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World & Nation

Newsletter: California burns again

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California Burns Again

Fueled by violent winds from the northeast, fires erupted on dry hills across California, tearing through oaks and vineyards in Sonoma County and burning homes hundreds of miles away in subdivisions near Santa Clarita.

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The extreme weather conditions will continue into this weekend. That will increase not only the fire threat but also the likelihood of power outages that could be the largest yet in California, as utilities such as Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison order wide blackouts to prevent more blazes — and more wildfire liability.

As the winds swept into California, an eruption of fires big and small followed: first Northern California wine country, then San Bernardino, Orange County, Marin County, Santa Clarita, Eagle Rock and the San Fernando Valley. Firefighters were able to control some while others exploded out of control. Here is the latest.

More About the Fires

— The Tick fire, a brush fire that broke out Thursday afternoon near Santa Clarita, jumped the 14 Freeway on Friday, prompting more evacuations.

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— All Los Angeles Unified School District campuses in the San Fernando Valley will be closed today due to smoke and fire concerns.

Pacific Gas & Electric says one of its transmission lines experienced problems around the area where the Kincade fire, a large Sonoma County blaze, broke out.

— Here’s a map of wildfires burning in California.

The Damage Control Tour

As President Trump claims victory in the Turkish-Russian takeover of northern Syria, members of his government are traveling the globe in an attempt to control the damage and reassure spooked allies about U.S. intentions.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Thursday attended an uncomfortable session of NATO in Brussels where members harshly criticized Turkey’s incursion into Syria and apparent U.S. acquiescence. “Turkey put us all in a very terrible situation, and I think the incursion’s unwarranted,” Esper said.

More Politics

— The Justice Department has shifted its review of the Russia probe to a criminal investigation, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press. It’s a move likely to raise concerns that Trump and his allies may be using the powers of the government to go after their opponents.

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— A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs office created by the Trump administration to boost accountability and strengthen whistleblower protections within the VA has failed to do so, a report by the agency’s inspector general concluded.

— In Wisconsin, the 2020 presidential race is already in full swing. With Republican and Democratic strategists thinking it could prove to be the decisive state, the parties are arming to the teeth earlier than ever.

A Problem on Our Eastern Border

In recent years, California has enacted increasingly strict gun control laws. Assault rifles and ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds are illegal to buy or import. But stopping illegal guns and ammunition from coming over from Nevada and Arizona has been particularly troublesome. Undercover operations by state agents have helped stem the flow, but some of these agents have been redeployed to another program.

The Bleak Future for ‘Plastic Farmers’

American trash sustains the Indonesian village of Bangun, one of the endpoints of a $1.5-billion-a-year waste trade that sees the world’s richest countries’ garbage shipped to Asia, where it is recycled to provide raw materials for industry. In Bangun, families forgo farming to sort and sell scrap. The business has left the village choked with trash, but now an import crackdown could take a toll of its own. “Everyone here depends on this trade — the rich and the poor,” says one local. “Without it, our village suffers.”

Scavengers pick through a mound of rubbish in Bangun.
Scavengers pick through a mound of rubbish in Bangun.
(Shashank Bengali / Los Angeles Times)

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

One century ago today, The Times published its review of the debut performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. That event “startled Los Angeles out of her symphonic slumbers and introduced what be termed a new epoch in local musical history,” longtime critic and drama editor Edwin Schaller wrote at the time.

The audience, he wrote, “brilliantly tested the triumph achieved by the musicians under the scholarly and, at the same time, unconventional leadership of the new conductor.” (Revisit our multimedia timeline for more L.A. Phil history.)

The newly formed Los Angeles Philharmonic, circa 1919. Nearly a century ago, founder W.A. Clark Jr.
The newly formed Los Angeles Philharmonic, circa 1919. A century ago, founder W.A. Clark Jr. (standing with the first iteration of his orchestra above, center left) announced that the Los Angeles Philharmonic “shall grow to be the best in the United States.”
(Los Angeles Philharmonic)

CALIFORNIA

— Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson’s son received preferential treatment on his rent for years at an L.A. apartment building while his father helped the building’s executives win approval of a high-rise, according to interviews and records reviewed by The Times.

