I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Political operatives trying to define Hillary Clinton have several versions to consider. How to decide? And how China's currency gymnastics could hit home in California. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.
There are several Hillary Clintons. Which one you know probably depends on your age. Baby boomers are all too familiar with the Bill-and-Hillary White House years and seem either to love or hate her. But a new generation of voters knows mainly the solo Hillary, the senator and secretary of State. That poses challenges for both sides as they try to define, or redefine, her.
U.S. leaders have howled for years that China has kept its currency artificially low, giving it an unfair trade advantage. Now, China's stumbling economy is forcing it to let market forces play a bigger role, and guess what? The yuan is even lower. That has huge implications for global trade -- and for California, where it could slow shopping binges by millions of Chinese tourists.
Hot and Bothered
In a fire season fueled by four years of drought, wildfire fighters in Northern California already had their hands full. Now, like insult on top of injury, comes a triple-digit heat wave. The blazes raging are of size and ferocity usually not seen until September or October. Moreover, the fires are defying computer models and past experience. Expect a lot more of them.
The schools don't have fire drills; they have "escaped-prisoner training." Locals love their leafy neighborhoods and stable economy but fret about living among stressed-out guards and parolees. Welcome to Prison Valley -- Cañon City and Florence, Colo. -- home to seven state and four federal lock-ups. A popular local saying: "Even those on the outside live on the inside."
Ho-Hum, the Obamas Again.
There are plenty of reasons presidents have chosen Martha's Vineyard for summer vacations: pastoral views, long beaches, ocean air, good golf. The biggest one may be the island's laid-back attitude toward celebrity. Here's a fun look at the Vineyard's comfy association with presidents since Ulysses S. Grant put it on the map with a visit in 1874.
-- L.A. agrees to a $15-million settlement over a teen with a pellet gun who was paralyzed in a police shooting.
-- Bumble Bee will pay $6 million in the case of a worker who died in a pressure cooker.
-- Drought watch: California will soon have the nation's toughest shower head requirements.
-- Scientists see more evidence of a strong El Niño, an ocean phenomenon that could bring rain to California.
-- Former President Carter, 90, says he has cancer and will undergo treatment in Atlanta.
-- A peculiar drought in rain country: Puget Sound cities are asked to cut water use 10%.
-- Legionnaires' disease in the Bronx: 115 cases, 12 dead. A poor neighborhood wants reassurance.
-- Explosions at a Chinese container terminal kill at least 50 and injure hundreds.
-- A photo is purported to show a Croatian man beheaded by the Islamic State affiliate in Egypt.
-- Citizens Bank agrees to pay $34.5 million in fines and refunds for shortchanging customers who made mistakes on deposit slips.
-- Tablet shipments keep falling as large-screen phones become more popular.
-- U.S. Olympic officials say they're "very optimistic" about reaching terms to make L.A. the American bidder for the 2024 Summer Games.
-- The Clippers' Blake Griffin will finally get a chance to play for Team USA.
-- The Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma throws the season's fourth no-hitter, a 3-0 win over the Orioles.
-- Uggie, "The Artist" dog with plucky star quality, dies at 13.
-- Andreas Deja, an animator who learned from legends, joins Disney's elite.
-- Songs that mattered, before and after the Watts riots.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Sen. Claire McCaskill in Politico: "How I helped Todd Akin win -- so I could beat him later."
-- The fuss over the Shakespeare marijuana story underscores how little we know about him (The Atlantic).
-- Vladimir Putin makes some progress in his other war: Russian smoking and binge drinking (Bloomberg).
-- NPR looks back at the golden era of hitchhiking.
ONLY IN L.A.
The 4-inch black plastic balls cost about 36 cents each. L.A. has bought 96 million of them. No, the city's not going into the bounce-house business. They're called "shade balls," and they're a nifty way to fight algae and evaporation in the city's open reservoirs -- well worth the $34.5 million cost, city officials say. Here's an explainer on how this works.
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