Newsletter: Today: The Aftermath of Christchurch

Flowers rest at a roadblock as two police officers stand guard by the makeshift memorial near the Linwood mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Saturday. A 28-year-old white supremacist from Australia is accused in mass shootings at mosques that left 50 dead.
(Vincent Thian / Associated Press)

Mourning, a story of heroism and a discussion of anti-immigrant rhetoric follow the deadly attack on two mosques in New Zealand.


The Aftermath of Christchurch

In Christchurch, New Zealand, on Sunday, mourners paid tribute to the 50 people who were killed by a white nationalist targeting Muslims at two mosques. There was praise for Abdul Aziz, a 48-year-old man at the second mosque to be targeted, who fought back with the first thing he could grab — a credit card machine — and is being credited with saving lives. There was also discussion of the race-based, anti-immigrant extremism in the suspect’s home country of Australia. In the U.S., President Trump has remained relatively quiet about the attack. When his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was asked on Fox News why Trump hasn’t delivered a speech condemning anti-Muslim bigotry, Mulvaney replied, “The president is not a white supremacist. I’m not sure how many times we have to say that.” Meanwhile, Trump tweeted 30 times on Sunday, not about the attacks, but disparaging the late Sen. John McCain, “Saturday Night Live” and the Russia investigation, among other things, and praising Jeanine Pirro, a Fox News host whose commentary has been denounced by critics as Islamophobic.


Biden’s Burden of History

Joe Biden has been hinting at running for president in 2020. If he does, the 76-year-old would join a large field of Democratic candidates spanning four generations, one that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York formally entered Sunday. Biden would have some explaining to do about his record. In more than 40 years of public life, Biden has taken an array of stances that were mainstream in the Democratic Party at the time but show how much the party and the U.S. political system have changed over the years.

A Little Green Envelope of Cash

It’s been more than two years since California voters approved the licensed growing and sale of recreational marijuana, but the rollout hasn’t exactly gone smoothly. Among the problems: black-market operators trying to game the system, through bribery of officials and other means. So far, half a dozen government corruption cases focused on city and county officials have come to light.


The King of the Surf Guitar

Dick Dale helped pioneer the quintessentially American genre known as surf music, and he did so in a quintessentially American way. The son of a man who had emigrated from Lebanon and a woman who was Polish Belarusian, he melded elements of Arabic music with the electric guitar innovations of Leo Fender to create a sound made for the beaches of Southern California. Dale, whose birth name was Richard Anthony Monsour, was known as the Pied Piper of Balboa Beach and the King of the Surf Guitar. But later in life, he wanted to be referred to as “Dick Dale-Cancer Warrior.” He died Saturday at 81.

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-- California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the college admission scandal extends beyond the recent charges against rich parents and suggested it should include the “legal bribery” of billionaires buying naming rights on university buildings.

-- How a 50-year-old design came back to haunt Boeing with its troubled 737 Max jet.

-- These children escaped from Islamic State captivity, but there is no joy in their return home.

-- Women were once missing from school history lessons. An effort in California changed that.


-- In the case of star South African runner Caster Semenya, a sports arbitration court must determine the definition of a woman.


Fifty years ago this month, two Victorian-era homes from Bunker Hill arrived at the future site of Heritage Square Museum in Montecito Heights. Preservationists had saved the Castle and the Salt Box, as the two landmark houses were known, from the wrecking ball. But on Oct. 9, 1969, a fire of suspicious origin destroyed both structures.

Nov. 7, 1968: Workers begin moving the Salt Box, left, past the Castle on the way to its new location.
(R. L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times)


-- In San Quentin, Gov. Newsom’s moratorium on the death penalty has elicited a muted response from the condemned. “Some have talked about it,” says an inmate who was the first person to land on the state’s death row after capital punishment was reinstated in 1978. “Other ones, I guess, feel numbed.”

-- Lake Elsinore officials say they’ve shut access to the popular poppy fields in Walker Canyon, where crowds had descended in recent weeks to see the super bloom of wildflowers. They called the stampede a “poppy nightmare.”

-- Authorities say a 9,000-gallon tanker truck leaking gasoline caught fire and triggered multiple explosions in South Los Angeles early Sunday.


-- If you’ve ever been to a Cambodian-owned doughnut shop, fried chicken restaurant or jewelry store, there’s a good chance it was financed by a tontine. Columnist Frank Shyong explains how it works.


-- A bestselling book, hit podcast and now a documentary: Why is everyone so obsessed with Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and former chief executive of blood test company Theranos?

-- Marcia Clark, who became famous as the lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial, is the co-creator of a new legal drama, ABC’s “The Fix.” The network has described the show as “revenge fantasy.”

-- Director Jia Zhangke’s new film “Ash Is Purest White,” which opened in the U.S. on Friday, is at once gangster drama, romantic tragedy and wistful observation of a rapidly changing China.

-- This podcast wraps up the SXSW Festival, including interviews with Marc Maron, Ethan Hawke and director Lynn Shelton.


-- Police in the Dutch city of Utrecht said Monday that “multiple” people have been injured as a result of a shooting in a tram.

-- Heavy rainfall and snowmelt have led to dangerously high water in creeks and rivers across several Midwestern states.

-- After decades of resistance to public transportation, Atlanta’s booming suburbs face a historic vote this week.

-- Invest in North Korea? Even if sanctions were lifted, there are plenty of red flags.

-- Italian prosecutors are investigating the possible poisoning death of a Moroccan model who was a key witness in the trial against ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi over his infamous “bunga bunga” parties.


-- At 88, Rupert Murdoch is exiting the Hollywood studio business after three decades. His company, 21st Century Fox, will be dismantled Tuesday as Walt Disney Co. completes its deal for major Fox assets.

-- These moms couldn’t find bilingual books in Spanish and English, so they started Lil’ Libros, a publishing company in Huntington Park that brought in $1 million in sales last year.


-- The TMZ era of high school sports? The social media feeding frenzy around the teenage sons and daughters of LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and Scottie Pippen is only going to intensify.

-- Santa Anita and the Thoroughbred Owners of California have reached an agreement that will allow the track to reopen racing March 29 after a dramatic rise in horse deaths.


-- California renters need relief. That means weakening the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a 1995 law that restricts cities’ ability to enact or expand rent control

-- Do people really need to be protected from the gunman’s video in the New Zealand mosque attacks — footage that documents white supremacist terrorism as vividly as anything can?


-- Federal Aviation Administration managers reportedly pushed the agency’s safety engineers to delegate safety assessments of the Boeing 737 Max to Boeing itself and to speedily approve the resulting analysis. (Seattle Times)

-- U.S. officials who have read classified intelligence reports say Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia authorized a secret campaign to silence dissenters more than a year before the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. (New York Times)

-- Recycling around the world is in chaos after China banned the import of most plastics. Could it lead to other solutions? (Wired)


If you’re of a certain age and grew up in L.A., you know of Tom Hatten — the KTLA-TV host, dressed in Navy whites and later in civilian clothes, who showed Popeye cartoons in the afternoon and demonstrated how to draw them from the mid-1950s to the late ’80s. His crayon and a sketch pad were, as TV critic Robert Lloyd explains, “born as a gimmick, because he was told he needed one.” But for many, Hatten, who died over the weekend at 92, was more than TV host.

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