Newsletter: Today: Kim Jong Un’s Threats and an Olive Branch?

Kim Jong Un
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, leader Kim Jong Un delivers his New Year’s speech.
(Korean Central News Agency / Korea News Service via Associated Press)

North Korea’s leader says, “Our nation’s nuclear power can destroy and respond to any nuclear threat from the U.S.,” but he also has some conciliatory words for South Korea.


Kim Jong Un’s Threats and an Olive Branch?

In a New Year’s speech, Kim Jong Un says that North Korea has reached its goal of becoming a nuclear power and that “a nuclear button is always on my desk” to deter the United States. Yet mixed in with the threats were some surprises: A wish for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month “to be successful” and to “improve the currently frozen inter-Korean relationship and make of this meaningful year a notable year in the history of our nation.”


As Iranians Take to the Streets, Trump Tweets

The biggest outbreak of anti-government protests in a decade has gripped Iran, with two protesters reported killed and scores arrested. President Trump has been tweeting his enthusiastic support for the demonstrators. Could that be the “kiss of death” to the uprising? Iran’s leaders have used the tweets to portray the dissenters as pawns of the U.S.

In this photo obtained by the Associated Press, anti-riot Iranian police prevent university students from joining other protesters in Tehran on Dec. 30, 2017.
(Associated Press )

More Politics


-- The Palestinian Authority has temporarily recalled its ambassador to Washington.

-- Trump tweeted his wishes for a happy and healthy New Year to his “friends, supporters, enemies, haters, and even the very dishonest Fake News Media.”

-- Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. says the courts will take a closer look at how to prevent the sexual harassment of clerks.

California Is Now 420-Friendly

For those who have been pushing to “legalize it,” today marks a, well, high point: Californians can go to the store and buy marijuana for recreational use. That doesn’t mean there’s suddenly a pot shop everywhere you turn; as of Friday, the state had issued about 50 licenses to sell recreational pot and hadn’t issued any for a store in the city of L.A. There are still restrictions on where it can be used — for example, not in public. And to buy will require another kind of green: cash only. Here’s what you need to know.

The Real Estate Market’s Popping in … Stockton

A decade ago, the financial crisis helped put Stockton on the brink: The city went bankrupt and soon found a place on the “worst places in the U.S. to live” list. Lately, Stockton has topped a different list: California cities with the greatest increase in home prices over the last five years. Columnist Steve Lopez paid a visit to a place where you can still buy a nice family home for about $200,000 to $350,000 but the local wages are no match.

Wine-Country Rents Jump, but Is It Price Gouging?


Last year the wildfires added another dimension to the housing crisis in Northern California: With thousands of buildings damaged or destroyed, homes in wine country are hard to find and rents have skyrocketed. Scores of residents have alleged rent gouging after the October firestorms, but prosecutors say such claims often are not 100% clear.


-- Jonathan Gold’s hangover helper: Nine dishes to ease your morning after.

-- How to read more books in 2018: It’s a resolution you can keep.

-- In case you missed it: This graphic breaks down how California’s new laws for 2018 will affect you.


-- For campers along the Rose Parade route in Pasadena, a chilly night on the sidewalk is worth it.

-- These photographers tell the secrets of taking pictures of Vandenberg Air Force Base’s rocket launches. Would you believe a plastic Home Depot bucket is involved?



-- A man accused of making a hoax phone call that resulted in a fatal police shooting in Kansas was arrested in South Los Angeles. He’s been accused of hoaxes before.

-- California lawmakers could step in to protect the online privacy of consumers in 2018, even if the federal government won’t.

-- How Crips gangs, once mortal enemies, are making peace in a softball league like no other.


-- Pictures or it didn’t happen? Comedian Dave Chappelle and singer John Mayer held a concert at the Hollywood Palladium, and everyone had to relinquish their cellphones. Here’s what we saw.

-- The horror-punk band the Misfits played the Forum, and it’s safe to say Halloween came a couple of months late.

-- “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is projected to become the highest-grosssing film of 2017, just edging out fellow Disney property “Beauty and the Beast.”

-- TV critic Robert Lloyd remembers Rose Marie, an unnaturally talented natural performer for life.


On this date in 1947, the experimental TV station W6XYZ carried the first live broadcast of the Rose Parade. Shortly thereafter, the station would become KTLA. Back in 1990, veteran KTLA reporter Stan Chambers related how TV coverage of the parade had changed in his decades on the air.


-- Colorado authorities say the man who shot and killed a sheriff’s deputy and wounded four others “knew we were coming” and essentially ambushed the officers.

-- In Costa Rica, a plane carrying 10 U.S. citizens and two local crew members crashed in a wooded area, killing all aboard, officials said.

-- More than 3,000 Yazidis from Iraq are still missing after the collapse of Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate.


-- Broadcom’s hostile takeover bid for rival chipmaker Qualcomm is a high-stakes chess match whose outcome could have a huge effect on the tech industry.

-- The closing of the Umeya Rice Cake Co. factory in Little Tokyo marks the end of an era.


-- The Chargers beat the Raiders, but the playoffs were not in the cards for them. But maybe the biggest story out of StubHub Center was that Raider Nation in L.A. was shown to be alive and well.

-- Oklahoma faces Georgia in the Rose Bowl today; the winner heads to Atlanta for next week’s national championship game.


-- Two law professors write that the tax plan Trump signed into law creates one of the largest new loopholes in decades.

-- Doyle McManus looks at what he got wrong about Trump during 2017.

-- “We’re semi-retired and living in an RV. It’s not as ghastly as it may sound.”


-- The origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation. (New York Times)

-- “How America is transforming Islam.” (The Atlantic)

-- A collection of New Year’s poems. (Poetry Foundation)


For some people, a 2.5-mile walk would be a nice way to get started on that New Year’s resolution to lose weight. In Santa Monica, it’s what you do in between workouts — at least during the Pico Fitness Crawl, which lets you try out 19 fitness studios over that stretch on Jan. 13. After sampling them all, you may very well be crawling.

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