By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard
Hello, it’s Wednesday, Jan. 26. Before getting into today’s top stories, let’s ponder some Los Angeles history: Why is the city’s skyline far from the beach — unlike in Miami, Seattle and elsewhere? The question comes from reader Javier Barraza, an economics student at California State University, Los Angeles.
Times audience engagement editor Rachel Schnalzer set out to answer his question and consulted an expert who said there’s “a saltwater answer and a freshwater answer.”
Now, on to the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
COVID-19 sick pay in California would return under a deal between Gov. Gavin Newsom and lawmakers.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers reached an agreement Tuesday to again require employers to provide workers with up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave to recover from COVID-19 or care for a family member with the virus. The legislation, which lawmakers would probably fast-track to the governor in the coming weeks, would apply to all businesses with 26 or more employees. A similar law from 2021 that provided 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave expired Sept. 30.
Companies across California would have to absorb the costs of additional paid time off for workers. In an attempt to help some businesses, the agreement includes separate proposals to restore tax credits that were suspended and capped two years ago when state officials feared the pandemic would cause California’s economy to collapse.
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More top coronavirus headlines:
- The FDA said COVID-19 antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly should no longer be used because they don’t work against the Omicron variant.
- New proposals in California would, among other things, require that students in the state be immunized against COVID-19. The plans are generating intense debate.
- As coronavirus transmission rates drop across California, scientists generally say it’s too early to declare an “endgame” for COVID-19.
- With Super Bowl events just a few weeks away, about 2,500 personnel of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are either home sick or quarantined due to the coronavirus.
- Amid this latest surge, public health experts and film exhibition industry leaders say audiences can make moviegoing a safer experience, depending on their comfort with levels of risk — and, of course, the behavior of those around them.
Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi to run for House seat again while staying silent on speakership.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that she is running for reelection to her San Francisco-area congressional seat, although she has previously indicated that this would be her last term as the chamber’s top Democrat. Pelosi, 81, has been in Congress since 1987.
Her announcement delays what had been anticipated to be the end of a trailblazing career for the only woman to serve as House speaker. But Pelosi’s silence on whether she will also seek to remain in Democratic leadership leaves the party to decide whether to reshape its hierarchy — particularly if it loses the House majority this fall.
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The killing of an LAPD officer shows the enduring power of the notorious Florencia-13 gang.
Seven decades ago, Latino youths in South Los Angeles banded together to form a gang. They called themselves Florencia. Over the years, demographic and social shifts have weakened many street gangs. Florencia did the opposite, law enforcement officials say, absorbing smaller gangs and expanding their extortion and drug dealing rackets on the orders of its leaders, who are incarcerated many hundreds of miles away.
The gang is now at the center of the killing earlier this month of an off-duty Los Angeles police officer. Officer Fernando Arroyos, 27, was shot to death the night of Jan. 10 near the intersection of 87th and Beach streets.
Big changes for the SAT: Digital, shorter and a unique test for each student.
The College Board said Tuesday that its controversial SAT will move to an all-digital format with shorter, more concise content that is expected to better prevent cheating and widen access to an exam that is coming under growing scrutiny as a gatekeeper in the college application process.
It’s unclear whether the digital exam will help the College Board rebuild its SAT market. The University of California said last year that it would stop using any standardized testing for admissions, and California State University will begin debate on whether to permanently end testing requirements this week.
The promise of hope in Honduras is tarnished by a political crisis.
The inauguration this week of the first female president of Honduras was supposed to be a turning point for the country and a fresh start for U.S. efforts to bring stability to the region and curb migration. Xiomara Castro has vowed to make a dramatic break from her predecessor, whose eight years in power were marked by unprecedented numbers of citizens fleeing and allegations of drug trafficking.
But as Vice President Kamala Harris, King Felipe of Spain and other dignitaries prepare to fly in for Thursday’s swearing-in ceremony, it has become clear that Honduras will not so easily escape its past.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
L.A. considers a $60,000 reward in the slaying of a 16-year-old found alongside a freeway. Tioni Theus was shot in the neck, and her body was dumped along a 110 Freeway on-ramp near Manchester Avenue, several miles north of her home. Motions were introduced in the City Council and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday morning to bring more attention to the teen’s slaying.
Homicides and shootings in L.A. are down so far this year, but robberies are up, LAPD chief says. Twenty-six people had been killed so far this year, compared with 33 at the same point in 2021. In total last year, L.A. had 397 homicides, up 11.8% from 355 the previous year and up 53.9% from 258 in the prepandemic year of 2019.
