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Kevin Costner Breaks Silence on Jewel Romance Rumors

Shaboozey Shares How Beyoncé Inspired Him After Cowboy Carter Collab; Billy Ray Cyrus Accuses Ex Firerose of Conducting "Campaign" to Isolate Him From Family; What Justin Timberlake Told Police During DWI Arrest; and more from E! News... June 19, 2024   View Online   NEWS STYLE LIVING SHOP NEWS STYLE LIVING SHOP   We know everyone is still buzzing about Justin Timberlake's run-in with the law , but here's what we're currently yapping about: Taylor Swift and Gracie Abrams' girls night gone bad , Ariana Grande's reaction to fans' criticism over her voice, Kylie Jenner and son Aire belting out the ABC's in an adorable new video and more...   Kevin Costner Breaks Silence on Jewel Romance Rumors Kevin Costner got candid when addressing claims he's dating Jewel, saying the singer is very "special" to him. Kevin Costner got candid when addressing claims he's dating J

Is search on for culprit behind leak? No.

Even though Los Angeles labor officials have called the leak a serious crime, the LAPD has not been asked to investigate.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images Regional labor leaders rally Tuesday at Los Angeles City Hall, demanding the resignations of Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limón and Laura Blasey

Hello, it's Wednesday, Oct. 19, and before we turn to today's top news, we'd like to highlight a story on the sardine-like overcrowding in L.A. County that's had deadly pandemic consequences. Brittny Mejia told us how the story came about (her co-writers were Liam Dillon, Gabrielle LaMarr LeMee and Sandhya Kambhampati). It started when she met the Zubia family, whose patriarch died of COVID; she wrote of the family's despair over their inability to protect him amid overcrowded housing.

The reporting team zeroed in on reports that COVID death rates in L.A.'s most overcrowded neighborhoods have been far higher than in those with ample housing. They set off to find out how L.A. got this way. In her reporting, Brittny said she "watched teenagers do homework in hallways outside apartments because it was the only quiet place, adults forgoing any sense of privacy in studios they share with their parents, and people grieving the loss of loved ones they couldn't socially distance from.

"Once we delved into L.A. history," Brittny said, "we understood that L.A.'s crowded conditions are the inevitable result of more than a century of decisions made by city leaders to rely on low-paid Latino labor." Read the full story.

TOP STORIES

Police are not yet hunting for whoever posted the leaked audio

Even though Los Angeles labor officials have called the leak of racist recordings involving three L.A. City Council members a serious crime, the Los Angeles Police Department is not investigating who recorded and posted the clips because no one has filed a police report.

The recordings took place at the offices of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which has called the leak "illegal" and vowed to have those involved prosecuted. The union attempted to block the Los Angeles Times from publishing details of the recordings, saying they were obtained illegally. The Times refused.

More than a week after the leak, it is still unclear how the recordings were made. Recording conversations without a person's consent is illegal in California, with rare exceptions.

In secret testimony, Caruso was grilled on what USC knew about a disgraced gynecologist

The answers developer Rick Caruso gave in late October 2020 at a remotely held deposition were sealed from public view by a protective order in the case and have remained secret since, even as the billionaire embarked on a mayoral campaign premised in part on his performance at USC.

A transcript of the deposition recently reviewed by The Times showed Caruso, then chair of the university's governing board, refusing to answer many questions, on the advice of USC's legal team. With more than half a dozen university lawyers monitoring his testimony, he invoked attorney-client privilege again and again in declining to reveal discussions with administrators about Dr. George Tyndall or the conclusions of an investigation into the gynecologist's troubled history at a campus clinic.

More politics

  • The Times has a new online tool that will help you find out whom to talk to in government when you want to get things done in your neighborhood. Get involved in your L.A. County community with the help of our people's guide to power.
  • President Biden spoke pointedly about abortion in an effort to remind voters — with three weeks until election day — what's at stake for women and families.
  • The Los Angeles City Council selected Councilmember Paul Krekorian as its next leader, with the 10 members present voting unanimously for him to take over the council presidency.
  • The lawyers competing to replace L.A. City Atty. Mike Feuer are outsider candidates who have laid out vastly different visions for how they plan to lead the city.
  • Some Americans with trans children are moving to blue states. Some are considering it. But the vast majority are staying home — either because they want to or they have no choice.
  • Column: Stephen Miller and other Trump administration alumni are behind a surge of anti-immigrant bile airing during postseason baseball commercial breaks, writes Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik.

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

Paul Flores was found guilty of murdering Kristin Smart

A jury convicted Flores of killing the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student. Flores was found guilty even though authorities never found Smart's body; the lack of remains had long been a stumbling block in the case.

