Today’s Headlines: Suffering, heroism and slender hope for evacuations in Ukraine


By Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Tuesday, March 8, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today.


Russia targets strategic spots and civilian areas

A dozen days into a devastating war and a burgeoning refugee crisis, Russian forces launched withering attacks on civilian areas and strategic centers in Ukraine, seeking to cripple the country’s defenses and establish supremacy over its vital Black Sea coast. Ukrainian and Russian representatives held talks that yielded only “small positive shifts” on logistical arrangements for setting up corridors for evacuating citizens today, a Ukrainian negotiator reported.


Shelling drew closer to the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, which bristled with makeshift defenses — sandbags, old tires, tree branches — as its mayor, Vitali Klitschko, vowed that defenders would fight to the death.

Also: The Times’ Nabih Bulos reports from the trenches, where a singing soldier and others faced the reality that there were enough Russian troops to overwhelm what resistance they could muster: “We’ll fight to the end. What choice do we have?”

More about Ukraine:

  • The U.S. military ordered the deployment of 500 additional troops to Europe, pushing the total number of American forces on the continent to about 100,000, as it sought to deter Russia from broadening its unprovoked war, Pentagon officials said.
  • Russia and Ukraine combined produce nearly a third of the world’s wheat and barley exports, and Ukraine also is a major supplier of corn and the global leader in sunflower oil. The war could reduce food supplies just when prices are at their highest levels since 2011.
  • Teachers are helping students navigate the wave of emotions that comes with devastating world events. But teaching about the invasion of Ukraine can be tricky.

The U.S. will ban Russian oil

President Biden is expected to announce on Tuesday that the U.S. will ban the importing of Russian oil, liquified natural gas and coal, broadening the economic sanctions leveled against Moscow over its war in Ukraine, an administration official said.

The decision comes as bipartisan support in Congress was coalescing behind restrictions on Russian energy.


The administration is considering easing restrictions on imports of oil from Venezuela to ease the void left by Russian oil bans, a politically problematic step. It also has sought to convince Saudi Arabia, which has been under fire from U.S. and European officials over its human rights record, to boost oil production.

More politics:

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday endorsed her “colleague and friend” Rep. Karen Bass in the Los Angeles mayor’s race.
  • The Supreme Court has turned away efforts from Republicans in North Carolina and Pennsylvania to block state-court-ordered congressional districting plans. In North Carolina, the map most likely will give Democrats an additional House seat in 2023.

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

The good news about COVID vaccinations for kids ages 5 to 11

Recent data underscore that the vaccinations for children are protective against severe illness and hospitalization. New reports also reinforced the finding that vaccines weren’t working well against preventing Omicron infection. But experts said what’s most important is a vaccine’s effectiveness against severe illness and hospitalization — not its ability to avoid the runny noses caused by COVID-19.

More coronavirus news:


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

Dominguez Channel cries out for environmental justice, residents say

The toxic spill that plunged thousands of Los Angeles County residents into misery in October, the result of a Carson warehouse fire, was scarcely unique. It was the latest in a string of environmental disasters that have plagued the 15-mile Dominguez Channel. The Times’ Louis Sahagún details the disaster — plus the industry recklessness, official neglect and other factors that contribute to flooding and stink. For instance: Because much of the waterway is at sea level, it is greatly affected by tidal flows, which prevent the channel from discharging freely into the sea.

After the most recent disaster, officials are vowing to seek justice for the predominantly Latino, Black and Asian neighborhoods that straddle the long-polluted flood channel. “This disaster really is all about social justice and racial equity for people who live along the channel,” said an official.

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A group of men push a stroller packed with belongings past an overturned van
Residents cross the river and evacuate Sunday as Russian forces advance and continue to bombard Irpin, Ukraine, with artillery.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)


A fragile rat may not survive the loopholes in endangered species protections. When California recently declared the San Bernardino kangaroo rat an endangered species, conservationists rejoiced. But many endangered species diminish because the law has not substantially stemmed threats, including disease, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, wildfires and pollution.

Will this family find a better life in rural California? It seemed like an unusual choice for Luz Puebla and her family — turning from the city that has long been a beacon for immigrants from Latin America and Asia in favor of a tiny Central Valley town called Huron. But L.A. was sinking them into debt, and they looked to Huron and felt hope.

L.A. is suing Monsanto and two related companies over toxic chemicals. The city is suing for past and future costs of dealing with contamination of waterways by long-banned chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, the city attorney announced.

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Biden’s EPA proposed a new rule to reduce smog from trucks. The new emission standards would reduce smog-forming pollutants from tractor-trailer trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles as part of a multiyear plan to improve air quality across the nation.

The Supreme Court said it wouldn’t review the decision that freed Bill Cosby from prison. The high court declined prosecutors’ request to hear the case and reinstate Cosby’s conviction. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last year threw out the conviction, saying the prosecutor who brought the case was bound by his predecessor’s agreement not to charge Cosby.


How badly will Russia’s war torpedo hopes for global climate cooperation? The prospect of nations coming together to quickly enact meaningful change already seemed slim. But with Russia blowing apart the world order, advocates for international climate action say their cause is looking ever more bleak, just as the effects of warming become more ominous.

Abortion access is still difficult after a historic ruling in Mexico. Six months ago, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that criminalizing abortion was unconstitutional. But as abortion advocates warned after the ruling, there remain obstacles to safe and legal abortions in much of the country until each state reforms its penal code.


