Today’s Headlines: Western powers prepare to fast-track arms shipments to Ukraine

Ukrainians gather ingredients to make Molotov cocktails.
Ukrainians collect glass bottles to make Molotov cocktails to use against invading Russian troops in Kyiv on Saturday. “These bottles are ‘Good morning’ to Putin,” one man said.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limón

Hello, it’s Monday, Feb. 28, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


A woman rests near bottles used to make Molotov cocktails.
A woman rests as she and other Ukrainians make Molotov cocktails to use against invading Russian troops in Kyiv.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

The West prepares to fast-track weapons to Ukraine

With Western powers preparing to fast-track arms shipments to Ukraine and initiate a no-holds-barred push to punish Moscow diplomatically and financially, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had agreed to negotiations with Russia “without preconditions.” Delegations from Kyiv and Moscow met Monday morning at a site near Ukraine’s border with Belarus.

The prospect of talks dangled — however improbably — the hope of a resolution of the colossal crisis, heightened further Sunday when President Vladimir Putin of Russia placed his nuclear forces on high alert even as his invading troops bore down on Kyiv and continued their thrusts toward several cities across Ukraine.

Ukrainian fighters continued to fend off the capture of key cities as Russian missiles pounded targets and hundreds of thousands of people fled the country.

Read the latest coverage here.

More on Ukraine

The annual speech to Congress offers President Biden an opportunity

President Biden took office 13 months ago vowing to halt the COVID-19 pandemic, improve the economy, soften America’s calcifying partisan division, restore faith in Washington’s leadership on the world stage and prove that democracies can function and deliver. As he prepares for his first State of the Union address on Tuesday — at a moment of rising anxiety across the nation and the world — those endeavors remain works in progress, at best.

His mixed success in curbing the pandemic and passing his legislative agenda has been further complicated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week. Even so, Russia’s war in Ukraine offers Biden an opportunity, in some experts’ view, to convince Americans of the importance of a united transatlantic alliance and to emphasize that he brought allies together to stand against Putin’s assault.

More politics

  • Biden has nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court in a historic choice that could make her the first Black woman to ascend to the nation’s highest court.
  • Some top Republicans have moved quickly to define Jackson, President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, as a favorite of the far left. But Democrats predicted Jackson would be confirmed with bipartisan support.
  • Derision and disparagement of transgender people, and even of those perceived as their allies, are proliferating on the airwaves and in statehouses across the country as 2022 election campaigns heat up.

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting and the latest action in Sacramento.

CDC relaxes guidelines for masks but still recommends them in L.A. County

Americans are no longer advised to wear masks in public indoor settings in many parts of the country under new federal health guidance — but the same can’t immediately be said for Los Angeles County.

The new guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ease general masking recommendations on a county-by-county basis based on local coronavirus case and hospitalization rates, as well as the share of a region’s inpatient beds that are occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Using those metrics, counties are sorted into one of three COVID-19 Community Levels: low, medium or high. As of Friday, L.A. County officially remained in the high category, the only one for which the CDC continues to recommend universal indoor masking.

More top coronavirus headlines

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

Why flush California still takes child support from low-income families

Even in a time of a budget surplus, California takes money from child support meant for low-income families and keeps it in state coffers. The state generally requires families enrolled in CalWORKs, the state’s public assistance program, to open a child support case so that the government can later “recover” the cost from the noncustodial parent — usually the father — as a sort of reimbursement to itself for that cash aid.

Now, Newsom is trying to chip away at the policy, shaped by a 1975 federal law that created a child support enforcement program with a focus on “welfare cost recovery.” But the governor’s plans stop short of giving families on public assistance full access to their child support payments without state intervention.

Girl Scout cookies are in short supply

Nothing, it seems, is safe from pandemic-fueled supply chain problems. Even those smiling, sashed salesgirls have been forced to scramble this winter for supplies to peddle online or on folding tables in front of grocery stores.

Deep in cookie-selling season, when Girl Scouts raise critical funds to pay for the year’s activities, Samoas and S’mores are hard to find. And that’s a blow for Scouts in greater Los Angeles because troops can receive up to $1 for every box their members sell. On the plus side, there seems to be no shortage of No. 1-selling Thin Mints — at least not yet. You can still find Trefoil shortbreads and peanut butter Tagalongs.

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It’s a fight to the finish for a rare daisy and a gold mine near Death Valley. The Inyo rock daisy only grows in the crevices of cliff walls in the southern Inyo Mountains near Death Valley National Park.

No guns, no badges, no sirens. San Diego County reimagines its response to mental health calls. The goal is to transform how people in crisis receive care so they are less likely to experience a mental health emergency in the future, said county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

John Cho’s young adult novel about the L.A. riots wants us to look beyond ‘rooftop Koreans.’ ”Though written for a young adult audience, Cho’s novel is a sincere attempt to make sense of an event that we are still trying to understand. This year is the 30th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, and though we are still trying, I don’t think we have fully made sense of what happened,” writes columnist Frank Shyong.


Warm weather is expected in Southern California before another cooling trend. Warm temperatures are expected through Tuesday but they won’t last long. Patchy fog will set in Wednesday, followed by cool temperatures in the high 60s, signaling the start of another cold snap through the weekend.