Smart was 19 when she vanished on May 25, 1996, after walking toward the college dormitories with Flores following a party. Her disappearance and the subsequent investigation left an indelible mark on San Luis Obispo. Billboards appealed for evidence to convict her killer. The disappearance was the subject of a true-crime podcast. And it spawned a cottage industry of investigators.

Updated COVID boosters are now available for kids

The boosters are available for children as young as 5, giving parents an option to amplify their kids' protection heading into the pivotal winter months.

The latest shots, which are formulated specifically to target both the original strain of the coronavirus and the BA.5 Omicron subvariant that has dominated the U.S. for months, are being offered at hundreds of sites statewide.

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

A master chef and the meaty dish he loves have endured in crisis-hit Kabul

There's comforting immutability to how Waheed Merzazadah prepares for his day's work. Watching him in the one-room kitchen of his two-room restaurant, you see him embody a constancy in a country often defined by its lack. There, he repeats the process of making superlative chainaki, a traditional Afghan lamb stew cooked in clay teapots.

His restaurant has also been a Kabul constant even as the city has been mired in conflict and changed hands multiple times. The wars between the mujahideen factions after the Soviet Union pulled out, the Taliban's first stint in power, the U.S. occupation and now the Taliban's return — none of it mattered, Merzazadah says. Even a rocket that struck the building 27 years ago failed to shut down operations.

Is this tiny Florida beach town becoming a preserve of the rich?

Four years after Hurricane Michael obliterated the blue-collar beach town of Mexico Beach, Fla., recovery appears to be at the halfway point. Old-style Florida cinderblock and stucco cottages are being replaced with sturdier, more elevated homes that conform to Florida's latest coastal building codes.

The new homes are testaments to the lure of the coast and the resilience of some of the locals. But they are also bigger and more expensive. Many workers and retirees who settled here have found themselves priced out.

This town offers an intimate glimpse into the challenge of fortifying a coastal community against climate change without turning it into a preserve of the wealthy. It also shows what might be ahead for the swath of southwest Florida recently devastated by Hurricane Ian.

Check out "The Times" podcast for essential news and more.

These days, waking up to current events can be, well, daunting. If you're seeking a more balanced news diet, "The Times" podcast is for you. Gustavo Arellano, along with a diverse set of reporters from the award-winning L.A. Times newsroom, delivers the most interesting stories from the Los Angeles Times every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

Two women and a teenage girl stand on a couch as they hang art in a living room.
A creative solution to the high cost of living: Sally Montana, left, Faith Blakeney and Blakeney's daughter, Noa Plank, in their Culver City home. Single mom Blakeney had sought a housemate to help afford the house. Read: "Fed up with L.A.'s skyrocketing rent, they embraced communal living." (Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

L.A. County approved a $32-million settlement in the death of Anthony Avalos. Prosecutors say the Palmdale 10-year-old died of abuse and torture at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend despite repeated warnings to social workers. County supervisors approved the settlement for Avalos' siblings and father, who had brought a wrongful death lawsuit against L.A. County's child welfare agency.

Charles Drew University will start a medical degree program. The historically Black university in Willowbrook received preliminary approval from accreditation officials to start taking applications for its own medical school program, with the goal of having a class of 60 students start next summer. The school is now one of four HBCUs to offer a medical program.

An L.A. sheriff's lieutenant said he was targeted for donating to Villanueva's opponent. In the lawsuit filed against the county, Sheriff Alex Villanueva and other sheriff's officials, Lt. Joseph Garrido claims his $1,500 donation to retired Cmdr. Eli Vera's campaign led to him being the subject of a bogus criminal probe into whether he misused his department-issued vehicle.

Having problems activating your California gas tax refund debit card? Try again. The provided 1-800 number required for activation — the same number listed on the website for the cards — had no option to activate the cards, and calling the line was the only method to initiate card use. Hours after The Times inquired about the glitch to the tax board, the phone number was updated to allow activation to debit card users.

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NATION-WORLD

As Russia struck Ukraine's power plants, the nation's residents braced for winter. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a tweet that over the past week Russian attacks had knocked out 30% of his country's power plants. As the freeze sets in, those who haven't fled from the heavy fighting, regular shelling and months of Russian occupation in eastern Ukraine are desperately trying to figure out how to dig in for the cold months.

Puerto Rico is struggling to recover after Hurricane Fiona razed crops. The hurricane destroyed $159 million worth of crops, decimating fields of plantains, bananas and other crops, the island's agriculture minister said. Also hard hit were vegetable and coffee plantations.

