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Today’s Headlines: In the face of an emergency, breast milk donors give of themselves

A woman puts packets of breast milk into a plastic storage bag at a kitchen counter.
Baldwin Park mom Diana Granados reviews bags of breast milk she plans to donate.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

By Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Friday, May 20, and before the news of the day, this reporter (Amy Hubbard) would like to take a quick detour back in time to 1988 at the Hollywood Bowl. It was a warm summer night, the crowd was mellow and the music superb. I was watching Ella Fitzgerald singing “Tain’t Nobody’s Business” — when she fell onstage. It felt like, as one, the entire audience gasped. As the jazz legend was being helped up, I clearly remember her ad-lib quip: “People can really say Ella fell for them.” I’d already fallen for her. Do you have a Hollywood Bowl memory? For the next week, our Entertainment folks are gathering readers’ recollections. First date? Fantastic performance? Share them here for possible inclusion in a future article.

Now, on to the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

With baby formula scarce, California mothers are sharing their breast milk

Thousands of lactating parents from across California have stepped up to help with the ongoing emergency surrounding the shortage of baby formula. Milk banks have seen a recent surge in donations. And moms are also offering their freezer stashes of breast milk to strangers on the internet.

The formula shortage has caused anguish, but donating and tracking down donor milk carry their own stresses. Those who run milk banks caution against informal milk-sharing; the banks have requirements including that the donor must provide medical records and get written permission from their obstetrician and their baby’s pediatrician to donate. For some donor parents, that’s just not feasible.

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Moscow said hundreds of Ukrainian troops were in custody; U.S. Senate approved $40 billion in new aid

Their fates unknown, more than 1,700 Ukrainian fighters were in Russian custody after surrendering in the conquered city of Mariupol, Moscow said — even as Ukraine claimed battlefield gains elsewhere and heard a repentant confession from a Russian solider in the country’s first war crimes trial.

Russian Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin, 21, pleaded guilty to shooting a bicyclist in the head; the Ukrainian civilian was unarmed. In court, Shyshimarin said he was following orders and asked for forgiveness from the dead man’s widow.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the Senate gave final congressional approval to another massive package of aid for Ukraine. The $40-billion allotment includes weapons and humanitarian assistance. Heavy weaponry supplied by the U.S. and allies have made a significant difference in Ukraine’s underdog fight against its larger neighbor.

L.A. loves the glitz but suspects the rich. Will it turn to a billionaire mayor?

Rick Caruso, a real estate mogul, seeks to trounce a field of experienced elected officials to become Los Angeles’ next mayor. He has spent millions of his own money to get his name out — a focus among his opponents. They point to how much he has, how much he inherited from his father — who founded Dollar Rent a Car — and, most of all, how out of touch his wealth makes him from the vast majority of Angelenos.

The attacks on Caruso’s deep pockets mirror those effectively deployed against novice California politicians such as U.S. Senate candidate Michael Huffington and gubernatorial hopefuls Al Checchi and Meg Whitman. But political analysts say that, in the current mayoral race, they may not be resonating as much with an electorate that is hyper-focused on homelessness and crime.

Get insider tidbits and explainers on the mayoral race and other local races in our free weekly newsletter L.A. on the Record.

More politics

  • Facing fierce opposition from California’s powerful oil industry and trade unions, legislation to close down operations on three offshore oil rigs off Orange County failed to win passage in a state Senate committee, seven months after a major spill fouled the beaches and wetlands around Huntington Beach.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris framed the Supreme Court’s potential decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade as a government incursion on personal liberties, saying that if conservative justices follow through with the decision, other rights could be threatened, including gay marriage.
  • The congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection is asking Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) for more information about a tour of the building the panel says he led the day before the deadly attack. Some GOP lawmakers are accused of having helped the rioters learn the layout of the Capitol.

‘If we take him into the cabal and he’s playing double-agent, then we are all screwed’

Two Anaheim power brokers were discussing whom to invite to a secretive “retreat” of Anaheim business leaders, consultants and politicians. One of them described their small group as a “cabal.” They didn’t realize the FBI was listening.