California redwood forest returned to native tribal group. Save the Redwoods League planned to announce Tuesday that it is transferring more than 500 acres on the Lost Coast to the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council. The group of 10 tribes that have inhabited the area for thousands of years will be responsible for protecting the land.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is granted a restraining order against an alleged stalker. Julia Lee Choi, 45, of McLean, Va., is accused of making numerous credible threats against Cook, including emailing him photographs of loaded handguns and trespassing onto his residence, according to court documents made public this week. Though many of the threats were aimed at Cook, the order protects all Apple employees.
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U.S., Europe plan for any cutoff of Russian natural gas over Ukraine crisis. Officials are coordinating with natural gas suppliers around the globe to cushion the impact if Russia were to cut off energy supplies in the conflict over Ukraine, Biden administration officials say.
Rare snowfall in Istanbul and Athens paralyzes cities and sparks rescues. The snowstorm, complete with thunder and lightning, hit the Athens area late Monday morning; it’s the second year in a row that Greece has experienced a freak snowstorm. The severe weather also brought rare snowfall to vacation resorts located in Turkey’s southwest region.
Western monarch butterflies rebound but are still below the historical population. The butterflies rebounded to more than 247,000 a year after fewer than 2,000 appeared, but the tally remained far below the millions seen in the 1980s, leaders of an annual count said.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
Neil Young gives Spotify an ultimatum: Me or Joe Rogan. In an open letter to his management team and record label that has since been deleted from his website, Young criticized Spotify for disseminating “false information” about COVID-19 and threatened to remove his music from the platform.
The secret to reaching 100? For Ray Anthony, his trusty trumpet and a fondness for bombshells. The famed bandleader is one of the oldest surviving members of the original class of Hollywood Walk of Fame inductees, with a sly sense of self and an appreciation for all that he has seen along the way.
Explaining Hollywood: How to get a job as a costume designer. There can certainly be glamorous moments working in costume design, but the work itself is not glamorous. People in the wardrobe department are often on their feet all day, whether they’re transporting bags, steaming clothes or running from fitting to fitting.
The Biden administration says the global chip shortage will stretch through 2022. A commerce report highlights the limited options available to the Biden administration as it tries to respond to the crisis, which has caused production delays for electronic devices and furloughs in the auto industry.
Hall of Fame snubs Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens in final try and elects David Ortiz. Bonds, Clemens and Curt Schilling could be considered again for the Hall of Fame as soon as next year.
Two former San Diego city attorneys sue the Chargers and the NFL over the team’s move to L.A. The legal complaint accuses league and team officials of failing to negotiate in good faith over more than 10 years, while city officials worked to find a new playing field for the San Diego Chargers or to upgrade the team’s longtime home, Qualcomm Stadium.
Don’t blame the Rams for the sorry spectacle of 49ers fans invading SoFi Stadium. The NFL’s decision to stay out of L.A. for more than two decades is the main reason why 49ers fans probably will outnumber Rams fans at SoFi Stadium, columnist Dylan Hernández writes.
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OSHA has long failed to protect some of our most vulnerable workers. One reason for the lack of enforcement is that the agency does not have enough investigators. As of 2020, it had fewer investigators than at any time since 1975.
Get more kids vaccinated against COVID, yes, but two bills need more work. Two bills would bring about more COVID-19 vaccination of California kids. Both have attractive features, but both raise legal and ethical questions in trying to reach the goal of a vaccinated population of young people.
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
Train robberies — great or pedestrian — are nothing new in California. Train robbery lore lives large in our mythic history, with Jesse James and Butch Cassidy and the Dalton gang. So what’s happening now in Los Angeles, with Union Pacific being ransacked of consumer cargo, seems startlingly low-tech — haphazard thievery in an age when you can steal millions with a mouse click.
The robberies hark back to an era in California where mining loot, stagecoaches and railroads was decidedly more violent, writes columnist Patt Morrison.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Sixty-five years ago this week, the first Frisbees were produced at the Wham-O Toy Co. in Emeryville, Calif. On Jan. 23, 1957, Wham-O began producing what it was calling the “Pluto Platter,” a riff on the country’s fascination with space. Frisbees’ roots, however, reach further back. William Frisbie opened the Frisbie Pie Co. in 1871 in Bridgeport, Conn., and nearby Ivy Leaguers would toss around the empty pie tins. They’d yell “Frisbie!” as they did so, according to History.com. In 1955, Walter Frederick Morrison made a plastic version that he sold to the toy company.
The Times wrote an obituary in 1992 about the man who turned the national fad into an enduring sports trend, Ed Headrick. “Steady Ed” came up with not only the pro model Frisbee — incorporating the concentric, ridge-like rings that improved the disc’s aerodynamics — but also the idea for disc golf.
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