Today’s Headlines: At least 2 die, 11 injured in Northern California earthquake
Hello, it’s Wednesday, Dec. 21, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today.
At least 2 dead, 11 injured in 6.4 earthquake
A magnitude 6.4 earthquake that rattled Northern California has resulted in at least two deaths from medical emergencies, causing damage across the region and leaving tens of thousands without power in Humboldt County, according to authorities.
There was one fatality in Rio Dell during the quake, Mayor Debra Garnes said, but it is unclear if it was among the two deaths reported by the Sheriff’s Office. At least 11 people were injured.
More than 3 million people were notified by phone early of the earthquake. The alerts gave users up to 20 seconds to prepare, officials said.
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Congressional panel votes to release Trump’s tax returns
A House panel voted along party lines to release former President Trump’s tax returns, an unprecedented move that marks the culmination of a years-long legal battle to disclose his financial records.
Republicans said the move underscored Democrats’ ongoing obsession with Trump, warning that the release would create a dangerous weapon that could be used against other politicians, business executives, labor leaders and even private citizens. Many Democrats cheered the move as long overdue.
Some legal experts questioned whether the House Ways and Means Committee has adequate legal justification to release the information to the public.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is preparing to visit Washington in his first known foreign trip since Russia’s invasion began in February.
- President Biden’s lawyers urged the Supreme Court to reject an emergency appeal from Republican-led states and end the Trump-era COVID-19 border policy known as Title 42.
- The final report by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection is not likely to include all of the evidence the panel collected in its 18-month investigation.
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L.A. County supervisors back Bass’ emergency declaration
Leaders from both the county and city of Los Angeles — two bureaucracies with massive roles to play in fixing the region’s worsening homelessness crisis — promised to press reset on their fractured relationship.
The olive branch came during a Board of Supervisors meeting in which county leaders voted unanimously to support Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’ declaration of a state of emergency over homelessness. Bass said she wanted to work hand-in-hand with the county as she tries to cut through the city’s bureaucracy to rapidly get people off the street.
Bass’ appearance marked a change in tenor between the city and county, whose relationship has grown increasingly fraught as the two jurisdictions quarreled over who should do what to help the homeless.
Is climate change causing the price of lettuce to skyrocket?
Farmers who grow lettuce, spinach, kale and other leafy greens in California and Arizona say the last few years have been “noticeably bad.” In October and November, dual outbreaks of a soil-borne disease and an insect-transmitted virus ravaged the Salinas Valley and caused thousands of acres of lettuce crops to wilt.
Now, winter growing schedules and changing weather patterns mean the bad luck has migrated from the Central Coast valley to the desert farming regions near the U.S.-Mexico border. As a result, consumers across the country may see stark price increases in lettuce.
Experts say bad luck alone may not be to blame, however. The impatiens necrotic spot virus and the disease Pythium wilt have both been around for years. But warming temperatures driven by climate change are creating more hospitable conditions for thrips, the insect that carries INSV, to thrive.
Spearfishing champ blazes trails for women divers, sustainability
Mitsuki Hara is hiding amid the undulating kelp forests 30 feet below the surface of the ocean. In her arms is a 4-foot-6-inch speargun — almost as tall as she is — that she’s training on white sea bass, the elusive “gray ghosts” of California.
The real fight begins after she pulls the trigger. The pierced silvery bass fights to escape both its hunter and the shiver of soupfin sharks starting to stalk the bleeding fish. Tightening the window further, Hara hunts on a single-held breath. This gives her just about 90 seconds to work each time she plunges into the murky Pacific.
Hara is part of a movement of local female spearas — slang for female spearfishers — dedicating themselves to engaging with the abundance of the Pacific Ocean.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
As L.A. County’s mental health workers burn out, some weigh options. The county faces an acute shortage of mental health workers, which has led to serious understaffing at county-run clinics and other facilities at a time of rising demand.
UC Santa Barbara “Dormzilla” housing plan is a safety threat without changes, report says. A massive proposed student housing project presents a potential health and safety risk and should undergo a “robust redesign” with more windows, ventilation and bedroom space, according to an independent review.
Tongva artists see the Indigenous story in the tragedy of P-22. For some, the death of the mountain lion hit particularly hard because the cat’s story of displacement reflects that of their own people, Los Angeles’ first.
Panel says California should ban some traffic stops and pay restitution to victims. With its latest recommendations, the criminal justice panel, which advises state lawmakers, aims to push California to do more to assist crime victims.
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As NASA’s Mars InSight mission comes to an end, JPL engineers say farewell to its twin. At some point in the next several weeks, a critical amount of actual Mars dust will cause NASA’s InSight lander, which has been studying the red planet, to power down, marking the conclusion of the mission for those who have worked on it.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
As controversies pile up and irk fans, James Gunn defends his choices as new DC boss. Gunn and his co-chairman have been heavily criticized in recent weeks for making major changes to some of the production company’s most popular superhero franchises.
A life-affirming tale of human and beast, “Wildcat” is a deeply moving survival story. It might hold all the trappings of a standard wildlife conservation documentary, but lurking beneath the lushly photographed camouflage is a tenderly moving, deeply empathetic human survival story.
“Rust” first assistant director Halls countersues Alec Baldwin in spiraling web of litigation. Dave Halls’ suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, follows a lawsuit over Halyna Hutchins’ death brought by Baldwin last month, which itself was a response to a complaint filed by the film’s script supervisor.
Disneyland resort fans are paying higher prices to skip long lines, data show. The higher Genie+ prices have been noticed by Disneyland fans who say visiting the park has become a pricey investment.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has the power to stop oil companies’ dishonest ploy to keep drilling. Oil companies are seeking to overturn a law to ban new drilling near homes and schools. Newsom can use his administrative power to say no to new drilling.
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Column: U.S.-Canada Rivalry Series shows how women’s hockey needs more support to flourish. “It’s during the four years between Olympics, when female hockey players are scrambling for adequate resources and working to establish a stable professional league, that those who govern the game continue to drop the ball when they should be dropping the puck.”
“Starting all over again”: Clippers finally able to practice at full strength. Tuesday was believed to be the first time in eight weeks, since the regular season began, that the Clippers practiced at full strength, because both practices opportunities and a healthy roster have been extremely rare. The obvious and, to this point, unanswerable follow-up question: How long can it stay this way?
The 2022 World Cup overcomes obstacles to score a ratings hit. The soccer match from Lusail, Qatar, that featured the sport’s two biggest global stars, Argentina’s Lionel Messi and France’s Kylian Mbappé, pulled an average of 16.8 million viewers on Fox.
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
Innkeepers wanted at a lighthouse bed-and-breakfast. It’s the job posting that would catch the attention of any adventure seeker: A working lighthouse and vacation spot has openings for two skilled people who can cook, clean and operate a ferry boat. The catch: The job is on a one-acre island in the San Francisco Bay, separated from the city by about 10 miles of choppy ocean.
As daunting as that sounds, the job in the past has attracted applicants from around the world.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Psy’s “Gangnam Style” hit one billion views on Youtube a decade ago — the first video ever to do so. A member of the streaming platform’s Billion Views Club, “Gangnam Style” now boasts 4.6 billion views and ranks alongside the videos for Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk,” Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” and Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.”
“Gangnam Style” continues to be a mainstay in pop culture, inspiring a galloping dance move in the popular online video game “Fortnite” and earning a reference in Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” writes Times’ Alexandra Del Rosario.
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