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Hellish heat leaves the Southwest in misery

Las Vegas and Phoenix have always endured broiling summers, but the scale and duration of this heat wave have brought new levels of misery.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images People hydrate and rest inside the Justa Center in downtown Phoenix, a day cooling center for unhoused people 55 years and older. On Wednesday, Phoenix saw its 20th straight day of temperatures 110 degrees or higher. (Matt York / Associated Press)

By Elvia Limón, Kevinisha Walker

Hello, it's Thursday, July 20, and here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:

TOP STORIES

Extreme heat brings misery to daily life in the Southwest

An unrelenting heat wave that has blanketed the Southwestern U.S. continued to break records Wednesday, inflicting misery in major cities and offering what experts described as a disturbing glimpse into the future as human-caused climate change increases the frequency and duration of extreme heat events.

Places such as Las Vegas and Phoenix have always endured broiling summers. But the scale and duration of this heat wave has brought new levels of suffering, including sizzling sidewalks, broken-down cars and passed-out airline passengers.

Stanford president to resign amid scrutiny over his research

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne announced his resignation as head of the university after an independent panel determined that he failed on multiple occasions to correct errors in his published research and oversaw labs with a disquieting tendency to produce manipulated data and sloppy science.

In a lengthy report, the panel concluded that Tessier-Lavigne "did not personally engage in research misconduct" in the 12 papers it was tasked with reviewing. However, the panel found that several of the papers did include data that had been manipulated, probably without his knowledge.

Striking writers and actors throw shade over tree trimming

As the historic strike by the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA has shut down Hollywood and brought widespread uncertainty, an unlikely flashpoint of the labor unrest has emerged over the trimming of trees on a block in Universal City.

Writers took to social media this week to express dismay at Universal Pictures for trimming the leaf cover of trees that had provided shade for those picketing. The temperatures have risen above 90 degrees in parts of Los Angeles in recent days, creating a new challenge for demonstrators, some of whom have been on strike since early May.

Did you get COVID but never feel sick? A new study hints at why

As the coronavirus emerged, so did a mystery: Why did some who got infected never develop symptoms? One likely explanation is it may be a person's lucky genes.

A new study published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature suggests that people with a specific version of a gene were far more likely to experience an asymptomatic infection than those without.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

A  young woman standing on a grassy hillside next to a pink and white ballgown
Eighteen-year-old Karla Torres of Los Angeles is the winner of Stuck At Prom, a contest that awards scholarships to high school students who make the best prom attire out of Duck brand duct tape. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

An elaborate duct tape dress by a Los Angeles high school graduate wins a national scholarship contest. Karla Torres, 18, received the most online votes for her Marie Antoinette-inspired duct-tape prom dress. The future first-generation college student won $10,000 toward her education.

CALIFORNIA

Temecula school board outrage over LGBTQ+ lessons motivates Gov. Gavin Newsom to rush new textbook law. Newsom is taking on conservative Temecula Valley Unified school board members over textbooks that discuss slain gay activist Harvey Milk.

Want a night market in your neighborhood? This new bill could make it easier to start one. California Assemblymember Matt Haney and San Francisco Supervisor Joel Engardio announce AB 441, which seeks to revitalize cities by streamlining their ability to host new night markets, flea markets, farmers markets and regular community events.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein says her late husband's trust is not paying her medical bills, and asks court for more control. In a court filing, Feinstein argues that the people who control her husband's trust are not giving her money she requested to pay her medical bills.

Have you seen these giant piles of rocks at Yosemite? Rangers say knock 'em down. Yosemite rangers are instructing visitors to stop building rock cairns and dismantle any they find because they go against "Leave No Trace" ethics.

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NATION-WORLD

'Rust' prosecutors turn focus on movie armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed in shooting. Prosecutors in the case that began when Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins nearly two years ago have argued that the armorer on the set, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, is most culpable and should face felony charges.

World Cup is a win for Māori, showcasing Indigenous New Zealand culture once banned. During a Women's World Cup that will make history for being the largest ever, with 32 teams; the first to be shared by two countries; and the first played in the Southern Hemisphere, the fact that it will open beneath the Māori flag is a more significant milestone for New Zealand's Indigenous people.

