Newsletter: The mystery of an ‘imminent’ threat

President Trump addresses the nation from the White House on last week's ballistic missile strike that Iran launched against Iraqi air bases housing U.S. troops.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

More questions surround the reasons President Trump has given for killing an Iranian general, as a new wave of protests hits Iran.


The Mystery of an ‘Imminent’ Threat

The White House is facing new questions about U.S. intelligence underpinning the airstrike that killed a top Iranian general this month.

In a Fox News interview last week, President Trump asserted that Gen. Qassem Suleimani had been planning attacks against four U.S. embassies at the time he was killed. But on Sunday, no other officials backed up Trump, who has a history of fabricating details to embellish his accounts of events. Instead, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he had not seen the evidence, but “I share the president’s view.”


Meanwhile, leaders in Tehran are facing increased pressure amid anti-government demonstrations, spurred by what Iran says was the mistaken downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet that killed 176 people. Most of the passengers were Iranians and Iranian Canadians traveling to Canada via the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. A San Diego college student, her sister and their mother were among the victims.

More Politics

— Trump said Friday he would invoke executive privilege to try to block his former national security advisor John Bolton from testifying in a Senate impeachment trial. The House plans to vote this week to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

— Can Sen. Amy Klobuchar pull off a surprise in Iowa’s presidential caucuses?

New Defense Strategy: Fight Old ‘SC

In the college admissions scandal, USC has been affected more than any of the other universities where William “Rick” Singer is known to have peddled his scam. Now, lawyers for parents whose children were admitted to USC through alleged fraud and bribery are trying to drag the school into the fray. They’re seeking sensitive internal documents that they believe will shed light on how the school has courted wealthy donors and the role donations play in admissions.

A Fix for the Broken ‘Bottle Bill’?

Have you tried taking in bottles or cans for recycling in California lately? Good luck getting those nickels and dimes back. More than half of the state’s recycling centers have closed in the last six years. Forty-five of L.A. County’s 88 cities have none; San Francisco has only four. Now, lawmakers in Sacramento are looking at changing the state’s three-decade-old “Bottle Bill” to make beverage manufacturers more responsible for helping consumers recycle. It would also extend provisions to wine and liquor makers.

Don’t Call Me Rusty

Death. Taxes. Rust. Some things in life are inevitable. When iron, oxygen and water get together, the corrosion that results can be devastating. Especially when it’s saltwater. It’s such a problem in the shipping industry that professional organizations and conferences are dedicated to its existence and its suppression. Today’s Column One feature explores how the U.S. Navy and others fight an enemy that’s all around them.

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times.


— Ten years on, the Citizens United ruling has changed U.S. politics, but not in the way many feared.

— To this man, Islamic State’s ideology “just made sense.” Now, he rejects extremism.

— A high school reunion in El Salvador brings together a group of students who fled that country’s civil war.

— A for-profit film school, which claimed to provide a path to Hollywood, was forced to close by the government. Now its owner is suing hundreds of former students.

— How Mexican restaurants in L.A. became a haven for mole lovers.


On this date in 1962, Times photographer Frank Q. Brown arrived at the scene of a car accident in the fast lane of the northbound Santa Ana Freeway. Then, another accident ensued, with Brown’s car nearly being struck. In total, four people were injured. Read on to see how the scene unfolded and what all the numbers in the picture mean.

Jan. 13, 1962: Two traffic collisions on the Santa Ana Freeway, between Esperanza and Lorena streets in East Los Angeles, occurred 40 minutes apart.
(Frank Q. Brown / Los Angeles Times)


— Authorities say a car struck and killed Amber Leist, an off-duty L.A. County Sheriff’s Department detective, in the Valley Village area after she helped an elderly woman cross the street.

— A new lawsuit aims to halt the construction of a homeless shelter in Griffith Park, arguing that L.A. officials skirted city and state rules when they approved the project on a Riverside Drive parking lot.

Cat Packer embodied the hopes for L.A.’s cannabis program. Can she overcome its stumbles?

Longline fishing won’t be allowed off the California coast after a federal district court suspended permits for the fishing method.


— The Oscar nominations will be out this morning, starting at 5:18 a.m. Pacific. Get the latest here.

— Fox is launching Fox Soul, an advertiser-supported streaming video service that will offer four hours of live daily original talk programming aimed at African American audiences. It starts today.

Dana Terrace created the Disney cartoon show “The Owl House.” One of her colleagues once called it “a dumb idea.” It’s already been picked up for a second season.

— How the Gen Z stars of “High School Musical” saved the season’s central romance.


— California officials say they are sending a team of disaster specialists to help Puerto Rico recover from a series of earthquakes that caused more than $100 million in damage along the island’s southern coast.

— A small volcano near Manila has erupted with a massive plume of ash and steam, prompting the evacuation of tens of thousands of people and forcing the international airport to shut down.

Libya’s rival governments committed to an internationally brokered truce that took effect Sunday, though immediate reports of violations by both sides raised concerns it might not stick.

— In France, Vanessa Springora is causing a literary, legal and cultural storm with her explosive tell-all book that alleges an underage and destructive sexual relationship with French writer Gabriel Matzneff.


Beyond Meat is changing the way people eat. Can it live up to its founder’s wildest dreams?

— After years of financial woes, St. Vincent Medical Center in L.A. is running out of time.


— The Kansas City Chiefs pulled off a comeback for the ages to topple the Houston Texans. They will host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in the AFC championship game. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers held off the Seattle Seahawks to reach the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers.

— With some inspired play, Kyle Kuzma has increased his value to the Lakers. But he’s shooting down talk of a trade.


Lead in our lipstick? Mercury in mascara? Consumers are at the mercy of the manufacturers, and that’s got to stop.

Misty Copeland shouldn’t have to fight ballet’s racist past alone.


Free community college? These researchers studied its effects. (The Conversation)

— The myth of artistic genius and how it excludes women. (The Paris Review)


The town of Tecopa might not look like much. No gas stations. No stores. Mostly just a smattering of trailer homes, a couple of old motels and some hot springs. And yet, in this spot not far from Death Valley National Park, a foodie haven has sprung up.

If you like the Today’s Headlines newsletter, please share it with friends. Comments or ideas? Email us at