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Today’s Headlines: Las Vegas’ reopening bet

The Las Vegas Strip at night
As Las Vegas plans its full reopening after battling the COVID-19 pandemic, many of its residents are still out of work and wondering if this city — and their jobs — will ever fully return.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Las Vegas is betting on gamblers and tourists returning. Will the lost jobs come back too?

TOP STORIES

Las Vegas’ Reopening Bet

A year and two months since the coronavirus paralyzed the nation and drove record unemployment, the U.S. is emerging from the aftershock of the pandemic crisis.

In Las Vegas, where gambling revenue dropped nearly 45% last year and tens of thousands of the city’s service industry employees remain out of work, casinos and restaurants are set to return to full capacity today.

Nevada recently received $4 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds, with $130 million going directly to Las Vegas. But its comeback will be determined by how safe people feel in convention centers and on gambling floors.

“It is, in a sense, a test of America’s ability to reclaim itself,” writes Times national correspondent Kurtis Lee. “But the contours of that comeback are not fully drawn, and many wonder whether they will return to the livelihoods they lost or be forced into another year of uncertainty.”

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A More Normal Memorial Day

On any other Memorial Day, the scene would have been ordinary: Crowds flocking to the beach with umbrellas and towels as morning clouds gave way to blazing sunshine, children playing at the amusement park arcade, families posing for photos by the Ferris wheel and roller coaster as waves crashed on the shore.

But after more than 14 months of life amid the pandemic, the holiday weekend brought no small measure of relief as Californians cautiously resumed doing the things they’d normally do, starting with barbecues and trips to the beach. State officials expect California to fully reopen on June 15.

For all the signs of a return to normality, caution was still in order Monday at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood, where the annual Memorial Day ceremony was canceled for the second year in a row. But the crowds, which began arriving just after sunrise, were still substantial across the 127-acre grounds.

Across the country, in Delaware, President Biden marked his first Memorial Day weekend as commander in chief by honoring the nation’s sacrifices in a deeply personal manner: He paid tribute Sunday to those lost while remembering his late son Beau, a veteran who died six years ago to the day. The next day, he laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

Schools face a mental health crisis among students as pandemic trauma remains.

Black residents of Los Angeles County now have the highest risk of coronavirus infection and COVID-19 hospitalization and death of any racial or ethnic group, new data show.

— Columnist Sandy Banks’ family is divided over COVID-19 vaccinations. Here’s how they cope.

The Voting Rights Fight

Texas Democrats pulled off a dramatic last-ditch walkout from the state House of Representatives on Sunday night to block passage of one of the most restrictive voting bills in the U.S. It marked one of Democrats’ biggest protests to date against Republican efforts nationwide to impose stricter election laws, and they used the spotlight to urge Biden to act on voting rights.

But the victory for them may be fleeting: Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who had declared new voting laws a priority in Texas, announced that he would order a special session to finish the job. He called the failure of the bill “deeply disappointing” but did not say when he would bring lawmakers back to work.

The bill at issue would empower poll watchers, create criminal penalties and add new restrictions on where, when and how to vote.

Who Will Save the Queen Mary?

The historic ocean liner the Queen Mary has been identified with Long Beach for decades. But after years of neglect by a string of operators, the ship needs $23 million in immediate repairs, according to court documents and inspection reports released last month. If something is not done soon, there’s concern the ship could flood or even capsize within the next two years, according to the reports.

Docked in Long Beach since 1967, the ship is a longtime tourist attraction, hotel and history buff destination that retains strong support from city leaders. But nobody seems willing or able to pay for it.

The city of Long Beach owns the Queen Mary, but officials said it’s not their responsibility to make repairs on the ship that for decades has been leased out to various entities. The current operator is locked in bankruptcy proceedings.

OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

Workplace shootings are all too common in California. The deadly one in a San Jose rail yard last week fits a pattern.

— Huang Guanjun was a champion runner who was unable to hear or speak. He was one of 21 who died in a Chinese ultramarathon.

