Today’s Headlines: Global outrage grows over Russia’s merciless attacks in Ukraine

By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Tuesday, March 22, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

Global outrage grows over Putin’s merciless attacks

International outrage mounted over medieval scenes of suffering in Mariupol, a strategic southern port city that has defied demands for surrender despite a ferocious Russian siege that Ukrainian officials say has trapped thousands of civilians and left corpses lying in the streets.

As Russia’s devastating onslaught in Ukraine neared the one-month mark, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Moscow was apparently willing to lay waste to the entire country to force his government to capitulate — something he declared that he and his compatriots could not do.

Russian bombardment of densely populated civilian areas, including targets such as schools and hospitals, has become increasingly indiscriminate, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters. That tactic has been used to horrifying effect in Mariupol.

More on Ukraine

  • The Russian invasion put a stop to the student ballet scholarship competition Youth America Grand Prix’s event in Kyiv. The organization has since helped more than 80 young Ukrainian dancers escape the conflict by placing them in schools across Europe.
  • The war in Ukraine is dominating the news. The Times’ Marcus Yam, no stranger to war photography, gives a first-person account of what he is seeing there.

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson vows to defend the Constitution and equal justice

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s historic nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, promised that if confirmed, she would seek to make the words “equal justice under law” a reality for all Americans. She called herself an independent jurist who follows the law and pledged to “defend the Constitution and the grand experiment of American democracy that has endured over these past 246 years.”

Backed by her family and a roomful of supporters, she spoke at the end of the first day of her confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose Democrats said they were filled with hope by the nomination of the first Black woman for the post of Supreme Court justice.

More politics

  • Mayoral candidate and Councilman Kevin de León wants the city to create its own mental and public health department to provide more control over Los Angeles’ homelessness response.
  • Up for reelection in 2023, San Francisco Mayor London Breed is a rising star in California politics because of her stewardship during the pandemic, and her efforts to tackle crime, homelessness, addiction and education.
  • Rick Caruso will for the first time join fellow L.A. mayoral candidates Karen Bass, Kevin de León, Joe Buscaino and Mike Feuer on the debate stage. Here’s what to watch for.

Get the lowdown on L.A. politics. In this pivotal election year, we’ll break down the ballot and tell you why it matters in our L.A. on the Record newsletter. Sign up here.

California could see coronavirus increase this spring

Coronavirus cases are on the upswing worldwide, prompting some officials to warn that California could see increases this spring because of the Omicron subvariant BA.2, even though cases of the strain so far have been modest in the state.

The World Health Organization has recorded the first week-over-week increase in global coronavirus cases since late January, with cases rising 8% compared with the previous week. With infections up in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe, officials say they wouldn’t be surprised if new cases climbed again in the U.S. — and in California — this spring.

What remains unclear is whether a national increase would be a ripple or a deluge that could again strain hospitals.

More top coronavirus headlines

Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

L.A. County looks to hand out 50,000 boxes of Narcan

Deaths from drug overdoses have surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Roughly three-quarters of those deaths were tied to opioids such as fentanyl. Across the country, health officials and community groups are trying to combat the crisis with naloxone, a medication that can block the effects of opioids. It can be injected or administered as a nasal spray called Narcan.

Even before the pandemic, the CDC lamented that too little naloxone was being dispensed. In L.A. and San Francisco, researchers found that among people who use drugs, Black and Latino people were less likely to have gotten naloxone. So Los Angeles County decided it needed to expand its reach by setting a goal to distribute 50,000 boxes of the medicine by August. The effort began last summer.

Is California’s cap-and-trade program hurting the environment?

California has relied on a complicated market system of pollution credits to help reduce climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions. The cap and trade program was the first of its kind in the U.S. when launched in 2013 and set the ambitious goal of slashing turn-of-the-century emission levels by 40% by the year 2030.

Despite its goal of reducing the gasses, the program was quickly faulted by environmental justice advocates for failing to improve the lives of low-income people of color living alongside major polluting facilities. After years of such criticism, government officials are now reevaluating the program.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson began her confirmation hearing before an evenly divided Senate committee. Former college roommate and friend Lisa Fairfax introduced her before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill.

(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

After a viral Tesla crash, Echo Park residents are left to pick up the pieces. Currently, the driver behind the stunt faces a misdemeanor for the hit-and-run. The LAPD has issued a $1,000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the identification, apprehension and conviction of the Tesla driver, who abandoned the car.

Workers strike at Chevron’s Northern California refinery. What will it mean for gas prices? More than 500 workers at a refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area went on strike over safety concerns and to demand a salary increase to keep up with inflation and the area’s high cost of living.

L.A. sues an online vacation rental company, saying it violated the city’s home-sharing law. HomeAway processed or completed at least 776 transactions for short-term rentals across the city between Nov. 7 and Dec. 7. Of that total, nearly 30% did not have a valid home-sharing registration number or a pending registration status number, as is required by law, the lawsuit says.

The sale of L.A.’s biggest mansion to Fashion Nova’s owner has been approved. The $141-million offer by Richard Saghian for the Bel-Air mega-mansion known as “The One” was approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge.

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NATION-WORLD

Mexico City got a new airport. But is anyone going to use it? Government claims about how long it will take passengers to get to the new terminal — 27 miles away from the city center — have been widely ridiculed and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has repeatedly complained that there is a conspiracy in the media to besmirch his new airport.

