Newsletter: Today: Fire and Rain. Masters of the Universe.

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


GOP in the SFBA

Republican presidential candidates will debate tonight in Simi Valley, but to find their biggest benefactors in California, you have to look north. To the San Francisco Bay Area. Surprised? Thanks to tech moguls, the bastion of liberalism turned out to be the state's largest source of campaign money for GOP hopefuls, a Times analysis shows. Meanwhile, Hollywood is helping out Hillary Rodham Clinton big time. Follow the money with our graphic. Plus: Watch the debate with us and sign up for our free Essential Politics newsletter

We've Seen Fire and Rain

California's battle with the elements keeps going. Up north, firefighters made progress Tuesday -- and got some relief in cooler weather. Still, with two major fires and many smaller ones burning, resources remain thin. Meanwhile, L.A. dealt with a downpour that wreaked havoc on freeways and elsewhere. Was it a sneak preview of El Niño

Galaxy Quest

There's a new space race, and this time, billionaires are the rocket men. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Tesla and SpaceX's Elon Musk and Virgin's Richard Branson all have a vision for how to reach out into the final frontier. They are not alone. Clearly, more than just money is at stake.  

The Fed's X-Factor

Will they or won't they? All eyes are on the Federal Reserve, as it starts meeting today to decide whether to raise a key interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade. It could have profound effects on employment, prices and financial markets. Here's why the Fed's decision is "more art than science."

In the Twilight Zona

Visit Guatemala City, and the easiest way to tell your taxi driver roughly where you want to go is to indicate the zona, or zone. Much like Paris' arrondissements, the city is divided into 25 districts that spiral outward. Seems simple. Except, three are missing. Where did they go? 


-- A massive scam has scarred patients and duped insurance firms, L.A. County prosecutors say.

-- L.A. County officials' plan to expand the region's network of hospital trauma centers could soon hit a roadblock.

-- Steve Lopez: Would you like to go on a "road diet"? 

-- The owner of exotic cars shown in a video speeding in Beverly Hills claims diplomatic immunity.


-- Flash floods in southern Utah turn deadly.

-- Advocates protest a Latina immigrant's arrest at a Texas doctor's office.

-- A new Charlie Hebdo furor: Did cartoons mock a drowned Syrian boy?

-- Scenes from a standoff with thousands of frustrated migrants at the Hungarian border.

-- Afghan Onion's satire is stinging government officials at a precarious time.


-- Hewlett-Packard is looking to cut up to 30,000 jobs and save about $2.7 billion.

-- Apple's new mobile operating system will include a news app with ad blockers.

-- Why CBS Entertainment chief Nina Tassler is stepping down.


-- Jake Olson, who is blind, impresses in his first USC football workout.

-- Roy Hibbert wants to rediscover his game, not his fame, with the Lakers.


-- Onward, Christian filmmakers: The new film "Captive" reflects a subtle shift to grittier stories.

-- Kenneth Turan reviews "Pawn Sacrifice," the latest film about chess master Bobby Fischer

-- What to make of Matt Damon's "Project Greenlight" remarks?


-- The Guardian asks: Who killed the 20th century's greatest spy?

-- The Wall Street Journal offers why North Dakota is the best state to visit.

-- What makes a restaurant "authentic"? (CityLab)

-- It's not every day a medieval skeleton bursts out of the ground. (Irish Mirror)


Envelopes. Stationery. Calligraphy. Stamps. You may faintly remember letters, those things you wrote before emailing, posting to social media and texting. The members of the L.A. Pen Pal Club are helping to keep the art of snail mail, in all its vintage glory, alive and well.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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