A ban in China has left the U.S. with a glut of once-recyclable junk and an industry crisis. That’s forcing companies and consumers to adapt.
Is the Recycling Crisis America’s Wake-Up Call?
It used to be that the stuff we threw in the blue bin found a market in China, leaving our consciences relatively clean whenever we pitched a plastic coffee cup. But with China banning many scrap imports, a glut of detritus is roiling the recycling industry. Companies that once turned a profit selling it are now resorting to landfills. In Los Angeles County alone, three recycling centers and two materials recovery facilities have shuttered since last year, and as profits dwindle, others risk closure. And with California’s biggest operator of redemption centers out of business, it’s suddenly a lot harder to get a nickel for that can. Maybe it’s time to rethink our consumption.
When the Not-So-Big One Hits, Expect an Alert
A new version of Los Angeles’ earthquake early warning app will now alert users of weaker shaking. Many Angelenos were upset they didn’t receive notice before shaking arrived in L.A. from two powerful quakes 125 miles north last month. The new threshold will trigger alerts on the city-owned ShakeAlertLA app when “weak” shaking is forecast to arrive — a level of shaking felt quite noticeably by people inside, especially on upper floors of buildings.
More on earthquakes:
— We worked with three experts to select 14 significant earthquake scenarios on faults across California. You can use our interactive, searchable map to see which one would cause the worst shaking at your home.
— Last month’s earthquakes left the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, the Navy’s largest base for developing and testing weapons of warfare, so badly damaged that several buildings may need to be razed.
Recession Fears Tank Stocks
Stocks sold off sharply Tuesday, the Dow shedding 800 points — its biggest drop of the year — and the S&P 500 nearly 3% as the market erased all of its gains from the previous session’s rally. Spooking investors was a bond-market move that’s historically heralded recession: an inverted yield curve, with the yield on 10-year Treasuries dipping below that on two-year notes. Still, don’t dump your stocks, experts say. Professional equity managers are insulating their portfolios, but for the most part, fear of missing out is beating out fear of getting decimated.
A Convicted Felon With a ‘Ghost Gun’
The semiautomatic rifle that a convicted felon used in a gun battle with police off the 215 Freeway, killing a CHP officer, was a “ghost gun” that cannot be traced by authorities, law enforcement sources say. Ghost guns are unserialized weapons made from parts ordered through the mail or acquired from underground makers. Aaron Luther, who had an extensive criminal record, would not have been allowed to own a gun under California law because of his criminal record — but authorities are seeing a proliferation of such untraceable weapons.
More on guns:
— The accused Chabad of Poway gunman should not have been able to buy his gun at all, because his hunting license was not yet valid.
— On gun control, Congress may find inspiration from the states passing so-called red-flag gun laws, which let courts temporarily ban people from owning firearms if they show clear signs of posing a danger.
Iowa Democrats Like Harris. Is That Enough?
They aren’t sure if they’ll support Kamala Harris for president, but they’d love to see her on a debate stage with Donald Trump. Harris must convert their curiosity into commitment to win this first caucus state, and she recently crossed Iowa on a five-day bus tour to make the case that she is their best shot to win the White House. And while its theme was what she calls the “3 a.m. agenda” — cutting taxes for the middle class, fixing problems that keep Americans up at night — at her rallies she’s drawn bigger cheers for her calls for gun control and for the image she’s cultivated of herself as a Democratic avenger.
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FROM THE ARCHIVES
On this date in 1939, “The Wizard of Oz” enjoyed its Hollywood premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. This photo from the event, published in the following day’s edition of The Times, shows producer Mervyn LeRoy, right, with several actors in Munchkin costumes. The man in tails on one knee is actor Wallace Beery, who almost played the Wizard but had to turn down the role, according to his IMDb page, and the girl at the center is his daughter Carol Ann.
— The state EPA moved to ban a widely used pesticide that the Trump administration had defended, despite its links to developmental disorders and neurological damage. California is the largest user of chlorpyrifos.
— Los Angeles Unified is considering its first-ever plan for a 1-to-5 rating scale for public schools and privately run charters, documents reviewed by The Times show.
— The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is investigating its top watchdog, saying it may have unlawfully obtained internal records. To him and to one county supervisor, the move looks like an effort to intimidate those tasked with its oversight.
— In a city with limited open space and many competing interests, who decides how parks are used? A Westwood couple trying to donate a soccer field in their son’s memory are learning just how tough that question is to answer, columnist Steve Lopez writes.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
— In bilingual bedrooms across Southern California, young Latinx crooners inspired by oldies are making dreamy, soulful pop.
— Plácido Domingo faced criticism for responding to sexual harassment accusations by citing a shift in “rules and standards.” The L.A. Opera director is accused of pressuring women into sexual relationships and retaliating against them for refusing.
— A gunman opened fire on police serving a warrant in a Philadelphia neighborhood, wounding six officers and triggering a standoff that stretched into Wednesday evening. Police said Thursday the man had been taken into custody.
— A federal appeals court expressed skepticism of a ruling last year that blocked the Trump administration from ending humanitarian protections for immigrants from Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua and El Salvador.
— Its talks with the Taliban still haven’t yielded a deal, but the Trump administration is moving to go ahead and slash the number of U.S. troops and diplomats in Afghanistan anyway.
— Investors smell an opportunity in the anaerobic digestion waste-to-energy market — that is, turning animal poop and rotten food into energy — as California encourages fuel producers to cut their emissions.
— Never mind making money. WeWork has filed to go public, and its prospectus demonstrates both its tech-unicorn ethos and its stark losses — $690 million in just the first half of this year. It’s never turned a profit.
— The Angels have a third option in their search for a home: playing out their current lease, which extends through 2029. That means Anaheim can’t threaten to kick them out after the 2020 season and sell.
— Tyronn Lue, who coached Cleveland to the 2016 NBA championship, is in talks to join the Clippers coaching staff. Whose place he would take isn’t yet clear.
— What makes Kyle Kuzma an awkward fit on Team USA might need ironing out once the Lakers’ all-star team convenes this fall.
— California is leading a pro-worker renaissance, veteran labor reporter Steven Greenhouse writes in an op-ed. The rest of the country has a lot to learn from it.
— Tech entrepreneur and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang spoke with our editorial board about why he thinks job retraining doesn’t work and universal basic income is needed.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
— When our democracy‘s founding ideals were written, they were a lie. Black Americans have fought to perfect them, and to make them reality, Nikole Hannah-Jones writes. The piece is part of the 1619 Project, a New York Times series observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. (New York Times Magazine)
— Xi Jinping sensed the Chinese Communist Party was corrupt and crumbling. In an effort to rescue it, he would be the Reddest leader of his generation, writes Richard McGregor. (Foreign Affairs)
ONLY IN L.A.
A 30-cent malted milkshake. A 51-cent movie ticket. And a Canter’s pastrami sandwich for 99 cents. No, it’s not 1959, though the prices are. It’s a one-day promotional time warp dubbed “Maisel Day” — part of Amazon’s Emmy campaign for its period comedy “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Nearly 30 Los Angeles businesses, from salons to gas stations, will be celebrating it today. We rounded up all of them, along with their deals, so enjoy getting your tanked filled and your shoes shined for spare change.