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Today: The Defiant Superbug

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

Superbug Resurfaces

First it was UCLA. Then Cedars-Sinai. Now Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena is investigating whether patients were infected by contaminated medical scopes. Bacteria can be trapped in the hard-to-clean devices, and three people have died from the superbug. The Food and Drug Administration and the scope manufacturers are under scrutiny. 

Stuck in the Middle

It’s back-to-school time, so even in the presidential campaign some of the focus has shifted to students and how to educate them. A hot topic in the race for the Republican nomination is where candidates stand on Common Core. Jeb Bush is running on his record as an education reformer as Florida governor and continues to back statewide standards but without federal involvement. It’s a lonely spot on this playground. 

Sinking Fast

We’ve become used to satellite images revealing magnificent views of Planet Earth. Here’s something else the satellites are showing us: a sinking Central Valley. Blame the drought. Or, more specifically, overpumping of groundwater. As farmers tap the aquifer, aqueducts, irrigation canals and roads buckle and crack. How low can they go?

ISIS' Tomb Raiders

The ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, filled with impressive Roman ruins, has been subject to the wrath of Islamic State militants since being overrun three months ago. This week a revered antiquities scholar who had overseen much of the excavation and restoration of Palmyra was beheaded by militants. Was Khaled Asaad forced to reveal the whereabouts of treasures with rumored caches of gold?

You're on Your Own

When the flames of a wildfire begin to spread, firefighters call for reinforcements. That’s what happened in eastern Washington last weekend. But no help could be found because so many fires were burning nearby. In this blaze, the crew of a dozen firefighters wasn’t taking a stand to save nameless citizens or strangers' dwellings. This was more personal for the volunteers on their home turf.

CALIFORNIA

-- L.A. is losing $20 million a year because of fumbled tax data, an audit finds.

-- With a fierce El Niño forecast, L.A. County officials look for vulnerabilities.

-- Prosecutors say Uber background checks missed drivers' criminal records.

-- Death of inmate during California prison melee is second in a week.

NATION-WORLD

-- North and South Korea exchange artillery fire at the border amid deteriorating relations between the two states.

-- German lawmakers overwhelmingly back the Greek bailout, clearing a path for loans.

-- Drought drives a water shortage to critical stage in São Paulo, Brazil.

-- The House GOP's suit against Obama is given better odds. 

-- Homeless Alaskans reconnect with their families through social media. 

-- What do you find inside a Las Vegas time capsule

BUSINESS

-- How Subway will reposition its brand after a child porn scandal involving its former spokesman.

-- The U.S. wants better debt relief for students defrauded by colleges.

-- Scientists suggest a way to lower your stroke risk: Shorten your workweek.

SPORTS

-- USC has plenty of depth behind quarterback Cody Kessler.

-- Columnist Chris Erskine writes about a dog-loving coach at Occidental College who nurtures a different breed of athlete.

ENTERTAINMENT

-- There's no method to fan madness over Benedict Cumberbatch in a London production of “Hamlet.”

-- TV reviewer Robert Lloyd finds “Documentary Now!” a ridiculously wonderful anthology of doc parodies.

-- Passings: Batgirl actress Yvonne Craig dies at 78. 

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Why -- and how -- more Americans are eating alone (Washington Post).

-- Cameron Crowe recalls the glory days of covering the Eagles for Rolling Stone in 1975.

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

One day Ventura is touted as the most desirable place to live in the United States, if you value scenery and climate. The next day we hear that a new study finds the city could be inundated by tsunami floodwaters in the aftermath of a hypothetical magnitude 7.7 earthquake. That’s what it’s like to live in California. We get the highs and lows. Enjoy that sunshine while you can.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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