Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
Supreme Court justices sound ready to restrict the right to abortion
The Supreme Court’s conservatives sounded ready on Wednesday to severely restrict a woman’s right to choose abortion and possibly overturn Roe vs. Wade entirely.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump appointee, said pregnant women who didn’t want to raise a young child could put the baby up for adoption.
The three liberal justices said the court would be making a great mistake to overturn its past rulings. Joining the defense of abortion rights, Solicitor Gen. Elizabeth Prelogar said: “The real-world effects of overruling Roe … would be severe and swift. Nearly half of the states already have or are expected to enact bans on abortion at all stages of pregnancy, many without exceptions for rape or incest.”
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- Then-President Trump tested positive for COVID-19 three days before his first presidential debate in September 2020 with Joe Biden and days earlier than that diagnosis was previously disclosed, according to a new book by Trump’s former chief of staff.
- Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat and leading voting rights activist, said she was launching another campaign for governor. If elected, it would make her the nation’s first Black woman to lead a state.
- Democrats make a last effort to keep immigration reforms in social spending bill.
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Omicron has arrived
The first U.S. case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been confirmed in San Francisco, putting California once again at the center of the nation’s pandemic response.
The infected individual returned to California from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive. The person was fully vaccinated and experienced mild symptoms, which were improving.
More top coronavirus headlines
- President Biden is expected to announce a new plan Thursday to mitigate coronavirus spread over the winter, including added requirements for international travelers. People entering the United States may be required to test for the virus within 24 hours of boarding a flight, rather than within 72 hours under current rules.
For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.
Philanthropist and wife of a music legend is killed in her home
She was the quiet philanthropist, an elegant, behind-the-scenes force. He is a music industry legend, the “Black Godfather” with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Early Wednesday, a gunman entered the Beverly Hills home of Jacqueline and Clarence Avant. Shortly after the intruder left, Jacqueline was dead of a gunshot wound.
New Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook has been tight-lipped about the high-profile shooting. He declined to say whether the incident was yet another in a string of violent robberies targeting the rich and famous in and around Los Angeles.
Most L.A. County voters are OK with duplexes in traditional single-family neighborhoods
A majority of L.A. County voters back two new state laws, taking effect Jan. 1, which were designed to spur housing construction — including one that significantly changes traditional single-family zoning — a new poll finds.
Countywide, 55% of voters support Senate Bill 9, which lets property owners construct duplexes, and in some cases fourplexes, in most single-family-home neighborhoods statewide. By contrast, 27% were against the law, with 18% undecided.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
Environmental group and Tejon Ranch agree on a plan to build 19,300 zero-emission homes. One of Southern California’s longest-running development battles ended after two decades when an environmental group agreed to the construction of a massive “net-zero” greenhouse gas community.
A trial is underway to determine if requiring women on boards is legal. A judge began hearing evidence in Los Angeles County Superior Court that could undo a state law credited with giving more women seats in boardrooms traditionally dominated by men. Bonus read: California outlawed the all-white-male boardroom. That move is reshaping corporate America.
For many Black voters in L.A. County, homelessness is personal. According to a new poll, nearly half of Black voters in the county have been homeless, have experienced housing insecurity in the last year or know someone who has — a significantly larger share than for other racial and ethnic groups.
An Orange County D.A. candidate is calling for more scrutiny of Mater Dei. Pete Hardin is calling for an expanded investigation into the high school after allegations of hazing in its famed football program. A violent locker-room fight, according to a recently filed lawsuit, left a teenage football player with a traumatic brain injury.
Planned Parenthood Los Angeles says it was hacked. The hacker accessed the personal information of roughly 400,000 patients in October. The reproductive healthcare provider said there was no evidence so far that any patients’ information was used for fraudulent purposes.
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A fourth student died after the Michigan high school shooting. A 17-year-old boy died from wounds he suffered when a sophomore opened fire a day earlier at Oxford High School in Michigan, authorities said. Eight people were wounded, some critically. Ethan Crumbley, 15, was charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism causing death.
They helped Chinese women, workers, the forgotten and dying. Then they disappeared. The recent censorship of tennis player Peng Shuai has drawn a global outcry. But lesser-known individuals have also been vanishing as China tightens restrictions for activism on gender, labor and other issues. Meanwhile, the women’s tennis tour suspended all tournaments in China because of concerns about Peng‘s safety.
