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Today: Under Pressure

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

Easy Come, Easy Go

You win some, you lose some. That’s the attitude many Chinese investors are taking amid a sharp drop in the country’s stock prices. Of course, it’s easier to feel that way when the Shanghai index is still more than a third higher than it was a year ago. But if the turmoil continues, will it start to undermine Beijing’s aura of control? 

Eyes in the Sky

What’s it like to be a U-2 spy plane pilot in the age of drones? For now, it’s as busy as ever, thanks to the fight against Islamic State. Flying on 10-hour missions at 70,000 feet in a pressurized spacesuit, though, can be hazardous to one’s health. Climb into the cramped cockpit of a U-2 in today’s Great Read (with video). 

Physician, Steel Thyself

Doctors in India are hiring private security guards to ward off attacks by angry friends and relatives of patients who die. Stories of corruption and carelessness in the medical community have made families distrustful, while improving technology has made some people unreasonably expect that any condition can be successfully treated. Either way, bringing in bouncers is a complicated solution. 

Trojan House in Disorder

An apparently intoxicated speech to donors. Then, an apology, a scolding from the boss and another apology. USC football coach Steve Sarkisian said his condition at a “Salute to Troy” event was the result of mixing alcohol – “not a lot,” he said – with medication. Now, he’ll seek treatment, while he and the university deal with the fallout. 

Ticket to Ride

Would you use the likes of Uber and Lyft to pick you up from LAX? There are still some hurdles to go, including how to resolve the issue of background checks for drivers of the ride-hailing services, but the L.A. City Council moved a step closer to making that a reality in just weeks. The cab companies aren’t happy.

CALIFORNIA

-- A fugitive Santeria priest in the San Gabriel Valley is named as a homicide suspect after remains are found in a backyard.

-- A performance gap on the ACT college entrance exam persists between Latino and white high school students. 

-- City Council members want to know why sanitation workers apparently ignored complaints about illegally dumped trash in poor neighborhoods. 

-- A Los Angeles man files a class-action lawsuit against the Ashley Madison site.

NATION-WORLD

-- Refugees fleeing to Europe won't be deterred by violence or border barriers, a U.N. envoy says.

-- A Ukrainian filmmaker's 20-year jail sentence in Russia draws fire abroad.

-- A GOP strategist talks to Trump supporters and declares his nomination is "totally conceivable."

-- Baby pandas born and bred at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., are not birthright citizens.

BUSINESS

-- U.S. stocks, after surging to start Tuesday, end with a thud.

-- A study shows 75% of Obamacare plans in California use narrow networks -- more limited choices than all but three other states.

-- Disney will have an 18-hour marathon on YouTube to promote "Star Wars" products. 

SPORTS

-- Financial details of L.A.'s bid for the 2024 Olympic Games are revealed.

-- The Clippers were fined $250,000 for violating NBA rules in pursuit of DeAndre Jordan.

ENTERTAINMENT

-- How a YouTube star is trying to make it on MTV

-- Owen Wilson's newest film isn't a comedy; it's a thriller

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Here's how the iPhone's Siri came to life, as told to the Harvard Business Review.

-- Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge a year ago? Money magazine looks at what happened with the millions raised.

ONLY IN L.A.

When Russell Westbrook -- a point guard for the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder and a UCLA alum -- returned to his old neighborhood in South L.A., he brought with him thousands of books, a handful of life lessons and plenty of memories. The occasion: opening reading rooms at three schools. The message: Never quit.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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