Chinese airliner crashes with 132 aboard in the country’s worst air disaster in a decade. The Civil Aviation Administration of China said in a statement that the crash occurred near the city of Wuzhou in the Guangxi region. The flight was traveling from Kunming in the southwestern province of Yunnan to the industrial center of Guangzhou on the east coast.

Capitol riot trial opens for Cowboys for Trump founder. Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin is charged with two misdemeanors: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds.

U.S. says Myanmar repression of Muslim Rohingya is genocide. Authorities made the determination based on confirmed accounts of mass atrocities on civilians by Myanmar’s military in a widespread and systematic campaign against the ethnic minority, U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Queen Elizabeth isn’t dead, and neither is Hollywood Unlocked’s Jason Lee. Over the past half-decade, the 44-year-old has built Hollywood Unlocked from an Instagram account into a multiplatform urban entertainment brand. While the personality has never wavered, his reporting came into question in February, as Lee made national headlines when he erroneously announced to the world that 95-year-old Queen Elizabeth died.

The Oscars are embracing better movies. But the show acts as if it’s embarrassed by them, writes film critic Justin Chang. Amid complaints that the films are too “obscure,” the academy’s knee-jerk insistence on popularity as a criterion of excellence or importance doesn’t just feel desperate or pandering; it feels cowardly. Any academy worth its salt would own its film geekery.

The Academy Museum took heat for its handling of Hollywood’s Jewish founders. A fix is coming. Announced officially Monday, “Hollywoodland” is one of eight new exhibits coming to the museum in the next 12 months and will tell the story of how and why Los Angeles became the center of filmmaking, with an emphasis on who made that happen.

Reggaeton pioneer Daddy Yankee closing out his career with a perfectly titled final album. The 45-year-old rapper has spent three decades in the industry and racked up global hits such as streaming record-breaker “Despacito” and “Con Calma.” He plans to release his final album, “Legendaddy,” and embark on a North and South American tour.

BUSINESS

Southern California grocery workers move toward a strike amid contract impasse. The workers began voting Monday to authorize a strike against Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions. Talks between the union’s seven locals and the companies stalled two weeks ago and the vote would give union leaders the right to call a strike if an agreement cannot be reached.

SEC proposal would require climate-change risk disclosures. For the first time, the agency would require businesses to outline the risks a warming planet poses to their operations when they file registration statements, annual reports or other documents. Some large companies would have to provide information on emissions they don’t make themselves, but come from other firms in their supply chain.

SPORTS

Braves GM insists his tears over losing Freddie Freeman to Dodgers were real. Alex Anthopoulos described Freeman as “a partner in a lot of ways” whom he sometimes viewed as an assistant general manager. He credited Freeman for his starring role in his four-year run of success leading the Braves’ front office.

A jury convicts a man in the slaying of NBA player Lorenzen Wright. Billy Ray Turner was found guilty of first-degree murder, attempted murder and conspiracy in the death of Wright, a 6-11 center who played 13 seasons in the NBA — three with the Clippers — before he retired after the 2008-09 season.

Angel Stadium land sale is one step closer to being finalized after a judge’s ruling. The sale moved one giant step closer to completion, when a judge ruled the city of Anaheim had not violated the state’s public transparency law in negotiating the deal.

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OPINION

Why the California ‘mission bell’ road markers must come down. They celebrate the Spanish mission system, which seized Indigenous lands and sought the elimination of tribal cultures, spiritual practices and ways of life. Mission bells are a potent symbol of the domination and enslavement of our ancestors.

ONLY IN L.A.

two children hold out large handfuls of worms

Siblings Alyssa and Will Hatanaka show off some of the European Nightcrawlers they have raised for their business, Will’s Worms, in Studio City.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Red wiggler worms are a composter’s dream. If only they were easier to find. The demand for composting worms skyrocketed during the pandemic, when people stuck at home discovered (or rediscovered) the joys of gardening. On top of that, a new state law requiring food waste stay out of landfills has generated more interest in worm composting.

A pound of these worms can devour half their body weight a day, according to worm farmers. Even better, their poop — known as castings — is pure gold for plants and thus highly coveted by organic gardeners. But once a worm farmer’s supply depletes, rebuilding the stock can take time. Baby worms need to be 90 days to breed.

Most local farmers aren’t big self-promoters, but we found 13 in Southern California who currently have red wiggler worms available, with prices ranging from $25 per pound to $75 per pound.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

A densely packed crowd, many of them men in hats, surrounds a long trolley that is half covered by a tarp.

March 1937: A crowd at City Hall watches the unveiling of a new Los Angeles Railway Co. streetcar.

(Los Angeles Times)

Eighty-five years ago today, the Los Angeles Railway Co. introduced — with hoopla — a new version of its electric trolley.

The Times wrote in its March 22, 1937, morning edition: “Sixty-four years ago local transportation was inaugurated with the establishment of a horse-car line along Main Street from Temple to Washington. It was an important step in the growth of the city from an insignificant pueblo of 5700 souls to its present position of fourth largest city in the United States. Horse cars, cable cars and the electric trolleys all played a vital role in the development of the city and now, meeting the demand for a more modern means of urban transportation, the streamlined car moves in to raise the standards of public service established by its predecessors.” The paper called the cars “noiseless” and lauded the fact that drivers could operate them “entirely with their feet, leaving hands completely free for fare handling.” (Related good reading from Patt Morrison: Who killed L.A.’s streetcars?)

Shirley Temple, age 8, was on hand for the christening of the cars, hollering, “All aboard!”

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at [email protected]

Eleanore Beatty

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