Today’s Headlines: Fighting rages on as Ukraine and Russia talks fail

Ukrainian police rush a traveler to a railway station
Ukrainian police rush a traveler to a railway station terminal during an airstrike alarm in Kyiv on Monday.
(Vadim Ghirda / Associated Press)
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By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Tuesday, March 1, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Fighting rages on in Ukraine as talks with Russia fail

Russia and Ukraine’s first round of talks failed to ease Europe’s biggest ground war in more than 75 years as Russian missiles pounded Ukraine’s second-largest city, troops have pressed closer to the capital, Kyiv, and more than half a million Ukrainians have fled the country.


International efforts to punish and isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin have intensified and taken aim at his country’s most important finances. Even traditionally neutral Switzerland joined the growing coalition of nations imposing a raft of sanctions on Putin and associates, demanding Russia withdraw its troops immediately.

But Putin seems to remain impervious to the pressure and insisted Russia was not targeting civilians in its attacks despite abundant evidence to the contrary. Rather than back down, Putin may be driven to increasingly brutal tactics, several experts warned. But why? So far, he has kept everyone guessing.

More about Ukraine

Senate GOP blocks abortion bill

Senate Republicans have blocked consideration of a bill to make abortion legal nationwide, the centerpiece of Democrats’ response to Republican-led efforts to ask the Supreme Court to send the issue back to states to decide.


As expected, the procedural vote to start debate fell along largely along party lines, 46 to 48. Democrats would have needed several Republicans to join them to reach the 60 votes needed to circumvent a filibuster.

But the fact that the vote was held despite its low odds of success underscored the subtly shifting politics in the Democratic Party on the issue, as abortion rights advocates demand more vocal support from lawmakers and show little tolerance for outliers.

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California to lift its school mask mandate

Indoor masking will no longer be mandatory at California schools and child-care facilities after March 11. While this is just the latest move to loosen California’s formerly strict face-covering policies, it may wind up being the most significant in the near term — allowing potentially millions of K-12 schoolchildren to go maskless in the classroom for the first time in at least 10 months.


In another major move, California officials also said masks will be strongly recommended — but no longer required — for unvaccinated individuals in most indoor settings starting today.

Sign up for our 8 to 3 newsletter for reporting and perspectives on kids and school, plus answers to the questions that keep California families up at night.

More top coronavirus headlines

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

These wildfire survivors say FEMA did little to help

While the Federal Emergency Management Agency is often seen providing trailers and money to victims of hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, survivors of last year’s Caldor wildfire complain that the agency has had little to offer them when their homes were destroyed by flames.


Although FEMA has made funds available to reimburse the state and local governments for costs related to the fire, the agency did not approve a request from California Gov. Gavin Newsom to provide for individual assistance. The move has perplexed state officials and added to criticism that FEMA’s assistance programs are geared more toward Eastern and Midwestern disasters.

U.N. report warns urgent action is needed to address climate change

Climate change will put people’s lives and Earth’s ecosystems at increasing risk of catastrophe if nations fail to quickly reduce emissions of planet-heating gases, according to a new United Nations report that urges humankind to scale up efforts to adapt and protect the most vulnerable.

As global warming continues to unleash deadly heat waves, intense droughts, floods and devastating wildfires, the researchers from 67 countries called for urgent action to address the crisis. They said many of the dangerous and accelerating effects can still be reduced, depending on how quickly the burning of fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases are curbed.

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A large group of people in dark and camouflage jackets stand in formation in a street
Volunteers for Territorial Defense Units stand in formation, check their weapons, put on yellow armbands, get marching orders and ship out to their posts to defend Kyiv, Ukraine, from the Russian invasion on Monday.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)


A man killed four people, including three of his children, before turning the gun on himself inside a church in the Sacramento suburbs on Monday evening, authorities said. A sheriff’s spokesman said all of the children who were killed were younger than 15.

How a man’s death in Beverly Hills exposed a sprawling Hollywood drug delivery business. Ray Mascolo died after consuming drugs laced with fentanyl, setting in motion a federal investigation. The operation it uncovered resembled a food delivery app with about 19 drivers employed to fan out nightly across Los Angeles filling clients’ drug orders.

Richard Blum, husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, dies at 86. The San Francisco businessman and philanthropist died late Sunday after a long battle with cancer. Blum was chairman of equity investment management firm Blum Capital Partners. He also dedicated much of his life to the people of the Himalayas, founding the American Himalayan Foundation.

Court pushes new asylum seekers to front of the line — and creates new challenges. A Biden-administration program prioritizes hearings for cases of recently arrived asylum-seeking families over the court backlog. But months in, advocates are raising concerns about lack of legal representation for families on the special docket and the resulting high rate of deportation orders.

