Newsletter: Ukraine, Iran and the U.N. stage

President Trump addresses the United Nations General Assembly in 2017.
President Trump addresses the U.N. General Assembly in 2017.
(Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

With the world swirling in crises — some of which are his own doing — President Trump heads to diplomacy’s largest stage: the annual U.N. General Assembly.


Ukraine, Iran and the U.N. Stage


President Trump is facing a growing political firestorm after reports that he tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation into business dealings involving the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading candidate for next year’s Democratic nomination. On Sunday, Trump appeared to acknowledge that he discussed Biden with Zelensky during a “perfect” July 25 phone call — and renewed his attacks on the whistleblower who sounded the alarm. Meanwhile, the possibility of a spiraling conflict with Iran looms, with the U.S. boosting air and missile defenses in Saudi Arabia. Usually, this week’s U.N. General Assembly in New York would be seen as an opportunity to defuse tensions. But uncertainty over what Trump will say and do on diplomacy’s largest stage — as well as a scheduled meeting with Zelensky on Wednesday — would appear to only roil the waters.

Warren’s One-Two Punch

Iowa’s caucuses are more than four months away, but already voters’ opinions of the Democratic presidential contenders are starting to gel and candidates are dropping out. Recently, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been surging. The latest Des Moines Register poll shows her in the lead for the first time, narrowly ahead of Biden, 22% to 20%. Sen. Bernie Sanders slipped to third, at 11%, with Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Kamala Harris trailing at 9% and 6%, respectively. So, what’s the secret to Warren’s success? An attention to detail and an emotional connection.

Peak ‘Peak TV’

The red carpet was purple. The show was hostless but had an off-camera voice cracking snarky jokes. It was perhaps the last hurrah for HBO, thanks to victories for “Game of Thrones” and “Chernobyl,” and the coming-out party for the Amazon comedy “Fleabag,” which pulled off one upset win after another. It was a night of historic victories for African American men. Most of all, as TV critic Lorraine Ali writes, the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards were “a testament to the diversity — in budget, subject matter and platform — that’s changed the very definition of television.”

Billy Porter from "Pose" accepts the Emmy for lead actor in a drama series.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

More Emmys

Fashion report: See all the red — er, purple — carpet looks.

— The 10 weirdest things at the very weird Emmys.

— The complete list of Emmy winners and nominees.

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— The hidden battle over California’s new vaccine law: missteps in the governor’s office, erratic communication among decision-makers and the emergence of a devout lobby of parents as a political force in Sacramento.

— How a tiny Marin County district got California’s first school desegregation order in 50 years.

— These African migrants are stuck in southern Mexico, with their American dream on hold.

— First person: “My father was IBM’s first black software engineer. The racism he fought persists in the high-tech world today.”

Best summer ever: Readers share their travel photos.

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— Prosecutors in the college admissions scandal cases have shifted their arguments for prison time, telling a judge that parents’ behavior — not how much they paid — should be the determining factor.

— The National Transportation Safety Board says the driver of a bus that crashed in rural southern Utah had been recently hired and was on his first trip for a Monterey Park company when the accident occurred, killing four Chinese passengers and injuring 27 others.

— Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials cut rush-hour service on the Expo Line, increasing the wait time between trains from six minutes to eight minutes. Since then, complaints about hot, crowded, smelly commutes have flooded social media.

— Columnist Frank Shyong explores the vanishing of Chinese grocery stores in Chinatown and the delicate balance of ethnic communities.


— Three new films — “Downton Abbey,” “Ad Astra” and “Rambo: Last Blood” — have offered an auspicious start to the fall box office season after a lackluster summer.

Jennifer Lopez and an updated take on her revealing 2000 Grammys dress made a surprise runway appearance at Versace’s spring 2020 show. Is it a coincidence this happened during her Oscars campaign for the film “Hustlers”?

— Why the Black Keys shut out hundreds of fans, causing chaos at the Wiltern.


— Authorities have raised the death toll from Tropical Storm Imelda to five people, as widespread damage in the Houston area comes into fuller view.

— In Pittsburgh, three people were killed and four others were hospitalized in what police said appeared to be a mass drug overdose.

Iran’s president says his country should lead regional security in the Persian Gulf and criticized the presence of foreign forces, as the country’s nuclear deal with world powers collapses and the U.S. deploys more troops to boost security for its Arab allies.

— A series of protests that broke out over the weekend in Cairo and several other Egyptian cities is bringing back memories of the 2011 Egyptian revolution.


— As the U.N. Climate Action Summit kicks off today in New York, young environmental protesters are already looking beyond the official gathering, a recognition it will take sustained pressure to force governments, many of them allied with the fossil fuel industry, to take meaningful action.

— Some WeWork directors are planning to push Adam Neumann to step down as chief executive after the start-up delayed its much-anticipated initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter.


Cody Bellinger’s grand slam was a highlight of the Dodgers’ 100th victory this season in their home finale.

— The Rams’ defense thwarted the Cleveland Browns in the final seconds to preserve their victory, while for the third game in a row, the Chargers are unable to protect their halftime lead


— Californians have no way to assess the efficiency or effectiveness of their criminal justice system because police, prosecutors and courts keep information about arrests and prosecutions to themselves.

— California’s ballot initiative process was supposed to get the money out of politics. Ha!


— Vice President Mike Pence caused a stir by traveling in an eight-vehicle motorcade on Michigan’s Mackinac Island, where cars have been generally banned for 100 years. But one former longtime Mackinac Island official says the rules have been bent before. (Detroit Free Press)

Chronic pain: Will there ever be a cure? (1843 Magazine)


“To be a street performer on the Santa Monica Pier, it helps to be lucky,” writes Joe Dworetzky. “There are only 24 designated spaces on the pier, and on a summer weekend there can be 50 or more performers at the 5 p.m. lottery drawing. Those whose names are not drawn may walk up the hill to Palisades Park or the Third Street Promenade and ply their self-expression there. But in Santa Monica, the Broadway lights shine brightest on the pier.”

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