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Newsletter: Today: Space Force, We Have a Problem

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President Trump’s plan for a new military service focused on space-based operations faces an uncertain future.
(Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump’s plan for a new military service focused on space-based operations is far from a done deal.

TOP STORIES

Space Force, We Have a Problem

Vice President Mike Pence will renew President Trump’s call for a “space force” in a speech at the Pentagon today, but its future as a separate branch of the armed forces is far from certain. Some military officials have deep concerns about the idea, and senior members of Congress have opposed it. For now, the Pentagon plans to create a new military command responsible for fighting a war in space. The outcome of a major reshuffling could have big implications for Los Angeles.

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More Politics

-- An audio recording reveals that Rep. Devin Nunes said at a recent fundraiser that Republicans need to keep control of the House to protect Trump from the Russia investigation.

-- Trump’s lawyers continued to parry with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on his request for an interview, further prolonging negotiations after months.

-- The U.S. at last cleared the way for a new round of sanctions against Russia over a chemical attack in Britain, after the White House missed a two-month deadline to take action.

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-- Rep. Chris Collins, a New York Republican, has been indicted on charges that he used inside information about a biotechnology company to make illicit stock trades.

A Settlement With Lots Unsettled

For nearly four months starting in October 2015, a leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility resulted in the largest release of methane in U.S. history. On Wednesday, Southern California Gas Co. and government officials announced a tentative $119.5-million settlement aimed at dealing with the health effects and climate damage. The money would fund a health study and several environmental measures. But many questions remain unanswered, including the facility’s fate.

Jarring Numbers

Much has been written about football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Relatively little about the sport and Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Yet 18 months into the National Football League’s concussion settlement, 113 Parkinson’s and 42 ALS claims had been filed by former players or their representatives. Of those, 81 Parkinson’s and 30 ALS claims worth a combined $146.5 million either have been paid or approved. The numbers are far higher than projections.

A gross miscalculation
 
(Kyle Kim @latimesgraphics)

The People’s Oscar

How many Oscar-nominated movies did you see last year, or the year before? Not many? You’re not alone. This week, the film academy announced the creation of a category for “outstanding achievement in popular film” in an effort to appeal more directly to mainstream audiences. Some have called it pandering. “The film business passed away today,” tweeted actor Rob Lowe. (Of course, some critics said the same thing when Lowe opened the Oscars in 1989.) In addition, the academy has vowed to limit the show’s length to three hours, max.

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Tear Down This Wall?

A battle over a sea wall in Laguna Beach is expected to come to a head today, when the California Coastal Commission decides whether to demand its removal and impose a hefty fine. The wall is meant to protect one multimillion-dollar home, but coastal officials say it also is hastening the erosion of a public beach. If the wall is allowed to stand, some worry, what’s to stop others from building their own?

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MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- A man suspected of setting the Holy fire in Orange County was arrested and a new round of mandatory evacuations was ordered.

CALIFORNIA

-- Union City’s police chief learned of a disturbing assault on a Sikh man. Then he found out the alleged attacker was his son.

-- Authorities arrested nearly two dozen people in a series of drug raids across Southern California, disrupting a vast smuggling ring linked to Mexico’s notorious Sinaloa cartel.

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-- After the death of 10-year-old Anthony Avalos, state officials will conduct an audit of L.A. County’s Department of Children and Family Services to determine whether it’s doing enough to protect kids.

-- Life on the fire lines: Fighting the Mendocino Complex fire is dangerous work, including dealing with rattlesnakes, scorpions and poisonous plants.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- The movie “Crazy Rich Asians” pays tribute to Singapore’s 1%. Film critic Justin Chang calls it a flawed but vital milestone.

-- What will happen to Roseanne Barr’s character in the “Roseanne” spinoff? An ABC executive hints at the possibilities.

-- Art galleries are leaving Boyle Heights, but more anti-gentrification battles are on the horizon.

-- A “Cinderella” without Cinderella? The new ballet “Isadora” is based on the life of the mother of modern dance and set to Prokofiev’s music.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

Jim Cummings has voiced the title character from “Darkwing Duck” and about 400 other roles, but he’s best known as being the voice of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger for the last 30 years. He also got to meet Sterling Holloway and Paul Winchell, who originated the voices of Pooh and Tigger, respectively. And to hear him tell it, what you heard on screen is pretty much how the actors spoke in real life.

NATION-WORLD

-- The father of a missing Georgia boy was training children at a New Mexico compound to commit school shootings, prosecutors said in court documents.

-- Ferguson, revisited at the ballot box: Wesley Bell, a city councilman from the St. Louis suburb, toppled longtime St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch in a Democratic primary election.

-- So much for a potential cease-fire: Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, fired at least 70 rockets across the border into Israel, which retaliated with airstrikes on the Palestinian territory.

-- Bangladesh’s information minister has accused the U.S. Embassy of “poking its nose” into the country’s domestic affairs over criticism of a heavy-handed response to road safety protests by students.

BUSINESS

-- A courtroom battle over control of CBS Corp. has reignited questions about media magnate Sumner Redstone’s capacity to make decisions.

-- Sacrilege? The new owners of Playa Vista’s commercial core have decided to permanently close the main drag to through traffic and try to make it a place where people want to linger.

SPORTS

-- Harvard-Westlake School has hired a football coach from Virginia who used to be a lawyer, will teach three AP economics classes and has some intriguing philosophies about practice.

-- As they battle for the Chargers’ No. 2 quarterback spot, Geno Smith and Cardale Jones are brothers in arms.

OPINION

-- The release of police body cam video ought to be simple and quick.

-- A former ranger says Congress should make progress at maintaining national parks, not simply expanding America’s public lands.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- British Columbia is contending with its own wildfires. (CBC)

-- And the Pacific Northwest has its own Big One to worry about. (The Conversation)

-- Too many tourists? Some cities are sick of them. (CityLab)

ONLY IN L.A.

These days, there’s plenty of mudslinging to go around. Mud wrestling? Not so much, especially after the demise of the infamous Hollywood Tropicana club. But at a private ranch in Sun Valley last week, the Great American Mud Wrestle brought back a bit of camp culture for a crowd of young Hollywood types, models, families with kids and skaters. Dog the Bounty Hunter was one of the guest judges, because … why not?

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