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Today’s Headlines: Fed raises rates amid a broad sense that inflation is out of control

A man walks past a storefront with holiday decorations and the word "kitson" above the entrance and on one side
A raise in interest rates could affect credit card rates, which may pose a challenge for retailers.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
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By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Thursday, June 16, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

With a big rate hike, the Fed hopes to slow, but not stifle, the economy

Just a month ago, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by half a percentage point for the first time in 22 years as it stepped up its attack on accelerating inflation. Now the U.S. central bank has raised rates by an additional three-quarters of a percentage point.

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It hadn’t done that in 28 years since the advent of the first tech boom, reflecting a widespread sense that inflation is out of control — and, some say, beyond its control, having hit a 40-year high.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated inflation at the grocery store. At the pumps, the conflict has driven average Los Angeles gas prices to $6.44 a gallon for regular. Lingering pandemic-related supply snarls have caused a chip shortage and sticker shock in auto showrooms. And a nationwide housing shortage particularly acute in California has seen prices skyrocket in markets as far-flung as Boise, Idaho.

FDA moves closer to authorizing COVID-19 shots for kids under age 5

COVID-19 shots for U.S. infants, toddlers and preschoolers moved a step closer. The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisors gave a thumbs-up to vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer for the littlest kids.

The outside experts voted unanimously that the benefits of the shots outweigh any risks for children younger than 5 — that’s roughly 18 million youngsters. They are the last age group in the U.S. without access to COVID-19 vaccines and many parents have been anxious to protect their young children. If all the regulatory steps are cleared, the shots should be available next week.

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More top coronavirus headlines

  • People who had only two initial doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine fared no better against Omicron than those who were unvaccinated, a new study finds.

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

Did California learn anything from the last drought?

Although some of the promises made during a 2015 drought — including greater investments in water capture and recycling — have been advanced or upheld, progress has been slow-going, and conservation is slipping. What’s more, a rash of well drilling is still threatening the state’s groundwater supply, and fish and forests are continuing to suffer as the region grows drier.

In an effort to slow some of that drilling, Gov. Gavin Newsom this year signed an executive order requiring local groundwater agencies to verify that new wells are in accordance with sustainability plans. Also, proposed legislation, Assembly Bill 2201, seeks to make that change permanent.

But in the meantime, some California communities are already losing water while others are dealing with contaminated supplies.

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On DACA’s 10th anniversary, thousands are left behind

There are 611,470 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data from Dec. 31, 2021, and more than 800,000 people have been enrolled since its inception. But as DACA turns 10, it’s bittersweet for an estimated 100,000 immigrant youths without legal status and without the benefit of DACA, according to a recent study.

They are coming of age without these benefits and protections because they were too young to qualify for the program before the Trump administration moved to end it and a court ruling limited the government to processing DACA renewals, not new applications.

In July, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear oral arguments in the case that will decide whether such an expansive program is lawful.

California bill to accommodate working parents fails

Assembly Bill 2182 would have expanded job protections to employees tending to “family responsibilities” and banned employers from firing workers because of abrupt parenting needs. The bill would have created antidiscrimination provisions for caregivers and required bosses to accommodate workers when it comes to unforeseen circumstances such as school and day-care closures so long as it did not create “an undue burden” on the workplace.

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But the bill, supported by a coalition of labor and social justice organizations, failed to make it past the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

The California Chamber of Commerce labeled the bill a “job killer” and alleged it could lead to uncapped time off and expose employers to litigation. Dozens of employer organizations opposed the bill, warning that “family responsibilities” was too broad of a protected classification.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

The moon, right, is seen amid orange-hued haze over a valley filled with smoke.
The moon rises over smoke from the Sheep fire. The 900-acre blaze near Wrightwood was 81% contained on Wednesday.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
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CALIFORNIA

The gunman in the killing of two El Monte police officers was on probation for a gun charge, sources say. The two sources with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office identified the gunman, and one said he had been arrested last year for possessing a firearm and narcotics. Meanwhile, the sudden loss of two veteran police officers left the working-class suburb east of L.A. reeling.

A California bill would give $1,000 a month in short-term guaranteed income to homeless high school seniors. Senate Bill 1341 proposes a monthly, no-strings-attached check to eligible students for five months, from April of a student’s senior year until August. “It’s essentially this transitional support to try to disrupt the cycle of homelessness at this age group,” said state Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San Jose).

The first trial in the Jose Huizar case has begun. George Esparza told prosecutors that in 2017, he took a liquor box packed with $100 bills to the home of his boss, then-Councilman Huizar. Esparza said the councilman initially told him to hide the cash and later hounded him for the money. Now, the Bel-Air businessman accused of providing that cash is facing his day in court, in the first of three trials that make up the sprawling bribery and racketeering case against Huizar.

