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The Brief

The most important stories for you to know today
  • The L.A. Report
    Here's your daily audio briefing (updated weekdays):
    6:47
    NASA prepares to nudge asteroid, avoid future armageddon. Plus: Newsom vetoes bills, gas prices, and more – The A.M. Edition
  • Updated Sep. 26, 2022 8:19 AM
    Published Sep. 26, 2022 8:19 AM

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    This illustration shows the DART spacecraft approaching the two asteroids, Didymos and Dimorphos, with a small observing spacecraft nearby.
    This illustration shows the DART spacecraft approaching the two asteroids, Didymos and Dimorphos, with a small observing spacecraft nearby.

    Topline:

    Today, a little after 4 p.m. on the West Coast, NASA will attempt to smack a spacecraft into an asteroid.

    Why it matters: Planetary defense experts say if astronomers spotted a dangerous incoming space rock, the safest and best answer might be something more subtle that Hollywood's reliance on plots that involve nuclear bombs: Simply push it off course by ramming it with a small spacecraft.

    Why you should read the full story: Get many more details and information on how to watch right here on planet Earth.

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  • A teenager with her hair pulled back in a ponytail stands in front of a small building. She smiles at the camera. A sign on the wall behind her lists the agencies and politicians involved in transforming the space into a park.
    Montserrat Hidalgo is a junior at South Gate High School. She said she can sometimes smell the stench from Vernon at her campus, about five miles away.
    (Julia Barajas)

    Good morning, L.A. It’s Monday, September 26. 

    Today in How to LA: Non-profit leads high school students on ‘toxic tours’ of neighborhoods adversely impacted by pollution; plus, NASA defends against asteroid threats

    Back when I was a teen, I used to love going on school field trips. Going on museum tours to see artifacts of the past and how people lived back when there wasn’t advanced technology (or life-threatening heatwaves) were definitely some of my favorite memories.

    But there’s a special field trip tour for high school students (and interested adults!) that isn’t focused on the past…and, to be frank, it stinks. Literally.

  • Updated Sep. 26, 2022 5:30 AM
    Published Sep. 26, 2022 5:30 AM

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    An aerial view of the Annenberg Beach House pool with swimmers swimming.
    The Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica, seen here at The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation-USA Official Launch in 2016, opens for a pop-up swim day.
    (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Palais Princier de Monaco )

    Take a dip in the Beach House pool. Catch a classic from Agnès Varda. Get scared at Beyond Fest. Celebrate “Shaqtoberfest.”

    Pop-Up Pool Day Monday 
    Annenberg Community Beach House
    415 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica  
    The weather is supposed to be warm, and some already have Monday off for Rosh Hashanah so why not spend a Monday poolside? The pool passes go on sale at 10 a.m., for walk-up sales only (no reservations).
    COST: $4 - $10 admission; MORE INFO

  • Updated Sep. 23, 2022 4:55 PM
    Published Sep. 23, 2022 4:37 PM

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    LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaking at a podium at a news conference.
    Sheriff Alex Villanueva at Tuesday's press conference.
    (Screenshot from LASD Facebook video)

    Topline:

    Two Sheriff’s Department officials who testified publicly on deputy gangs last month were followed home afterwards by what appeared to be unmarked department cars, according to the attorney leading the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission’s investigation into the secretive groups.

    Why this matters: Attorney Bert Deixler told the panel Friday that the incidents are the latest examples of the fear and intimidation surrounding the panel’s hearings on gangs, which have been going on since May.

    What the Sheriff's Department says: The Sheriff's Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Sheriff Alex Villanueva has repeatedly said deputy gangs are not a problem and condemned the hearings as political theater orchestrated by his enemies.

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  • Updated Sep. 23, 2022 6:27 PM
    Published Sep. 23, 2022 3:35 PM

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    Two people stand in front of a small audience of people sitting in chairs. A man in a blue shirt has his hands raised over his head. The picture is of a rehearsal for the L.A. performance of "This Is My Brave," a series of shows centered around mental health stories.
    Co-producers John Tsilimparis and Karen Pickett talk to the cast during a rehearsal for "This Is My Brave - The Show in Los Angeles"
    (Photo courtesy of This Is My Brave - Los Angeles)

    Topline:

    Cast members between the ages of 15 and 45, some of whom have never performed on stage before, will share their stories of mental health struggles through comedy routines, songs and stories as part of a performance series called “This Is My Brave.”

    Who's perfoming? The show includes cast members who struggle with long-term drug use, bipolar and major depressive disorder, and other conditions. Organizers hope the show will help de-stigmatize mental health, and maybe speak to audience members who are going through something similar.

    When and where is it? “This Is My Brave — The Los Angeles Show” is on Sunday, Sept. 25, at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica from 2 to 4 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here. Organizers say 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales will be distributed to local nonprofit organizations that provide mental health services.

