Newsletter: Today: Man With the Golden Gums. Ghost Ships of North Korea.

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


Empire State of Mind

Donald Trump canceled a trip to Rancho Palos Verdes last week to focus on his home state of New York. And as columnist Cathleen Decker writes, it figures: “The reality is that California political events are not exactly up to snuff compared with those in other states.” Agree or disagree? In any event, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton kept in a New York state of mind over the weekend, moving back to form after some testy exchanges.


The Man With the Golden Gums

Geoff Marshall-Hill travels the world. His clients are top secret. He carries an aluminum-clad suitcase that contains 29 cigar-sized cartridges, each marked with a scent component. The 57-year-old Brit’s mission: to identify flavors that will influence the global food and beverage market. Catch up with the principal flavorist for the Swiss company Givaudan as he samples the citrus at UC Riverside’s orchards.

WeHo: Let’s Talk Less About Sex

Call it sex and the city. West Hollywood officials haven’t shown too many inhibitions about risqué talk at council meetings or offering free condoms in the lobby of City Hall. But recently the city agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against it and Councilman John Duran -- brought on behalf of a man Duran hired as his deputy after meeting him on Grindr. That’s why some are saying it’s time to tone it down.


Ghost Boats of North Korea

The boats float eerily out of a haze along the sleepy west coast of Japan. Most are empty, but at least 14 of them have had a grisly cargo: decomposing bodies. Where they came from is clear: North Korea. Everything else about them is mostly a mystery. Who were the people on board, and what happened to them? 

Like a Good Book on a Rainy Day

They came. They read. They discussed. More than 500 authors joined us for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the USC campus for a weekend of lively discussions, awards and more. A bit of rain on Saturday didn’t dampen spirits. Here’s how it unfolded on our live blog.

Mumbai Puts the Car Before the Horse

For decades, horse-drawn carriages have been a symbol of Mumbai, evoking Bollywood and a colonial past. Soon, they’ll fade into history, after a court ruled that they must be off the roads by June because the hazards to horses and humans are too great in a metropolis filled with cars. That’s welcome news for animal rights activists, who’ve long argued that the animals are overworked and underfed.


-- Criminal hackers now target hospitals, police stations and schools.


-- Ted Cruz is outmaneuvering Donald Trump in behind-the-scenes battles for delegates.

-- “We need an outsider like Trump,” says this two-time Obama voter.

-- Some cry foul as state lawmakers collect public pension checks and legislator salaries.

-- There’s outrage after big labor crafts a law paying its members less than non-union workers.

-- Where are L.A.'s dirtiest streets? Take a look at this interactive map. 

-- A transgender teenage ballplayer at a Santa Monica prep school spreads a message of hope and acceptance.

-- The oral history of “Bridget Jones’s Diary” from Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth and more.



-- A disproportionate share of blacks and Latinos lose their driver’s licenses because of unpaid tickets, according to a study.

-- A 15-story space shuttle fuel tank begins its trek to Los Angeles.

-- What you need to know about California’s new birth control law.

-- Has she smoked weed? What will happen with recreational pot? A conversation with California’s first marijuana czar.


-- The Brussels terrorists were planning another attack on France, prosecutors say.

-- Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert paid to hide sex abuse, then lied about it, a federal filing alleges

-- Ukraine’s prime minister resigns as corruption scandals shake Europe.

-- President Obama says Hillary Clinton was careless with emails but didn’t jeopardize national security.

-- Immigrant detention centers remind a 71-year-old therapist of her traumatic childhood in internment camps. 


-- Guns N’ Roses roars back musically even as Axl Rose’s foot injury hobbles rock’s former bad boy.

-- Ice Cube on N.W.A.'s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction: “Hip-hop is here forever.”

-- Ken Burns’ “Jackie Robinson” documentary goes beyond baseball. 

-- TV review: The price of “The Girlfriend Experience” might be too high; it taxes one’s dignity.

-- Falun Gong, banned in China, finds a loud protest voice in the U.S. through the Shen Yun dance troupe

-- Inside the MTV Movie Awards. 

-- Middle East Film & Comic Con proves the Force is strong in Dubai.


-- Despite the hype for Tesla’s Model 3, electric car sales are far from robust.

-- How retail stores are using virtual reality to make shopping more fun.


-- Trying to play it safe, Jordan Spieth plays his way into a historic collapse at the Masters.

-- Manny Pacquiao says he’s retiring after his victory over Timothy Bradley.

-- The Anaheim Ducks ended the regular season by snatching away the division title from the Los Angeles Kings.


-- Drought is the new normal. We need less shaming and more incentivizing.

-- The old global consensus on the war on drugs is crumbling.


-- Trump says the Boston Globe is “stupid” after it publishes a satirical front page. (Boston Globe)

-- A surgeon recalls the night a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan was bombed. (Medium)

-- Inside China’s underground churches. (The Economist) 

-- Do you go online “almost constantly”? One in five Americans say they do. (Pew Research Center)


After a sickly sea lion pup was found sleeping in a La Jolla restaurant earlier this year, it only makes sense that a goat would wander into a Starbucks. After police received calls of the animal wandering a strip mall in Rohnert Park, Millie was found in a coffee shop, chewing on a box and soon to become the latest social media sensation. Cue the jokes about her craving a maaa-chiato.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.