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California's exodus is not slowing down

The primary reason for the exodus is the state's high housing costs. The increased ability to work remotely has also been a factor.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images While some tourists flock to the Santa Monica Pier, above, a select few splinter off to catch a glimpse of two internet-famous abodes a couple of blocks away. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

By Laura Blasey, Elvia Limón, Karim Doumar

Hello, it's Thursday, Feb. 16, and here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:

TOP STORIES

California's population dropped by 500,000 in two years

The California exodus has shown no sign of slowing down as the state's population dropped by more than 500,000 people between April 2020 and July 2022, census data show, with the number of residents leaving surpassing those moving in by nearly 700,000.

The primary reason for the exodus is the state's high housing costs, but other reasons include the long commutes and the crowds, crime and pollution in the larger urban centers. The increased ability to work remotely — and not having to live near a big city — has also been a factor.

They survived war and an earthquake. Turkey's Syrian refugees now face a new menace: resentment

Even before the massive quake hit, 3.6 million Syrians had fled to Turkey to escape their country's 12-year civil war.

Now, with grief morphing to fury in the aftermath of the devastating quake, they have become the target of a misinformation campaign accusing them of pillaging destroyed homes and stealing aid, or blaming them for the cataclysm that hit Turkey.

Workers at Medieval Times strike

Newly unionized cast members are on strike at the Buena Park location of Medieval Times this week, calling for increased wages, better workplace conditions and less of what multiple cast members believe to be hostile responses from management at the world-famous dinner-theater chain.

The strike was spurred by a series of unsuccessful wage negotiations in addition to the deletion of hundreds of supposedly pro-union comments on social media and an October lawsuit that alleged trademark infringement on the union's part.

The story behind Santa Monica's most memed homes

In Santa Monica, most tourists flock to the pier or take a stroll along the boardwalk. But a select few splinter off to catch a glimpse of a lesser-known attraction a couple of blocks away: the Barbie house.

Right next door stands the antidote for the home's saccharine display: a property painted entirely black.

They've gone viral in recent years thanks to their stark contrast in style, which seemingly represent two ends of multiple spectrums. Cool vs. crazy. Quiet vs. loud. Minimalist vs. maximalist.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

Cast members gather, backs to camera, in the parking lot. A sword sheath reads "FIGHT 4 FAIRNESS" across a person's back.
Cast members of the Buena Park Medieval Times castle gather in front of the restaurant on Monday. The newly unionized staff is on strike this week, calling for increased wages and better workplace conditions. (Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

L.A. County deputy charged with murder in a high-speed crash that killed a 12-year-old boy. The deputy is accused of speeding in his pickup truck on Nov. 3, 2021, when he T-boned a car turning left at an intersection. He was off duty at the time of the crash.

California Democrats propose a $25 minimum wage for health workers. State Sen. María Elena Durazo's bill would require health facilities and home health agencies to give raises to many support employees, including nurse technicians, housekeepers, security guards, food workers and laundry providers.

L.A.'s new city controller is monitoring police. The LAPD union wants ground rules. When protesters took to the streets to speak out against police killings last month, Kenneth Mejia sent members of his executive team to monitor the LAPD response. Now, the move is drawing criticism from the Police Department's biggest union.

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NATION-WORLD

From oil to coffee: A prince's campaign to rebrand Saudi identity. In case you missed the official declaration, 2022 was the "Year of Saudi Coffee" — after kingdom authorities issued a decree renaming the syrupy brew long known across the Middle East simply as "Arabic coffee." Over the next decade, they plan to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the national coffee industry.

As Hawaii takes action against octopus farm, Washington state looks to impose its own ban. Wildlife officials have ordered the Kanaloa Octopus Farm to stop capturing and keeping octopuses without the proper permits.

White supremacist gets life without parole for killings of 10 Black people at Buffalo market. The sentencing hearing for Payton Gendron was disrupted briefly when he was charged by a man in the audience, who was quickly restrained. It resumed after about 10 minutes, with more emotional testimony from people who talked about losing loved ones in the New York attack.