  • A color picture of Mel Gibson as William Wallace alongside other 13th century fighters from a battle scene in 1995's "Braveheart."
    Mel Gibson in 1995's "Braveheart." The Oscar-winning film includes a gratuitous homophobic scene, where a prince's lover is thrown to his death for no apparent reason.
    (Paramount Pictures)

    Topline:

    Last Saturday, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences formally apologized to Sacheen Littlefeather for how she was treated at the 1973 Oscars. That made me think about how there is so much more for which Hollywood could ask forgiveness.

    The issue: Creative content that has targeted broad swaths of people, almost all of whom are and have been as disenfranchised as Littlefeather and her fellow Native Americans.

    Why you should read the full story: Many of the worst transgressions arrived in recent memory — this isn’t about going back in time to Birth of a Nation or Gone with the Wind. These works were created when when people in Hollywood believed they were more tolerant and enlightened. Read on for I four films that I believe should embrace the maxim that it’s never too late to say sorry.

  • Updated Sep. 23, 2022 3:14 PM
    Published Sep. 23, 2022 2:53 PM

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    An illustration features Alex Villanueva is set against a backdrop of the downtown L.A. skyline
    (Dan Carino)

    Topline:

    In an upcoming podcast, Frank Stoltze, our civics and democracy correspondent, looks at Alex Villanueva’s tenure as sheriff and asks: How could someone who ran as a progressive reformer end up as a darling of Fox News?

    When: The first two episodes are set to air on Oct. 5, with the rest released on a weekly basis.

    Why listen (and how to subscribe): Filled with new reporting on the Sheriff’s Department, an exclusive sit down with Villanueva, and hosted by a reporter with 30 years of experience covering criminal justice in L.A. County, Imperfect Paradise: The Sheriff provides an unprecedented look at Villanueva and his legacy. Listen to the trailer and subscribe now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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  • Updated Sep. 23, 2022 2:52 PM
    Published Sep. 23, 2022 2:39 PM

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    A computer generated image of a spacecraft with two large wing-like extensions headed toward a pair of asteroids floating in space.
    llustration of NASA’s DART spacecraft and the Italian Space Agency’s (ASI) LICIACube prior to impact at the Didymos binary system.
    (Courtesy NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben)

    Topline:

    A NASA spacecraft intentionally set on a collision course with an asteroid will collide with it on Monday afternoon.

    Why is NASA doing this? The mission, known as DART, or Double Asteroid Redirection Test, is designed to test whether the space agency could alter the path an asteroid hurtling toward Earth.

    Why is NASA doing this now? Is there an asteroid hurtling toward Earth?
    Not to worry, there's no imminent threat. "NASA is not aware of any threatening asteroids to date, but we keep on looking, and the key is finding them before they find us," said Marina Brozovic, a physicist and asteroid specialist at JPL.

    Can I watch the test? Yes. It will be on NASA TV or the agency's social media accounts on Monday, Sept. 26. Estimated time of impact is 4:14 pm Pacific time.

  • Updated Sep. 23, 2022 2:20 PM
    Published Sep. 23, 2022 10:50 AM

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    A person wearing a backpack walks toward a large brick building on the UCLA campus.
    A student walks toward Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA on March 11, 2020.
    (Robyn Beck)

    Topline:

    Some California high school graduates who are ineligible for admission to the University of California will soon have a new opportunity to get a spot in the system.

    Who are we talking about? Last year, about 10,000 California freshman UC applicants were ineligible for admission, and about 3,700 of them had a high school grade point average of 3.0 or better. Ineligible freshman applicants were predominately from underrepresented groups, such as Black and Latino students, those who are low-income and those who are the first in their families to attend college.

    What's changing: To comply with a request in last year’s state budget, UC is creating a new dual admissions program that will launch in fall 2023. The program is targeted toward students who graduate from high school with at least a 3.0 grade point average but without all the required A-G courses, the set of classes students must take to be eligible for admission to UC.

  • Updated Sep. 23, 2022 10:40 AM
    Published Sep. 23, 2022 10:32 AM

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    Health officials are predicting this winter could see an active flu season on top of potential COVID surges. In short, it's a good year to be a respiratory virus. Left: Image of SARS-CoV-2 omicron virus particles (pink) replicating within an infected cell (teal). Right: Image of an inactive H3N2 influenza virus.
    Health officials are predicting this winter could see an active flu season on top of potential COVID surges. In short, it's a good year to be a respiratory virus. Left: Image of SARS-CoV-2 omicron virus particles (pink) replicating within an infected cell (teal). Right: Image of an inactive H3N2 influenza virus.

    Topline:

    Influenza appears poised to stage a comeback this year in the U.S., threatening to cause a long-feared "twindemic."

    Why the concern? The strongest indication that the flu could hit the U.S. this winter is what happened during the Southern Hemisphere's winter. Flu returned to some countries, such as Australia, where the respiratory infection started ramping up months earlier than normal, and caused one of the worst flu seasons in recent years.

    Why you should care: The combination of the two viruses could seriously strain the health system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that flu causes between 140,00 and 710,000 hospitalizations annually.