Scammers hijack airline phone numbers on Google. Instead of being connected to customer service, some callers were being redirected to scammers trying to steal their money.

A woman tried to avoid bison, Yellowstone officials say, but was gored. When the 47-year-old Phoenix resident and another person came upon a pair of bison in a field at Yellowstone, they abruptly stopped their stroll, turned and walked away. It wasn't enough.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Review: Christopher Nolan's gripping, despairing 'Oppenheimer' ponders history and the future.
"'Oppenheimer' is both an unerringly focused character study and, somehow, one of the year's most sprawling ensemble pieces," Justin Chang writes.

This Stanford senior already has two YA novels out. Will her native Florida ban them? "It's terrible and deeply heartbreaking to see the censorship and other attacks on queer kids, kids of color and more in my home state," Malavika Kannan said. "At the same time, I think young people are a lot more creative than we're given credit for, and we will continue reading (and living) lives that feel authentic to us."

Review: With Robbie in pink and Gosling in mink, 'Barbie' (wink-wink) will make you think. It doesn't just mean to renew the endless "Barbie: good or bad?" debate. It wants to enact that debate, to vigorously argue both positions for the better part of two fast-moving, furiously multitasking hours.

L.A. film and TV production plummets in second quarter amid writers' strike. Production in the region has been on the decline all year in anticipation of the clashes between Hollywood studios and labor.

BUSINESS

Roll in with LeBron: Crypto.com Arena unveils new suites reached through players' entrance. With exclusivity an eternal quest in wealthy, celebrity-rich Los Angeles, the owners of Crypto.com Arena have come up with a way to combine front-row seating with luxury suites for a select few who can swing the staggering price of entry.

Sony Pictures to close Culver City prop house that supplied Hollywood productions. The closing will affect nine employees. Props will be liquidated by a third-party company.

SPORTS

Column: It's now or never for the Clippers. They must trade for James Harden. "Any other year, don't go near James Harden. Any other team, there's just no room for James Harden. But these are the desperate Clippers, and this is a last-gasp season, and the craziest idea in the NBA makes total sense," Bill Plaschke writes.

'He's trying to win the MVP.' Mookie Betts is leading the Dodgers with renewed joy and consistency. Since the Dodgers resumed play Friday, Betts has continued the blistering pace he set during the first half of the season, rediscovering a level of superstar form that had been missing the last couple of seasons.

Bumps, bruises and acceptance: L.A. roller derby's Latina renaissance has begun. Latinas are often underrepresented in sports. But a group in L.A.'s Angel City Derby league are changing the narrative.

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OPINION

The FDA approved the first over-the-counter birth control pill. Here's why I'm underwhelmed. "Prevention is no solution without a backup plan. When we tout easily accessible pregnancy prevention methods but fail to offer legal, available abortion, we are giving lip service to autonomy while setting women up for failure," Christine Henneberg writes.

How California can keep kids cool amid extreme heat. One promising state program makes available $98.6 million to turn public buildings into community resilience centers for dealing with extreme heat and other effects of climate change. Schools could become such centers by entering joint-use agreements with communities.

Yes, Barbie is a feminist — just don't ask her creators. Between her vast array of ethnicities and body types — not to mention professions and personas — she is clearly a strong, independent woman. So why won't Mattel say "feminist"? Perhaps they just balk at stating the obvious.

ONLY IN L.A.

Three garnished oysters on the half shell sitting atop some pebbles.
Heritage in Long Beach is the only Los Angeles-area restaurant to garner a new Michelin star in the 2023 California Guide. (Sterling Reed / Heritage)

Six restaurants in California have been awarded their first Michelin stars, including two in Southern California.

One of them is Long Beach's Heritage, from sibling team Philip and Lauren Pretty. It is the only Los Angeles-area restaurant this year to earn a star for the first time.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

The front page of a 1969 edition of the Los Angeles Times reads: "Man walks on the moon,' with large black-and-white photos.
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin landed on the moon. (Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)

On this day 54 years ago, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin landed on the moon, and several hours later Armstrong became the first person to set foot on its surface.

The historic moment was captured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times that year.

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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