Mexico and the U.S. announced a plan for aid to Central America. Under the plan, development and agricultural aid will be given to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in an effort to stem the wave of migration from those Central American countries.
The American West is suffering climate hell. There’s still hope for the future, but in a part of the country mythologized for its rugged individualism, going it alone will be a recipe for disaster, climate experts say.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
‘I didn’t pull the trigger,’ Alec Baldwin says in a new interview. Baldwin gave his first formal prime-time interview since the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie “Rust,” ABC News announced. It’s set to air Thursday.
Our former film critic Kenneth Turan makes an L.A. Times cameo with his interview of Jane Campion. “To see ‘Power of the Dog’ is to revel in an exceptional filmmaker working at the peak of her powers, to feel that Campion must have grasped the entire project whole from the get-go,” Turan writes. “But to hear the director describe how Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel was turned into a feature is to understand that it didn’t go that way at all — that the process was in fact marked by accident, uncertainty, hesitation and doubt.”
This one’s for Marvel fans. If you’re keeping up with “Hawkeye,” you know that — as with anything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — there are plenty of references and backstories to unpack. This episode-by-episode guide will help.
Escape rooms are back in Los Angeles. The attractions were classified by the county Department of Public Health as amusement parks, which they aren’t. But they’re also not a museum, movie theater or other type of standard entertainment attraction, making pandemic restrictions tough to navigate and aid hard to find.
United Talent Agency looks to buy gaming and digital media companies with a new SPAC. UTA Acquisition Corp. begins trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange Thursday at $10 a share. It’s the latest example of Hollywood’s growing use of special purpose acquisition companies, created by groups of investors as a way to raise money on Wall Street for the purpose of funding acquisitions.
MLB commences lockout as CBA expires, triggering baseball’s first work stoppage in 26 years. The collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Assn. expired without a new agreement in place, and minutes after Wednesday night’s deadline passed, commissioner Rob Manfred announced in an open letter that the league had instituted a lockout. The move will stop almost all offseason activity and, if it goes on long enough, potentially jeopardize the start of the season.
Paul George-less Clippers have trouble finding rhythm in loss to Kings. Clippers star Paul George sat out as the team could not slow down the Sacramento Kings in the 124-115 loss on Wednesday at Staples Center.
Tyger Campbell provides boost to lead No. 5 UCLA over Colorado in Pac-12 opener. The Bruins got the big plays they needed from the smallest player on the court, with Campbell powering a push that lifted his team to a 73-61 victory.
Chris Taylor will remain with the Dodgers. After striking out on two of their top free agents over the last three days, the team agreed on a multiyear deal with utilityman Taylor. Meanwhile, Max Scherzer said his dead arm in the postseason was a result of the Dodgers’ pitch count.
Matthew Stafford is now throwing the football like Jared Goff, writes columnist Dylan Hernández. Stafford had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown in each of his last three games, something the turnover-prone Goff never did in his five seasons with the Rams.
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California’s efforts to protect its citizens from wanton gun violence are still in danger. Less enlightened judges and justices appear to believe in the right to commit national suicide, misusing the Bill of Rights to deprive “we the people” of the right to go to school, church, synagogue, the store, concerts, movies and parties and come back alive, writes The Times editorial board.
Column: The Mississippi abortion case threatens women’s rights and the Supreme Court’s standing. American women could find their liberty and rights subjected to state-by-state caprice in a way that the court has said for more than 50 years the Constitution forbids.
ONLY IN L.A.
For those who’ve grown up with holiday-time Advent calendars, there’s a certain joy of the unknown in opening the little paper flaps each day in the run-up to Christmas. We’ve re-created that feeling with a December’s worth of special, SoCal-centric suggestions of things to do and places to go. Among them: “Order the perfect latkes,” and watch “Love Actually Live” with singers, an orchestra and scenes from the fan-favorite film.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
“Lakers Still Stilt to Triumph, 129-119,” read the headline from the Dec. 3, 1961, Sports section of The Times. The Lakers were “hanging on Wilt Chamberlain like ornaments on a Christmas tree,” the article reported, yet got around “the Stilt” for a win over Philadelphia.
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— Amy Hubbard and Laura Blasey