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Sen. Dianne Feinstein is retiring

Her retirement comes as little surprise — at 89, she is the oldest senator.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images Sen. Dianne Feinstein speaks at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco in 2017. (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

By Laura Blasey, Elvia Limón, Karim Doumar

Hello, it's Wednesday, Feb. 15, and here are the stories you shouldn't miss today.

TOP STORIES

Sen. Dianne Feinstein won't run for reelection

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California's longest-serving senator, will not run for reelection next year, marking the end to one of the state's most storied political careers. Feinstein said she plans to remain in office through the end of her term.

Feinstein's announcement comes as little surprise, given her age — at 89 she is the oldest senator — and the fact that she has not been raising funds for a campaign.

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

Sticker shock for Californians over natural gas prices

Southern California Gas Co. and Pacific Gas & Electric began warning customers in January that they would see higher bills after the wholesale price of natural gas hit record highs. But reality didn't sink in for many customers until their bills started arriving later in the month.

The sky-high numbers have spurred wrangling at kitchen tables across California, as families pick apart whether they ran the heater too much or took too many hot showers. Others have indignantly observed that the shocking bills followed a month of monastic living with the thermostat turned down and extra blankets on the bed.

Three victims identified in Michigan State University shooting

As authorities search for a motive in the shooting at Michigan State University by a gunman who had no known connection to the school and who later killed himself, university police on Tuesday identified the three students killed.

Brian Fraser, a sophomore from Grosse Pointe, Mich.; Alexandria Verner, a junior from Clawson, Mich.; and Arielle Anderson, a junior from Grosse Pointe, were killed, university police said in a statement.

Five other students remain hospitalized in critical condition from Monday's shooting in East Lansing, Mich.

Not just Disney: Why Hollywood is slashing jobs

Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger said last week that the company will be slashing 7,000 jobs as streaming efforts continue to lose money and the wider economy wallows through a downturn.

But the House of Mouse isn't alone in tightening its belt. Across the media and entertainment industry, companies are nixing staff, winnowing budgets and looking to shore up cash as they steer out of the pandemic and into an uncertain future.

The latest layoffs represent a blow to the economy of California — especially Los Angeles County — where film and television production is a huge engine of activity.

Why experts don't think aliens are behind the recent UFOs

The things downed over Alaska, Michigan and Canada's Yukon Territory are textbook UFOs. They're objects, they're flying and they're most definitely unidentified — so far, no one has been able to conclusively discern what they are or rule out any explanation for their presence.

That includes the possibility that they're not from this world, but those most familiar with the reaches of outer space are almost certain that these objects did not come from there.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

Artist Alake Shilling and Christopher Jaime, a midfielder with LAFC2 play soccer.
Sports meet art at Frieze L.A., with LAFC leading free soccer clinics at the art fair as part of an installation. Above, artist Alake Shilling kicks around her custom-designed "Buggy Ball" with Christopher Jaime, a midfielder with LAFC2. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

Free from fees? California bill combats 'junk' fees for everything from concert tickets to groceries. Senate Bill 478 would prohibit companies from hiding mandatory fees that lawmakers described as a "deceptive advertising practice."

Overtime costs soared at DWP's security unit amid lax oversight. Supervisors at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's security division bolstered their paychecks by working regular hours at overtime rates, according to a report from the utility's Office of Inspector General.

A pair of mountain lion cubs, Holly and Hazel, are attracting an audience. After Los Angeles bid farewell to its resident celebrity, P-22, two cubs at the Oakland Zoo have become the latest darlings of California's wildlife set.

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NATION-WORLD

Mexico and U.S. officials call for action after an investigation into counterfeit medicine. After a Times investigation found medications in some Mexican pharmacies tainted with fentanyl and methamphetamine, officials call for action.

An asteroid will just miss us in 2029. Scientists are making the most of a rare opportunity. An asteroid wider than three football fields will pass closer to Earth than anything its size has come in recorded history — one of the best chances science has ever had to learn how our planet came to be and how we might one day prevent its destruction.

Taiwan threatens to shoot down any Chinese balloons. Maj. Gen. Huang Wen-chi, the assistant deputy chief of general staff for intelligence, told reporters that the self-governing island was on guard for incursions but had yet to detect any that had penetrated its defenses.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Why LAFC and artist Alake Shilling are offering soccer clinics at Frieze. On a brisk recent afternoon, Shilling found herself kicking around a soccer ball with Los Angeles Football Club player Christopher Jaime, who's giving her tips on how to kick and pass.

Review: The Marvel machine hits a new low with 'Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.' After two diverting 'Ant-Man' movies, the Paul Rudd-starring action-comedy franchise descends into gloppy-looking CGI overkill.

'Rust' to resume filming in spring with new cinematographer and documentary, producers say. The company behind the western on which Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins said Tuesday that it will restart production in the spring with some of the original crew.

Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman died. The beloved publicist, who specialized in crisis relations, had clients that included Monica Lewinsky, Cameron Diaz, Ricki Lake, Sharon Osbourne and Chaz Bono. Bragman died at his home in Los Angeles of leukemia. He was 66.

BUSINESS

Layoffs hit Showtime as Paramount overhauls 'Billions' brand. Nearly two weeks after announcing that the premium cable channel would be renamed Paramount+ with Showtime, the New York media company unveiled a new organizational structure that unites Showtime with MTV Entertainment Studios. About 120 Showtime employees were laid off Monday, a spokesperson confirmed.

SPORTS

Will the Angels trade Shohei Ohtani? Here are five Angels spring storylines to watch. Spring training begins this week for the Angels, who are trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

Tiger Woods is playing in the Genesis Invitational to win. After five back surgeries, an arduous recovery from a near-fatal car accident and recent issues with planter fasciitis, Woods is looking to make a comeback at the Riviera Country Club this week.

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OPINION

Editorial: Republicans' ominous strategy to thwart criminal justice reform — and democracy. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' unconstitutional removal of an elected prosecutor is just the tip of a Republican spear that seeks to harm criminal justice reform, Democrats, the Black vote and democracy itself.

Column: 'Buy American' might sound good, but it's bipartisan folly. Democrats and Republicans are embracing economic nationalism, but its policies work against consumers and taxpayers, Jonah Goldberg writes.

ONLY IN L.A.

12 reasons why Sycamore Avenue is L.A.'s coolest new hangout. Over the course of a few short years, a stretch of North Sycamore in Hollywood has become a cultural hotbed, attracting a mix of boldface names and energetic upstarts from the worlds of food, art and fashion. It is quickly becoming what Hollywood Boulevard or Sunset Boulevard of yore were in terms of retail, celebrity and buzz. Here's what you need to know.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Family picture of the US figure skating team before boarding the Sabena Flight 548, on February 15, 1961 in New York.
The U.S. figure skating team before boarding a flight from New York that crashed near Brussels on Feb. 15, 1961, killing all 72 people onboard and a person on the ground. (STF / AFP via Getty Images)

Sixty-two years ago, a plane crash killed the 18-member U.S. figure skating team on its way to the world championships in Prague.

Sixteen people accompanying the skaters — coaches, officials, family members — and 38 passengers and crew members also died when the Sabena flight from New York plunged into a field while trying to land at its scheduled stop of Brussels. There were no survivors. It was at the time the worst air disaster involving a U.S. sports team.

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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