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Newsletter: Today: The Korean Missile Crisis

TOPSHOT-NKOREA-POLITICS-MISSILE
This picture from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency on July 29 shows an intercontinental ballistic missile being tested.
(AFP/Getty Images)

New sanctions on North Korea, more threats from Pyongyang, and a signal from the U.S. that talks are possible “when conditions are right.” 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.

TOP STORIES

The Korean Missile Crisis

Four years ago, Kim Jong Un said Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program would not be traded “for billions of dollars.” So it’s no surprise blustery North Korean state media have reacted to what President Trump calls the “single largest economic sanctions package ever on North Korea” by saying the U.S. will “pay dearly.” But South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have signaled a willingness to talk at some point. Tillerson added, “The best signal that North Korea could give us that they’re prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches.”

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More Politics

-- President Trump, who got five draft deferments, went on a Twitter attack of Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s military record, calling him a “phony Vietnam con artist.”

-- Less shocking: Trump attacked the media again and said his base is “far bigger & stronger than ever.”

Trouble at a High-Desert Lockup

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In the high desert 85 miles northeast of L.A., the Adelanto Detention Facility can house nearly 2,000 men and women — asylum seekers, people caught in immigration sweeps and those identified by authorities as potentially deportable after landing in jail. Officials say more than 73,000 detainees have passed through the privately operated facility since opening in 2011. But complaints there have grown particularly loud this year after five reported suicide attempts since December and three deaths since March. Some detainees have gone on hunger strikes to protest the conditions.

Silicon Valley’s Brogrammer Problem

It’s a question Silicon Valley has struggled with for a long time: Why do tech companies have such a hard time with diversity? The emergence of a 3,000-word memo by a male Google employee who argued women are biologically incapable of doing a man’s job has added fuel to long-simmering concerns that the industry still doesn’t get it. Google has disavowed the memo, and a number of employees have come forward to decry it, but the numbers show Google and the tech industry have a ways to go.

One-Armed Bandits in the Savanna

In rural Ghana, many impoverished villages have no access to clean water. Yet early last year, a new diversion began appearing seemingly everywhere: crude Chinese slot machines. “People weren’t going to their farms anymore. People began to think that this was a way of earning income,” says one village chief who fought back. Most officials haven’t. As the final installment of our series on how Chinese investment is reshaping Africa shows, the poor have quickly developed an addiction to these one-armed bandits operated by Chinese companies.

Villagers bring two gambling machines out from a hut in Zamashegu, Ghana.
Villagers bring two gambling machines out from a hut in Zamashegu, Ghana.
(Noah Fowler / For The Times)

Universities Face a Tough Admission Test

How do you predict what thousands of 17- and 18-year-olds will do? That’s one of the basic challenges facing university administrators each year as they extend offers to prospective students. Sometimes, as UC Irvine recently found out, it backfires. Now the home of the Anteaters is investigating what went wrong and how the university could have responded better when it abruptly withdrew, then reinstated, hundreds of admission offers. Other schools have faced a similar fate and learned to adjust.

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MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- The rise of Chinese TV in Africa.

-- A drummer’s “beautiful struggle.”

-- Tony Hale, who plays a politician’s assistant on “Veep,” has some advice for his real-life counterparts.

CALIFORNIA

-- L.A. is hearing a rash of complaints about its new trash system, including higher rates and missed pickups.

-- “May you die in pain.” That comment from a man in the crowd was the nastiest moment of Republican Rep. Doug LaMalfa’s early-morning town hall in Chico.

-- An immigration appeals court granted a last-ditch reprieve to a man who was arrested in Los Angeles by immigration officers after he dropped his daughter at school.

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-- “I can’t believe how nice these people are”: In a Sierra Nevada town that had a close brush with flames, firefighters are basking in gratitude.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will choose a new president to succeed Cheryl Boone Isaacs tonight. Could it be Laura Dern?

-- Did you see that crazy dragon assault in “Game of Thrones”? Here are all the details about it.

-- Hundreds of Linkin Park fans paid tribute to the late Chester Bennington at a ceremony in downtown Los Angeles’ Grand Park.

-- Netflix has acquired comic-book publisher Millarworld in an effort to increase its superhero programming.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

Esther Williams, who was born in Los Angeles on this date in 1921, became a national swimming champion as a teenager. She was to compete in the 1940 Olympics, but the Games were canceled after World War II intensified. Williams landed in a swim revue at the San Francisco World’s Fair. Then Hollywood took notice.

NATION-WORLD

-- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the city is going to court to block the Department of Justice from withholding some police grant funding from so-called sanctuary cities.

-- In Kenya, memories of election horrors have set an ominous tone for today’s vote.

-- A clash over wet wipes is the latest front in the battle for self-rule in Washington, D.C.

-- How safe is your tuna to eat? It’s important to know where it was caught.

BUSINESS

-- In a blow to the GOP, a federal judge has ordered the government to pay Molina Health $52 million in Obamacare funds.

-- Columnist David Lazarus says the identity thief who entered his life 15 years ago is back.

-- Kathy Thomson, the former president of the Los Angeles Times Media Group who helped make it a digital-age player, has died at age 51.

SPORTS

-- The Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig is no longer the center of attention, but he’s playing some of his best baseball. No wonder he’s kissing the batting coach.

-- How Don Baylor, who died at age 68, put the Angels on the major league map.

OPINION

-- California politicians should leave the state’s recall rules alone.

-- L.A. is park-poor. So why is one of the most beautiful green spaces in the city locked behind a fence?

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Next time you go to a restaurant, remember this article about the people who wash the dishes. (Washington Post)

-- Young-adult novels are coming under attack on Twitter, sometimes before they’ve even come out. (Vulture)

-- How a couple bought one of San Francisco’s most expensive streets for $90,100 at an auction. (San Francisco Chronicle)

ONLY IN L.A.

On screen, it was once home to “The Beverly Hillbillies,” where the Clampetts went swimming in the “cement pond” and Granny kept a still. In real life, it’s an estate in Bel-Air with a 25,000-square-foot main residence built in 1933. Now, it’s on the market for $350 million, the most expensive residential listing in the U.S. At that price, you might need a shot of Granny’s moonshine to work up the courage.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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