Hello, it’s Tuesday, Jan. 31, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
Biden to end COVID-19 emergencies in May
President Biden informed Congress on Monday that he will end the twin national emergencies for addressing COVID-19 on May 11, nearly three years after they were first declared.
The move would formally restructure the federal coronavirus response to treat the virus as an endemic threat that can be managed through agencies’ normal authorities. Among other changes, this sunset, combined with the drawdown of most federal relief money, would shift the development of vaccines and treatments away from the direct management of the federal government.
Lawmakers have already ended some elements of the federal response, including programs that kept millions of Americans insured during the pandemic.
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Will recent storms save California from a brutal fire season? Dry winters can pave the way for dangerous fire seasons fueled by dead vegetation, but wet winters — like the one the state has seen so far — can also spell danger by spurring heaps of new growth that can later act as fuel for flames.
Experts say it’s too soon to know with certainty what the upcoming fire season has in store. The atmospheric rivers that pounded California in January have left the state snow-capped and wet, which could be a fire deterrent if soils stay damp.
But if no more rains arrive — or if other, less predictable factors such as lightning storms and heat waves develop later in the year — all that progress could go out the window.
The river’s end: Amid Colorado water cuts, Mexico seeks to restore its lost oasis. When the Colorado River reaches the U.S.-Mexico border, it pushes up against Morelos Dam. Nearly all the remaining water is shunted aside into an immense canal and flows toward the farmlands and cities of Baja California.
South of the dam, the last of the river disappears in the desert.
Mexico is entitled to receive 1.5 million acre-feet of water per year under a 1944 treaty. Mexico has also agreed to take part in reductions when there is a shortage. Last year, Mexico’s share was cut by 5%. This year, it will lose 7% of its water.
California is on the leading edge of some of the worst effects of climate change — and some of the most promising solutions. Get Boiling Point in your inbox to stay up to date.
First hate crimes, now mass shootings. For some Asian Americans, feeling safe means owning a gun. Research shows that Asian Americans, who have some of the lowest gun ownership rates in the country, have been buying more firearms in the last few years.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
The Colorado River runs through the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation and provides water for agriculture. Fort Mojave Indian Reservation owns land along the Colorado River, which is essential to the tribe’s heritage and survival.
Tesla driver who drove family off Northern California cliff charged with attempted murder. Dharmesh Patel, 41, was arrested by the California Highway Patrol on suspicion of attempted murder and child endangerment after the Jan. 2 crash in San Mateo County, but prosecutors waited until after he left the hospital to charge him.
Rapidly changing guidance creates uncertainty for L.A.’s housing seekers. After announcing early last week that it was suspending all outstanding emergency housing vouchers, the Los Angeles County Development Authority walked back the move when the Los Angeles Times first inquired about the policy.
Composting is now mandatory in L.A. Learn how to make your own and reap the rewards. L.A. residents must now put food waste in their green bin, or create their own compost pile, and there are lots of classes in February to teach you how.
Winter storms bring snow and rain to Southern California, subzero temps to Tahoe basin. A cold winter storm brought more rain and snow to Southern California on Monday, prompting warnings of dangerous road conditions, as frigid temperatures gripped the Sierra Nevada.
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‘I wasted so much time’: Burned out by COVID, Chinese professionals take up nomadic life. As China’s economy slows, more young people are exploring nomadic lifestyles in a rebuke of societal pressure to work hard, buy a home, start a family. The number of flexible workers, such as part-timers or freelancers, in China nearly tripled to 200 million over the course of 2021, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
California fines detention center operator $100,000 over immigrants’ working conditions. A CAL/OSHA investigation found six violations of state code at an immigrant detention center in McFarland, Calif., leading to $104,510 in fines.
Sixth Memphis police officer suspended in connection with Tyre Nichols beating. The officer was placed on administrative leave shortly after the Police Department began its investigation into Nichols’ Jan. 7 death. It was not immediately clear what role he played in the incident.
Blinken urges calm and supports Palestinian state in meeting with Israel’s Netanyahu. Arriving in Israel at what he called a “pivotal moment,” Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Monday called on Israelis and Palestinians alike to step back from the brink of all-out conflict.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
‘The Last of Us’ team explains the ‘skeleton key’ episode that has everybody talking. Sunday’s installment, the most intimate of the HBO series so far, introduces audiences to Bill (Nick Offerman), Frank (Murray Bartlett) and another view of the show’s apocalyptic world.
How ‘crunch’ time and low pay are fueling a union drive among video game workers. Here’s how the video game industry got serious about unions.
CNN boss Chris Licht on restoring trust and why he deleted his Twitter account. Licht is adding Bill Maher on Friday nights, and that may not be the only comic coming to CNN. But newsgathering is still the priority.
Motown’s Barrett Strong, known for ‘Money’ and ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine,’ died at 81. “Barrett was not only a great singer and piano player, but he, along with his writing partner Norman Whitfield, created an incredible body of work,” Motown founder Berry Gordy said in a statement.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s parents used their house to bail him out. But they rent the land from Stanford. It’s a curious circumstance that underscores the wide latitude granted in bail proceedings to wealthy, white defendants, in sharp contrast to the unforgiving terms that often keep poor people of color behind bars while they await trial.
The real aim of big tech’s layoffs: bringing workers to heel. Wildly profitable tech companies are citing an as-yet notional recession to make deep workforce cuts. They may have another agenda.
We can’t let history repeat itself with the siege of Nagorno-Karabakh. The world watched and allowed a brutal genocide three decades ago in the Bosnian city of Srebrenica. A tragically similar crisis is looming again.
Websites should stop posting estimated reading times. People read at different rates. It is a singular experience, and focusing on efficiency takes away from reading as a way of being in the world.
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Super Bowl LVII: Four things to know about Jason and Travis Kelce. It’s the first time two brothers have been on opposing Super Bowl teams.
Gary Bettman doesn’t care if fans hate him. His smart and calculating tactics have reaped financial success for the NHL’s teams.
ONLY IN L.A.
When one wine bar closes, another opens in Silver Lake. Last night, one of Silver Lake’s strip-mall gems poured its last glass of wine. Eszett, a natural-wine bar with an inventive food menu and some of the city’s best hot sauce, has closed.
But it’s not really over for Eszett’s staff and spirit. The Ruby Fruit, a lesbian wine bar from some of Eszett’s workers, is set to open there in mid-February. If all goes to plan, the space will become L.A.’s first permanent lesbian bar since 2017, as similar spaces dwindle across the country.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Ethel Byrne, right, and her sister Margaret Sanger, center, were indicted for running a birth control clinic in Brooklyn. This edition of the L.A. Times announced that Byrne had been tried and convicted and received a sentence of 30 days in Blackwell Island’s Workhouse. Byrne’s arrest prompted a group of feminist activists to meet with President Woodrow Wilson and urge him to help end laws criminalizing the distribution of birth control.
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