The recordings filed in court this week have thrust the city — best known as home to the Disneyland Resort, the Angels and the Ducks — into the middle of a burgeoning public corruption scandal. In an affidavit supporting a federal search warrant targeting Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu, an FBI special agent wrote that the city “was tightly controlled by a small cadre of individuals,” including Sidhu. A criminal complaint referred to “a specific, covert group of individuals” who had “significant influence over the inner workings of Anaheim’s Government.”

L.A. County COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen markedly

Hospitals in the county are once again seeing a notable increase in the number of coronavirus-positive patients requiring their care — triggering new concern that healthcare systems could once again come under strain unless the region gets its arms around the latest resurgence of the virus.

More top coronavirus headlines

  • Kids ages 5 to 11 should get a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said after an endorsement from an advisory panel.
  • Some patients who have completed treatment of the anti-COVID-19 drug Paxlovid are rebounding into illness.

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

Our daily news podcast

If you’re a fan of this newsletter, you’ll love our daily podcast “The Times,” hosted every weekday by columnist Gustavo Arellano, along with reporters from across our newsroom. Go beyond the headlines. Download and listen on our App, subscribe on Apple Podcasts and follow on Spotify.

CALIFORNIA

Why do so many L.A. apartments come without fridges? Inside the chilling mystery. Apartments here frequently lack refrigerators, pushing many tenants into an underground fridge economy. How L.A. became a fridge-less aberration is one of the region’s more mysterious, least delightful eccentricities.

Wildlife officials are trucking Chinook salmon to cooler waters. The emergency move is meant to help the salmon spawn in the face of rising water temperatures and lower water levels due to climate change. In other climate news, former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt says with global warming shrinking the Colorado River, Western states should renegotiate a key 1922 agreement.

Homelessness is up 10% in San Diego County. Results of the first homeless count in two years found an increase, despite greater efforts to get more people off the street. The actual number is likely much higher, officials said, and it could worsen as pandemic housing subsidies and protections expire.

L.A. County and USC clash over hospital management. For years, a contentious dispute between Los Angeles County’s healthcare leaders and the University of Southern California has seethed behind closed doors. The tension and acrimony in the operations at one of the nation’s busiest public hospitals climaxed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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NATION-WORLD

Oklahoma lawmakers approved an even more restrictive abortion ban. The state Legislature gave final approval to another Texas-style antiabortion bill that providers said would be the most restrictive in the nation once the governor signed it. The bill prohibits all abortions, except to save the life of a pregnant woman or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.

He had two days to live before his execution in Iran. Then a pop star saved him. Before Vahid Muharrami’s sentence could be carried out, Muharrami was suddenly spared. His savior was not a judge, nor was it a lawyer. It was one of Iran’s biggest pop stars, Mohsen Chavoshi, who has made it a personal campaign to save as many death row inmates as possible.

What is monkeypox and where is it spreading? European and American health authorities have identified a number of monkeypox cases in recent days, mostly in young men. It’s a surprising outbreak of disease that rarely appears outside Africa. Monkeypox belongs to the same virus family as smallpox but causes milder symptoms. Most patients experience only fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. But it can be fatal for up to 1 in 10 people and is thought to be more severe in children.

Biden’s plan to protect ancient forests has spawned a dispute over what counts as “old.” Millions of acres of woodlands are potentially on the line — federal land that could eventually get new protections or remain open to logging as the administration decides which trees to count under Biden’s order covering “old growth” and “mature” forests. Underlining the urgency of the issue are wildfires in California that have killed thousands of giant sequoias in recent years.

At a U.S. right-wing gathering in Hungary, the nation’s autocratic prime minister, Viktor Orban, decried migration and praised Tucker Carlson. The event represents a deepening of ties between the American right wing and Orban, who has generated controversy in the European Union over his rolling back of democratic institutions under what he calls an “illiberal democracy.”

