Today’s Headlines: No breakthroughs at Ukraine-Russia talks as battles intensify in Kyiv suburbs

Smoke rises from behind a city with anti-tank obstacles and debris in the street
A view near the front line Thursday in Irpin, where Ukrainian forces have been battling Russian troops.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limón and Laura Blasey

Hello, it’s Friday, March 11, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


As Ukraine-Russia talks falter, battles continue in Kyiv suburbs

As Russian troops advanced from the north, Kyiv with its defiant president and citizen militias armed with rifles and homemade bombs was preparing a robust defense as talks to end the war stalled and relentless shelling battered coastal towns in the south.


While the clashes and efforts to evacuate more people continued, there were no breakthroughs for an end to the hostilities as Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers met in Antalya, Turkey, for the two countries’ highest-level talks since the war began two weeks ago.

After negotiations lasting about an hour and a half, the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers emerged still far apart in their views of a conflict that has killed hundreds, possibly thousands, of people.

More about Ukraine

Inflation rose again in February and is probably headed higher

In a development that cast a dark shadow over an otherwise strong economy, inflation surged in February to a new four-decade high. The rise in inflation will probably be exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine, which already has pushed gas prices higher.

Although overshadowed in a news cycle dominated by reports from the war front, rising costs remain a top issue in the U.S. as the White House has worked to blunt Republican attacks on the Biden administration’s failure to tame inflation.

Biden suggested in a statement that the February report “is a reminder that Americans’ budgets are being stretched by price increases and families are starting to feel the impacts of Putin’s price hike.”

How will L.A. County find warning signs of the next COVID-19 surge?

As the Omicron surge of the coronavirus continues to wane, Los Angeles County has been lifting COVID-19 mandates, including indoor masking and vaccine verification in certain settings. But with those guardrails removed, how will health officials detect signs of potential surges?

The obvious tools of tracking new coronavirus cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations are still in place. But there are seven other indicators that L.A. County plans to monitor as part of an early warning system, according to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. Among these include new variants, the percentage of coronavirus-related emergency room visits and the case rate for the county’s lowest-income areas.

More top coronavirus headlines

  • The federal requirement that passengers wear masks on airplanes, buses and other mass transit has been extended through April 18, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcing it is developing guidance to ease the mandate next month.
  • Hawaii will lift the nation’s last statewide indoor mask mandate by March 26.

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

MLB lockout is set to end with an agreement to new contract terms

Baseball’s spring finally has dawned. Three months after major league owners locked out players and declared not another game would be played without a new collective bargaining agreement, the league and the players’ union agreed on the outline of a five-year deal.

The deal includes a full 162-game season this year, starting April 7.

The deal was ratified by the players and still must be by owners, but the news sparked an immediate scramble for teams to open training camps and players to get there. Major league camps had been set to open the week of Feb. 14, and exhibition games had been scheduled to start Feb. 26.

As a med student, he saw women nearly die from illegal abortions. At 83, he sees no end to his work

Dr. Warren Hern doesn’t have to imagine what could befall many women in America if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe vs. Wade. In 1963, he was a medical student working nights at Colorado General Hospital in Denver. Women would arrive in septic shock, some probably hours from death.

Hern had found his calling: ensuring access to legal abortions, a mission he believes is worth dying for, as several of his friends have. With the court expected to deliver a ruling in the next few months that could trigger abortion bans in as many as 26 states, Hern has recommitted himself to his life’s work at the center of one of the most contentious debates in American political history.

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A gas station lists gas at $6.95 per gallon in front of an advertisement that includes a horrified red panda cartoon
A Mobil station at the corner of La Cienega and Beverly advertises prices higher than the norm throughout the Los Angeles area, but customers are still filling up. At a handful of notoriously expensive stations, owners say customers are simply willing to pay.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)


L.A. mayoral candidates want more cops. They’ll have to fix hiring first. Fulfilling such campaign promises won’t be easy, according to LAPD officials and overseers — not just because of fiscal constraints and still-rumbling efforts to “defund” police, but because an administrative bottleneck has the department hundreds of officers short and backsliding further.

A GOP senator places a hold on Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nomination to become ambassador to India, citing new whistleblower claims. In a letter sent by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Grassley indicated that he had put a hold on the Senate vote so allegations that Garcetti ignored sexual harassment in his office can be investigated.

Emails in a college admissions trial show USC’s interest in wealthy applicants. Officials discussed how much money some families stood to donate while deliberating whether to endorse their children as “VIP” applicants, according to emails filed recently in federal court.

With no respite from the drought, officials call upon Californians to conserve water. Citing meager winter rainfall, California officials are urging residents to conserve water as the state contends with a third year of severe drought.

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Latinos were undercounted by 5% in the latest census. The 2020 census missed an unexpectedly small percentage of the total U.S. population given the unprecedented challenges it faced, but Black, Latino and American Indian residents were overlooked at higher rates than a decade ago, the U.S. Census Bureau said.

U.S. to sanction North Korea over recent long-range missile tests. The White House plans to impose new sanctions over two recent missile tests. The launches, which took place on Feb. 26 and March 4, are believed to be a prelude to North Korea testing an intercontinental missile or a nuclear bomb in the coming months.

