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Today’s Headlines: A World War II hero comes home

A picture of a young man next to a letter
A letter of condolence signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the death of Marine Corps Pvt. Jacob Cruz is mounted next to a picture of Cruz in a picture frame.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

It took more than seven decades for a Boyle Heights family to find closure.

TOP STORIES

A World War II Hero Comes Home

In late 1943, Marine Corps Pvt. Jacob Cruz was killed in action during the Pacific campaign in World War II. The ongoing fighting meant the 18-year-old from Boyle Heights would be buried in a temporary grave in the Tarawa atoll, where he and more than 1,000 other Marines and sailors died fighting the Imperial Japanese Army.

Years later, the U.S. military admitted it couldn’t find his burial place. Cruz’s name was etched at the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.

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His family tried to honor him for the rest of their lives. Cruz’s mother and two of his four siblings died without ever knowing where he was buried.

Then, in April of last year, his niece received a phone call at work: Pvt. Jacob Cruz’s body had been found and would be returning to Los Angeles.

Columnist Gustavo Arellano tells the story of how Cruz finally came home.

New Sanctions on Russia

President Biden is seeking to reshape Washington’s relationship with Moscow. Hours after his administration announced sanctions on Russian companies and individuals in retaliation for meddling in U.S. politics and hacking its computer networks, Biden said he remains dedicated to future cooperation.

As part of the sanctions, which won rare bipartisan support, the U.S. for the first time formally blamed Russian intelligence for last year’s SolarWinds cyberattack on federal agencies and private companies, and it expelled 10 Russian intelligence officials from the country.

“My bottom line is this,” Biden said at the White House. “When there’s an interest in the United States to work with Russia, we should and we will. When Russia seeks to violate the interests of the United States, we will respond.”

Biden also said that Washington is “not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia.” Yet that is what may occur.

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Good Intentions, but ... ?

When the White House called Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia last week to ask if his city would help house unaccompanied immigrant children recently arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border, he didn’t hesitate to say yes. Other council members and organizations supported the idea as well.

So, after negotiations with the federal Department of Health and Human Services, the plan is to house sibling pairs as young as 3 years old in the city’s Convention Center with an end date of Aug. 2.

But some critics question whether city leaders, in their rush to help these children, fully understand the potential risks of partnering with a complex and logistically challenged federal agency that has struggled for years to respond to and appropriately safeguard the increasing numbers of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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More Politics

— Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga arrived in Washington for talks with Biden meant to show the strength of the two nations’ security alliance at a time when both are concerned with China’s growing economic and military clout.

— Biden met with leaders of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, which has pushed for more Asian Americans in his administration and for a law to combat the sort of hate crimes against the group that have risen since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

— A group of congressional Democrats introduced legislation to add four seats to the Supreme Court, a longshot bid designed to counter the court’s rightward tilt during the Trump administration.

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Embracing Change

After a year without hugging for most people, the gesture is making a comeback.

As more Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19, reunions among loved ones are becoming increasingly frequent and, for many, hugging is the main event. Even among longtime anti-huggers.

“There’s a lot more going on than, ‘Let me just put my arms around you for a second or two,’ ” said Kory Floyd, a University of Arizona professor who studies how affection is communicated in close relationships. “In times like this, that message can be, ‘I really missed you.’ ”

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We asked readers to tell us about their first post-vaccine hugs, and here’s what we heard.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— Researchers at Stanford Medicine have started testing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on children ages 2 to 5. Their work is part of a larger, three-phase trial that will eventually include kids from 6 months to 12 years.

— Why do some COVID-19 vaccines seem to pose a small risk of a rare type of blood clot and others don’t? Scientists suspect it’s related to the way the vaccines are designed.

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— You’re getting vaccinated. Are you ready for life after the shot? Test your knowledge with this quiz from The Times.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

On April 18, 1989, construction crews placed the last girder atop the 73-story First Interstate World Center, also known as the Library Tower. The event marked a tallest-building record for the city. The Times covered a ceremony celebrating the project, writing that 200 people who watched the placement were invited to sign the beam before it went up.

“Hail Library Tower. Stand tall and forever,” said one. Another person wrote, “We love LA. But we hate this building.”

