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Morning Briefing: LA Speaks Out About The Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict

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A woman wearing the Flag of Armenia as a face mask stands with the Armenian Youth Federation as they hold a protest outside the Azerbaijani Consulate General in Los Angeles on September 30, 2020 to protest what they call Azerbaijan's "aggression against A

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Good morning, L.A.

Last Sunday, an estimated 100,000 protesters gathered outside the Turkish Consulate in Beverly Hills to decry the Turkish government’s participation in recent violence perpetrated against Armenians. Later in the week, activists shut down all lanes of the 134 Freeway.

The violence to which they’re responding involves military actions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the latter with backing from Turkey, that began in late September. Stretching back thousands of years, the conflict at the heart of the current dispute centers on a region known as the Republic of Artsakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh. The area is largely controlled by Armenians, but international law recognizes it as belonging to Azerbaijan.

But for many Armenians – including those in L.A., which is home to the one of the largest Armenian diasporas in the world – the conflict is too reminiscent of the not-so-distant Armenian Genocide. In an essay, LAist contributor Carene Rose Mekertichyan writes that these recent protests are being held to force Americans and the rest of the world to pay attention, before it’s too late:

“Armenians are shutting down your freeways and marching in your streets because we want your attention. We want as much coverage and visibility as possible. We know what happens when governments choose neutrality over people and we refuse to allow this attempt at ethnic cleansing to go unnoticed.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


The Past 24 Hours In LA

Election 2020: This is how some fast food chains have been spending their political cash during the 2020 election cycle. Democratic state officials say they see no evidence that the GOP is continuing to use unofficial ballot boxes; the GOP says they're still being used. The Trump Administration's push to exclude residents in the country illegally from political representation could have major implications for California seats in Congress.

Wildfires: In a reversal, the White House has approved California's request for federal disaster relief for wildfire recovery.

L.A. Protests For Armenia: Here’s why the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict resonates so deeply in SoCal, home to the largest Armenian community outside Armenia. Guest contributor Carene Rose Mekertichyan, a Black Armenian Angelena, reflects on her identity.

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County is now offering free coronavirus tests. As we head into winter, here's what public health forecasters think we can expect with regards to the virus.

Tyler Skaggs’ Death: Eric Kay, a former PR director for the Los Angeles Angels, has been indicted on two federal counts in connection with the overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

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Weekend Reads

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep up with our day-to-day lives, let alone to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, these articles provide much-needed insight into the current moment in L.A., as well as some news you may have missed:

An emotional goodbye to the Target husk. (Los Angeleno)

America’s racial wealth disparity has cost the country $16 trillion over the past two decades. (LA Sentinel)

What will it take to turn around L.A.’s disastrous – and deadly – nursing home debacle? (Salon)

A lot is riding on L.A.’s City Council elections this year. (The LAnd)

California cannabis can now be designated by its grow area, like wine. (Marijuana Business Daily)

Like Dijon Kizzee, at least 15 other Black or Latino men since 2005 have been fatally shot by law enforcement after being stopped while riding bicycles. (LA Times)

Author Karen Tei Yamashita writes of her life as a second-generation daughter of Japanese grandparents, “My sister and I grew up in a series of Japanese American bubbles in the 1950s and ’60s that shaped our Sansei lives in L.A. from elementary to high school.” (Rafu Shimpo)

Former employees of America’s Funniest Home Videos report a toxic workplace, rife with harassment and racism. (The Hollywood Reporter)

An Occidental freshman writes about her experience of beginning college during the coronavirus. (The Occidental News)

This L.A.-based writer penned a kids’ book all about tacos. (LA Taco)


Photo Of The Day

A mural in the Arts District urges passersby to vote.

(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

This post has been updated to reflect changes in what's coming up for today.


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Headlines: October 17, 2020

Morning Briefing: October 17