— The sexual misconduct allegations rocking L.A.’s largest LGBTQ theater company.

— Columnist Steve Lopez: “I was going to buy an all-electric car but chickened out. Here’s why.”

FROM THE ARCHIVES

On this day in 1959, Pat Boone and his family arrived in Los Angeles. Boone had returned to the city to begin filming “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” He portrayed Alec McEwan in the 1959 adaption of the Jules Verne novel.

 Pat Boone poses with his family at Los Angeles International Airport.
Music star Pat Boone poses with his family — Lindy, 3, wife Shirley, Cheryl, 4, Laurie, 1, and Debbie, 2 — at Los Angeles International airport on June 1, 1959.
(Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)

CALIFORNIA

— Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered a comprehensive, independent investigation into the case of Kevin Cooper, whose high-profile quadruple-murder conviction three decades ago has been under intense scrutiny for years.

— A hacking group infiltrated computers in the Azusa Police Department and gained access to crucial data before demanding a ransom be paid. Some who follow such hacks said they were alarmed by the breach, which exposed a trove of sensitive information.

— A veteran L.A. County sheriff’s deputy was charged earlier this year with sexually abusing his underage niece in San Bernardino County, according to court records and interviews with the alleged victim’s family.

— A fight over Jim Crow Road is dividing the small town of Downieville.

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NATION-WORLD

— In Tulsa, Okla., hundreds gathered for an interfaith service dedicating a prayer wall outside historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church on the centennial of the first day of one of the deadliest racist massacres in the nation.

Turkish agents have captured a nephew of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen in an overseas operation and have brought him to Turkey to face prosecution, Turkey’s state-run news agency said.

— Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, was confronted by possibly the most serious challenge yet to his rule as rivals moved to join forces to try to dislodge him from office.

China’s ruling Communist Party said it would ease birth limits to allow all couples to have three children instead of two, in hopes of slowing the rapid aging of its population.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— John Krasinski’s thriller sequel “A Quiet Place Part II” opened over the Memorial Day weekend to a pandemic-best $47.4 million, according to studio estimates.

— What to make of the stunning conclusion of “Mare of Easttown”? We break it down.

— Behind Hollywood producers’ push to form a union. Will it succeed?

Gustavo Dudamel and Frank Gehry gave Youth Orchestra Los Angeles’ new Inglewood concert hall a sound check, and our classical music critic listened in.

BUSINESS

La Gloria Foods, a tortilla plant in Boyle Heights, is in danger of closing. The family that owns it blames a dispute with the L.A. Department of Public Works.

Johnson & Johnson is asking for Supreme Court review of a $2-billion verdict in favor of women who say they developed ovarian cancer from using the company’s talc products.

SPORTS

Trevor Bauer pitched six innings and Chris Taylor hit a 14th-pitch, bases-clearing double to power a win over the St. Louis Cardinals and snap a three-game losing streak.

— Tennis star Naomi Osaka, who said last week that she would skip news conferences at the French Open to protect her mental health, said she would withdraw from the Paris tournament.

— After decades of disgrace, Cruz Azul won the Mexican league soccer championship. The team’s history of losing even inspired a verb — cruzazulear — that the Mexican Academy of Letters defines as “losing a game when victory was practically assured.”

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OPINION

— Columnist Mark Z. Barabak on why California Gov. Gavin Newsom may prefer an early recall election vote.

— As a Korean American, cartoonist Robin Ha often feels pressured to change to fit in, as these cartoons show.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— How 60 years of racial violence between 1863 and 1923 shaped America. (CNN)

— One result of the pandemic: a reassessment of how we think about work. People aren’t just leaving jobs, they’re changing their line of work. (Time)

ONLY IN L.A.

With its cocktails and “country French” cuisine, Taix French Restaurant has been an Echo Park standby for decades. Now, real estate developers are planning a project on its Sunset Boulevard site that would replace the building with a six-story complex, including a smaller version of the restaurant. Should L.A. try to protect the original?

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


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