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Finding Maui fire victims could take weeks

Only two of the nearly 100 victims have been identified using rapid DNA testing; families are being asked to submit DNA samples to help with identifying any remains.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images About 1,300 people remain unaccounted for after a wildfire gutted the Hawaiian town of Lahaina. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limรณn, Kevinisha Walker

Hello, it's Tuesday, Aug. 15, and here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:

TOP STORIES

The Maui fire death toll is at 99 with one-quarter of Lahaina searched: 'Obviously no survivors.' Nearly a week after a wildfire incinerated the historic town of Lahaina, killing at least 99 people, search efforts are intensifying. As teams have combed through just 25% of the devastated area, the death toll is expected to climb significantly.

Twenty cadaver dogs and more than 90 FEMA workers are leading the search through the ash and rubble, Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said Monday. The identities of several of the victims are expected to be released publicly starting Tuesday, Pelletier said.

Fulton County grand jury indicts Trump, Giuliani and other associates in the 2020 election investigation. Former President Trump has been indicted in Georgia after an investigation by Fulton County Dist. Atty. Fani Willis into efforts to overturn the state's 2020 presidential election results. Eighteen others were also indicted, including Trump's personal lawyers Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell.

Willis launched the probe in February 2021 after news broke that the former president was recorded during a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" him 11,780 votes, enough to win in Georgia. Trump has insisted that making the call was appropriate.

Millions of California trees are dying; Joshua trees are just the latest victims. Researchers say Joshua trees are just the latest species to suffer unprecedented losses amid a climate that is growing warmer and drier.

From towering sequoias to ancient bristlecone pines, millions of California trees are succumbing to worsening wildfires, severe drought, extreme heat, disease and other stressors that have been intensified by global warming. The losses, they say, will only accelerate.

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GOP leaders promote mail voting despite Trump calling it a scam. After years of Republican attacks on voter integrity, GOP leaders have emphasized the importance of early voting and how such efforts are critical to their party's efforts to hold on to Congress and win the White House next year.

Left unsaid, however, was the reason national and state GOP chieftains, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, need to press their supporters to cast their ballots early, as they historically did until 2020.

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

Video game voice actors say the 'soul of the industry is on trial' with unregulated AI. As the actors union SAG-AFTRA strikes continue, voice actors hope for their own contract requiring consent and compensation for AI to reproduce their voice or likeness.

Protections for game voice actors fall under a separate SAG-AFTRA contract for interactive work — striking actors can still do voice work for games — but that contract, negotiated in 2017, did not include AI.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

A 5-year-old boy tearfully hugs his father goodbye before school.
Sebastian Mariscal, 5, is not quite ready for his first day of kindergarten as he is comforted by his father, Jorge Mariscal, prior to boarding bus for Brentwood Science Magnet on Monday. (Al Seib / For The Times)

LAUSD's first day: 'Boo hoo' parent breakfast, more 4-year-olds and ambitious academic goals. L.A. Unified is among 46 county school systems to start a new school year this week; 16 others had already begun, and 20 more will go back in the coming weeks, county education officials said.

CALIFORNIA

Southeast L.A. County cities enact rent control to keep residents housed. Cities such as Maywood, Bell Gardens and Cudahy are trying to address the affordable housing and homelessness crises. Landlords argue rent control will result in less housing.

In Beverly Hills, a dispute over a clinic puts California's image as an abortion haven to the test. An abortion provider accuses Beverly Hills of colluding with antiabortion activists and pressuring a landlord to block an all-trimester clinic's opening.

Villa's Tacos is the essential taqueria that only L.A. could dream up. There's nothing quite like the all-in experience of Victor Villa's queso tacos, made in a style that epitomizes the L.A. dreamer, the go-getter.

Appreciation: The 40th anniversary of the Latino series emphasizes the importance of representation. More than four decades ago, groups of Black and Latino journalists embarked on an endeavor to tell stories about their communities that the Los Angeles Times was failing to showcase.