An LAPD bomb technician’s warnings were ignored before the ill-fated fireworks detonation, a report finds. The member who raised concerns, identified only as “Bomb Technician C,” said his colleagues and his supervisor told him that he was wrong and that he should “relax,” and the fireworks were loaded into the vessel all at once anyway.

Confidence in California public schools declines sharply. A third of voters give L.A. a D or an F. Voters and parents say education suffered during the pandemic and, for the moment at least, their confidence in public schools is shaken, according to a UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.

The California Bar investigates after confidential discipline records are published online. Officials said they don’t know whether the published information was the result of a hacking incident.

Looking to buy a piece of Queen Mary history? Now’s your chance. The city of Long Beach is looking for bidders — museums, preservation groups or developers — interested in buying one or all 20 of the Queen Mary’s lifeboats as it kicks off a $5-million repair project, officials said.

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Even in water-rich Michigan, there’s no guarantee of enough for all. Some futurists depict Michigan and the Great Lakes as “climate havens” that will lure people and businesses weary of worsening drought, wildfire, hurricanes and other disasters. Not so fast, skeptics say.

Nepal approves a contentious U.S. aid grant despite protests. Opposition to the aid package, which was initially sought by Nepal, comes mainly from communist parties, two of which are part of the coalition government. For several days, protesters have violently clashed with the police.

After Brazil’s mudslides, grief and faith are among the ruins. Every day, Alex Sandro Condé leaves the shelter where he has been staying since the deadly Feb. 15 landslides devastated his poor, mountainside neighborhood and seeks out others who have suffered a loss. He doesn’t have to look hard.


The full list of winners for the 2022 Screen Actors Guild Awards. Chosen by their peers, SAG nominees and winners are generally considered better indicators of who might triumph in the acting categories at the Oscars this spring.

Why Joel Wachs let his life as a closeted gay politician be fictionalized in ‘Licorice Pizza.’ Wachs has lived in Manhattan since 2001, but he spent three decades as the City Council member for the same Los Angeles district where  director Paul Thomas Anderson was born and raised.

Jennifer Hudson is entertainer of the year at the NAACP Image Awards. After Hudson accepted the award Saturday night, the singer-actor thanked the NAACP for inspiring “little girls like me.” She beat out Regina King, Lil Nas X, Megan Thee Stallion and Tiffany Haddish.


Founder of the cryptocurrency company BitConnect is charged in $2.4-billion fraud. Satishkumar Kurjibhai Kumbhani, 36, a citizen and resident of Surat, India, is charged with numerous conspiracy counts relating to wire fraud, money laundering and commodities fraud, as well as one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

How Gayle King put a national spotlight on the killing of Trayvon Martin. The national coverage of the story that started on CBS helped energize the “Black Lives Matter” movement and the national conversation about equal justice in the Black community.


FIFA says there’s no World Cup qualifying ban yet. Russia is set to play as the RFU. FIFA has backed away from immediately expelling Russia from World Cup qualifying but said it remained an option.

Kyle Larson holds on for victory in a wild NASCAR Cup finish at Fontana. Larson, who started 13th thanks to a pre-race penalty for car adjustments, had been hanging around the middle of the pack most of the day before suddenly inching his way into the top five and then winning a race he led for just 29 laps.

Chicharito scores in the final minutes to lift Galaxy over New York City FC in their season opener. It is the second straight year the Mexican striker has scored in the Galaxy’s opener. He had a pair of goals in their 3-2 win over Inter Miami last year.

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How America’s mistrust of institutions birthed the false promises of the crypto craze. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies seek to oust traditional finance, yet often rely on it.

Deep racial inequality persists in the U.S. — but many Americans don’t want to believe it. Those likely to benefit from racial inequality in America may be willfully ignorant about its persistence. Hard data may make them face hard truths.


“The One,” mega-mansion
Bidding is to begin on “The One,” which occupies a Bel-Air hilltop.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The mega-mansion known as “The One” has become something of a Rorschach test for L.A.’s luxury real estate scene: Everyone’s focus is on the same massive Bel-Air structure, but they’re not seeing the same thing.

Some think it’s the ultimate trophy home, others are convinced it’s a giant white elephant clad in marble and glass that one local broker has sarcastically dubbed “100,000 square feet of drywall.” It should be clear which vision prevails when the mansion goes up for auction this week.

The One has been among the most highly anticipated Los Angeles mansions over the last decade and was first marketed by its flamboyant developer for $500 million before it was even completed.


People in costumes during Mardi Gras celebration.
People give a samba dancer room during a Mardi Gras celebration in downtown Los Angeles in 1966.
(Los Angeles Times)

New Orleanians have long taken to the streets to mark the beginning of the city’s famous Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, celebrations. (However, Mobile, Ala., claims to have been the place of origin of the fest in America in 1703.) Other cities have also started their own celebrations, including Los Angeles.

In a typical year, dozens of parades are staged in New Orleans in the weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday, especially on the preceding weekend. But celebrations there were paused in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have returned this year, with the Mardi Gras parade happening tomorrow.

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