With his mentors dying, a young Catholic priest tries to save his diocese from COVID-19

CIUDAD NEZAHUALCÓYOTL, Mexico —  The priests of Nezahualcóyotl died in quick succession. Father Antonino. Father Álvaro. Father Juan. Father Gustavo. The loss of four spiritual brothers — plus a beloved deacon — over five weeks last spring was almost too much to bear for Julio César Ponce, the youngest priest in the Catholic diocese in this working-class city of 3 million just east of Mexico’s capital. He wept alone in his small apartment, thinking about how the men had died in isolation, without even receiving their last rites. “We couldn’t be with them in their ultimate moment,” Ponce recalled. “We prayed for them, but we couldn’t accompany them.” He thought about Gustavo, who had been his professor and mentor in seminary,

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Kyle Kuzma isn’t trying to be a star for the Lakers — and he’s thriving

There was a choice to be made. “It all depends what you want in this sport, to be honest,” LeBron James said. “… Do you want to score a bunch of points but sometimes it doesn’t really matter or doesn’t make a difference in winning or losing? Or do you want to be a part of something special where you continue to get better, you continue to make an impact and you have a role on the team where you’re playing for something more than the sum of your individuality?” Anyone who closely watched Kyle Kuzma’s career with the Lakers couldn’t be sure which direction he’d pick. In his first two seasons with the Lakers, Kuzma scored — a lot.

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Data issues thwart California’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts

SACRAMENTO —  Omitted doses, uploading errors, lag times and software mishaps. California’s vaccine rollout has been plagued by data issues, leaving the state unable to keep track of how many doses of the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine are available at any one time. The implications are far-reaching: Gov. Gavin Newsom has pushed to speed up inoculations in part because the state’s data appeared to show vaccine providers were sitting on doses, prompting the governor to threaten to take supplies from those who are not moving quickly enough. Now county officials say they are worried the data accuracy issues will cause future allotments to be curtailed based on flawed conclusions from faulty figures. “We’ve been pointing out that their data is bad since

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Earthquake: Magnitude 3.9 quake strikes near Lindsay, Calif.

A magnitude 3.9 earthquake was reported at 3:57 a.m. Sunday 59 miles from Lindsay, Calif., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The earthquake occurred 60 miles from Exeter, 60 miles from Porterville, 63 miles from Farmersville and 65 miles from Visalia. In the past 10 days, there have been five earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby. An average of 234 earthquakes with magnitudes between 3.0 and 4.0 occur per year in California and Nevada, according to a recent three year data sample. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 6.9 miles. Did you feel this earthquake? Consider reporting what you felt to the USGS. Even if you didn’t feel this small earthquake, you never know when the Big

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Column: How will the refusal of GOP senators to convict Trump look to future voters?

It always seemed unlikely that Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader, would vote to convict the disgraced ex-president who, even from exile in Mar-a-Lago, holds sway over most of his party. But the justification McConnell offered when announcing his vote for acquittal Saturday was an act of political cynicism and a weaselly evasion of the main issue the Senate was asked to decide: whether Donald Trump bears responsibility for the sacking of the Capitol on Jan. 6. McConnell has already said what he thinks about the facts: Trump is guilty of incitement, at least under a common-sense definition of the word. “The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said in a Senate speech last month. “They were provoked

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Column: Can America break through the tribalism of Sunday mornings?

Last month, I reached out to my friend Mac Powell, asking for suggestions for new music. Powell was the lead singer of the Christian rock group Third Day. After the group split up, he went solo. He pointed me in the direction of a new group formed in Atlanta called Maverick City Music, adding, “diverse group too. It’s beautiful.” I immediately fell in love with their sound but did not watch any of their music videos until this week. That’s when I saw the beauty Powell was talking about. Starting with last year’s single “Man of Your Word,” I found myself not only hypnotized by the unbridled joy in their worship, but by the kaleidoscope of humanity. “This is what

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Op-Ed: Restore Utah’s national monuments and make the fix permanent

There’s a painful axiom in the conservation community: “To protect land, you have to win the same battle over and over again.” The fight for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments has resumed. It never really ended. When President Trump eviscerated these Utah preserves in December 2017, Grand Staircase had been a national monument for more than 20 years. Bears Ears was new, established by President Obama in 2016, and acclaimed as a historic gesture of healing and respect toward the five Native American nations that had proposed the preserve and would share in its management. Trump’s directive reduced the size of Bears Ears by 85%, Grand Staircase by half. Joe Biden campaigned on the pledge to fully restore

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Letters to the Editor: Computer screen learning has been disastrous for kids. Reopen schools now

To the editor: Los Angeles schools need to open. Both of my kids are in private secondary schools, and neither has stepped foot in a classroom since March 2020. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says that schools that have safe plans to open should. (“Schools in more affluent areas move faster to reopen than those in low-income communities,” Feb. 11) Local and state leadership should do everything in their power to get teachers vaccinated. However, L.A.’s healthcare workers and first responders never stopped working during the pandemic, and physicians with appropriate protective equipment were on the job before vaccines were available. We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Parents are asked by

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Letters to the Editor: To really ‘fix’ immigration, we need to make unpopular choices

To the editor: The word “fix” is used in the print headline for the immigration reform op-ed article by Karthick Ramakrishnan and Allan Colbern, implying a solution to the problem. However, none of the proposals by the authors, including a bill to grant legalization and eventually citizenship to so-called Dreamers, will fix our (illegal) immigration problem. In fact, these “fixes” will exacerbate the problem by providing an incentive for people to immigrate to the United States. Some possible but apparently unpopular fixes might be a severe penalty for employers who hire undocumented immigrants and a swift return of such immigrants to their country of origin. Long-term solutions might include tax incentives for U.S. companies that invest in foreign countries and

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A year after the COVID-19 pandemic began, Wuhan has become a city of forgetting

WUHAN, China —  If it wasn’t for the face masks, one would never guess that a pandemic had started here. Jianghan Street, a famous pedestrian shopping avenue lined with colonial buildings, was bursting with Chinese New Year cheer. Red lanterns hung from street lamps, storefronts displayed holiday sales, families snacked on hawthorn candy skewers and bought clothes and gifts for the season. Decorations for the Chinese New Year hang in a store in Wuhan, China. (Ng Han Guan / Associated Press) One year ago, these streets were a barren landscape of fear. Wuhan’s residents shrank indoors, forbidden from leaving, as a virus claimed thousands of lives. Hospitals were overwhelmed, patients struggling to breathe in waiting rooms and parking lots, while relatives

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