The Supreme Court has limited a California labor law that allows private lawsuits against employers. In a victory for employers, the court sharply limited the law, which has authorized private lawsuits on behalf of groups of workers, even if they had agreed to resolve their disputes through individual arbitration.

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NATION-WORLD

The Buffalo market shooting suspect has been charged with federal hate crimes. Payton Gendron, accused of killing 10 Black people in a racist attack at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket, has been charged with federal hate crimes and could face the death penalty, according to a criminal complaint.

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The Southern Baptist Convention has approved resolutions designed to fight sex abuse. More than 8,000 members of the convention on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to take action to stem a sexual abuse scandal that has stunned members and caused rifts within the largest Protestant denomination in America.

This week’s floods have ‘dramatically changed’ Yellowstone’s landscape, perhaps forever. The historic floodwaters that washed out bridges also pushed a popular fishing river off course — possibly permanently — and might force roadways nearly torn away by torrents of water to be rebuilt in new places.

In a high-profile case, an Israeli court has found a Gaza Strip aid worker guilty of terrorism charges. The aid worker was accused of diverting tens of millions of dollars to the Islamic militant group Hamas. His employer, independent auditors and the Australian government all say that there is no evidence of wrongdoing.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

We like stories about grifters and their downfall. A new generation of shows about big, bad bosses is emerging. It’s partly a coincidence of timing, yet shows such as Apple TV+’s “WeCrashed” and Showtime’s “Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber” feel like must-sees at a time when there are more billionaires than ever and everyone else wonders how they’ll pay for gas.

True-crime podcasts are coming to a limited series near you. This season alone, potential Emmy contenders include “Gaslit,” “The Thing About Pam,” “Dr. Death,” “The Shrink Next Door” and “The Dropout.” The genre is so popular it’s even been meta-fictionalized in yet another series, Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building.” How did the podcast-to-TV pipeline get so popular?

These secret L.A. comedy shows became the hottest ticket outside the club circuit. Don’t Tell Comedy, an independent series of secret, pop-up comedy shows with unannounced lineups in unlikely locations, is celebrating its five-year anniversary with 40 pop-up shows across the country this weekend and next — a far cry from its DIY beginnings.

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BUSINESS

Farewell, Internet Explorer: The old Microsoft browser has retired at 27. Microsoft will no longer support the once-dominant browser that legions of web surfers loved to hate — and a few still claim to adore. The application now joins the dustbin of tech history.

Most driver-assist crashes involved Teslas, new data show. But questions abound. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its first report on crashes involving advanced driver assistance systems, with Tesla accounting for 70% of all crashes involving “Level 2” driving systems. But experts say far more detail and context are required before regulators can make definitive conclusions.

OPINION

What if we replaced public school districts with less rigid systems? This binary idea of schooling was created in the 19th century. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Cynical Republicans want to know: What’s Liz Cheney getting out of this? As the Jan. 6 committee hearings continue, Cheney’s GOP colleagues don’t understand why she’s risking her seat to defy the party and former President Trump.

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SPORTS

‘That was really scary’: An umpire was hit in the face with a broken bat during the Dodgers-Angels game Tuesday night. Home plate umpire Nate Tomlinson avoided major injury after a piece of a broken bat flew through a slit in his mask.

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Commentary: Saudi-backed LIV Golf might be repugnant, but its bottomless billions terrify PGA Tour. “If more players start to defect to the new league, especially some of the top-ranked ones, it could have a teeter-totter effect with still more players crossing over not just for the money but for the best competition,” The Times’ Sam Farmer writes.

ONLY IN L.A.

Oh, no! Your native plants look dead. Here’s what to do. So you’ve torn out your lawn and created a native-plant garden to conserve water and restore habitat for struggling birds and insects. But summer is almost here, and many of your beautiful plants are starting to shrivel, and your neighbors are giving you the stink eye.

Welcome to summer in your new native garden, where maintenance is more about mindfulness and patience than gas-powered mowers and whackers.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

A truck pushes a car through deep water in a city intersection. Behind, a sign atop a building says "Jesus Saves."
March 25, 1948: Forty years after taxis were introduced in Los Angeles, one gets a push across the flooded intersection of 5th and Flower streets downtown.
(Los Angeles Times)

One hundred and fourteen years ago today, on June 16, 1908, the first taxis began operating in Los Angeles. The Times reported on “the aristocratic looking little automobile” the following day, saying passengers could “ride from any of the leading hotels to any of the theaters for 30 cents.” It was the first taxi service west of Chicago. The cars had 16-horsepower motors. A March article explained how it worked: “The taximeter registers the distance traveled, and computes the cost at a given tariff. A dial inside the cab keeps the passenger informed.” The cabs seated “four persons inside and one on the box with the driver.”

Taxis reigned until Uber and Lyft showed up. An article in February of this year told how L.A. was attempting to save its taxi industry.

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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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