Wind farms may pose risks for a condor repopulation program. The release in Argentina of two Andean condors that had been born in captivity has sparked concerns that a proposed wind farm may endanger such birds. Conservationists fear the birds inevitably would collide with the rotating blades of the turbines and be killed.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

"The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida" won the 2022 Booker Prize. Author Shehan Karunatilaka is the second Sri Lankan-born author to win the prestigious publishing award. The novel centers on a war photographer who dies during the Sri Lankan civil war, and his spirit must guide his living loved ones to uncover a hidden collection of photos.

Mikaben dies at 41 after going into cardiac arrest while onstage. The Haitian musician collapsed during a concert in Paris over the weekend. He was a vocalist, composer and producer who spanned several genres, including Haitian kompa, the Antillean zouk, Jamaican reggae and hip-hop.

Tony-winning "The Inheritance" is better in Los Angeles than on Broadway. Hats off to the Geffen Playhouse for pulling off with exquisite panache Matthew López's two-part, Tony-winning gay drama. This marathon undertaking, roughly 6½ hours long, is broken up into two plays. Forget about fast-food theater: This is a full-course dramatic meal, writes theater critic Charles McNulty.

Netflix rebounded after losing subscribers earlier this year. After two consecutive quarters of decline, the Los Gatos, Calif.-based streamer added 2.4 million subscribers in the third quarter, beating projections by the company and Wall Street. Netflix said it also expected to add 4.5 million customers in the fourth quarter.

BUSINESS

Think food inflation is bad now? Wait till Kroger and Albertsons merge. Some analysts said the merger of the largest and second-largest supermarket chains would allow them to compete better with Walmart and Amazon. But haven't we heard all this before? Mergers almost never lead to lower prices, writes business columnist Michael Hiltzik.

Here's how to avoid consumerist self-care. Over the last several years, the term has become more synonymous with shopping for expensive tools: skincare, candles, crystals and even Botox. Nearly anything can be rebranded as "self-care," transforming the once radical and political idea — as civil rights activist Audre Lorde demonstrated in the '60s — into a hyper-consumerist endeavor.

OPINION

Why is Peter Thiel, a GOP megadonor, pursuing a Maltese passport? There's just something weird about a billionaire libertarian with multiple passports — and a work-in-progress billet on a floating city — who made his money in Big Tech funding "nationalist" candidates who rail against globalist elites, writes columnist Jonah Goldberg. He wants an escape plan if America falls apart, threatening his wealth.

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SPORTS

Anthony Davis wants to make sure the "Street Clothes" nickname no longer fits this year. New Lakers coach Darvin Ham said he's depending on Davis to be there when called upon. Lakers fans saw Davis' dominance during the 2020 playoffs. That's what Lakers fans and the entire basketball community want to see out of Davis this season. Davis has heard all the noise and still does. He's not out to prove anybody wrong, Davis said, but he does have a goal in mind.

Worry is growing for an Iranian athlete who competed without her hijab. The decision by Elnaz Rekabi to forgo the headscarf, or hijab, came as protests sparked by the Sept. 16 death in custody of a 22-year-old woman entered a fifth week. A later Instagram post on an account attributed to Rekabi described her not wearing a hijab as "unintentional," though it wasn't immediately clear whether she wrote the post or what condition she was in at the time.

Amazon's Prime Video gained exclusive rights to the NFL Black Friday game in 2023. Having an NFL game on one of the busiest business days for Amazon is likely to bring new viewers to the game and provide another entry point to the site for consumers at a time when they are in a buying mood.

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

Remember the '90s, when you could walk your loved ones to the gate? Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino County is bringing the idea back. The airport's ONT+ Visitor Pass Program offers timed slots for the public to visit the airport past the security gate. You'll have to apply up to seven days in advance of the flight and comply with the usual security measures, including TSA's liquid rules.

Orange County's John Wayne Airport implemented a similar program last year.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Closeup of a penguin walking indoors on a tiled floor.
Aug. 20, 2020: During the aquarium's pandemic closure, Rey takes a stroll outside the penguin enclosure. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Thirty-eight years ago this week, on Oct. 20, 1984, the Monterey Bay Aquarium opened to the public. The Times wrote about "the newest and perhaps most unique aquarium in the country … an ambitious attempt to show — on dry land — precisely how life goes on in the bay not far from Cannery Row."

The latest from the aquarium are YouTube videos that pair the facility's ambient, lo-fi videos with low-fidelity hip-hop music, such as "2 Hours of Chill Shrimp to Work / Study / Relax." Check it out.

Times staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today's Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at headlines@latimes.com.

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