Cal State San Marcos is widening its review of its executives’ spending, after the San Diego Union-Tribune obtained expense reports showing lavish expenses including $700-a-night hotel rooms and $110 steaks.

— A driver plowed his sports car into an 11-year-old girl’s bedroom in Costa Mesa, pinning her and leaving her with non-life-threatening injuries.

— A Bel Air mega-mansion just sold for $94 million, among the highest sales prices in L.A. history but still a fraction of what its owner originally sought for its 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, Louis Vuitton bowling alley and room full of candy dispensers.

YOUR WEEKEND

— Is this the best barbecue brisket in Los Angeles? Restaurant critic Bill Addison thinks you should check out Slab Barbecue.

— Love Tommy’s chili burgers but not beef? Try this recipe.

— On this weekend trip to Mendocino, you can discover an idyllic resort and tasty vegan food.

— The eight best things to do in L.A., including the Mariinsky Ballet and a family Halloween festival.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Morrissey has expressed his allegiance to For Britain, a far-right political party, and has a history of racist remarks. But many fans don’t seem to care.

Neil Young will finally become an American citizen. “I’ve passed all the tests; I’ve got my appointment, and if everything goes as planned, I’ll be taking the oath of citizenship” shortly after turning 74 on Nov. 12. “I’ll be able to vote.”

— The documentary “Making Waves” reveals the sound secrets behind “Star Wars,” “Apocalypse Now” and more classic films.

NATION-WORLD

— A funeral for Rep. Elijah E. Cummings will take place today in Baltimore. Congressional leaders and colleagues paid tribute to him at a Capitol ceremony Thursday.

Police departments face a dilemma: When do you take away a suicidal officer’s gun?

— Spain has exhumed the remains of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco from his grandiose mausoleum outside Madrid so he can be reburied in a small family crypt north of the capital.

— In a rejection of Bedouin gender norms, Umm Yasser is the first woman to sign on as a guide on the Bedouin-led hiking initiative along the Sinai Trail, until recently Egypt’s only long-distance hiking route.

BUSINESS

— Ted Mundorff has resigned as chief executive of L.A.-based movie house chain Landmark Theatres.

— A Trump administration student loan official abruptly resigned after calling for wiping out most of the nation’s $1.6 trillion of student debt. He’s angling for an appointment to the Senate seat opening up in Georgia.

— The L.A. police and fire pension is pulling $500 million from money manager Ken Fisher, part of a broader exodus spurred by its founder’s lewd comments.

SPORTS

— The first Major League Soccer playoff game between crosstown rivals the Galaxy and LAFC resulted in a 5-3 victory for LAFC. Carlos Vela and Adama Diomande led the way. (Sign up for our soccer newsletter here.)

— In the midst of the World Series, the Houston Astros have fired assistant general manager Brandon Taubman after an investigation with Major League Baseball concluded that he directed inappropriate comments at female reporters.

OPINION

— Grading Gavin Newsom: Columnist George Skelton finds that California’s most liberal governor ever took on more than he could handle in his first year.

— Paying for “Medicare for all”? No problem, writes economist and law professor Stephen Marks.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

“Techies as thought leaders”? That’s a myth, writes Morgan G. Ames, who’s spent two decades living among, working with and researching Silicon Valley technology employees. (Los Angeles Review of Books)

Parakeets are seemingly taking over European cities, but here’s why you shouldn’t call it an invasion. (CityLab)

ONLY IN L.A.

Haven Coliving is a fully furnished adult dorm in Venice dedicated to wellness. When its residents aren’t sleeping in a pod-style room with up to half a dozen strangers, they’re treated to a full lineup of Goop-friendly activities. The complex encompasses a gym, co-working space, yoga studio, rooftop lounge, barbecue, movie theater and outdoor meditation area. Outsiders may ask, “How’s the cult?” says Meghan Kraft, 29, a creative consultant for health and food brands. “People don’t get it. They think it’s a hostel.”

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