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Today: The Top Marine Warns of an 'Unacceptable Risk'

Today: The Top Marine Warns of an 'Unacceptable Risk'
Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Two internal memos from the commandant of the Marines show his concerns about “combat readiness and solvency” in part because of President Trump’s deployment of troops at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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The Top Marine Warns of an ‘Unacceptable Risk’

The commandant of the Marines has issued a warning to the Pentagon: deploying troops to the border with Mexico, funding transfers under President Trump’s emergency declaration and recovery costs from hurricanes Florence and Michael have posed an “unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency.” In two memos obtained by The Times (read them here), Gen. Robert Neller complained the circumstances had forced him to cancel or reduce planned military training in at least five countries and delay urgent repairs at bases.

More Politics

-- In a reversal of longstanding U.S. policy, Trump announced via tweet that the United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, seized from Syria decades ago. It hands the government of Benjamin Netanyahu another prize and has angered many in the international community.

-- The Trump administration is quietly laying the groundwork to weaken a decades-old federal law that empowers California and other states to slow and even stop more offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters under the Coastal Zone Management Act.

-- The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key EPA advisory board on air pollution, is a "fringe" scientist.

-- For reasons that are not entirely clear, Trump appears to have temporarily ceased his Twitter warfare against GOP lawmakers (the living ones, at least) who cross him.

-- Trump favorite Jeanine Pirro, who’s been under fire for her comments about a Muslim congresswoman, will remain off her Saturday Fox News show for a second week.

One Step Too Far?

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order imposing a moratorium on the execution of death row inmates in California. Now he says he is considering a plan to prohibit any new death sentences in local criminal cases. That could create a conflict with another top Democratic leader, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, who has supported capital punishment in the past. Asked Thursday, Becerra said only that, as attorney general, it was his duty to enforce the laws in California, the death penalty among them.

Privilege and Parenting

The college admissions scandal is still raising a series of troubling questions. For the parents ensnared in the case, there’s a tough choice in the coming weeks: Do they fight the charges or agree to cooperate with federal authorities? Given the evidence against them, legal experts say cutting a deal makes sense for some defendants. But even for parents who would never dream of resorting to bribery, the scandal has offered food for thought about “helicopter” or “snowplow” parenting. At what point does setting the stage for a child to succeed actually do more harm than good?

A Test for USC’s New President

As chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carol L. Folt was seen as a cautious leader — and for some people’s taste, a little too cautious. Now, she is becoming the president of USC at a time when scandals, including the admissions scheme, have dominated the headlines. Folt, who previously worked as a professor of biological sciences at Dartmouth College, says she approaches problems “as the scientist that I am.”

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

The Angels have had many names over the years — Los Angeles Angels, California Angels, Anaheim Angels and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — and a variety of locations to prepare for the regular season. As the team heads toward its opener on Thursday, we take a look back at its spring training through the years.

February 1962: Los Angeles Angels sluggers at spring training at Palm Springs include, from left, outfielders Ken Hunt, Lee Thomas and Leon Wagner and catcher Earl Averill and first baseman Steve Bilko.
February 1962: Los Angeles Angels sluggers at spring training at Palm Springs include, from left, outfielders Ken Hunt, Lee Thomas and Leon Wagner and catcher Earl Averill and first baseman Steve Bilko. (Ben Olender / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

-- An L.A. research group says it has created a screening tool that can predict who is likely to become chronically homeless, but county officials don’t want to use it because they say it misuses records.

-- Hi Duk Lee, who paved the way for Koreatown to be the vibrant L.A. community it is today, has died at 79.

-- In Mammoth, the snow is so deep that residents must tunnel out. For some, it’s a rite of passage.

-- Yes, you still have time to see the super bloomif you know where to go.

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YOUR WEEKEND

-- Even if you’re not lacing ’em up for Sunday’s L.A. Marathon, a mantra might be something you should try to help cross life’s finish lines.

-- Restaurant reviews: At the fast-casual Hasiba, you can luxuriate over hummus and other Israeli classics, while at Alta Adams, Keith Corbin’s “California soul food” bridges tradition and innovation.

-- Times cooking editor Genevieve Ko presents the easiest way to make burnt Basque cheesecake. Good news: There are only five ingredients, and two are sugar and salt.

-- Southern California’s garden tour season is back. Here are the best ones.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Two days after completing its landmark acquisition of the legendary Fox studio, Walt Disney Co. began laying off senior-level executives in an effort to get savings from its $71.3-billion deal.

-- The drama “Hotel Mumbai” re-creates a terrorist attack with frightening echoes for today, writes film critic Kenneth Turan.

-- To make a live-action version of “Dumbo,” Tim Burton reunited with “Batman Returns” stars Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito, plus Colin Farrell and Eva Green.

NATION-WORLD

-- Cesar Sayoc of Florida has pleaded guilty to sending a number of pipe bombs to CNN and prominent critics of President Trump.

-- Mississippi is the latest state to sign into law a ban on most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually about six weeks into pregnancy, despite criticism from opponents who called the move cruel.

-- European Union leaders have grudgingly offered the U.K. more time for Brexit, delaying the move by several weeks.

-- In Iraq, officials say at least 94 people died and 55 were rescued when a ferry overloaded with holiday revelers sank in the Tigris River near the city of Mosul.

-- The Philippines is struggling to contain a measles outbreak, worsened by distrust in vaccines after children fell ill as a result of a 2016 government dengue vaccination campaign.

BUSINESS

-- Investigators are zeroing in on Boeing 737 Max crash data and probing the jet’s approval process.

-- A struggle over automation has erupted at the Port of Los Angeles. Union officials representing dockworkers want one of the world’s largest shipping firms to abandon a plan to introduce driverless electric cargo trucks.

SPORTS

-- Outfielder Brad Miller did just about all he could to earn a spot on the Dodgers’ opening day roster since signing with the club Feb. 28. But that didn’t happen, so he’s now a free agent.

-- It was no surprise veteran defensive player and Southern California native Clay Matthews ended up with the Rams.

OPINION

-- No, Big Brother isn’t interested in your scooter ride, but there ought to be a way to collect the data safely.

-- Expanding the Supreme Court is the worst idea yet from Democratic presidential candidates.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo told CBN News he believes God may be using President Trump to help defend Israel. (CBN)

-- March Madness? The cable networks have Mueller Madness. (CNN)

-- “To build the cities of the future, we must get out of our cars.” (National Geographic)

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ONLY IN L.A.

With super bloom mania taking over parts of Southern California, there’s at least one place where selfie-takers won’t be trampling, picking or otherwise destroying the carpets of wildflowers: in between the runways at Los Angeles International Airport. If you’re arriving or leaving on north complex runways 24L and 24R, you can look down to enjoy the show — that is, if you’re not afraid of heights.

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

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