Toxic chemicals burned after an Ohio train derailed. How worried should people be? It's been nearly two weeks since a freight train derailed on the outskirts of East Palestine near the Pennsylvania state line. Concerns about air quality and the hazardous chemicals on the train prompted some residents to leave, and officials later ordered an evacuation.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Raquel Welch, international icon who starred in 'Fantastic Voyage,' dies at 82. Welch was a La Jolla beauty queen turned symbol of the swinging 1960s and '70s. Though famous for smoldering looks and a curvy figure, Welch had a complicated relationship with her sex symbol persona and sought complicated roles.

The Take: Inside the vibrant scene at the Pan African Film Festival's ArtFest. Not even Super Bowl Sunday could keep devotees of Pan African Film Festival ArtFest away from the marketplace, where artists displayed fine art, fashion and decor.

Gustavo Dudamel and Yuja Wang lead an exceptional, propulsive Rachmaninoff festival. Gustavo Dudamel begins his Rachmaninoff festival, celebrating the composer's 150th birthday, with pianist Yuja Wang and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Jeremy Renner is 'in the shop now, working on me' as he provides peek at new show. A month after a snowplow accident left Jeremy Renner severely injured with multiple broken bones, the "Hawkeye" star is looking forward his upcoming Disney+ series "Rennervations."

BUSINESS

Elon Musk promised to provide 7,500 open-access chargers in the U.S. by the end of 2024, according to Biden administration officials. Taxpayer dollars will pay for the conversion of existing Tesla chargers or the construction of new ones to accommodate cars built by Ford, GM, Hyundai, Kia, Volvo, Volkswagen and other electric-car makers.

Americans keep spending, defying inflation and interest rate hikes. America's consumers rebounded last month from a weak holiday shopping season by boosting their spending at stores and restaurants at the fastest pace in almost two years.

SPORTS

Sore muscles, six training days a week: Inside a UCLA player's journey to the NFL. As offensive lineman Atonio Mafi transitions from UCLA to the NFL, training sessions have become long and challenging. He is sharing his journey with Times staff writer Ben Bolch through a weekly diary.

Third-party collective Tommy Group launches to facilitate NIL deals for USC athletes. A new collective has emerged at USC intent on taking the reins of facilitating name, image and likeness deals for Trojan athletes at a university that not long ago viewed the rise of such a third-party group as an existential threat.

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OPINION

Opinion: If you think the earthquake damage you see in Turkey can't happen here, think again. Office buildings, hospitals, apartments and homes are only as good as the building code that was in place at the time they were constructed and the degree to which that code was enforced, writes Lucy Jones.

The Dianne Feinstein I know: I met repeatedly with California Sen. Feinstein and came both to admire her and to like her. But I'm glad she's decided not to run for reelection, writes columnist Nicholas Goldberg.

ONLY IN L.A.

Plates of burgers and fries, salads, cupcakes and other dishes on a wooden table
Dishes from the menu at Toadstool Cafe, the new themed restaurant within Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Our guide to the so-cute-it-hurts Toadstool Cafe at Super Nintendo World. After years of planning and teasing its newest land, Universal Studios Hollywood will officially unveil Super Nintendo World on Feb. 17. Along with that comes a restaurant that drops diners right into the world of the characters and iconography of Nintendo.

The Times Food team took a trip through the green warp pipe to visit the park's themed restaurant and taste the whimsical, adorable creations by chefs Toad and Thrasher.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf, left, handles the puck as Sharks' Timo Meier, right, defends at a 2022 game.
Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf (15) handles the puck as Sharks right wing Timo Meier (28) defends during a game in 2022. (Josie Lepe / Associated Press)

The NHL canceled its 2004-05 season 18 years ago after the league and the union couldn't reach a labor agreement. At the time, fans expressed universal disappointment that players and owners could not come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement despite a flurry of last-minute activity that ended with the teams reportedly $6.5 million apart on salary-cap proposals.

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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