Today’s Headlines: Ship anchored in wrong spot may have caused oil spill

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TOP STORIES

Cause investigated as rescuers work to save wildlife

The Coast Guard is investigating whether a large commercial ship set anchor in the wrong location, damaging an oil pipeline and causing a spill that threatens Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and other Orange County coastal cities, an official familiar with the investigation said Monday.

Meanwhile, the Orange County oil spill has sparked a race to save wildlife.

Signs of oil on ocean’s surface came 10 hours before spill was reported

California and federal officials had strong indications of oil on the water off Huntington Beach on Friday evening, records reviewed by The Times show, more than 10 hours before the operator of an oil platform reported it to authorities. The documents raise more questions about how the massive leak was handled in its first hours.

More about the oil spill

— As intense rain bursts and lightning hit parts of Southern California, officials said weather conditions and swelling tides could hamper cleanup efforts and create dangerous conditions for workers.

— California’s distaste for offshore drilling dates back to 1969, when a devastating oil spill pushed the state to become a leader in restricting offshore drilling. The latest spill comes as environmentalists call for an end to the state’s remaining reliance on oil.

— In recent years, before the leak that spewed at least 126,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean, the owner of the offshore oil operation had emerged from bankruptcy and also amassed a long record of federal noncompliance incidents and violations.

— How the spill compares to Santa Barbara, Exxon Valdez and others. Also: What’s closed and canceled.

Pandemic school year turning very ugly

Death threats and angry, violent outbursts — often fueled by conspiracy theories and misinformation — are occurring on K-12 campuses across the U.S.

At an Arizona elementary school, one father carrying zip ties threatened a principal with citizen’s arrest. At a school board meeting in Florida, a protester lighted a tray of masks on fire. In California, the extremist Proud Boys have joined protesters at school board meetings. School officials have asked for federal help.

More top coronavirus headlines

— Research has confirmed the dramatic erosion of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine’s protection against “breakthrough” coronavirus infections.

— As Congress considered COVID-19 relief earlier this year, mayors from across the U.S. pleaded for “immediate action” on billions of dollars to shore up their finances and revive their communities. But as of this summer, a majority of large cities and states hadn’t spent a penny of those funds.

— New Zealand admits it can no longer completely get rid of the coronavirus.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

Jan. 6 rioters exploited little-known Capitol weak spots: A handful of unreinforced windows

Four major access points that Jan. 6 rioters used to break into and overtake the U.S. Capitol had something unusual in common: They were among a dozen or so ground-floor windows and glass-paned doors that had not been recently reinforced.

Video shows some of the first rioters to break through the police line running past 15 reinforced windows, making a beeline for a recessed area on the Senate side of the building, where two unreinforced windows and two doors with unreinforced glass were all that stood between them and hallways leading to lawmakers inside who had not begun to evacuate.

More politics

— President Biden on Monday criticized Republicans for not voting to raise the debt ceiling, accusing them of being “reckless and dangerous.”

— The Biden administration indicated it was prepared to take a more forceful approach in pressuring Beijing to fulfill its commitments under a trade agreement reached with former President Trump.

— The administration reversed a ban on abortion referrals by family planning clinics, lifting a Trump-era restriction.

— Sen. Kyrsten Sinema makes liberal heads explode. And that’s just fine with the Arizona Democrat, writes columnist Mark Z. Barabak.

For more news and analysis, sign up for our Essential Politics newsletter, sent to your inbox three days a week.

Wildfire causes massive cloud, threatens historic cabins

The KNP Complex fire burning in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks spurred new evacuations Monday as it formed a massive pyrocumulus cloud and made a leap toward dozens of historic cabins.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

Twenty-five years ago today, the World Surfing Games got underway in Huntington Beach. The event was under the microscope of the International Olympic Committee, The Times reported, as it was examining the week’s activities to help determine if the sport belonged at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. It wasn’t until 2021 in Tokyo, however, that surfers would actually compete for an Olympic medal.

CALIFORNIA

— Decades of unchecked growth in the California hospice industry will come to a halt Jan. 1, when a moratorium on new licenses takes effect along with reforms aimed at curbing widespread fraud in end-of-life care. Legislative reforms were largely spurred by a Los Angeles Times investigation of the state’s booming hospice business last year.

— Nearly three months after L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti was picked by President Biden to be U.S. ambassador to India, it is unclear when the Senate might take up his nomination — creating a limbo at City Hall with no end in sight.