The film academy’s decision to alter the Oscars broadcast is facing resistance from heavy hitters in Hollywood. Eight categories are being moved to the hour before the telecast begins. Among those criticizing the decision: Steven Spielberg, Denis Villeneuve and Jane Campion. “I think that the academy’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” “Dune” director Villeneuve said.

With the charming “Turning Red,” Pixar unleashes teenage panda-monium. As 13-year-old Meilin Lee awakes one morning from uneasy dreams, she finds herself transformed in her bed into an enormous red panda. The result is a charming comic fantasy — arriving this week on Disney+ but not, regrettably, in theaters, writes critic Justin Chang.

“The Real Housewives” integrated its casts. Then racism allegations ignited a crisis. On the heels of similar controversies on “New York” and “Dallas,” the messiness on “Salt Lake City” points to a central crisis: Can shows predicated on entitlement and endless pot-stirring evolve into entertainment that is over-the-top and meaningfully inclusive at the same time?

Who’s the face of Harry Styles’ new beauty brand? Mick Fleetwood, obviously. Styles enlisted the 74-year-old Fleetwood Mac drummer — his musical hero and confidant — to represent Pleasing, which Styles launched late last year. Among the looks: The British rocker is captured sporting a lavender, zebra-print suit accompanied by a purple top hat and wearing Pleasing nail polish.



Disney’s CEO addressed employees about the company’s stance on Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Bob Chapek sent a lengthy email to workers to address concerns of LGBTQ+ staff over the company’s public silence on legislation that would squelch discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. Chapek said corporate statements “do very little to change outcomes or minds.”

McDonald’s restaurants in Russia, of which 84% are company-owned, are apparently still operating. Although companies from Apple to Walt Disney Co. to Netflix have announced shutdowns of shipments and services to Russia, McDonald’s has been silent, making it perhaps the most prominent Western corporation to fail to take a public stand on the Russian attack, writes columnist Michael Hiltzik.

Try Idaho? A growing number of real estate companies are advertising themselves to people on the right, saying they can take them out of liberal bastions such as Seattle and San Francisco and find them homes in places such as rural Idaho.


The Lakers’ late rally came up short in a 117-110 loss to the Spurs in San Antonio. LeBron James missed Monday’s game in San Antonio. He had swelling and soreness in his left knee just two days after he scored 56 points in a win the Lakers desperately needed against the Golden State Warriors.

A Clippers teammate calls Nicolas Batum the “ultimate glue guy.” Steve Kerr says he has a “brilliant basketball mind.” The Times’ Andrew Greif looks at Batum’s ability to adapt.

Bill James, whose name is synonymous with baseball analytics, takes a look at what’s troubling the sport. He thinks it needs new rules. Such as? James proposes that a batter can foul off one pitch with two strikes. Foul off another pitch, and you’re out.


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How much money are we willing to spend to seize guns from the likes of the disturbed father who shot and killed his three daughters in a church? Putting a price tag on the lives of young girls is an impossible task, writes columnist George Skelton. But the priority should be a lot higher than where we’re placing it now, despite all the rhetoric about the need for tight gun control.

Cut off Russia’s oil and gas sales now. Europe and the U.S. are united against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, yet they currently pay Russia upward of $1 billion per day for oil and natural gas. Revenues from oil- and gas-related taxes and tariffs accounted for 45% of Russia’s federal budget in January. Such payments fund a war machine focused on killing Ukrainian civilians, even when they have been granted safe passage. Western energy purchases can be stopped if the U.S. steps up and leads the way, write Simon Johnson and Oleg Ustenko.


A bald eagle watching over a new born chick in a nest high atop a tree along Big Bear Lake on March 4, 2022.
A bald eagle watches over a newborn chick Friday along Big Bear Lake.
(Friends of Big Bear Valley and Big Bear Eagle Nest Cam/U.S. Forest Service )

“A star is hatched”: After two years of tragedy, Big Bear’s celebrity bald eagle couple, Jackie and Shadow, welcomed a healthy baby last week. The eaglet is the first born to the couple after Jackie’s eggs were either nonviable or eaten by ravens in the last two years. A second egg remains in the nest and is expected to hatch soon.

Thousands of devotees, many of whom have been following Jackie and Shadow’s path to parenthood for years, expressed well wishes for the two resilient eagles while the human world was ravaged by conflict and disease.



Young people carrying signs walk in line along a sidewalk.
March 7, 1966: Students protest outside Palisades High School.
(Los Angeles Times)

Fifty-six years ago this week, a group of about 50 male students picketed Palisades High to protest school officials’ demand that they cut their hair before being readmitted to classes.

The Times wrote on March 8, 1966, that as the “longhairs” were picketing, members of the school’s football team ripped up their signs, in full view of the school’s dean of boys. In the following days, things got a little hairy. The paper reported on March 13 that the school was facing “charges that the administrators had permitted a goon squad of school athletes to break up a demonstration by long-haired students” as well as a threat of legal action by “both the American Civil Liberties Union and one irate parent.”

But — at that point, anyway — school officials were standing firm. One said the school had no choice as kids had begun “showing up with impossible hair-dos. And I mean impossible. Some of them had hair … swept to one side and curled over the ear. Some had bleached streaks in their hair; some had bangs down to their eyebrows. We had to do something.”

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