LA Council Crisis, Israel Deal, and the World's Coolest Neighborhoods Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Wednesday, Oct. 12, and we're covering growing backlash over a leaked phone call in Los Angeles, a long-awaited agreement in Israel, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].


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LA City Council Fallout

Three Los Angeles City Council members are under pressure to resign after a year-old audio recording of a private conversation, punctuated with racist remarks, surfaced online over the weekend.


In the hourlong audio from October 2021, then-council president Nury Martinez (D), council members Gil Cedillo (D) and Kevin de León (D), and local labor leader Ron Herrera made disparaging comments about Black, Indigenous, and Jewish people while discussing how to benefit Latino districts under the city's once-a-decade redistricting process. Hear a clip here and the full audio here.


Martinez, who resigned from her leadership role Monday, said yesterday she is taking a leave of absence from the council, while Herrera resigned as head of the LA County Federation of Labor. Cedillo, who lost a June primary, ends his term in December. De León, who ran in this year's mayoral primary, is up for reelection in 2024.


The audio, first leaked on Reddit and since removed, comes ahead of key Nov. 8 elections.

Mediterranean Maritime Deal

Israel and Lebanon have reached a deal potentially ending a yearslong maritime border dispute that would allow access for both countries to gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean. The US-brokered agreement marks a major compromise between the countries, who are historically enemies.


A key point of contention was the Qana natural gas field, which both countries claimed fell within their respective economic waters (read more). The deal reportedly charts a path for both countries to profit from the gas field by clarifying the lines of exclusive economic zones. Lebanon will reportedly be allowed to produce gas from the Qana field but will compensate Israel for any gas extracted from the Israeli zone. Lebanon has also renounced any claims to the nearby Karish field.


The deal would provide a source of income to Lebanon’s struggling economy while lowering tensions between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah. The agreement must now be ratified by lawmakers in both countries.

Syed Charges Dropped

Baltimore prosecutors formally dropped charges yesterday against Adnan Syed, the subject of 2014's "Serial" podcast, a week shy of the prosecution's 30-day deadline to seek a new trial. Officials said the latest DNA tests of crime scene evidence excluded Syed as a suspect. 


Syed, 41, had been serving a life sentence for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee when a circuit court judge vacated his conviction last month (see timeline). During a yearlong investigation in cooperation with Syed's lawyer, prosecutors had found unreliable cell tower data in addition to two alternative suspects in the case. Syed was released last month to home detention while waiting for a decision on a potential new trial.


Because of his wrongful conviction, Syed is likely to receive over $2M under a Maryland law passed in 2021 to compensate those jailed in error (see bill). An appeal of his vacated conviction, made by the victim's family, is pending. 

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Angela Lansbury, "Murder, She Wrote" star, dies at 96; the screen and stage icon won five Tony Awards and was nominated for 18 Emmy Awards and three Oscars (More)


> Former Los Angeles Angels Communications Director Eric Kay was sentenced to 22 years in prison for providing pitcher Tyler Skaggs with drugs that led to his 2019 overdose death (More)


> Blink-182 reuniting with original vocalist Tom DeLonge for new music and first international tour since 2015 (More) | Pioneering radio DJ Art Laboe dies at 97 (More)

Science & Technology

> Meta (Facebook) acquires three virtual reality video game developers, reveals new $1,500 Quest Pro VR headset, at its Connect 2022 conference; push comes amid company's aggressive shift to development of the Metaverse (More)


> NASA provides first results from its asteroid deflection mission; the experiment successfully altered the trajectory of the minor asteroid Dimorphos, speeding its orbit around a larger asteroid up by roughly 30 minutes (More) | The DART mission explained (More)


New study finds the brain is capable of shifting language processing from the left to the right hemisphere following some types of strokes in infants (More)

Business & Markets

In partnership with Loop TV

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 -0.7%, Dow +0.1%, Nasdaq -1.1%); Nasdaq enters its second bear market of the year, down 20% from its recent Aug. 15 high (More)


> Bank of England to end its emergency support of UK bond markets by the end of the week (More)


> US Labor Department proposes a new rule that would add more gig-economy workers to corporate payrolls; shares of Uber and Lyft both fall over 10% (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> Russia renews missile strikes across Ukraine for second straight day, with attacks stretching to the western city of Lviv; number of casualties unclear as of this morning (More) | Reports suggest Russia is relying on Belarusian munition depots; see updates here (More)


> Former San Antonio officer charged with two counts of aggravated assault by a peace officer following incident where he opened fire on a teenager eating in a fast food parking lot (More) | Incident gained widespread attention after release of body camera footage (Watch, warning—sensitive content)


> White House previews student loan forgiveness application form; no official launch date offered for website where borrowers can access the application (More)



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