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Today’s Headlines: Figuring out the new workplace experience

A light-filled workplace with tables on the ground floor and couches on a second floor.
L’Oreal recently opened a dramatic new workplace, its second U.S. headquarters, in El Segundo.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Hello, it’s Monday, Nov. 7, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

Want employees to come to the office? Pick up their laundry and welcome their dogs

Workers’ attitudes about the office have changed, and remote work has settled into normalcy for many companies. Some businesses have shed substantial office space, and the evolving model of late-pandemic office work has played havoc with old patterns of office leasing.

Differences among companies’ offices may become more stark in the future as some go bare-bones because employees are often elsewhere and others add amenities to coax people into working together in person. The Times’ Roger Vincent popped by L’Oreal’s El Segundo site, where a concierge will pick up workers’ laundry, dogs are welcome, and a park-like campus includes a vegetable garden. Employees must be in the office three days a week.

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“This is a time where there is a lot of experimentation going on,” said one workplace expert. “We are really trying to figure out what is going to be the new workplace experience.”

The drought is driving renewed interest in desalination

As the Southwest U.S. barrels into a new era of extreme heat, drought and aridification, officials and conservationists are giving new consideration to the process of converting saltwater into drinking water.

Experts are already experimenting with new concepts such as mobile desalination units and floating buoys, and at least four major plants will soon be operational along the state’s coastline. But among desalination’s downsides are high energy costs; it can harm marine life, which can get trapped in pump systems; and the process’ byproduct, brine, is released back into the ocean, reducing oxygen and increasing toxicity in marine environments.

Experts, however, are working to solve many of desalination’s challenges.

Abortion rights are at center stage in a race between two women vying for Michigan governor

Perhaps more than in any other state, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning 1973’s landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling, which established the constitutional right to an abortion, has upended the political landscape in Michigan.

Here, the two women running for governor — incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Tudor Dixon, a former conservative news anchor — are on opposite ends of the debate. A reproductive rights ballot initiative has also given voters a chance to weigh in on abortion rights, reflecting opinions that often — but don’t always — fall along party lines.

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Myanmar’s ethnic insurgents are raising the pressure on the military junta

Nearly 22 months after the country’s military overthrew a democratically elected civilian government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, it is now fighting a war on multiple fronts.

More than 7,000 civilians have been killed since the coup, according to a Yangon-based think tank. Victims include protesters shot in the head, dissidents killed in detention and villagers bound and burned alive. But renewed fighting shows the military, which has ruled Myanmar with an iron grip for much of the last half-century, remains unable to re-consolidate power.

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OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

Steep, empty hills in the foreground with ocean in the background.
A view of the acquired parcel south of Point Mugu.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Coveted oceanfront land in Ventura County will become a nature preserve. A nonprofit conservation group has purchased the area known as Deer Creek Beach for about $25 million with the intention of transferring it to the adjacent Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area — its greatest growth spurt ever. The acquisition highlights a growing belief in Southern California that undeveloped land need not be just another commodity for high bidders.

What golden years? California retirees lament the “venom” coursing through U.S. politics. At the Leisure World and Laguna Woods retirement villages, some residents are staunch Republicans and others are equally devoted Democrats. The factions don’t agree on much. But on this they are unified: It’s hard to enjoy a carefree life of leisure during a turbulent midterm election season that feels like a stress test for civil society itself.

CALIFORNIA

Storms are expected to start hitting Southern California early this week. The system is expected to bring rain and powerful winds through election day. “We’re expecting our first really significant rainfall of the season,” one meteorologist said.

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop prototype tube is gone. What does it mean for his tunneling dream? The above-ground Hyperloop testing tube in Hawthorne — for technology that had promised to hurl passengers through tunnels in levitating, autonomous electric pods at more than 600 mph — had sat idle for years, drawing complaints about road and pedestrian access, as well as questions about its purpose.

Five people were killed Sunday morning in a crash near Mugu Rock. The fiery two-vehicle collision, on Pacific Coast Highway in Ventura County, closed the roadway for hours.

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NATION-WORLD

Kyiv prepares for a painful winter. The mayor of Ukraine’s capital is warning residents that they must prepare for the worst this winter if Russia keeps striking the country’s energy infrastructure — and that means that having no electricity, water or heat in the freezing cold cannot be ruled out.

The last total lunar eclipse for three years arrives Tuesday. The eclipse will be visible throughout North America in the predawn hours — the farther west, the better — and across Asia, Australia and the rest of the Pacific after sunset. As an extra treat, Uranus will be visible just a finger’s width above the moon, resembling a bright star.

Medicare enrollees are being warned about deceptive marketing schemes. With open enrollment underway, health experts are warning about misleading marketing that might lead some to sign up for Medicare Advantage plans that don’t cover their doctors or prescriptions and drive up their out-of-pocket costs.

