Today’s Headlines: Russian assault in eastern Ukraine has begun

By Elvia Limón and Laura Blasey

Hello, it’s Tuesday, April 19, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

Russian forces launch a ground assault in eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian officials said that Russia began its long-anticipated assault to seize control of their country’s eastern industrial heartland, launching a ground assault along a nearly 300-mile front while pounding the nation, including the western city of Lviv, with a deadly barrage of missile strikes.

In a new and potentially pivotal stage of the war focused on Ukraine’s vast rural flatlands, Russian forces attempted to break through Ukrainian defenses along a broad front line in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions, Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said on Ukrainian television.

More on Ukraine

Homeless advocates lash out at Newsom’s plan for court-ordered treatment

Six weeks after Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a far-reaching effort to push more people into court-ordered treatment for severe mental illness and addiction, critics have called it misguided and immoral, and the proposal’s first public hearing in the state Capitol has been pushed back to the last possible day for legislative action.

More than three dozen organizations signed an opposition letter raising serious concerns with Assembly Bill 2830, one of two identical measures moving through the Legislature to implement Newsom’s Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment Court.

Newsom touted the CARE Court framework as an innovative strategy to guide an estimated 7,000 to 12,000 people into housing and much-needed treatment. Under the proposal, family members, behavioral health providers and first responders, among others, could petition a civil judge to initiate a CARE plan for eligible individuals who lack medical decision-making capacity.

More politics

  • With so much space reserved for golf and so much need for affordable housing in L.A., state lawmakers are asking if some of those courses should be turned into homes.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris kicked off a weeklong trip home to California with a stop at Vandenberg Space Force Base, where she said the U.S. would halt testing of satellite-killing missiles to reduce the threat posed by space debris.

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting and the latest action in Sacramento.

Cases against LAPD officers accused of making false gang claims fall apart

When Los Angeles police officers were accused two years ago of deliberately misidentifying people as gang members, the fallout was swift and sweeping. Six officers were charged with crimes and police officials opened investigations into two dozen more. Prosecutors also dismissed felony cases that had relied on testimony from the charged officers.

In the years since, however, the case has largely fallen apart. Charges against three officers have been tossed out, while prosecutors have decided there isn’t enough evidence to bring cases against the other officers suspected of possible wrongdoing. And the L.A. district attorney’s office is now reconsidering whether to press ahead with the charges that prosecutors filed in the few cases that remain active, according to district attorney’s records reviewed by The Times.

Some California transit agencies ask riders to still wear masks

Some public transit agencies in California are asking riders to continue wearing masks on buses and trains, despite a federal court ruling in Florida that struck down the masking mandate on public transportation.

The Biden administration said the court decision means that the federal order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requiring mask use on public transit is not in effect at this time. The CDC still recommends the public wear masks in indoor public transportation settings. Several airlines quickly announced they would drop mandates.

Meanwhile, California transit agencies scrambled to formulate messages on mask-wearing guidance and requirements on their transit systems.

More top coronavirus headlines

  • Shanghai authorities reported the first COVID-19 deaths in the latest outbreak in China’s most populous and wealthiest city.
  • Remember when former President Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci told us that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans would die of COVID-19? A lot’s gone wrong since then, writes Times columnist Nicholas Goldberg.

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

Angelenos are alarmed by air pollution and extreme heat

Los Angeles voters are alarmed by deadly heat waves, destructive wildfires and dangerous air pollution — and they want politicians to take major steps to reduce the city’s reliance on fossil fuels and prepare for a hotter future.

Nearly two-thirds of L.A. voters say extreme heat poses a serious threat to their health and safety, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times. Eight in 10 voters say the same about air pollution, which, like global warming, is caused largely by dirty fuels such as oil and natural gas.

Statewide, voters also support big changes to cope with the effects of climate change. About two-thirds would back restrictions on building housing in high-risk wildfire areas, the poll found.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

Amid a new round of Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian cities Monday, a Ukrainian soldier lays out fragments left by a missile that struck the eastern town of Kramatorsk. Strikes on Monday also killed seven people in Lviv, a western Ukrainian city once considered a relative safe haven, local officials said. The Times’ Carolyn Cole is in Ukraine, capturing images as Ukrainians fight back and fight to survive.

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

Sonoma State president separates from husband amid scandal. The announcement comes after a Times investigation reporting that California State University paid $600,000 this year to settle a claim with a Sonoma State provost who reported retaliation and sexual harassment allegations involving Judy Sakaki and her husband.

Sherri Papini pleads guilty to faking her own kidnapping. Five years after she claimed she was dumped on the side of a Northern California highway in chains by her kidnappers, Papini formally admitted in federal court Monday that she faked the whole scheme.

A gold rush in the deep sea raises questions about the authority charged with protecting it. Mining firms want to scrape the seabed for minerals used in electric car batteries. Scientists worry about conflicts of interest with the gatekeeper to mining permits.

A man was sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison for rapper Mac Miller’s death. Ryan Michael Reavis, 39, was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to one count of distributing fentanyl, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Reavis is one of three men charged with providing the drugs that caused Miller’s death.

