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Newsletter: Today: The Tragedy of California’s Wildfires

The death and destruction from California’s wildfires have grown, as firefighters face more than a dozen blazes.

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The Tragedy of California’s Wildfires

The death toll from the wildfires in California has continued to rise, with eight fatalities reported — two fire crew members in the Ferguson fire near Yosemite and six people in the Carr fire in and around Redding. Among the six were a 70-year-old woman and her two great-grandchildren, whom she tried to save with a wet blanket. Across the state, about 12,000 firefighters are battling 17 blazes. With many fires burning near populated areas, resources are spread thin, and engines have been summoned from as far away as Florida. But officials did express some hope in battling the Carr fire, which has also destroyed more than 870 structures: Cooler temperatures and increased humidity should give firefighters a chance to contain more of it.

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REDDING, CALIF. -- SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2018: Firefighters from Los Angeles help stop the spread of a fi
A firefighter from Los Angeles helps to douse hot spots near homes in Redding, Calif.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

He Said, He Said: ‘Enemy of the People’ Edition

President Trump has been tweeting about some of his favorite topics: the Russia investigation, threats of a government shutdown over border wall funding and, of course, the media. Trump said that he had met New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger and talked about “the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media.” Sulzberger said that he had actually warned the president about his “increasingly dangerous” anti-media rhetoric.

More Politics

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-- The White House said Trump is “open to visiting Moscow,” as Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested Friday, and renewed the president’s proposal for Putin to come to Washington in 2019.

-- With more than 1,800 migrant families now reunited under a court-ordered deadline, the question turns to how fast immigration authorities can deport those with final orders of removal.

-- Trump has celebrated the strong economic growth numbers released last week, but his own public approval ratings remain unusually low for a U.S. leader presiding over good times.

This Furniture Is a Steal — Literally

To the victors go the spoils. In Syria, the spoils are furniture, appliances, rugs — even the copper wiring found in the homes of rebel-held areas. Successive waves of fighters including Islamic State militants and rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad took their cuts, but militiamen fighting on behalf of Assad have turned the looting into a high-stakes business. The stolen goods show up in street markets at rock-bottom prices.

Rebel, Rebel

The city of Masaya, Nicaragua, is known as a bastion of the Sandinista revolution that ousted a dictator almost 40 years ago. This year, it became an emblem of opposition to President Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista government, as masked insurgents turned some parts of the city into fortified areas of resistance. Though pro-government forces engaged in heavy fighting to take back those districts, our foreign correspondent found an uneasy calm there.

The Fast, the Furious, the Deadly and the Viral

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Police say potentially deadly street racing in Los Angeles County has accelerated — and social media have helped fuel its rise. Racers use Instagram, YouTube and other platforms not only to spread the word but also to publicize their exploits. One of the LAPD’s top investigators says he’s seen an increase in confrontations that can be turned into viral videos.

A Really Long Wait for the Train

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is planning a light-rail line through the densely populated areas of Hollywood, Beverly Grove and West Hollywood that could have the highest ridership of any line in the U.S. What’s not to love? A planned opening date in 2047. Can it be sped up?

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OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

-- Anatomy of a housing crisis: Investors are snatching up older apartment buildings and clearing out tenants in mass evictions. Then, after renovations, the units are re-marketed at double the rent.

-- This homeless veteran and his wife live in a beat-up Jeep in L.A. and cling to hope, waiting for a place to call home.

-- California’s attorney general is waging war against Trump. These are the battlefronts.

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-- An immigrant mother from Guatemala finds she’s too poor to leave the U.S.

-- “Marijuana is a gift from God.” Some Mormons are at odds with the church over pot.

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- Scenes from the deadly Carr fire, which swept into the city of Redding.

-- L.A. paid tribute to the late Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold on what would have been his 58th birthday with landmarks lighted in gold.

CALIFORNIA

-- Is Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti running for president of the United States or not? Columnist Steve Lopez wants to know and whether he’ll take care of things in L.A. first.

-- These architects were asked to design appealing homeless shelters on a $1-million budget. Here’s what they came up with.

-- Calculations show the bullet train can complete its route within two hours and 40 minutes. Reality may prove slower.

-- Millions of Californians are poor, and they don’t always live where you’d expect.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- The TV show “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story,” premiering tonight, takes an emotional look back at the shooting that divided a nation.

-- The summer of sequels: “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” the sixth installment in the franchise, opened in first place at the box office in the U.S. and Canada.

-- The late Carrie Fisher will appear in the next “Star Wars” film via previously unreleased footage. Her brother, Todd Fisher, approves and costar Mark Hamill calls the experience bittersweet.

-- The documentary “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” spills the tea on sexuality and movie stars.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

Dick Smith transformed Dustin Hoffman into a 120-year-old and turned an adolescent Linda Blair into a diabolical demon — all in a day’s work for the man once called “the greatest makeup artist who ever lived.” “Even when the characters were fantastically weird,” said Smith, who died on this date in 2014 at the age of 92, “I always tried to make them believable.”

NATION-WORLD

-- Police are looking for a motive in a New Orleans shooting that killed three people and wounded seven others at a strip mall.

-- Hours before today’s vote in Zimbabwe, former President Robert Mugabe slammed the ruling party he once headed and said opposition leader Nelson Chamisa was the only viable candidate.

-- No surprise here: Cambodia’s authoritarian prime minister won in a landslide. The country’s main opposition party was banned from competing.

-- A Palestinian teen who had been in prison for slapping two Israeli soldiers says she wants to become a lawyer and defend her people.

BUSINESS

-- CBS board members are expected today to decide how to respond to allegations that Chief Executive Leslie Moonves sexually harassed women decades ago, according to several people familiar with the matter.

-- Do credit scores punish you for not carrying debt?

SPORTS

-- Can you guess the ballpark? Minimalist artist S. Preston illustrated the 30 Major League Baseball stadiums and we created this game.

-- It took 58 years for the Angels to witness the Hall of Fame induction of a player wearing their cap. Vladimir Guerrero kept his acceptance speech short and sweet, just like his at-bats.

OPINION

-- Noncitizens in America deserve a pathway to citizenship, not the ability to vote.

-- Was the 2016 presidential election legitimate? It’s now definitely worth asking the question, writes columnist Virginia Heffernan.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Reporter Carl Bernstein has seen it all, but nothing quite like Trump. (Washington Post)

-- So this is why you never won the big prize in McDonald’s Monopoly: A former cop and his network rigged the game and won for a dozen years. (Daily Beast)

-- At restaurant critic Jonathan Gold’s funeral, the catering was done by food truck. (L.A. Taco)

ONLY IN L.A.

One … billion … dollars. That’s the asking price for a 157-acre undeveloped piece of land sitting at the highest point in Beverly Hills. It’s the most expensive listing in the history of L.A. by a large margin, and it could be developed into a super-exclusive neighborhood or one large estate. Who could afford it? Paging Dr. Evil.

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