Today: School Days. Hip-Hop Stories.

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


Failing Grade

The G.I. bill was designed to help veterans enroll in college, get an education and prepare for the working world, but it became a pipeline to for-profit colleges, which targeted veterans and the federal dollars that paid their tuition. Many veterans found themselves facing low graduation rates and dim job prospects. Guess who’s left holding the bag. 

One Deadly Night in Bangkok

Thailand has seen its share of coups in its modern history. It was probably not surprising when a military junta grabbed power last year, following months of street protests. Bangkok has remained calm in recent months, until a deadly explosion rocked the Thai capital Monday night. What's the future of the country: democracy or dictatorship?

Why Education Matters

Today is the first day of school for students in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Except at Bell High, the last campus in the district to maintain a year-round schedule. The staggered schedules were created to address overcrowding, but the temporary plans have mainly been phased out. Read more about Bell and other education stories, and see our statistical look at LAUSD.  It's part of Education Matters, an initiative by The Times to showcase robust education coverage.

Breakdown of LAUSD teachers and students by race

Water, Power ... Refund

Customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power fought the law -- and won. Now the agency has agreed to repay tens of millions of dollars to ratepayers who had been overbilled when a faulty billing system was rolled out two years ago. Will public anger subside? 

Hip-Hop as Backdrop

Hip-hop is filling our screens and stages. At the movie theater, “Straight Outta Compton” demolished the competition in its opening weekend. “Hamilton,” which uses rap to remind us of the history of our founding fathers, is captivating audiences on Broadway this year. “Empire” was one of the hottest shows on TV this season. Read how hip-hop became a dominant form of modern American storytelling


-- The Grim Sleeper case drags on -- and gets postponed to October. 

-- The 370-acre Montebello blaze was a rare brush fire in the middle of an urban area.

-- Hundreds of police gunshots during a Stockton bank robbery last year were "excessive," a report says.

-- For a decades-old homeless camp in Ventura Country, the end is near.


-- Former Iraqi leader Nouri Maliki could face charges over the fall of Mosul.

-- The White House announces a push to combat the growing heroin epidemic.

-- Does wildfire damage count if it's in Alaska?

-- The U.S. government plants a new idea to restore landscapes after natural disasters.

-- Who was Sandra Bland? In an op-ed, Lena Dunham uncovers Bland's big plan for women before she died. 


-- Scope maker Olympus failed to report infections for three years, FDA says.

-- Amazon sparks a tech industry workplace debate.

-- American Apparel warns it may go out of business.


-- The Dodgers hire former Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke as third base coach, and some wonder if he could also be the manager in waiting behind Don Mattingly. 

-- Vin Scully is undecided on returning to the Dodgers for a 67th season next year.

-- The National Labor Relations Board’s ruling against Northwestern University football players’ bid to unionize is a win for the NCAA but not a defeat for the cause, columnist Chris Dufresne says.


--  Expect less Walt at future Disney theme parks.

-- Teens try out college and entertainment worlds in the Ghetto Film School-Loyola Marymount University program.

-- L.A. Kitchen fights food waste, trains workers and feeds seniors.


-- National Geographic used GPS trackers hidden in fake elephant tusks to investigate lucrative ivory smuggling in Africa by terrorists and other armed groups.

-- After Hurricane Katrina and the flood that followed, an unlikely collection of New Orleans artists rose up and found their inspiration (NPR).


It’s been years since the Rams left Los Angeles – first for Anaheim and then for St. Louis. But they’re back in Southern California, at least temporarily, for preseason workouts with the Dallas Cowboys at that team’s practice facility in Oxnard. The Rams faithful have flocked there, with visions of the NFL team returning for good next year if the stars line up and the league approves owner Stan Kroenke’s plan to relocate to Inglewood. Sam Farmer reports.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.