Today’s Headlines: Russia tightens grip in Mariupol as attacks intensify in east Ukraine

Three people walk by bombed-out buildings.
Civilians are evacuated along humanitarian corridors from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol under the control of the Russian military and pro-Russia separatists.
(Anadolu Agency)

By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Thursday, April 21, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Ultimatum ignored in Mariupol as attacks intensify in east Ukraine

Russia tightened its grip around Ukraine’s last stronghold in the besieged port of Mariupol, whose desperate defenders, holed up in underground shelters beneath a massive steel plant, pleaded for international help, declaring that they were “probably facing our last days, if not hours.”


Along hundreds of miles of a scythe-shaped battlefront in Ukraine’s east, the din of Russian bombardment echoed in cities and towns, while Moscow’s ground forces made a series of what Ukrainian military officials described as probing attacks that did not yield any substantial new territorial gains.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address to the nation that nearly all of Russia’s combat-ready forces were “concentrated on the territory of our state” and just outside its borders. Moscow, he said, was deploying “almost everyone and everything that is capable of fighting.”

More on Ukraine

Inflation brings California food banks a surge in first-time users on ‘razor’s edge’

Food banks across the state are seeing an influx of new faces as spikes in the cost of groceries and gas have some Californians seeking help for the first time. The numbers of those receiving services dipped at the start of the year as the spread of the COVID-19 virus waned, but are now rising in the face of the highest inflation in 41 years.


The issue is twofold, as food bank administrators are grappling with their own higher costs for food and the gas it takes to transport it to local pantries. The California Assn. of Food Banks is calling for nearly twice as much money from the state than Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed in his January budget for the regional organizations, warning that relief from the government that had buoyed low-income families during the pandemic is expiring and will further contribute to financial woes.

L.A. says it can’t take care of its sickest and most vulnerable. The county isn’t buying it

This month, Los Angeles officials announced a partial settlement of a 2-year-old federal lawsuit over homelessness. The city pledged to create housing, either permanent or interim, for 60% of the city’s unsheltered homeless population. Lawyers representing L.A. Alliance for Human Rights, the group that filed the lawsuit, endorsed the agreement.

Conspicuously absent from the event were representatives of Los Angeles County, which is also being sued by the group. They bashed the settlement, saying the city was in effect seeking to dump responsibility for thousands of severely ill homeless people onto the county.

The dispute has exposed a growing wedge between the city and county that threatens to undo years of cooperation between the massive bureaucracies at a time when homelessness continues to spiral out of control.

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How long COVID upended the life of an L.A. teen

Week after week, 13-year-old Ami Korn holed up in his Tarzana bedroom with his dog, Barley, to quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus. Korn ended up missing much of eighth grade as he continued to endure long COVID, a phenomenon in which symptoms persist for weeks or months after a coronavirus infection.

More than a year later, he has regained his physical strength and is back to playing baseball. He and his parents credit his work in cardiopulmonary rehab, along with acupuncture, medication, vitamins and other therapies.

But at school, he is still grappling with brain fog and struggling with his faltering memory. He once prided himself on his recall but now comes up empty when asked about things that came up in class just days before.

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A woman wearing a hijab places cocktail umbrellas into cups on a tray.
Working around food while fasting for Ramadan isn’t so bad for some. Non-Muslims might find the idea torture. But staff at World Famous Grill in Bell say they’ve adjusted. Above, Rana Khanafer prepares fruit cups.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)


Rapper ASAP Rocky was arrested at LAX in connection with a 2021 Hollywood shooting. After stepping off a private plane with girlfriend Rihanna, the rapper was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a November incident in which Los Angeles police say he shot at a person in Hollywood.

The L.A. teacher shortage crisis has hit poor kids the hardest, forcing a last-ditch staffing effort. With less than two months left in the school year, many of Los Angeles Unified’s highest-needs schools remain significantly understaffed, impeding academic recovery and prompting Supt. Alberto Carvalho to deploy credentialed administrators and staff back into the classroom.

L.A. County will settle for $1.85 million with a whistleblower who alleged child welfare failures. County supervisors approved a $1.85-million payment to settle the suit brought by a former county social worker who alleged he had uncovered a pattern of systemic misconduct that endangered thousands of children, records show.

He’s terminally single and getting old. What’s next for P-22, L.A’s favorite wild bachelor? Angelenos can’t help but see themselves in the urban mountain lion known as P-22. He’s carved out a life in a crowded city. And though he’s still handsome for his advanced age, he’s terminally single.


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The Supreme Court sounds ready to shield police from lawsuits for Miranda warning violations. The justices heard arguments in a case — arising from a 2014 confrontation between a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy and a hospital nursing assistant — that seeks to answer for the first time whether officers who don’t provide a Miranda warning can be sued for violating a suspect’s constitutional rights.

A ‘wall of fire’ forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes near Flagstaff, Ariz. Officials declared an emergency after the wildfire ballooned from 100 acres to over nine square miles by evening, and ash rained from the sky outside a northern Arizona tourist town. Coconino County officials said 766 homes and 1,000 animals had been evacuated.