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NATION-WORLD

Abortion training is under threat for medical students and residents. Within the last year, bills or laws seeking to limit abortion education have been proposed or enacted in at least eight states. The changes are coming from abortion opponents emboldened by new limits on the procedure itself, as well as a pending Supreme Court decision.

West Virginia will receive $99 million in an opioid lawsuit settlement. State Atty. Gen. Patrick Morrisey said during a news briefing that he believes West Virginia’s settlement is the largest in the country per capita with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, which has faced opioid litigation in dozens of communities throughout the U.S.

The home-schooling surge continues despite schools reopening. Families that may have turned to home-schooling as an alternative to hastily assembled remote learning plans have stuck with it — reasons include health concerns, disagreement with school policies and a desire to keep what has worked for their children.

Turkey launches a new ground and air offensive in northern Iraq. It has left at least 19 suspected Kurdish rebels dead and has wounded at least four Turkish soldiers, Turkey’s defense minister said.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Hip-hop star DJ Kay Slay dies after a four-month battle with COVID-19. The influential disc jockey and music executive was 55. Late last year, Kay Slay released his final album, “Soul Controller,” featuring Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, Ghostface Killah, Shaqueen, Dirti Diana and others.

Inside ‘Winning Time’s’ era of eye-popping debauchery in sports TV. For those on the inside, you might say the sports TV world of the 1980s closely resembled the feel and flavor of a Martin Scorsese mob film, including everything from six-figure gambling to high-volume profanity on the networks’ private, closed-circuit communications systems.

Doja Cat is supposedly a big fan of Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza. Now it’s coming back. The singer-rapper and fast-food chain announced the May 19 return of the culinary concoction that was taken off the menu in 2020. The move comes a few weeks after Doja Cat shared an underwhelming jingle that she was commissioned to write in which she showed her purported appreciation for the snack.

BUSINESS

Should I worry about a recession? What Californians should know. Experts say they see trouble coming, however — just not until 2024. That’s because of the eye-popping acceleration in inflation, which could eventually trigger a downturn. Southern Californians are exposed to some of the worst of its effects, given their gasoline-sucking commutes and high housing costs.

‘Exploding Kittens’ gets show and mobile game at Netflix. Exploding Kittens Inc. has sold more than 18 million copies of its hugely popular, eponymous card game. Now the Los Angeles company is bringing its iconic cats to the world’s largest streaming company in a first-of-its-kind deal that comes as Netflix looks to invest in the burgeoning video gaming sector.

SPORTS

Chargers’ Donald Parham Jr. on his injury: ‘A life-flashing-before-your-eyes kind of thing.’ Nearly four months had passed since Parham disappeared from view under bright lights. A national television audience and sellout crowd watched as he was strapped to a stretcher and rolled out of the most frightening scene of the 2021 NFL season.

The Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-4 in the first game of their series at Dodger Stadium this week. It was the opening salvo in what will be a big test and feature some emotional reunions.

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OPINION

Is my copay coupon charity — or a bribe? The copay coupon scheme is lucrative for pharmaceutical companies, which disburse money to subsidize patient copays as a form of what they characterize as charity.

The Jan. 6 committee should call former President Trump’s crime a crime. If Trump isn’t referred to the Justice Department for prosecution, we risk another Mueller report fiasco.

ONLY IN L.A.

What does L.A. really smell like? Louis Vuitton’s new fragrance, City of Stars, is the latest attempt to bottle up Los Angeles — the idea of it and what it inspires. It does not smell like structural failures. Nor does it smell like a romanticized night of bad decisions. There are no hints of bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with grilled onions and peppers, no traces of burnt air from fireworks. The Times’ Julissa James found it more aspirational, idealized, sanitized, but essential nonetheless — and thought provoking, for good measure.

Los Angeles is such an expanse of diverse geographies, microclimates, neighbors, businesses, cultures; the city smells like a lot of different things, at different times, in different places, to different people. Its smell could include notes of cigarette smoke; late-night Korean barbecue; the polarizing stench of Le Labo Santal 33; walking home through the Flower District after a night out. Or maybe an L.A. fragrance becomes an L.A. fragrance when someone who lives in L.A. wears it.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

A woman goes up stairs to board a plane.

After the Academy Awards in 1956, actress Grace Kelly boarded an American Airlines plane in Los Angeles for New York on the first leg of her journey to Monaco.

(Los Angeles Times)

It was 66 years ago this month when American movie star-glamour queen Grace Kelly married the dashing Prince Rainier of Monaco.

Rainier and Kelly’s marriage was one of the most publicized events of the 20th century. It was said to be love at first sight. But it was not an easy marriage, and it happened only after hard negotiation.

Rainier needed a wife who could have children because, under a 1918 treaty with Paris, the principality would revert to France if his bloodline died out. He demanded that Kelly submit to an examination by his physician to prove that she was capable of bearing him an heir.

Also, showing the shrewdness in business for which he would become known, the prince asked Jack Kelly to give him a $2-million dowry — in advance. The construction magnate reportedly balked, so the bride-to-be ended up paying half, according to several biographies of Kelly.

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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