Newsletter: Today: The Winds of Trade War

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, from left, with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He last month in Beijing.
(Andy Wong / Associated Press)

Trade talks between the U.S. and China are continuing as a new round of tariffs is announced.


The Winds of Trade War

U.S. and Chinese negotiators are expected to hold a second day of trade talks today in Washington, even after the Trump administration moved ahead with plans to significantly increase tariffs on imports from China and Beijing swiftly responded with retaliatory measures. The new duties, structured to give at least a couple of weeks of cushion, end a ceasefire agreed to by President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping six months ago after a series of tit-for-tat tariff actions. Meanwhile, the odds of a full-on trade war between the world’s two largest economies have gone up.


So Much for the ‘Beautiful Letters’

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are also on the rise. After Pyongyang tested more ballistic missiles Thursday, the Justice Department announced it has taken custody of a North Korean cargo ship for the first time for allegedly violating sanctions. In addition, the Pentagon says it has suspended efforts to recover remains of Americans killed in the Korean War. And working-level talks on nuclear issues have stopped since the collapse of the Hanoi summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un in February. It all seems a far cry from when Trump said he and Kim “fell in love” because of the dictator’s “beautiful letters.”

More Politics

-- In a rambling discussion with reporters, Trump said former Secretary of State John F. Kerry “should be prosecuted” for speaking privately with Iranian officials and, the president claimed, discouraging them from negotiating with his administration. Kerry said last fall that he has met “three or four times” since leaving office with his former counterpart, Iran’s foreign minister, but Kerry’s spokesperson disputed Trump’s account.


-- The B-52 bombers ordered by the White House to deploy to the Persian Gulf to counter unspecified threats from Iran are beginning to arrive at a major U.S. air base in Qatar.

-- The White House says Trump will nominate Patrick Shanahan to be secretary of Defense. He’s the former aerospace executive who has run the Pentagon in an acting capacity since Jan. 1.

-- In the Trump administration’s latest effort to increase oil and gas drilling on federal land, it has announced finalized plans to open 725,500 acres along the Central Coast to fossil fuel exploration.

A House Full of Firepower

The scene was straight out of a B-movie: A run-down mansion. The tony neighborhood of Bel-Air. An anonymous tip. The whiff of celebrity. And a jaw-droppingly large cache of weapons — more than 1,000 — some of questionable legality. So who exactly is alleged to be behind this hoarder’s paradise of firearms? Read on.

L.A.’s First Language

Long before the development of Los Angeles, Southern California was known for its grasslands, estuaries and oak-covered foothills. The original people of Los Angeles, the Tongva, defined their world as Tovaangar. The language they spoke, Tongva, has no literature written by native speakers, and its last native speaker died by some estimates at least 50 years ago. But in a classroom in San Pedro, it is enjoying a new life. Our latest Column One feature includes an audio tour of Tongva, a map of the villages and a study guide for teachers.

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Mother’s Day was on this date in 1942 — the first observed during World War II. On that day, The Times recognized Thelma B. England of Alhambra, whose son Ensign John C. England died at Pearl Harbor. He survived the battleship Oklahoma’s capsizing, but three times England reentered the vessel to save three men. On his fourth rescue attempt, he did not return. For his heroism, the Navy named two ships after him. His remains were buried on Aug. 13, 2016, alongside those of his father and mother.

May 1942: Thelma B. England of Alhambra remembers her son Ensign John C. England, who was killed at Pearl Harbor aboard the battleship Oklahoma.
(Los Angeles Times)


-- Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to double spending on homelessness — to $1 billion — in his revised budget.

-- A new study says L.A. County is one of the most vulnerable places in America when it comes to measles, largely because of the thousands of travelers arriving every day from countries with massive outbreaks.

-- A man who calls himself the “Tactical Rabbi” is helping synagogues defend against anti-Semitic violence.


-- The Chinese reality show “The Rap of China” came to L.A. to seek its next star. But no mention of drugs or violence, please. The raps were about topics that censors would probably green-light.


-- For Mother’s Day, Make mom a brunch she’ll actually like.

-- Nashville hot chicken is taking over Los Angeles. Here are 11 great places to get it.

-- How to keep your houseplants alive. (Hint: Don’t love them to death.)

-- In Bishop, you can find murals, mules and more on a weekend escape.


-- How one picture by photographer Kwame Brathwaite captures the ’60s “Black Is Beautiful” movement.

-- “Star Trek” was canceled 50 years ago. Now, the franchise is moving warp speed ahead.

-- The game “Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series — Episode I” for the new Oculus Quest headset aims to create your own “Star Wars” memories.

-- For those who didn’t grow up immersed in all things “Pokémon,” here’s a spoiler-free rundown on everything you need to know before seeing the film “Detective Pikachu.”


-- Several nations have condemned the arrest in Venezuela of a high-level politician associated with opposition leader Juan Guaido by government intelligence officers.

-- Taiwan’s major shipbuilder has broken ground on a factory aimed at producing submarines to blunt threats from China while easing dependence on politically sensitive arms sales from the West.

-- Thailand is facing instability after a narrow election victory for the military in a bitterly divided country.


-- Inc. and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos has unveiled a mock-up of a lunar lander that he said could help build out infrastructure on the moon and lead to humanity’s expansion into space.

-- Uber raised $8.1 billion in its initial public offering after pricing shares near the bottom of their marketed range.


-- Members of the Jr. Kings youth hockey team recently visited the Museum of Tolerance after some were seen in a video performing a Nazi salute and making anti-Semitic remarks.

-- The Lakers are moving fast to try to fill their head-coaching vacancy, interviewing former Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel, according to people not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.


-- The Times Editorial Board calls for a yes vote on Measure EE, a parcel tax that would raise $500 million per year for the L.A. Unified School District.

-- It’s time to remember the Chinese immigrants who built America’s first transcontinental railroad, completed 150 years ago today at Promontory Summit in Utah.


-- The U.S. government is said to have developed a specially designed missile for pinpoint airstrikes meant to kill terrorist leaders with no explosion. The idea is to minimize the chances of killing civilians. (Wall Street Journal)

-- The FBI is reportedly investigating South Florida massage-parlor entrepreneur Li “Cindy” Yang, focusing on whether she illegally funneled money from China into the president’s reelection effort or committed other potential campaign-finance violations. (Miami Herald)

-- Why American moms are seriously struggling. (USA Today)


As a beacon of the counterculture movement in the 1960s, the Los Angeles Free Press was all things the Los Angeles Times was not. At the center of it all was Art Kunkin, who offered readers a brew of politics, sex ads, drug talk and rock ’n’ roll. Kunkin swapped story ideas with Yippies founder and satirist Paul Krassner, discussed music with Frank Zappa and hung out with Timothy Leary. But legal issues would bring about the paper’s downfall. Now, Kunkin has died at 91.

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