Today’s Headlines: Astroworld had an emergency plan, yet chaos ensued


Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Astroworld organizers had extensive medical, security plans. Did they follow them?

Before the Astroworld concert Friday, organizers had presented Houston police and first responders with two lengthy plans: a medical plan and a security plan addressing potential emergencies.

A concert safety consultant told The Times: “There’s no mention of crowd management of the audience in front of the stage. ... Neither do the terms ‘crowd crush,’ ‘crowd surge,’ ‘crowd collapse’ or ‘panic’ appear anywhere.”


Eight people were killed and scores injured in a crowd surge at the Travis Scott concert. The rapper has been criticized for continuing to perform even as people fell unconscious and at least one ambulance appeared in front of the stage.

Related: Scott reportedly pulled out of the Day N Vegas festival this weekend and will refund all ticket fees for Astroworld.

U.S. lifts COVID-19 border and travel restrictions

The U.S. lifted restrictions on travel from a long list of countries including Mexico, Canada and most European nations, setting the stage for emotional reunions nearly two years in the making and providing a boost for airline and tourism industries decimated by the pandemic.

International travelers eagerly waited to the side of the U.S.-Mexico border line Sunday night until the clock struck midnight, officially lifting restrictions imposed more than a year and a half ago at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More top coronavirus headlines


COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen significantly in the Inland Empire and Central Valley, bringing new concerns ahead of the winter holidays.

L.A.’s new COVID-19 vaccination rules for businesses and venues are now in effect. Proof of vaccination is required to enter businesses including shopping centers, movie theaters, hair salons and performance venues.

Thousands gathered at City Hall to protest the mandates. Many in the crowd refused to talk to a Times reporter. Signs at the protest included “Vaccines Kill,” “Freedom Not Force!” and “COVID Vaccines Are Toxic.”

Stay up to date on pandemic developments, coronavirus case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

Amid Ds and Fs, schools are ditching the old way of grading

L.A. and San Diego Unified have directed teachers to base academic grades on whether students have learned what was expected of them during a course. The change comes amid a greater movement away from point-driven grading systems.


There was another weapons expert working on the set of ‘Rust’

Hannah Gutierrez Reed, 24, wasn’t the only weapons wrangler attached to the western film “Rust,” on whose set cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed.

The film’s producers had brought in gun expert Seth Kenney to act as an “armorer mentor” for Gutierrez Reed, according to an internal “Rust” crew list shared with the Los Angeles Times. Two of the knowledgeable people who spoke with The Times said Kenney provided the Colt .45 that star Alec Baldwin fired that day.

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The Times, present for the fall of Kabul, has since spoken with a variety of Afghan women (including Lida, pictured below) about life in these Taliban times as freedoms and expectations vanish. Meanwhile, L.A. attorney Wogai Mohmand is spearheading an effort to convince the U.S. government to expand a fast track for legal entry to the U.S. known as humanitarian parole to thousands of Afghans.

A woman in a head scarf stands behind a sheer curtain, obscuring her features.
Lida was a policewoman in Afghanistan. When the Taliban came to power and the Americans who had trained Afghan security forces departed, she burned her service uniform, and her family destroyed her documents. Even so, the Taliban came looking.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)


An L.A. couple noticed their newborn didn’t resemble either of her parents and looked to be of a different race. A home DNA test confirmed the child was not related to either of them. They found their embryo had been switched with that of another couple during in vitro fertilization. The couples had given birth to, and were unknowingly raising, each other’s babies. They’re suing.

California’s weather picture is still bleak. Although last month’s powerful rains brought some relief to the northern and central parts of the state, climate experts and weather officials say the moisture did little to move the dial on the bigger drought barometer.

A “floating homeless encampment” faces extinction. Anchor-outs, as they’re known, have long lived illegally and rent-free on Richardson Bay, a sparkling estuary north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Now authorities in Sausalito and other communities want them gone. Officials said they had looked the other way for decades as anchor-outs spewed fuel, sewage and other hazardous materials into the bay.

