"I'll be back," he told us, and Arnold Schwarzenegger certainly is. This time, though, the refrain is "I'm old, but not obsolete." The former governor, at 67, takes a softer tone in "Genisys," the fifth in the "Terminator" franchise. He has robotic arthritis, but the passion remains. His other recent film outings haven't been stellar, but Paramount still hopes older is better -- or at least just as good. Here's a review of the film.
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