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Newsletter: Today: Blame Canada (and Mexico and Europe)?

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Coils are stored for delivery at the production site of German steel technology group Salzgitter AG.
(Tobias Schwartz / AFP-Getty Images)

After the Trump administration’s latest decision to impose tariffs, the leaders of America’s closest allies are none too happy. Even Canada.

TOP STORIES

Blame Canada (and Mexico and Europe)?

What’s a trade war among friends? President Trump’s decision to put tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union for “national security” reasons has produced some angry reactions among America’s closest allies, with promises of dollar-for-dollar retaliation and more. “That Canada could be a national security threat to the U.S. is inconceivable,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Though industry analysts say consumers are unlikely to see large price increases as a result, the bigger concern is what comes next, such as tariffs on imported cars and auto parts.

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Pardon Me

The pardon power granted to a president in the U.S. Constitution is one of the most absolute, but since George Washington, chief executives have voluntarily accepted restraints by following certain processes. Not so with Trump. Witness his announcement that he is giving a full pardon to conservative provocateur Dinesh D’Souza and considering clemency for Martha Stewart and imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. So what’s driving these? That’s where it gets interesting.

An Unusual Visitor to the White House

North Korean spy chief and four-star general Kim Yong Chol has been accused of orchestrating the cyberattack on Sony Pictures and the deadly 2010 torpedoing of a South Korean warship. Today, he’s expected to meet Trump at the White House and deliver a personal letter from Kim Jong Un after talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York. The whirlwind diplomacy is the latest sign that the on-again, off-again Trump-Kim summit may be on for June 12. Even so, Trump has suggested follow-up meetings may be necessary to hammer out a disarmament deal. There’s also a new wild card: Russia, which has been mostly on the sidelines, sent its foreign minister to meet with Kim in Pyongyang.

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USC’s Change at the Top

As the University of Southern California navigates a widening scandal involving a longtime campus gynecologist, it’s getting fresh leadership: The university’s board of trustees has elected mall magnate Rick Caruso to be the new chairman. The move marks the latest effort by USC to address the case, which has sparked a criminal investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and dozens of civil lawsuits.

A Hopeful Sign on Homelessness

According to the official numbers, homelessness in L.A. has dipped slightly: down about 5% to 31,516 in the city and down about 3% to an estimated 53,195 people countywide. After three years of sharp increases, that’s the good news. But officials also warned that the number of people falling into homelessness for the first time increased and that the percentage of homeless people living on L.A. County’s streets was unchanged.

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(Los Angeles Times )

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY

Ninety years ago, Hollywood was transitioning to talkies. A big project for studios: teaching stars to talk on film. Actress Anita Page’s “instruction consisted in speaking into the telegraphone, which recorded every inflection of her voice, its tone and quality and reproduced it so the actress was able to analyze every defect,” according to a Times story from May 29, 1928. What exactly is a telegraphone? Read on.

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May 28, 1928: USC President Rufus B. von KleinSmid stands behind actress Anita Page as she takes her first lesson at the university’s school of speech.
(Los Angeles Times )

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- This video demonstrates scientists’ best guess about how Pluto wound up with methane dunes despite having such a thin atmosphere.

-- Film critic Justin Chang reviews the sleek dystopian thriller “Upgrade,” set in a not-so-distant future.

CALIFORNIA

-- A UCLA cardiologist has been temporarily stripped of his medical license after state regulators described him as a “sexual predator” who assaulted three female colleagues when he was working and training at L.A. County-USC Medical Center. Dr. Guillermo Andres Cortes’ defense attorney said his client “vehemently denies the allegations and charges presented to the medical board.”

-- A new polls says Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa is struggling to secure second place in the primary election for governor and is several points behind Trump-backed Republican businessman John Cox.

-- In the race for state superintendent of public instruction, standard party affiliations don’t much matter. The two major players here are teachers unions and charter schools.

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-- At Los Angeles’ Mexican Consulate, officials received training from the Anti-Defamation League about how to respond to hate crimes.

YOUR WEEKEND

-- Chicken salad, anyone? These 17 recipes will get you started.

-- Summer entertaining 101: L.A. designer Nathan Turner shares seven tips.

-- June gloom is great gardening weather. Here’s a treasure trove of ideas to get you started.

-- If you’re thinking about remodeling, these bathroom vanities could serve as inspiration.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- “Full Frontal” host Samantha Bee has apologized but is still facing a barrage of criticism (including from the White House) after describing Ivanka Trump with a derogatory word on her talk show.

-- Recording Academy President Neil Portnow is stepping down in 2019, a move some felt was inevitable after he said women needed to “step up” to make their presence felt at the Grammy Awards

-- Film critic Kenneth Turan calls the true-life heist story “American Animals” one of summer’s freshest and most entertaining films.

NATION-WORLD

-- A State Department report on religious freedom has slammed Saudi Arabia and China for human rights abuses, but only one of the two is facing sanctions.

-- Syrian President Bashar Assad threatened to attack a region held by U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria and said American troops should leave the country.

-- Triclosan, an antimicrobial agent found in toys, toothpaste, cosmetics and more than 2,000 other consumer products, has been found to wreak havoc on the guts of mice.

-- The U.S. and Cuba are getting along quite well in one area: preserving Ernest Hemingway’s former estate near Havana.

BUSINESS

-- Rather than own a car, would you pay a flat monthly rate to drive an SUV for the weekend or a muscle car on weekdays? These subscription services are emerging as a trend, and dealers are hoping to put themselves in the driver’s seat with a bill in Sacramento.

-- California created a savings program for workers without retirement benefits. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. is suing to kill it, arguing it is illegal under federal law.

SPORTS

-- In Clayton Kershaw’s return to the mound after missing a month with biceps tendonitis, the Dodgers pitcher was accompanied by what has become his evil twin: his bad back.

-- LeBron James scored 51 points for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Golden State Warriors took Game 1 of the NBA Finals in overtime.

OPINION

-- Voting absentee? Here’s the complete list of L.A. Times endorsements in the California primary on Tuesday.

-- The author of the Prison Diaries blog says it’s time to stop mocking Kim Kardashian West for caring about prison reform.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- You’ve read about Michael Cohen’s threats, but you haven’t heard them until you listen to this interaction with Trump’s longtime lawyer. (NPR)

-- How did LeBron James end up signing with Nike instead of Reebok or Adidas? Fruity Pebbles had something to do with it. (The Undefeated)

-- Raising multilingual children isn’t easy, but the most important thing, according to this writer, is to not get so uptight about it. (Aeon)

ONLY IN L.A.

If you had to pick an ice cream flavor to represent Los Angeles, what would it be? At one gelateria, the offerings include black sesame (representing the San Gabriel Valley), saffron (an homage to Westwood) and coconut lemongrass (Thai Town). In this video, the shop founder gives us the scoop.

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


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