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The Justice Department urged the Supreme Court to invoke “state secrets” to shield it from allegations of wrongdoing in the secret recording of Muslims who gathered for prayer at an Orange County mosque. But the argument ran into skepticism from across the court’s usual ideological divide.

President Biden is facing a rising furor over education and critical race theory. The issue presents an array of challenges for the president and his party, and echoes appeals to white grievances that have a tradition of electoral success. Ignoring the controversy opens them up to criticism that they’re dismissive of parental concerns.


Conservatives are pushing for audits of school libraries to remove certain books, an uproar that comes as conservatives attempt to ride a wave of “white backlash” among Trump supporters to victory in next year’s midterm election.

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Americans like to think they’re recycling their plastic. But, too often, that waste is shipped overseas, sometimes with the help of organized crime groups, where it litters cities, clogs waterways or is burned, filling the air with toxic chemicals.

Kamala Harris is on a fence-mending mission. The vice president will begin one of the highest-profile gestures in the Biden administration’s efforts to repair its relationship with France, America’s oldest ally, on Tuesday when she arrives in Paris for several days of ceremonies and speeches.

India’s sugar-cane cutters can find no way out. Cheap and easily exploitable migrant workers power a $1.7-billion Indian sugar industry, second in size only to Brazil’s. By extending loans and paying workers in advance for often unrealistic harvest quotas, contractors effectively trap sugar-cane cutters in cycles of bonded labor.


Why are we endlessly fascinated with Princess Di? Here’s what “Spencer” gets right and wrong.


Alec Baldwin is calling for law enforcement to be present on sets to monitor weapons safety. The embattled “Rust” star and producer, who fired the Colt .45 that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza, said he believed police would be more equipped than prop masters or armorers to protect the cast and crew.


Another day, another Wall Street record. Wall Street clawed its way to more records, with stock indexes creeping higher after another listless day of trading. Stocks of construction-related companies made some of the strongest gains after Congress passed a $1-trillion infrastructure bill Friday.


No. 2 UCLA opens the 2021-22 season on Tuesday against Cal State Bakersfield and could continue the March magic from last season’s NCAA tournament run.

Pitcher Andrew Heaney is a Dodger again. This time he’s expected to stick around as the Dodgers replenish their starting rotation depth for 2022.

Shohei Ohtani is contending for his weightiest hardware yet. The Angels’ two-way star was revealed as one of three finalists for the American League most-valuable-player award, a long-expected development following his historic 2021 season

Winter is coming. At Dodger Stadium, that means a winter festival where fans can skate on a rink in the outfield, visit Santa in the bullpen, take in holiday light and music shows, and immerse themselves in “interactive experiences worthy of posting on social media.”


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OpEd: Despite what Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III says, the Build Back Better Act would expand access to medical care and child care — and it wouldn’t break the budget.

UC is at the tipping point with overcrowding. Don’t let it become an education factory, the editorial board writes.


A woman holds a wooden box with keyboard keys on it
Morgana Blackwelder of John Moran Auctioneers displays the hand-built Apple-1
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Apple’s new-model, top-of-the-line MacBook Pro laptop computer could set you back nearly $4,000 before taxes. But that will seem like a Black Friday steal when a 45-year-old Apple computer goes on sale this week in Monrovia, where it may fetch six figures or more, even without a 16-inch, high-definition screen and the latest microprocessors.

Today, John Moran Auctioneers will auction off a functioning Apple-1 computer hand-built by Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs and others in a Los Altos, Calif., garage in 1976.



Gary Cooper kneels in front of a chair where a man Navy man is seated.
Actor Gary Cooper signs an autograph for a serviceman in Los Angeles in a photograph from Nov. 9, 1944.
(Los Angeles Times)

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— Amy Hubbard and Laura Blasey