Newsletter: Today: A ‘Tectonic Time Bomb’ 

Why the Hayward fault is one of California’s most feared, as explained by U.S. Geological Survey geologist David Schwartz.


In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Big One could come from a fault you may not have heard of.


A ‘Tectonic Time Bomb’


Today marks the 112th anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake, which destroyed the city (see some haunting images here) and helped instill a fear of the huge San Andreas fault among Californians to this day. But new research shows the lesser-known Hayward fault poses a greater danger. Two million people live on top of the fault in the East Bay. A hypothetical magnitude 7 earthquake centered below Oakland could kill at least 800 people, injure 18,000 and leave more than 400,000 homeless, the U.S. Geological Survey says. Read on for more about the so-called HayWired scenario.

Setting the Summit Stage

President Trump said that direct talks with Pyongyang have already begun at “extremely high levels.” How high? Trump confirmed Wednesday that CIA Director (and nominee for secretary of State) Mike Pompeo secretly visited Kim Jong Un in North Korea to lay the groundwork for a Trump-Kim summit. The president said five sites are being considered for a meeting by early June, “assuming that things go well.” The revelation comes as Trump tries to reassure Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, who is visiting at Mar-a-Lago and wants to make sure any U.S.-North Korean pact would not leave Japan vulnerable.

More Politics

-- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to block bipartisan legislation intended to protect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III from being fired by Trump. “I’m the one who decides what we take to the floor,” he said.

-- The Supreme Court spared a California immigrant from deportation because his conviction for home burglary was not the kind of “aggravated felony” that would require removing him from the country. Trump appointee Justice Neil M. Gorsuch joined with four liberals to cast the deciding vote.

-- “With all due respect, I don’t get confused”: Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, shot back at a senior White House advisor who claimed she apparently was confused when she disclosed plans to impose new sanctions on Russia.

-- Fox News is backing host Sean Hannity, whose ethics have been questioned after the courtroom revelation that Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen considered him a client.

A First Lady and First Mother

To her children and the White House staff, she was “the enforcer.” Her husband called her “Miss Frank.” Among the public, she was one of the most popular first ladies in history, though not without some controversies. Barbara Pierce Bush, only the second woman in America to have been the wife of one president and the mother of another, has died at age 92. “I really love my life,” she told The Times in 1988, “but I could have chosen not to like it. I chose to like it.”

Plutonium Dust in the Wind

The Hanford Site in Washington state used to produce plutonium for America’s nuclear weapons. Today, it is one of the Department of Energy’s most challenging cleanup projects. Last year, as crews demolished a plant, unknown amounts of plutonium dust were swept up and blown for miles. It went on for nearly 12 months, getting worse before the project was stopped in mid-December. Now, officials are trying to figure out what went wrong and who is responsible.

Dying for Lack of Healthcare

Half a century ago under Gov. Ronald Reagan, California created guidelines for the detention of people deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others, or “gravely disabled” — meaning those unable to provide food, clothing or shelter for themselves. This summer, Sacramento lawmakers will debate adding medical treatment to that list as a way to help homeless people who are ailing. Some advocates say it will give authorities a valuable tool to help those on the streets, while others say it’s not enough and worry about forced treatment.

Sign up to get Today’s Headlines delivered to your inbox. »


-- Peter Sarsgaard reflects on the conflicts and complexities in Hulu’s adaptation of the book “The Looming Tower,” about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

-- Meet TESS, NASA’s new planet-hunting satellite scheduled for launch today.


-- As Los Angeles County faces a state investigation into whether it illegally spent taxpayer money on a campaign for Measure H, it has recruited the person who once headed the agency doing the investigating.

-- State lawmakers have rejected a housing bill that would have opened the door to four- or five-story-tall buildings in areas zoned for single-family homes.

-- After four fatal traffic collisions in a week in South Los Angeles, three of which were hit-and-runs, residents are demanding the city do more to protect pedestrians and cyclists.

-- Columnist Steve Lopez visits the Coachella you probably don’t know, such as Donna Fish’s Brown Date Garden.


-- The Tribeca Film Festival opens in New York today, with a lineup that embraces not just movies but also TV and streaming fare. It’s a sign of the times.

-- For Netflix’s “Lost in Space” reboot, production designer Ross Dempster didn’t necessarily look to the show’s ancestry for inspiration. Instead, he took a cue from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

-- Newscaster Carl Kasell has died at age 84. He lent his signature voice to NPR’s “Morning Edition” and the game show “Wait, Wait ... Don’t Tell Me!”

-- Rapper Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer Prize this week. Here are five songs that show why.


When Barbara Hale signed on to play secretary Della Street on “Perry Mason,” she got a promise that the TV show would last only 18 episodes, because she was concerned about taking care of her young children. Instead, the series would go on for nine seasons and she’d win an Emmy. Hale was born on this date in 1922 and died last year.


-- A Southwest Airlines jet apparently blew an engine at 30,000 feet and got hit by shrapnel, killing a passenger and injuring seven others. It was the first passenger fatality on a U.S. airline since 2009.

-- A nationwide search is on for 56-year-old Lois Ann Riess, who is wanted on murder charges in Minnesota and Florida and has been seen in Iowa, Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

-- Syrian state media reported that a team of international chemical weapons inspectors has entered Duma. The city was hit this month with a suspected poison gas attack by the government.

-- Scientists say one of the solar system’s early planets didn’t survive, but its diamonds are now on Earth. The tiny gems are about the width of a human hair and were discovered in a meteorite in Sudan.


-- The IRS is giving you one extra day to file after its website crashed on tax day.

-- Speaking of taxes, the U.S. Supreme Court appears split on whether online sellers must collect sales taxes.

-- A Los Angeles toy mogul’s $675-million bid to buy hundreds of Toys R Us stores is said to have been rejected because it was “way off” in valuation.

-- Tesla has again suspended production of its Model 3 car, and Elon Musk admitted his plant needs more workers instead of robots. Auto industry experts say the shutdown is highly unusual.


-- Rookie phenom Shohei Ohtani showed in his third start with the Angels that, well, he’s a rookie. Columnist Bill Plaschke explains.

-- The Las Vegas Golden Knights became the first National Hockey League franchise to sweep a playoff series in its inaugural season, by eliminating the L.A. Kings.


-- What makes a quake the Big One? Seismologist Lucy Jones writes that it’s defined by what happens after the shaking, something we can address.

-- When it comes to due process for deportees, the Supreme Court delivered a victory.


-- San Francisco’s seismic code for buildings isn’t as stringent as you’d think. (New York Times)

-- A look at why three groups are suing Alex Jones, including the latest suit by three parents who lost children in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. (Washington Post)

-- Germany is wrestling with what it means to be German. (The Economist)


Los Angeles is in the midst of a housing crisis, but it’s also home to the two most expensive houses publicly listed for sale in the U.S. The Manor in Holmby Hills has 56,500 square feet of living space and has been on the market 17 months at an asking price of $200 million. The aptly named Billionaire in Bel-Air has 38,000 square feet of interior and is now listed at $188 million — a price cut of $62 million. Take a closer look at how they stack up.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends. Comments or ideas? Email us at