The Griffith Observatory at night, with the street lights of the Los Angeles basin burning bright in the background, 1940.
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Today is Human Rights Day
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1950, sought to establish the ‘inalienable rights of all members of the human family.’ It bestowed on all people the rights of security, education, and self-government, among others. The reality of human rights protection has, of course, been far trickier. While organizations worldwide struggle to uphold the ideals of the Declaration, evolving political and environmental situations constantly present new challenges.
Images (top to bottom): KURIGRAM, BANGLADESH: Villagers hack away the embankment left by the most recent flooding in the area where their village used to be. They are doing this on the orders of the local landowner who is using the earth for construction in another area. These men are effectively further removing the only barrier between them and further flooding but they desperately need the small amount they are paid so do the work anyway. Flooding, Poverty and lack of protected land ownership amongst the poor is driving a serious food crisis in Bangladesh. Extreme poverty and rising food prices couple with an oversupply of cheap labor has meant that many people can only afford to eat once a day. (photo by Brent Stirton, from Global Water Issues)
QAMSHILI, SYRIA: Faycal, 77 years old, presents his military service record book of 1951. Neither he nor any member of his family have Syrian nationality. They are part of more than 300,000 stateless Syrian Kurds. Most of them lost their Syrian nationality in the census of 1962 and have no national rights. (photo by Julien Goldstein, from Kurdistan: Anger of a People Without Rights)
SAN VICENTE, MISIONES, ARGENTINA: Fabian Rodgriguez suffers from hydrocephalus. His mother, Candida Rodriguez, works in the tobacco industry, as does her husband. They use agrochemical products for the cultivation of their fields, following the guidelines set out by the cooperatives of large local producers, who require the use of such agrochemicals as a condition to the purchase of their crop. Fumigations in the agricultural fields of Argentina are being denounced as the cause of the increasing number of children born with malformations. (photo by Alvaro Ybarra Zavala, from Stories of a Wounded Land)
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The manhunt for Christopher Dorner
A series of murders and subsequent manhunt that seized the nation’s attention earlier this year has been a disjointed puzzle - one that we’re aiming to solve with a lengthy report on the Christopher Dorner killings and manhunt.
The story starts the moment Dorner published his lengthy manifesto:
Inside Room 116 of the Hi View Inn & Suites in Manhattan Beach, he stared at his Facebook page and a lifetime’s worth of grudges. It is not clear how long he had labored on the unusual document on the screen.
It was a rambling, free-associating screed in which he asserted firm opinions on politicians, journalists, comedians and television shows. It was a brew of hatreds, a sustained cry of self-pity and self-justification, and a blueprint.
One touch of a button would make it public, once people knew where to look.
Read the first chapter in our five-part look back at the search for Dorner, and its violent conclusion, here.
Artwork by Doug Stevens
Scenes of Christmas lights around the world
It’s that time of year again - a season of goodwill, family and skyrocketing electric bills. Around the world, people are putting up their very best Christmas light displays, and we’ve tracked down some of the best.
Photos: Victor R. Caivano / AP ,David Hecker / Getty Images, Mario Cruz, How Hwee Young, Kimimasa Mayama / EPA
Some photography recently left on the cutting room floor, courtesy of our own photo wiz Luis Sinco.
Happy birthday, Walt Disney: He was born December 5, 1901. Here he is riding with his granddaughter, Tammy Miller (daughter of the late Diane Disney Miller), in a now-defunct attraction at Disneyland. The photo accompanied an article on animals (mechanical and real) at the park that was published in the L.A. Times on June 13, 1960.
Photo: Los Angeles Times / UCLA Library
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Today’s front page, honoring fallen president, Nobel laureate and international hero Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela’s inaugural address: Times reporter Emily Alpert put together a collection of notable videos from Mandela’s life, including a clip from the day he was released from prison; a montage of speeches assembled by the UN; an early TV appearance; and more.
"Only free men can negotiate. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated." —Nelson Mandela to then-South African President Pieter W. Botha, in 1985.
"Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together, and it is together that we will bid him farewell." —current South African President Jacob Zuma, announcing Mandela’s death today.
An article titled “8 Foes of Apartheid Get Life Terms in S. Africa" appeared in the L.A. Times on June 13, 1964. Here’s what the paper’s front page looked like on the day of Mandela’s release from prison, February 11, 1990. In December of that year, he spoke optimistically about South Africa’s future in this interview:
Q: What sort of South Africa do you envisage?
A: Very simple. It is a South Africa based on the Freedom Charter (a manifesto drawn up by the ANC and political allies in the 1950s), which is our basic policy; … a non-racial society where all population groups would enjoy equality before the law, and where all forms of racial discrimination were abolished. It is a South Africa where there will be a bill of rights defining the rights of citizens, a bill of rights that is entrenched by the ability of any person who considers his rights are threatened or violated to have access to an independent judiciary. It is a South Africa in which there will be political parties; where political dissent will not be dealt with in a way that shows a lack of patience and a lack of political tolerance.
Here’s Mandela’s obituary in the L.A. Times, by Deputy Managing Editor Scott Kraft, who covered Mandela as a reporter (you’ll see his byline more than once on the front page linked above); Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Bob Drogin, who described Mandela as “the most remarkable man I ever met” in a tweet today; and Johannesburg correspondent Robyn Dixon (who has also been covering today’s events on Twitter). More recommended reading: a timeline of Mandela’s life; a first-person account of growing up in a changing South Africa by Times photojournalist Jerome Adamstein; a recollection of his 1990 L.A. visit by columnist Patt Morrison; and Mandela’s own address to those assembled at a Cape Town rally upon his release from prison in February 1990.
Top photo: Mandela and his then-wife Winnie, along with L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley, on the steps of City Hall during a trip to Los Angeles on June 29, 1990. Credit: Los Angeles Times
Middle photo: Mandela holds up the key to the city that he was presented by Mayor Bradley, also on June 29, 1990. Credit: Los Angeles Times
Bottom photo: Mandela visits L.A.’s First AME Church on July 9, 1993. Credit: Los Angeles Times. More photos from Mandela’s life.
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Remembering Nelson Mandela
The renowned world leader and civil rights icon passed away today at the age of 95.
Mandela himself was reticent to indulge in the myth-making that surrounded him:
"In real life we deal not with gods, but with ordinary humans like ourselves: men and women who are full of contradictions, who are stable and fickle, strong and weak, famous and infamous," he wrote in a letter to his wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, from prison in 1979.
But his lifetime of action, and transformation from being branded a terrorist and imprisoned by his opponents to a universally-applauded hero for not just his homeland of South Africa, but the whole world, makes him more than one of those “ordinary humans.”
Read our full obituary of Mandela, or follow along Mandela’s incredible life in our timeline.
Photos: Kim Ludbrook / EPA, John Parkin / Associated Press, Jurgen Shadberg / Getty Images
The six-sided weather pattern currently sitting atop the planet’s north pole, which contains a gigantic hurricane - has been raging since 1981.
December 5, 1933: Prohibition Ends
On this day in 1933, prohibition ended with the ratification of the 21st Amendment, which achieved the mandatory three-fourths majority of states’ approval with support from Utah, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
Subsequently, the 18th Amendment was repealed after it was passed during the prohibition and temperance movements in the early 19th century. This activism initially stemmed from the concern about the effects of alcohol abuse.
Check out a video collection from Ken Burns’s Prohibition film to discover the rise and fall of the prohibition era.
Photo: Agents pour liquor into sewer following a raid ca. 1921 (Library of Congress).
A toast to the anniversary of Prohibition’s end! After work hours, of course.
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