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Harry Styles has staked his claim as the perfect boyfriend and pop star. His album “Harry’s House,” due Friday, is filled with tender assurances of his emotional availability (not to mention his erotic ingenuity), writes Times pop music critic Mikael Wood. On this album, he’s moved forward from the ’60s and ’70s to embrace the same ’80s sounds many of his peers have but still distinguishes himself as a new-school dreamboat.

Alex Garland’s latest freakout delves into the evil that “Men” do. Garland is a writer and director who likes to play sinister mind games with characters and audiences alike. Far before “Men’s” unforeseeable, un-unseeable final moments, the film is astonishing to behold, and no less troubling to think about, writes film critic Justin Chang.

Viola Davis said a director she knew for 10 years called her by his maid’s name. In an interview at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the actress recounted how the unnamed male director repeatedly misidentified her: “Those microaggressions happen all the time.”

L.A.’s beloved Angelyne gets the biopic treatment. Sadly, it’s only skin-deep. Angelyne indisputably has her fans, but “Angelyne” overestimates her cultural effect, writes TV critic Robert Lloyd. It’s true that many know her name, because it was plastered all over town for years, and many are familiar with her signature Corvette. But the knowledge usually stops there.

BUSINESS

Twitter executives insist the sale to Elon Musk is not “on hold.” They pushed back on Musk’s claims this week and told employees that the $44-billion deal to sell the company to the billionaire was moving forward as planned, and that they wouldn’t renegotiate the agreed-upon price of $54.20 per share.

The U.S. House passed a bill to crack down on gasoline “price gouging.” The bill backed by House Democrats would give President Biden authority to declare an energy emergency that would make it unlawful to increase gasoline and home energy fuel prices in an excessive or exploitative manner. The bill directs the Federal Trade Commission to punish companies that engage in price gouging and adds a new unit at the FTC to monitor fuel markets.

Ford is recalling some SUVs due to engine fire risk. The company is asking the owners of 350,000 vehicles to take them to dealers for repairs in three recalls, including about 39,000 that should be parked outdoors because the engines can catch fire. Ford said in U.S. government documents that it didn’t know what was causing fires in some 2021 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs.

OPINION

Op-Ed: Democrats need to stop behaving as if there’s a prize for showing restraint. “The question I get asked the most as someone who went from being a Republican to a Democrat is: ‘What’s the biggest difference between the two parties?’ The answer: Every impulse Democrats have is defensive and every impulse Republicans have is offensive.”

Op-Ed: Leave abortion law to the states? Just look at the Fugitive Slave Act to see how that will go. Slavery remains a moral stain on the history of the republic. It demonstrated the weaknesses of American federalism when faced with fundamental issues of human rights. Even as individual states chose different paths on slavery, the question of how to manage relations between slave and free states, and what to do about people who traveled across state lines, became a persistent problem.

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SPORTS

Teen hoops players are paid $100,000 salaries. The goal? A new path to the NBA. Bay Area twins Amen and Ausar Thompson signed six-figure deals to join Overtime Elite, a league for teenagers. Just as the Thompsons believed their best route to the NBA was through Overtime Elite, the league was founded on a conviction that millions of Gen Z, cord-cutter and cord-never users — and the brands that covet that demographic — would follow those journeys through social media, one post at a time. In transforming from a theoretical league to proof-of-concept, OTE has become one of American sports’ most closely watched experiments.

If the Angel Stadium deal collapses, what happens? Maybe nothing — not for the Angels, not for the city, not for the fans, not for the taxpayers. It could be a lose-lose-lose-lose proposition. On the surface, the solution appears simple: Redo the deal. Here’s the problem, writes Bill Shaikin. The Angels can just say no.

An ode to UCLA softball’s bullpen catchers. The pitchers own the spotlight, but they credit the work of their bullpen catchers for setting the stage. Taylor Sullivan and Sara Rusconi Vicinanza pore over game film to prepare scouting reports for their teammates. They catch hundreds of pitches a day in the bullpen while starting catchers work on hitting and defense. Then on game day, they retreat into the dugout, holding clipboards and calling out signals for the pitchers.