The building was renamed U.S. Bank Tower in 2003 and it was surpassed in height by the Wilshire Grand Center in 2017.

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the top floors of a skyscraper under construction
April 18, 1989: Top of the Library Tower, now U.S. Bank Tower, in downtown Los Angeles about 30 minutes before the last girder was put into place.
(Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times)

YOUR WEEKEND

— Your birdfeeder isn’t helping as much as you think. Try attracting birds with these 13 native plants instead.

— Most food waste in the U.S. occurs at the consumer level. You can do something about it.

— The second pandemic edition of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Stories & Ideas kicks off this weekend. Here’s how to watch.

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— Get ready for the return of live music. Here are 44 concerts in SoCal (and one mudfest in Tennessee) you can get tickets for right now.

— The story of a love triangle with a pandemic twist. (And if you have your own story of an open relationship, tell us at latimes.com/laaffairs.)

CALIFORNIA

— State legislators pushed ahead with reforms targeting California’s troubled unemployment agency, as lawmakers condemned it for yet another significant error.

— A recent rash of anti-Asian hate crimes in California is continuing, with reports that include spitting, punching and racial slurs.

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— The state plans to put not one, but two satellites in orbit to help it hunt for hard-to-find “super-emitters” of methane and carbon dioxide.

— A hiker was rescued from inhospitable peak in Angeles Forest with help from a GPS sleuth. He appeared to have no major injuries.

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NATION-WORLD

— A gunman killed eight people and wounded several others before killing himself in a late-night shooting at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, police said.

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— Body-camera video released after public outcry over the Chicago police shooting of a 13-year-old boy shows the youth appearing to drop a handgun and begin raising his hands less than a second before an officer fires his gun and kills him.

— Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin chose not to take the stand as testimony at his murder trial ended, passing up the chance to explain to the jury and the public for the first time what he was thinking when he pressed his knee against George Floyd’s neck.

— In Jordan, a mix of a ballooning population, regional conflicts, chronic industrial and agricultural mismanagement and now climate change may make it the first nation to possibly lose viable sources of freshwater.

Iran’s supreme leader dismissed initial offers at talks in Vienna to save Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal as “not worth looking at.”

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HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Brockhampton just released a new album. Frontman Kevin Abstract is already pondering the Los Angeles rap group’s future.

— The TV series “Younger” began as a millennial gag. Bridging the generation gap made it a classic.

Gustavo Dudamel is becoming Paris Opera’s next music director. What does this mean for L.A.?

— They called him tango’s assassin. But Astor Piazzolla’s musical reboot made him a legend.

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— Three new books examine the mythology of the Golden State and how the culture industry manufactured the California dream.

BUSINESS

— In a sweeping shift, CBS has combined its legendary news division and TV stations group, which provides local news to millions of Americans. The news comes after a Times investigation of the TV stations group.

— A new program backed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife aims to help small landlords in South L.A. Will it help?

— The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits tumbled last week to 576,000, the lowest of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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SPORTS

— The Lakers welcomed back fans to Staples Center, but they couldn’t get a win against the Celtics.

— In what is being marketed as a first, the Class-A Beloit (Wis.) Snappers are putting daily naming rights to their stadium up for sale. Anyone can bid, no fortune required.

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Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at latimes.com/games.

OPINION

— The authors of a book about traffic stops explain why something seemingly routine can be deadly for people of color.

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— Democrats and Republicans must come together to support improvements in the operation of the Capitol Police and keep up bipartisan pressure on the agency, The Times’ editorial board writes.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— The story of Awak Kuier, who was selected second overall at the WNBA draft Thursday. She’s the daughter of South Sudanese immigrants who moved to a small town in Finland. (The Undefeated)

— The secret to this Taiwanese town’s tofu is volcanic mud water. (Atlas Obscura)

ONLY IN L.A.

Groups that help the homeless are increasingly turning to shipping containers and tiny houses, with petite neighborhoods popping up all over L.A. Still, culture columnist Carolina A. Miranda wanted to know: Are these small dwellings humane, or do they feel like, well, a shipping container? What she found was lots of windows, bright colors and attention to detail. (This story is a subscriber exclusive.)

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Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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