— Almost 300 Marines and sailors returned to Camp Pendleton on Sunday after a six-month deployment to the Middle East, where many of the troops found themselves among an emergency response force sent to Kabul, Afghanistan, to assist in the massive August evacuation.

— The California State Park and Recreation Commission took an unprecedented step of renaming a Humboldt County park, stripping the Patrick’s Point State Park moniker to restore its Indigenous Yurok name: Sue-meg.

— In summer 1982, The Times published “Black L.A.: Looking at Diversity,” a series on Southern California’s Black community that was billed as an “unprecedented” endeavor. The project would be a window into the lives of ordinary Black people. Now that the series is available online, columnist Sandy Banks reflects on what has changed since 1982 and what hasn’t.

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NATION-WORLD

— The global Pandora Papers investigation has revealed how the rich and powerful have being hiding their investments in mansions, exclusive beachfront property, yachts and other assets for the past 25 years. Here are some of those named in the investigation.

— Two California scientists won the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday for their discoveries of how the human body perceives temperature and touch, revelations that could lead to new ways of treating pain or even heart disease.

— Afghan refugees will soon be arriving again in the U.S. after a massive campaign to vaccinate them against measles following a small outbreak that caused a three-week pause in evacuations, officials said Monday.

— Russia is set to launch an actor and a film director into space to make a feature film in orbit. The crew plans to film segments of a new movie titled “Challenge” about a surgeon summoned to rush to the space station to save a crew member who suffers from a heart condition.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— Actor Tommy Kirk and disc jockey and TV host Sam Riddle, both of whom died last week, were pop culture heroes to many in an age of great change.

— William Shatner spent years playing Capt. Kirk, but now he’s really going to space. Jeff Bezos’ space travel company, Blue Origin, announced Monday that the 90-year-old “Star Trek” actor would blast off from west Texas on Oct. 12 as Bezos’ guest.

— Model and actor Emily Ratajkowski has accused singer Robin Thicke of sexually assaulting her while shooting the music video for 2013’s “Blurred Lines.”

— Author Dave Eggers continues to add to his stack of stories about technology’s excesses. His latest, “The Every,” is a nearly 600-page tech satire, available only at independent bookstores.

BUSINESS

— Hollywood crews have voted in favor of waging a strike if their union cannot agree to a new contract, setting the stage for an extraordinary showdown with the major studios.

— Facebook suffered a devastating outage that shut out many of its 2.7 billion global users, idled some of the company’s employees and prompted a public apology from the chief technology officer.

— The Federal Reserve said its internal watchdog planned to open an investigation into trading activity by senior U.S. central bank officials.

— Business columnist David Lazarus writes about something completely different that, for him, hits very close to home: how to foster kittens.

Lupin stays close to Lazarus’ dog, Teddy, who has learned to keep a watchful, big-brother eye on foster kittens.

(David Lazarus/ Los Angeles Times)

SPORTS

— Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler lead the Chargers to a 28-14 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium on Monday night.

— The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals have faced each other in the postseason five times since the start of the league playoffs in 1969, and history has not been kind to the Dodgers, who have lost four of those meetings. Here’s the story of the five previous October showdowns.

— Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer apologized to his family, his team and owner Shad Khan for actions he called “just stupid.” A video surfaced Saturday night showing a woman dancing close to Meyer’s lap, a clip that quickly went viral.

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OPINION

— School security officers establish a militarized atmosphere and create a sense of imprisonment, heightening student stress. At best, a militarized environment makes learning difficult. At worst, it makes learning impossible. When officers use deadly force against youth, learning grinds to a terrifying halt, writes a former Long Beach teacher.

— Op-Ed: It’s time for Biden to start making good on his big climate change promises.

ONLY IN L.A.

On a modest residential street in L.A.’s University Park neighborhood sits an old silent movie theater painted an eye-popping shade of aquamarine. The historic building is today the home of the Velaslavasay Panorama — a kind of visual illusion popular in the Victorian era. Essentially, it’s a circular painting designed to transport the viewer to a different place and time. With its unique surroundings, it’s an art experience that defies easy explanation.

An old movie theater front that features a sign saying Velaslavasay Panorama.

This historic building has housed a storefront church, a drama school, and for four decades served as a union headquarters.

(Madeleine Hordinski / Los Angeles Times)

Today’s newsletter was curated by Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard. Comments or ideas? Email us at [email protected]

Eleanore Beatty

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