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Newsletter: Today: Border Patrol’s Changing of the Guard

Trainee Jose Avalos learns defensive tactics in the El Centro Sector's Border Patrol citizens' academy.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

More and more Latinos are answering the call of the Border Patrol.

TOP STORIES

Border Patrol’s Changing of the Guard

When the Border Patrol was established in 1924, Latinos were a tiny minority. At last count, they make up a little more than 50% of the force. And with President Trump calling for hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents as part of his fight against illegal immigration, more are certain to join. At a citizens’ academy in El Centro, a California town across the border from Mexicali, 10 out of the 11 people taking part this year were Latino. Yet with Trump’s sharp immigration rhetoric in the background, joining the Border Patrol can make for some awkward conversations.

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More Politics

-- Trump pushed back against criticism that his decision to hold face-to-face talks with North Korea’s leader amounted to a major concession to Pyongyang. Meanwhile, South Korea says it will stop blasting K-pop and propaganda along its border with the North ahead of this week’s summit.

-- French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will each visit Washington this week with a message for Trump: Don’t nuke the Iran nuclear deal.

-- At a memorial service, Barbara Pierce Bush was remembered for the strength of character and wit that made her one of the most popular first ladies in U.S. history.

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At Barbara Bush's funeral: Laura Bush, left, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and Melania Trump.
(Paul Morse / Office of George H.W. Bush via Associated Press )

Mexico’s Motor City Shifts Gears

The area of central Mexico known as El Bajio, or “the lowlands,” has another nickname: New Detroit. Auto manufacturing has transformed the region, which once was one of Mexico’s largest sources of migrants to the U.S. With billions of dollars being invested, it now offers some reasons to stay. But Trump’s tough talk on trade has rattled El Bajio, and the uncertainty surrounding NAFTA and other trade policies is making some international automakers think twice about building more operations there.

Weathering a Different Storm

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Seven months have passed since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. As last week’s island-wide power outage showed, the road to recovery is long. But for Puerto Ricans displaced by the storm damage and receiving temporary housing assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued a series of short-term renewals that have created stress and despair. Critics want to know why FEMA isn’t offering a more permanent solution.

High and Dry in L.A.

Is L.A. blowing smoke when it comes to legal marijuana businesses? As of Friday, the unofficial pot holiday of 4/20, the city had granted approval to 139 pot shops but to none of the companies that have historically furnished them with marijuana. Nearly five months after California’s new pot laws went into effect, marijuana companies in L.A. are complaining they can’t do business. The city’s response: Mellow out; we’re working as fast as we can.

Retry Him, or Let Him Go?

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After the deaths of at least 10 homeless men in downtown L.A. in 1978, authorities labeled Bobby Joe Maxwell the “Skid Row Stabber.” He was convicted in two of the cases in 1984. Then, both convictions were overturned in 2010 after it was revealed that a jailhouse informant had lied on the stand. But Maxwell has remained in custody, as L.A. County prosecutors look to retry him — even after a massive heart attack just before Christmas that left him unable to move or speak. His family and attorneys now fear the 68-year-old may die while being held for a crime prosecutors can’t prove he committed.

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OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

-- The Environmental Protection Agency under Scott Pruitt is arguing more people will die in car accidents unless California fuel rules are weakened, a position that’s long been a point of contention.

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-- The CIA closed its first “black site” years ago, but its legacy of torture lives on in Thailand.

-- Many of California’s farmers still support Trump, despite immigration raids and tariffs. “If I’ve gotta take a few bullets getting caught up in the crossfire, ... we’re on a better trajectory as a country,” says one.

-- The Bay Area was once the national leader in seismic safety. Now, even with a booming tech economy, it’s falling behind.

-- Decoding your baby’s DNA: It can be done. Should it be?

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MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- Fingerboarding is like skateboarding, but with a tiny board. Let’s put it this way: It’s a much safer way to shred.

-- One way to tackle the dreaded task of assembling Ikea furniture: Get a robot to do it for you. But they aren’t perfect; there’s a blooper reel too.

CALIFORNIA

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-- A fatal stabbing at a Ventura restaurant has brought out anger at the police response and the city’s handling of its homeless problem.

-- Once again, authorities are trying to take over blighted property at the corner of Vermont and Manchester avenues in South L.A. over the owner’s objections.

-- Can a dinner conversation — or a hundred of them — ease racial division? A program backed by the city of L.A. is trying.

-- A veterans’ memorial in Boyle Heights is a place of pride yet also a source of division over its official name.

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HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- “Westworld” has returned for a second season, and the HBO show’s stars say it speaks to the #MeToo movement.

-- Oman authorities have ruled out “criminal suspicion” in the death of Swedish DJ Avicii, multiple media sources have reported. Unlike many of his EDM peers, Avicii believed in a more old-fashioned way of making music.

-- Beyonce turned the second weekend of Coachella into Beychella once again, but during her set, one of the most popular bands from outside the U.S. was playing elsewhere on the concert grounds.

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-- Junot Díaz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who was a headliner of this year’s L.A. Times Festival of Books, discussed his children’s book “Islandborn” on the second and final day of the event.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

Shirley Temple, who was born on this date in 1928, became the most popular child movie star of all time, then saw almost all of her fortune disappear because of her family’s lavish lifestyle and bad investments. She’d go on to a career as a diplomat before her death in 2014. Here’s a look at five of her most memorable roles on the silver screen.

NATION-WORLD

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-- The 29-year-old suspect in a shooting at a Nashville Waffle House that left four dead had been arrested last year by the U.S. Secret Service for being in a restricted area near the White House.

-- Two attacks on voter registration centers in Afghanistan killed 63 people, including 57 in Kabul.

-- Nicaragua’s president has taken back changes to the social security system that had set off several days of deadly protests and looting.

-- India’s rape crisis is getting worse, and some say Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not being vocal enough in condemning it.

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BUSINESS

-- Don’t run out of money in retirement: Here’s how much to use per year, and why.

-- A Los Angeles toy mogul is abandoning efforts to buy the Canadian stores of Toys R Us and instead plans to sweeten his rejected bid for more than 200 U.S. outlets of the bankrupt toy store.

SPORTS

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-- The Dodgers came from behind against the Washington Nationals to get back to .500, thanks to their speedy backup catcher. (Really.)

-- Zlatan Ibrahimovic update: Galaxy fans are still abuzz about him, and his presence may just bring some followers of the beautiful game back into the Major League Soccer fold.

OPINION

-- Breaking up California should be much harder to do, but an initiative to divide it into three states has a shot at making the ballot.

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-- Why do we give Paul Ryan credit for being consistent when his ideas are terrible?

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Shania Twain talked about abuse, betrayal and finding her voice. Oh, and also, why she would have voted for Trump if she were American, “even though he was offensive.” (The Guardian) Then, Twain went on Twitter to apologize. (USA Today)

-- This con man used fake identities to take women for hundreds of thousands of dollars, until they banded together to catch him. (The Atlantic)

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-- In 1967, Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right, and it made the flip overnight. Those involved doubt it could be done today, in part because of how society changed. (BBC)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

In 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson set out for California in pursuit of a married woman 10 years his senior. The next year, they’d get married, and the Scotsman would eventually go from obscurity to fame as the author of “Treasure Island,” “Kidnapped” and “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” This article retraces the steps of his Northern California adventure.

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

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