Can Texas declare a border ‘invasion’ and return migrants to Mexico? Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is facing mounting pressure from far-right and former Trump administration officials to immediately declare a migrant “invasion” at the U.S.-Mexico border, under a constitutional provision that would allow local law enforcement and National Guard troops to stop migrants at the border and send them back to Mexico.


USC suggested that student filmmakers went rogue in a production that ended in the death of a Chapman cinematographer. School officials said students from its prestigious film school appeared to have flouted university safety policies and procedures in carrying out the Imperial County film shoot in which a young cinematographer from Chapman University died.

New Mexico handed the ‘Rust’ production its maximum fine for safety violations. A state agency issued the movie production a fine of $136,793 for violations that led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October. The agency concluded that the management of the production knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed on set.


With a pair of reissues and a tour, Pavement is back. Stephen Malkmus promises he’s excited. The band will rerelease its first and final albums, two records that bookended one of the greatest and most influential indie rock catalogs of the 1990s. Malkmus spoke to The Times about the band’s music, TikTok and what he has in common with Kanye West.

Netflix’s ‘Russian Doll’ didn’t need a second season, but the series has pulled it off beautifully. Stylistically and philosophically consistent with its predecessor, it’s different enough not to feel like a calculating retread. As before, it’s admirable in its ingenuity, a little radical and deeply felt in ways that are not radical at all, writes television critic Robert Lloyd.


Mortgage rates are rising. Will that slow our out-of-control housing market? Several top real estate experts said they didn’t foresee price declines — at least meaningful ones — absent a recession. Several factors should largely uphold home values: a severe shortage of homes for sale, rising incomes, falling unemployment and — in plain language — a tendency for homeowners to be greedy.

Elon Musk says he’s a ‘free speech absolutist,’ but he has a long history of opposing speech and transparency. Musk might be serious about taking over Twitter. But he’s been sued for defamation, has defended himself by saying no one takes him literally and was fined by the government for making fraudulent business claims — he’s what you’d call an unreliable narrator.

The future of weed isn’t in California. It’s somewhere totally unexpected. Oklahoma is a politically conservative, medical-marijuana-only state in the South that’s a beacon of hope, a cautionary tale and a strategic long game all at once.


Hockey is making inroads in Mexico. Yes, Mexico. According to the Mexico Ice Hockey Federation 2,690 players participate in the sport in Mexico, 1,600 of whom are junior players. It’s a small number, but it still has drawn the attention of several NHL teams, which see a chance to grow the game and develop a new fan base.


Oscar De La Hoya is accused of sexual assault. A tequila company executive filed a civil suit in L.A. County Superior Court accusing the former boxing great of two instances of sexual assault. The woman alleges that during a trip to Mexico in March 2020 to visit the Casa Mexico Tequila distillery, De La Hoya banged on her hotel room door “with his pants dropped down to his ankles, then pushed his way into the room, and got into her bed,” according to the lawsuit.

So long, Johnny Juzang. The UCLA shooting guard’s departure for the NBA draft, which he announced in an Instagram post, clears the way for the Bruins’ next highly coveted wing player, Amari Bailey, to feature more prominently in the team’s plans for next season. That’s not to say Juzang won’t be missed.

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The latest scare tactic to rile the GOP base? The word ‘groomer.’ Mangling the meaning of the word may help score a few political points for conservatives who are in a panic about gay and trans rights. But it slanders people who actually care about the healthy sexual development of children and trivializes the very real phenomenon of child sexual abuse, writes columnist Robin Abcarian.


People sit beneath umbrellas near a stream and rolling hills.
The McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma, Calif.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Food fight! A tussle over olive oil has sparked a debate: Who can use California’s name? The McEvoy family, along with other Northern California olive oil artisans, believe their regional brand is sacred — much like Italians with their Parmigiano-Reggiano or the French with their Champagne. But in this case, the brand is California extra virgin olive oil, a product connoisseurs seek out for its pungency and pepperiness.


A new state law punishes those who improperly use the California name to peddle oil from elsewhere. The movement that led to the new law triggered one of the biggest food fights in California since Napa vintners got the state to ban charlatans from marketing their wines with the region’s name. It has implications extending far beyond the scenic olive groves of Northern California, drawing into the debate food safety advocates, global marketing consultants, even hedge fund players who see potential for big profits in products labeled as Californian.


A clipping from a newspaper shows a grainy photo of something protruding from water.
April 25, 1934: Is that you, Nessie?
(Los Angeles Times)

Eighty-eight years ago today, the Daily Mail printed a photo that was said to depict the Loch Ness monster. A few days later — after the pic was “rushed from London to New York by radiograph and then sent air mail to Los Angeles” — The Times published it with a breathless, boxed caption. (To be fair, we did pair the coverage with a story on a 1904 hoax involving a hippogriff.)

The image became known as the “surgeon’s photograph.” A 1987 story in The Times on the continuing search for the legendary beast said that in 1934 “a London surgeon, Dr. Robert K. Wilson, snapped the first and most famous of several photographs purporting to show the Loch Ness monster. Ever since, Wilson’s picture, depicting what seemed to be a small, dark head on an elongated neck, has been the accepted vision of Nessie.”

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