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Newsletter: Today: More Smog = Saving Lives?

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Vowing to defend California’s authority to set its own greenhouse gas emissions rules, Gov. Jerry Brown said the state would fight the new EPA plan “in every conceivable way possible.”
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The Trump administration plans to unravel the federal government’s most effective action against climate change. California officials are ready for a fight.

TOP STORIES

More Smog = Saving Lives?

The Trump administration wants to get rid of aggressive fuel economy targets for cars and trucks, an action that it acknowledges would result in more pollution harmful to people’s health. The upside? An improvement in vehicle and highway safety, according to administration officials. Environmental advocates and many outside scientists dispute that reasoning and say that the proposed regulations, which even automakers are wary of, would contribute to global warming. In addition, the administration is looking to take away California’s power to set its own, tougher greenhouse gas emissions standards and electric vehicle mandate. Gov. Jerry Brown vows to fight the new plan “in every conceivable way possible.”

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More Politics

-- Top national security officials made a rare appearance in the White House briefing room to warn that Russia continues to target U.S. elections and to outline what is being done to combat the interference.

-- The U.S. National Archives says it could be late October before senators can access all the requested records from Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s time in the White House. That could delay plans for a quick vote on his nomination to the Supreme Court.

-- CNN’s Jim Acosta challenged Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to counter Trump’s claim that the American press is the “enemy of the people.” She wouldn’t.

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Into the Fire Vortex

“It was like the movie ‘Twister.’” That’s how an eyewitness describes a giant, powerful spinning vortex that accompanied the deadly Carr fire in and around Redding, Calif., on July 26. Fueled by extreme heat and dry brush, the phenomenon lasted an hour and a half, with wind speeds exceeding 143 mph. Was it a “fire whirl” or a “fire tornado”? Scientists say it will take time to sort out, but either way it’s a worrisome sign for the future. Meanwhile, firefighters across the state are bracing for strengthening winds expected this weekend.

Imprisoned for Worshipping

Jehovah’s Witnesses have been in Russia for more than 100 years. During Soviet times, they were thrown in prison for refusing to serve in the military or based on accusations of espionage. Sixteen months ago, Russia’s Supreme Court banned Jehovah’s Witnesses as an extremist group on par with Islamic State. That’s led to raids, arrests — and the flight of about 250 to Finland as they seek asylum.

The Elephant in the Room

CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves was upbeat as usual while he ticked off a list of his company’s financial achievements in a call with investors. As for the sexual harassment allegations that threaten to end his long and successful career, he was mum “in light of pending litigation, and other matters, and on the advice of counsel,” as an executive explained. It was another jarring episode in the drama that has become CBS.

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY

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Gambling ships were a fixture off the Southern California coast in the 1920s and ’30s in an effort to avoid laws prohibiting card games, craps, roulette and bingo played for money. Eventually, a series of raids starting Aug. 1, 1939, would force the ships to cease operations. But as you can see in the photo below, they put up a fight.

Aug. 1, 1939: Crewmen on the gambling ship Rex used fire hoses to drive off police officers during r
Aug. 1, 1939: Crewmen on the gambling ship Rex used fire hoses to drive off police officers during raids on several gambling ships anchored off Santa Monica and Long Beach.
(Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times)

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- For the cast of the film “The Darkest Minds,” filming was almost like summer camp.

CALIFORNIA

-- MaryLinda Moss took on the role of lead hostage negotiator inside the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s when a gunman entered the store wounded. She told her story to columnist Robin Abcarian.

-- In Orange County’s Little Saigon, the arrest of a Vietnamese American man visiting his homeland stirs up anxiety and prompts immigrants to cancel travel plans.

-- Orange County prosecutors say that college student Blaze Bernstein was killed because he was gay and that they will pursue the murder case against his former high school classmate as a hate crime.

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YOUR WEEKEND

-- At this supermarket pop-up installation, everything is made of felt. Even the bottles of dishwasher detergent.

-- Check out these night markets, where you can shop and beat the heat.

-- What is forest bathing? Think hiking, but with an extra dose of reflection.

-- “Feast: Food of the Islamic World,” our cookbook of the week, is encyclopedic: more than 500 pages and 300 recipes.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- In Disney’s “Christopher Robin,” Winnie the Pooh’s best friend is all grown up and dealing with a midlife crisis.

-- Kate McKinnon seizes control of the frenzied action-comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” writes film critic Justin Chang.

-- Sara Bareilles opens up about working on the musical “Waitress” for five years, being a misfit and her new songs about President Obama.

NATION-WORLD

-- Pentagon officials say the painstaking process of identifying the remains turned over by North Korea is just beginning and could take months or in some cases years.

-- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abruptly canceled an official visit to Central and South America as a possible agreement to halt the violence and ease tensions along its border with the Gaza Strip appeared to be emerging.

-- A new ruling by Pope Francis calling the death penalty “inadmissible” in all circumstances may generate opposition from conservative Roman Catholics.

-- President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been declared the winner in Zimbabwe’s historic elections, but the political crisis there has deepened.

BUSINESS

-- Can Tesla operate on self-funding from now on? That’s what Elon Musk wants to do.

-- A Southern California company specializing in small drones for the military has an opportunity to contribute to aviation history: the first aerial flight on Mars.

SPORTS

-- The Dodgers defeated the Milwaukee Brewers by a score of 21 to 5, setting a record for runs at Dodger Stadium.

-- The making of a beautiful mind: This look at Chip Kelly’s early coaching days is the first in a three-part series on the UCLA football coach.

-- For Matt Fink and Jack Sears, it’s time to win the quarterback job at USC and hold off JT Daniels.

OPINION

-- Why is USC President C.L. Max Nikias still hanging around? The university needs to move faster to find new leadership.

-- Writer-producer Nadra Widatalla talked about racism with 10 strangers over dinner. It did not go well.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Apple has a record market value of more than $1 trillion, and it’s not the only mega-company dominating the economy. (New York Times)

-- Hurricane season has been relatively quiet. Scientists say that’s not necessarily a good thing. (National Geographic)

-- Diet Coke: The decline and fall of a once-proud soda. (The New Yorker)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

The Newport Beach Marriott Bayview received an unusual guest last weekend: a 32-year-old ring-tailed lemur named Isaac. But Isaac did not have a reservation. Instead, he showed up in a crate with a handwritten note that read: “This belongs to the Santa Ana Zoo. It was taken last night. Please bring it to police.” Sure enough, Isaac had gone missing after a break-in at the zoo. Now, the zoo manager says Isaac is back and his usual “mellow” self.

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