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Many Capitol riot cases could hinge on the first trial’s outcome. The Justice Department began one of the largest and most complex criminal investigations in its history after a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. The first trial in one of the hundreds of prosecutions began this week with jury selection starting Monday.


Supreme Court to review Native American child adoption law. The Justices agreed to review a case involving a federal law that gives Native Americans preference in adoptions of Native children. The law has long been championed by Native American leaders as a means of preserving their families and culture.

A search for closure at a Mexican cartel ‘extermination site.’ At the Nuevo Laredo site, the insufficiency of investigations into Mexico’s nearly 100,000 disappearances is painfully evident. There are 52,000 unidentified people in morgues and cemeteries, not counting places like this one, where the charred remains are measured only by weight.


Batman needs a renewal. ‘The Batman’ isn’t quite it. It’s a movie of alternately promising and frustrating half-measures, in which director Matt Reeves’ shrewd storytelling instincts and the usual franchise-filmmaking imperatives repeatedly fight to a draw, writes film critic Justin Chang.

Inside the ‘vicious’ feud tearing Playboy alumni apart. A&E’s “Secrets of Playboy” docuseries has deepened a major schism: On one side are those who forged such close bonds while living or partying at the mansion that they still gather for an annual reunion. On the other are women who have drawn closer through the shared trauma of what they claim to have witnessed.

A history of Pop Tarts, ‘Beverly Hills Cop 4’ and more films will get tax credits. The California Film Commission revealed the latest round of film projects for the state’s $330-million annual incentive plan. The program allows filmmakers to recoup 20% to 25% of spending on qualified costs, such as money spent building sets and hiring crews.

How ‘Uncharted’ escaped development hell and survived Hollywood’s video game curse. The film’s success is the latest sign of hope for the return of a robust theatrical market as Warner Bros. prepares to release “The Batman” this weekend, which is expected to become the first film since “Spider-Man: No Way Home” to open with more than $100 million domestically.



Why dubbing has become more crucial to Netflix’s business. Confronted with rising competition and slowing subscriber growth, the Los Gatos, Calif., company has invested heavily in foreign-language programming to cater to an increasingly global audience.


Here are the billionaire team owners who rule baseball amid the MLB lockout. Roughly three-quarters of the game’s primary owners have net worths north of 10 figures, including two with net worths north of 11 figures, and all but two of them have seen their franchise values appreciate since their purchases, often extraordinarily.

CSUN doubles tennis partners from Russia and Ukraine find support from each other. It seems a strange pairing now, putting a Ukrainian and a Russian together. But until last week — or at least before Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 — it seemed natural. The two countries had more in common than they did apart.

Here’s what LeBron James and other Lakers had to say after their 28-point loss to New Orleans. All the boos the Lakers encountered during their uninspiring Sunday night loss were just one of many things they had to face. How they deal with the rest of the week and the tough schedule they will play at Arena is another issue.

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The West should stop financing Putin’s war. The U.S. and other Western nations send Russia an average of $500 million for energy every day, effectively financing Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.



A man in a plaid shirt and a blue baseball cap stands in a field of yellow, orange, red and pink flowers
Field worker Martin Gonzalez harvests ranunculus at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad in February 2020.
(John Gibbins / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Prepare your Instagram captions — it’s finally flower season. The jury’s still out on how many wildflowers we’ll see this spring, but in the many-colored, carefully cultivated Flower Fields of Carlsbad Ranch, the bloom is on and the cash register is about to begin ringing.

The fields — 55 acres of giant Tecolote ranunculuses in Instagram-ready yellow, orange, pink and red — will open to the public for visits starting today.

Over the past quarter of a century, the Flower Fields have become one of the region’s most photographed tourist attractions.


Two women wear long gowns. A crowd of people, most of them in hats and fur-trimmed coats, surround them.
March 1, 1933: A crowd gathers around two models wearing Robinson’s department store fashions from 1883, right, and 1933.
(Los Angeles Times)

Eighty-nine years ago today, the J.W. Robinson department store in downtown Los Angeles marked 50 years in business. The Times wrote in 2009 that the store opened in 1883, “bringing west the tradition of the American department store that began in New York. These early emporiums were democratic and efficient. From their racks and open shelves, bankers’ wives and modest secretaries could dress themselves and their houses, all in an afternoon.”


The 50th anniversary of the store — which later became a chain, merged with May Co. and eventually ceased operations in 2006 — was celebrated in the March 2, 1933, edition of The Times: “The handsome store … formed a brilliant setting for the elegantly garbed women and the characterful men who gathered to fecilitate the managers of Robinson’s.” For the occasion, the store had pulled from storage a number of 1883 fashions and displayed them alongside those of 1933: “The full skirts and strange hats of the long ago stood opposite to those of today, the present-day habiliments seeming to surpass in grace and beauty those of lang syne.”

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