Putin: North Korea ready to denuclearize — if it gets guarantees


VLADIVOSTOK, Russia — Russian President Vladimir Putin said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un confirmed during their first summit Thursday he is willing to give up his nuclear weapons — but only if he gets an ironclad guarantee of security beforehand.

The Russian president stressed that Moscow and Washington both want North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons. But he said the security guarantees should be underwritten by multiple countries, hinting at an arrangement like the six-nation talks Russia participated in until their collapse in 2009.

Putin added that Kim encouraged him to explain the nuances of Pyongyang’s position to President Donald Trump. He said he’s willing to share details of the summit with the American president.

“I will talk about it tomorrow with the leadership of China,” Putin said before heading to Beijing on a two-day visit after meeting Kim. “And we will just as openly discuss this issue with the U.S. leadership. There are no secrets. Russia’s position always has been transparent. There are no plots of any kind.”

Putin’s remarks after the one-day summit just off the Pacific port city of Vladivostok reflect Kim’s growing frustration with Washington’s efforts to maintain “maximum pressure” until the North commits to denuclearization.

But his characterization of Kim’s comments also suggests there have been no major changes in North Korea’s basic position.

North Korea has all along contended that it needs its nuclear arsenal to defend itself against what it sees as U.S. hostility and wants concrete reassurances of its safety — including the removal of the American nuclear threat as an integral part of the denuclearization of the entire Korean Peninsula.

It wasn’t immediately clear what other agreements the leaders might have struck.

Along with a statement of political support, Kim was believed to be looking for some kind of economic support and possibly even a workaround to sanctions that will force more than 10,000 North Korean laborers in Russia to leave by the end of the year. The laborers are a major source of income for Pyongyang.

On the economic front, both sides share an interest in enhanced cooperation if sanctions are eased.

Russia would like to gain broader access to North Korea’s mineral resources, including rare metals. Pyongyang, for its part, covets Russia’s electricity supplies and investment to modernize its dilapidated Soviet-built industrial plants, railways and other infrastructure.

For Putin, the summit was also seen an opportunity for Russia to emerge as an essential player in the North Korean nuclear standoff.

Moscow has kept a relatively low profile as Kim embarked on what has been an audacious diplomatic journey over the past year.

The Putin summit follows four summits with Chinese President Xi Jinping, three with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and two with Trump. Despite the current stalemate, Trump has said he would like to meet Kim again. Moon said Thursday he’ll try to hold a fourth summit with Kim and facilitate the resumption of U.S.-North Korea talks.

Since his latest talks with Trump, in Hanoi, ended without any sign of progress, North Korea has expressed its open anger with what it calls an excessively hard-line position by Trump’s top advisers in the deadlocked negotiations.

Last week, it demanded U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo be removed from the talks and strongly criticized national security adviser John Bolton. There have been reports that Kim has done some internal shaking up as well, possibly firing one of his own main negotiators.

Though Kim appeared confident and respectful as he and Putin met for the first time, he comported himself formally— creating a scene reminiscent of old Soviet-style meetings and a sharp contrast with his more cordial summits with Moon and, at times, even Trump.

“The reason we visited Russia this time is to meet and share opinions with your excellency, President Putin, and also share views on the Korean Peninsula and regional political situation, which has garnered the urgent attention of the world, and also hold deep discussions on strategic ways to pursue stability in the regional political situation and on the matters of jointly managing the situation,” he said in a somewhat stilted introduction.

Kim arrived in Vladivostok Wednesday aboard his private train and offered what is possibly his first interview ever with a foreign media outlet.

He told Russian state television that he was hoping his first visit to Russia would be “successful and useful.” He evoked his father’s “great love for Russia” and said that he intends to strengthen ties between the two countries. The late Kim Jong Il made three trips to Russia, the last time in 2011.

Moscow was part of six-nation talks on the North Korean standoff that fell apart after Pyongyang’s withdrawal in 2009. Putin said he wasn’t sure if the talks could be revived, but he emphasized that international involvement will be needed to discuss guarantees for Pyongyang.

Dmitri Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, said ahead of Thursday’s talks that Putin would try to encourage Kim to continue constructive talks with the U.S. But he added that Moscow doubts the North could be persuaded to fully abandon its nuclear weapons, considering that a “mission impossible.”