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NATION-WORLD

The apartment was her last choice. But in Detroit, unlike L.A., she had one. The public tends to blame homelessness on poverty, drug use, crime or even warm weather. But other cities don't have L.A. levels of street homelessness because they have more available housing.

A North Dakota teen survives a nearly 100-foot fall at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Authorities said it took emergency crews two hours to rescue Wyatt Kauffman after he slipped on a cliff Tuesday and plunged nearly 100 feet down to the Bright Angel Point trail.

Niger's deposed president to be tried for 'high treason,' coup leaders say. Niger's mutinous soldiers say they will prosecute deposed President Mohamed Bazoum for 'high treason' and undermining the country's security.

Russia targets Odesa again, but Ukraine says it shot down all 23 missiles and drones. Russia launched three waves of nighttime air attacks against Odesa, but Ukraine says it intercepted all 15 incoming drones and eight missiles.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Clarence Avant, the 'Black Godfather' of the recording industry, dies at 92. A consummate deal closer whose power reached from Hollywood to the White House, Avant "passed away gently at home" on Sunday, according to a statement to The Times from his children.

Before her Oscar, Jessica Chastain lived off residuals. 'I just know the actors can't give in.' It wasn't all that long ago that she was driving around Los Angeles in her beat-up Honda Civic, reading for every role she could find and living off the residuals she'd get from doing TV pilots or a guest spot on "Law & Order."

Emmys 2023: Who will win from 'Succession'? All the drama from the drama categories. Who will win the lead actor Emmy from "Succession"? Will "Better Call Saul" finally catch a break? And how do you choose between Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett?

BUSINESS

Slashed fiber-optic cables blamed for phone and internet outages in SoCal's high desert. Officials for Spectrum, an internet, TV and phone provider, reported finding fiber-optic cable lines cut in Hesperia, which the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department is investigating as vandalism.

A multilevel marketing mogul sells his Irvine mansion for $25 million, a new record. A Mediterranean-style mansion in the hills of Irvine just sold for $25 million, making it the priciest property ever sold in the city.

CNN overhauls its program lineup with new shows for Abby Phillip, Chris Wallace and Christiane Amanpour. Following a year of turmoil in the executive suite and declining ratings, CNN is overhauling its program lineup.

SPORTS

Do the Dodgers have enough arms for the playoffs? The time to find out is now. The Dodgers are on their way to another postseason berth, but do they have a reliable starter beyond Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urรญas to help win a title?

UCLA basketball coach Mick Cronin savors elite international recruiting haul. UCLA basketball's recruiting class is heavy on international talent that coach Mick Cronin expects to bond during a preseason tournament in Spain.

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OPINION

Stop using traffic stops as excuses to randomly search cars. A broken headlight too often turns into a racially disproportionate car stop, arrest and sometimes violent police encounter.

Editorial: Leasing permanent housing for homeless people is faster than building it. New buildings take years to construct. Renting buildings and apartments is a smart way for Los Angeles to help the unhoused get permanent shelter quickly.

ONLY IN L.A.

Chef /owner Justin Pichetrungsi prepares Transparent Sea Prawns in the alleyway next to his restaurant Anajak Thai
Following the devastating fire in Lahaina on the island of Maui, Anajak Thai and other L.A. restaurants are offering special menu items and dinners to raise funds for those impacted. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles restaurant owners are allocating percentages of their profits, hosting fundraisers and raising awareness for the Maui communities grappling with the tragedy of the recent fires.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

This 1969 file photo shows the crowd at the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival
This 1969 file photo shows the crowd at the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival held on a 600-acre pasture in the Catskill Mountains near White Lake in Bethel, N.Y. (Associated Press)

On Aug. 15, 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair opened in upstate New York. It became widely regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history.

For just $8 a day, festivalgoers saw Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Santana and many more.

The Times published a slideshow of photos from the event that featured aerial views of the massive crowd and original tickets and passes.

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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