South Korea’s new president-elect vows a tougher line on the North. President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol said he would solidify an alliance with the United States, build up a powerful military and deal sternly with North Korean provocations, hours after he won the country’s hard-fought election to become its next leader.


Actor Jussie Smollett is sentenced to 150 days in jail for lying about a hate crime. In addition to jail time, Cook County Judge James Linn sentenced the actor to 30 months of felony probation and ordered him to pay $120,000 in restitution to the city of Chicago and a maximum fine of $25,000 stemming from his 2019 report of an alleged hate crime.

Over 70 Hollywood heavy-hitters slam the controversial Oscar changes in an open letter. The letter is the latest in a string of criticisms of the move from various guilds, industry groups and academy members as well as a number of this year’s nominees, including Jane Campion and Steven Spielberg.

The Huntington Library acquires the archive of Eve Babitz. The archive of Eve Babitz, the Los Angeles author who died in December, has found a home at the Huntington, which announced that it has acquired a collection of art, manuscripts, journals, photographs and correspondence from the author spanning from 1943 to 2011.

Kim Kardashian’s advice for women backfires: ‘Nobody needs to hear your thoughts.’ While promoting her family’s new Hulu reality show, “The Kardashians,” in a video interview with Variety, Kim Kardashian offered tips for aspiring women in business. British actor Jameela Jamil wholeheartedly disagreed and many shared her sentiment.


Disney’s live-in theme park could change how we vacation. The new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World provides guests with staples of the operatic space fantasy throughout its two-night experience. If the Starcruiser works, it could mainstream the concept of a LARP — a live-action role-playing game. If it fails, it would serve as an expensive cautionary tale.


Fighting for Coach Manny: A South L.A. basketball team rallies for its mentor. After their coach suffered a stroke, the Santee High School girls’ basketball players banded together, determined to win for themselves and their coach.

With MLB back in business, the free-agent frenzy is about to begin. With the industry open again, 250 or so free agents will be balling for dollars. A flurry of trades could also contribute to a head-spinning number of transactions before the start of the season.

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What superhero can swoop in to save movie theaters? Studios should come to the rescue by buying up chains and revolutionizing the screening side of the industry.

Domestic abusers still have access to guns. That has got to change. California must do more to stop dangerous people from having guns. It’s shameful that California essentially relies on an honor system asking domestic abusers to relinquish their weapons.


First, we want to remind you to “spring” your clocks forward early Sunday morning. It’s bad news for anyone who loves to stay in bed — especially on the weekend — since we will lose a precious hour of sleep. Not a fan of the change? Here are some tips that may help you survive the time shift, including heading to bed earlier and seeking out direct sun exposure as early as possible.

Skinny, fat, green, white or purple, all asparagus spears are delicious. These spears of spring are a nutritional powerhouse. Steam them and drizzle with a lemony, herby brown butter sauce or top them with a fried egg and let the runny yolk coat the stalks. Mix them into a frittata with some diced ham for a flavorful brunch dish or incorporate them into a risotto with shrimp. However you like to eat them, here are eight recipes to try for asparagus season.


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What you need to know about the cost of police misconduct. How much cities pay to resolve misconduct allegations — and who the officers are — is generally hidden from the public, whose taxes often cover these costs. To shed some light on the process, reporters filed numerous public records requests and combed through court documents to connect nearly 40,000 payments to specific officers. (Washington Post)

These U.S. fighters are bound for Ukraine — and some of them have never fired a weapon. Ukrainian Americans across the country are weighing whether to take up arms and travel to their homeland. For some, the choice is a simple one, even if they’d never lived in Ukraine. Others see it as a somber homecoming, having fled the Soviet Union decades ago and newly motivated to protect Ukraine’s freedom. (New York Times)

Is this really the ‘first TikTok war’? Does it even matter? Social media has allowed people around the world to see the violence in Ukraine with “startling intimacy,” prompting declarations of a new milestone in world conflict. But the narratives of war have always been shaped through media, whether it’s newspapers, television or radio — and those narratives don’t always align with reality. When the internet rewards easy conclusions, it’s worth picking them apart. (The Atlantic)


Two women in front of a telephone switchboard. Each wears headphones and a large mouthpiece.
March 1928: Two of the telephone operators who were among those lauded as heroes after the St. Francis Dam disaster.

On March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam failed, unleashing a wave of devastation that smashed bridges, washed away homes and killed at least 450 people. The dam, in San Francisquito Canyon, about 20 miles north of what is now the city of Santa Clarita, broke apart just before midnight, sending 12 billion gallons of water rampaging through communities in the Santa Clara River Valley — “a flood not just of water but of concrete, asphalt, railroad rails and ties, farms, cars and homes.” It raged for hours toward the coast.

Named as heroes in the tragedy were telephone operators, later called “Hello Girls,” who stayed at their posts and “began systematically calling residents in low-lying areas, urging them to flee to higher ground,” according to KCET. The Times reported on March 19, 1928: “The lights were out and candles had been lit when first word of the flood reached Miss Louise Gipe, a night operator in Santa Paula. She called the Chief of Police at Santa Paula. She called the Sheriff at Ventura. And then remained at her post calling the operators of other stations in the valley. What Miss Gipe did was repeated by others.”

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