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Today: Shutdown Politics. Taliban Turmoil.

I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Believe it or not, we could be headed for another federal government shutdown; and even Jerry Brown might be surprised at how much water Californians are saving. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.

TOP STORIES

Shutdown Politics

They promised it wouldn't happen, but here we go again: The White House and Republicans in Congress are headed toward another government shutdown. The next fiscal crisis could come as soon as Oct. 1, and both sides already are digging in. One contributing dynamic: Presidential candidates like Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are in no mood to make nice with Democrats.

Taliban Turmoil

Perhaps the only thing more daunting than an Afghanistan Taliban with a strong spiritual leader is an Afghanistan Taliban without one. The militants now confirm that Mullah Mohammad Omar has died and a successor has been named. Still, much remains unsettled, including peace talks with the U.S.-backed Afghan government. The second round was abruptly called off.

A Prosecutor's Rage

Joseph T. Deters is hardly the type to put cops in jail. That made it all the more striking when Deters, a law-and-order Republican prosecutor in Hamilton County, Ohio, called a white cop a "flat-out" murderer in the fatal stop of a black motorist and pledged to prove it in court. That even seemed to catch some black activists off guard. Now he's a national celebrity. The officer, meanwhile, has pleaded not guilty.

Super Savers, For Now

We did it again. In a month of record heat, Californians slashed urban water use 27% in June from June 2013, exceeding Gov. Jerry Brown's 25% order. Water managers are happy but not celebrating. A big worry: All the talk of a rain-generating El Niño brewing in the Pacific might make people complacent. "It's not that I hate El Niño," an official said. "I hate El Niño hype."

Trans and Muslim

Perhaps no identity in Islam is harder than a person with a female anatomy who wants to make the transition to life as a man. At least, that's what Alex Bergeron thinks, and he should know. He's found a haven in San Francisco and is well into the physical transition. Now, perhaps, comes a bigger challenge: reconnecting with his Muslim faith. His journey is today's Great Read

CALIFORNIA

-- A 4-year-old boy is shot to death while playing in a yard in Highland. It's unclear who the real target was. 

-- Some L.A. City Council members want to reexamine rules that would let ride-sharing services pick up passengers at LAX.

-- Department of Water and Power rate increases would provide a lot of money to L.A. that wouldn't have to be spent on water and power. 

-- A jury finds a deputy U.S. marshal guilty of obstruction in a 2008 shooting.

NATION-WORLD

-- Water from cooling towers is suspected in a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease  in New York's South Bronx.

-- Hillary Clinton's newest campaign strategy: She's now taking questions.

-- India hangs an accountant convicted of raising funds for a deadly 1993 bombing rampage in Mumbai.

-- A man convicted of stabbing gay pride marchers in Jerusalem attacks again, injuring six.

BUSINESS

-- Relativity Media files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy  and is looking for a buyer.

-- Whole Foods is taking on Trader Joe's in the L.A. area with its smaller "365" stores.

SPORTS

-- Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympics, making the Chinese capital the first city to host both a Summer and Winter Games.

-- The Dodgers rebuild their rotation in a 13-player trade. Whew.

-- Pac-12 football: USC rides high in the preseason polls.

-- The latest scores, stats and schedules.

ENTERTAINMENT

-- Movie review: Once again, Tom Cruise manages the near-impossible in "Mission Impossible -- Rogue Nation."

-- Weekend breakfast: Half a dozen great waffle recipes from the Times Test Kitchen.

Passings: Vic Firth, 85, Boston Symphony Orchestra tympanist and major manufacturer of drumsticks.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- GQ: No group is more typecast than Muslim American actors who earn their livings pretending to hijack planes and slaughter infidels.

-- Stereogum: Vinyl's decade-long revival may be a bubble about to burst.

-- Magic in the swamp: historical photos of the early construction of Disney World in Florida.

ONLY IN L.A.

It's a legal saga made in heaven, or maybe that other place. A judge tried to sort out a running fight involving nuns, their former convent, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, a restaurateur and pop superstar Katy Perry. The convent stays with the restaurateur for now, but Katy Perry is still in the running. Columnist Steve Lopez, who was first on this story, has the latest. 

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.


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