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Today: Lightning Round

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

The Fire This Time

Combine hot, dry conditions with lightning strikes, high winds and a firefighting force stretched too thin. What they now face in eastern Washington is a combustible disaster with nearly 400,000 acres burned, thousands evacuated and three firefighters dead. Plus a debate over how the federal government pays to battle the blazes.

He Remains the Man From Plains

He’s 90 and has cancer that has spread to his brain. And he might have a few regrets. Like not sending "one more helicopter" into Tehran to rescue the American hostages in 1980. But former President Jimmy Carter’s focus is on the future, not the past. 

Finding Their Voices

What are English-language debate teams doing in China, where conforming to Communist Party ideals is stressed from the top down? Besides exposing Chinese teenagers to Western values, they’re preparing students for the rigors of college classrooms in the United States. There’s no book of rules, regulations and "right answers" to memorize, as students would for Chinese entrance exams. In debate competition there are many shades of gray

Training Day

It’s not enough anymore for police officers to know how to fire a gun and chase bad guys. In the wake of high-profile police shootings, the Los Angeles Police Department is rapidly training its rank-and-file members to think more like community guardians than warriors. Among the goals: teaching officers how to deal with the mentally ill, de-escalating situations, practicing patience. Next is gauging public perception.

Driven to Tears

In case you haven't noticed, that’s not just a toehold Uber and Lyft have secured in California. The rapidly expanding ride-hailing companies are fending off challenges from traditional taxi services, consumer advocates and some lawmakers. The latest battleground is how the companies screen their tens of thousands of drivers. Is it about innovation or consumer safety? 

CALIFORNIA

-- Compton officials have been illegally inflating their pay, the district attorney says.

-- The first wolf pack in California in nearly a century is found.

-- Caitlyn Jenner could face a manslaughter charge in a PCH crash.

--The  Supreme store in L.A. draws fashion fanatics seeking "dope" threads.

NATION-WORLD

-- Kim Jong-un orders North Korean troops to prepare for war.

-- Greece's Prime Minister Tsipras steps down and calls elections after a tough battle on the bailout.

-- Egypt's grim summer: An Islamic State affiliate claims the latest bombing.

-- A Palestinian detainee remains hospitalized after ending a hunger strike.

-- It’s a milestone for military women, but they still have far to go.

BUSINESS

-- Scope maker Olympus investigates Pasadena infections and denies any FDA violation.

-- Westfield is betting on food in a Century City mall revamp.

-- Goodwill goes upscale with new boutiques.

SPORTS

--The Indianapolis Colts hope new players can take them to the top.

-- Chase Utley is swell, but what about that Dodgers' bullpen?

ENTERTAINMENT

-- Jackie Chan: Caught between East and West.

-- Hallucinatory collages tell the story of the U.S.-Mexico border.

-- A Getty curator at the center of past looting scandals has been writing a memoir.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Quartz finds poetry in technology.

-- Cockney rhyming slang may be dying out, the Atlantic says. Blame the younger generation, of course.

ONLY IN L.A.

When your children come home from school, ask them if they brought any home-grown tomatoes with them. That’s not just fantasy at Enadia Way Elementary School in the San Fernando Valley. Not only do the kids tend a 10,000-square-foot vegetable garden, they’re learning about the drought and its consequences. Truly a hands-on science class. 

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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