The Powerball jackpot rose to a record $1.9 billion after no ticket won the grand prize. The next drawing is today.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Sound pushed the story of “Tár’s” conductor into psychological territory. Sound editor Stephen Griffiths, re-recording mixer Deb Adair and others on the team set the stage for the conductor, played by Cate Blanchett, to question whether she could trust her ears. Among techniques: Instruments in an orchestra rehearsal were individually miked, and a Decca tree — an array of omnidirectional microphones — captured the full ensemble, leaving the sound team more than 50 tracks to work with.

“What the hell Lorne?!” NBC has tapped Dave Chappelle to host “Saturday Night Live” for a third time next week. And after transphobic remarks in Chappelle’s Netflix special “The Closer” caused an outcry, the decision sparked criticism.

In the Ahmanson’s “2:22 - A Ghost Story,” poltergeists are more believable than people. The play’s U.S. premiere brings the horror but wastes the talents of Constance Wu, Finn Wittrock, Anna Camp and Adam Rothenberg on creaky characters, theater critic Charles McNulty writes.

At the Art + Film gala, LACMA celebrated coming “unstuck,” with the new building 50% done. The starry weekend affair with co-chairs Eva Chow and Leonardo DiCaprio drew artists and celebrities, museum leaders, movie producers and more. “It’s been a tough few years, not just for LACMA but everyone,” museum director Michael Govan said. “So ... having the construction project get out of the ground and gain traction, finally we’re moving forward quickly.” Read the story and see photos of the gala here.

BUSINESS

Mom has dementia and credit cards. How does her family cancel the accounts? Certified financial planner Liz Weston touches on the options for a reader: Power of attorney? Go to court to become a conservator? Or see if there’s an “off” switch for the credit card?
Walt Disney has dropped its COVID-19 vaccination mandate from many TV shows as shutdown fears have receded. Productions will no longer require workers in front of and behind the camera in the most high-risk areas of their sets to be vaccinated, said people with knowledge of the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Twitter launched an $8 monthly subscription with a blue checkmark. The platform said users who “sign up now” can receive the blue checkmark next to their names “just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.” The change represents the end of Twitter’s current verification system, which was launched in 2009 to prevent impersonations of high-profile accounts.

OPINION

Is there still time for COP27 to hold back climate catastrophe? After a year of horrific and deadly heat waves, floods, droughts and storms, global leaders will converge this week on Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, for the 27th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. The looming question for COP27 is whether nations will strengthen their pledges enough to get us on a path that averts catastrophic climate disruption.

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SPORTS


Tom Brady surpassed 100,000 yards passing for his career in leading the Buccaneers to a come-from-behind, 16-13 victory over the Rams. But, The Times’ Sam Farmer writes, the quarterback was focused on righting Tampa Bay’s rudderless ship Sunday, rather than another personal record: “It’s all about the win, man. Never cared about that [record].”

LeBron James said the Lakers “are who we are”: That’s not good right now. The fourth quarter Sunday against Cleveland began with the crowd on its feet and the Lakers within striking distance and … whoosh. Just like that, it was gone, columnist Bill Plaschke writes. All of it. The game. The week. The month. The season? “Our spirit, it seemed to have left the building,” coach Darvin Ham said.

Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez Jr. are leading the talent-laden UCLA’s title hopes. They could become the rarest of breeds in Westwood — senior first-team All-Americans. Nearly every UCLA star since has stayed for a year or two before taking his talents to the NBA. Loyalty is among the reasons Jaquez and Campbell appear on the verge of becoming two of the most beloved Bruins in a generation.

Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten hinted at a youth movement. Kasten said he backed Andrew Friedman and Dave Roberts but said of the roster: “We are now on the precipice of the next wave of young guys.”

FROM THE ARCHIVES

A smiling man in a button-front denim shirt stands next to a poster that reads, "Candidate for supervisor Harvey Milk."
October 1973: Harvey Milk poses alongside a campaign poster in an early, unsuccessful run for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
(Janet Fries / Getty Images)

Forty-five years ago this week, on Nov. 8, 1977, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man elected to public office in California. The Times’ story the next day quoted Milk as saying his victory was “a mandate for his politics — not his homosexuality.” Milk said, “I will be a supervisor who happens to be gay.”

Our colleague Julia Wick wrote in 2019 about Milk and his election, noting that it’s difficult now to understand just how monumental it was: “The late 1970s were a time of radical gay activism and conservative crusades. This was the age of Anita Bryant’s ‘Save Our Children’ campaign and the Briggs Initiative, a California ballot measure that would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools.”

Milk knew of threats to his life and, just 10 days after he was elected, tape-recorded his will. He was assassinated, alongside San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, on Nov. 27, 1978. He’d served less than a year. But his election as well as his untimely death were defining moments in the gay rights movement.

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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