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Today: Who Was Tashfeen Malik?

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

Who Was Tashfeen Malik?

She was once a bright and hard-working student who gossiped and talked of a career in pharmacology. She was also becoming an increasingly orthodox Muslim who, in private Facebook messages, expressed a desire to take part in violent jihad. We went to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to find out more about Tashfeen Malik, one of the shooters in the San Bernardino attack. Here is the portrait that emerged

L.A.'s Big Lessons in the School Shutdown

The superintendent said he should have been called earlier. The mayor said there should be closer coordination among agencies. The bottom line: Some of the key players surrounding the decision to close all of LAUSD’s 900 schools acknowledged the effort could have been handled better. What will they take away from what turned out to be a false alarm?

We Have Liftoff (on Interest Rates)

Interest rates have fallen, and now they can get up. Seven years to the day that the Federal Reserve brought its key short-term interest rate to as close to zero as possible, it finally pushed it up a quarter of a percentage point. In the short term, the effect on consumers like you and me should be minimal. Here’s what it means in the bigger picture

The Saga of Sumner Redstone

Sumner Redstone built a media empire. Has he become "a living ghost," as an ex-girlfriend's lawsuit alleges? Not so, say his lawyers. But the intrigue surrounding the tycoon remains. "Sumner is a man of great extremes," movie producer Robert Evans said. "But it is a sad commentary for him to be taken advantage of in this way." 

'I Know My Time Is Short'

Lydia Emily is a 44-year-old single mom, political activist and street artist. She also has secondary progressive multiple sclerosis -- "the bad kind," she says -- which limits her ability to use her hands. "I know my time is short. So my work is about: What can I do in that time, how can I help? What kind of example can I be for my girls?" Meet her in today's Great Read (and video).

CALIFORNIA

-- Students at two elementary schools could be relocated because of the Porter Ranch gas leak.

-- State investigators say inmates at a remote Northern California prison are subjected to "overt racism" and targeted for assault.

-- Graphic: Breaking down hate crimes in the state.

-- After drought, warmer weather and bugs, farmers are taking time off

NATION-WORLD

-- A mistrial is declared in the case of a Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

-- Expect more police and tighter security during the holidays in the U.S.

-- European nations' refugee policy leaves thousands of migrants stranded in Greece.

-- Who bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal and its sister publications for $140 million?

-- Cancer: More than just bad luck?

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Passed over before, N.W.A is elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple and Steve Miller also made the cut. 

-- Idris Elba reflects on playing a TV detective in "Luther" and a commander of child soldiers in "Beasts."

-- "Star Wars Kama Sutra"? A handful of ridiculous "Star Wars" books

-- Michael Jackson's "Thriller," the biggest-selling album of all time, passes the 30-million mark in U.S. sales

-- Steven Spielberg returns to his longtime production home Universal Pictures.

-- L.A. painter Lari Pittman is among the four new members of MOCA's board.

BUSINESS 

-- Why are California's gasoline prices high? Oil refiners do some explaining

-- A Copyright Royalty Board ruling means webcasters like Pandora must pay higher rates.

-- Our tech team's gift guide, and why each suggestion is terrible.

SPORTS

-- In Cuba, the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig had an emotional reunion with his half-brother.

-- The Dodgers got three prospects in a three-team trade.

-- USC's star linebacker Su'a Cravens will make himself available for the NFL draft.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- The story behind a woman who said she was raped, then said she made it up. (ProPublica)

-- In Mali, Islamic extremists once outlawed music. See what happened after the ban was lifted. (Freemuse)

-- Why the term "work-life balance" doesn't help matters. (The Atlantic)

-- A look at what the world Googled in 2015. (Google)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

Here's one for the conspiracy theorists: What does "The Dick Van Dyke Show" have to do with Malibu politics? Years ago, Van Dyke complained he couldn't buy a screwdriver in the beach town anymore because of all the high-end retailers. Fast-forward to last year, when residents passed a measure to limit the rise of chain stores. Leading the fight: Rob Reiner, son of the old TV show's creator, Carl. But here's the not-so-funny punchline: The measure was ruled unlawful this week.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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