YOUR WEEKEND

Distant silhouette of a person walking along a rocky beach with cliffs.
Torrey Pines Beach in La Jolla.
(Mickey Strider / Loop Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Experience California. Visit some cool Golden State spot, or carve out time over the weekend to plan your next in-state trip. The Times’ Christopher Reynolds gathered up 101 best California experiences. But he also winnowed the big list down to his favorite 10. Here’s one: Torrey Pines Gliderport in La Jolla. Reynolds wrote that, as a teenager, he’d throw Frisbees and body-surf on the Torrey Pines beach for hours. “Nowadays, visiting from out of town, I head for the bluffs, admire the stark design of the Salk Institute on the way in, grab a picnic table and treat my family to $7 sandwiches from the Cliffhanger Cafe. While we chew, the hang-glider pilots run and leap into the wind, 350 feet above the waves. This place always makes me happy.”

Go to the Bug Fair. The annual event at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is among weekend picks by The Times’ Matt Cooper. There will be a whole host of crawling insects on display at this annual kid-friendly event. Plus musical performances, hands-on activities and other fun stuff. Details on tickets and more at the museum website.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.

A child star at 7, in prison at 22. Then she vanished. What happened to Lora Lee Michel? A child actress in the 1940s, Lora Lee at 7 was billed as a “sensation” with “the greatest appeal since Shirley Temple.” She appeared in more than a dozen films, sharing the screen with Humphrey Bogart, Glenn Ford and Olivia de Havilland. But Lora Lee was a shooting star — one that would quickly crash-land. At 9, during the height of her celebrity, she stood at the center of a scandalous custody trial that grabbed headlines and captured the country’s imagination. It set in motion a chain of events that not only cut short her promising career but also led to the unraveling of her life. Los Angeles Times

When you pause to look at a shocking photo on Instagram, it notes it as “dwell time” and shapes your recommendations around it. That’s how one dad found the Instagram he set up for his newborn being “taken over by fear,” showing images of babies with severe and rare health problems. Users, he says, need the ability to take back power over algorithms. Ideas for accomplishing that include: “Give us the power to clear what the algorithm thinks about us without deleting the whole account and losing our friends, just like you can clear your history and cookies in a Web browser.” Washington Post

FROM THE ARCHIVES

A young woman in tulle skirt and fur jacket presses her hand into wet cement. A man in formalwear crouches alongside her.
Oct. 10, 1939: Judy Garland, with Mickey Rooney, adds her handprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theater at the “Babes in Arms” premiere.
(Los Angeles Times)

Ninety-five years ago this week, on May 18, 1927, Sid Grauman opened his Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. The following morning, The Times fairly gushed about the movie making its premiere and didn’t hold back on lauding the theater, either: “As an event in filmland the first unfolding of ‘The King of Kings’ on the screen took precedence even over the opening of a theater that in itself is a revelation of art and beauty. Grauman’s Chinese Theater is the ultimate word in construction and imagination, and will long be a fascination to beholders of the film creations that are shown within its doors.”

In 2017, Susan King (The Times’ former guru on all things classic Hollywood) wrote a great story about the film palace on its 90th anniversary. Here are five fun facts from her story:

  • Hidden amid artwork on the ceiling are names of people who were involved in the theater, written in Chinese.
  • It was the first commercial movie theater with air conditioning.
  • Artwork of trees and leaves between pillars was painted by bandleader Xavier Cugat, who also worked as a caricaturist and cartoonist at The Times.
  • Grauman staged prologues to some films, with a 65-piece orchestra and musical performers onstage. For “The Gaucho,” Douglas Fairbanks played the Gaucho onstage before the film played.
  • The two oldest handprints and footprints are in the center of the forecourt. Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford began the tradition in late April 1927.

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at headlines@latimes.com.


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