Vladivostok, a city of more than half a million on the Sea of Japan, faced gridlock on its roads as traffic was blocked in the city center due to Kim’s visit. The authorities also temporarily closed the waters around Russky Island to all maritime traffic.

Kim was expected to return to Pyongyang on Friday.

Talmadge, the AP’s Pyongyang bureau chief, reported from Tokyo. Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim and Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.

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Bargain Hunter: Get a free macaron from Michelina

Michelina, an artisan French boulanger patissier at The Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles, will give you a free macaron with a $15 purchase through April 30. Buy bread, pastries or desserts and select the flavor of your free treat. The shop is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday at 6333 W. 3rd St. Call 323-329-4000 or go to www.michelinala.com.

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GOP challenger to U.S. Rep. Katie Porter doesn’t live in the district: Should that matter?

A Republican hoping to unseat Democratic Rep. Katie Porter in 2020 is drawing early criticism from a fellow challenger, and some political observers, because she doesn’t live in the district she wants to represent.

Peggy Huang lives in Yorba Linda and serves on the city council. Yorba Linda is in CA-39, but the district Porter represents — and which Huang wants to take — is CA-45. The boundaries for California’s 45th congressional district stretch from Irvine to Mission Viejo and north through Anaheim, a few miles south of Huang’s home.

What Huang hopes to do isn’t illegal. While representatives for California legislative districts and city council districts are legally required to live within those areas, federal law only requires House members to live in the same state. And though it’s far from the norm, it’s also not particularly rare.

Still, just because it’s legal for a candidate to live outside the district they aim to represent doesn’t mean it sits well with voters. And with three more Republican challengers already in the race to challenge Porter, D-Irvine, experts say Huang’s residency could become a real issue for her campaign.

“Voters get to choose,” said Jodi Balma, a political science professor at Fullerton College.

“And voters tend to not like candidates who shop for districts.”

Why not the 39th?

Huang, a deputy state Attorney General, offers a simple explanation for her decision: While her home district of CA-39 includes portions of Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, CA-45 is entirely in Orange County.

“My constituency has been in Orange County,” she said.

The residents she represents on Yorba Linda’s city council all live in Orange County. Same for the people she represents as a member of the three boards on which she sits: the Transportation Corridor Agencies, the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District, and the Regional Council for Southern California Agencies of Governments.

Huang also pointed out that she has history in CA-45. While she was born in Taiwan and lived much of her life in Northern California, she said she graduated from University High School in Irvine, which is in the district she wants to represent.

Political observers point to other factors that they believe could have influenced Huang’s decision.

The partisan battle might be less favorable for a Republican candidate in the 39th District, which recently saw voter registration shift to a slight advantage for Democrats. In CA-45, the GOP still holds a 5 point registration advantage.

Another factor might be the fact that a strong challenger to Rep. Gil Cisneros, who currently represents CA-39, is already in the race. Young Kim, a well known GOP legislator who lost to Cisneros in November by 3.2 percentage points, filed paperwork on April 19 to run again in 2020.

Kim is a Korean American, while Huang’s parents brought her to the United States from Taiwan when she was 7 years old. Fullerton College Professor Balma said that if Huang and Kim both were to run in CA-39, the two Asian American, Republican women might be vying for many of the same voters. Plus, Balma noted, it’s protocol for new candidates to give deference to returning challengers in the same party.

Residency ‘fair game’ in campaign

No matter the reasons, Balma said Huang’s residency is “fair game” for opponents to exploit during what’s expected to be a very competitive race. And, fair or not, she said the label can harm a candidate’s ability to get their message out to voters.

“The earlier you can brand someone as ‘a carpetbagger,’ the less people ever find out the rest of that story,” Balma said.

Fellow Republican candidate Greg Raths, who is mayor of Mission Viejo, has already tweeted twice about the issue.

“Stay in your own District Peggy,” Raths posted April 2, with a map showing CA-45 boundaries.

The other two Republican challengers in the race — Laguna Hills City Councilman Donald Sedgwick and Orange County prosecutor Ray Gennawey — haven’t taken to social media to comment on the issue. Likewise, Porter has made no mention of Huang.

The issue looks worse for Huang, Balma noted, because it seems she’s been trying to avoid calling attention to her Yorba Linda residency.

While most candidates are quick to tout prior political experience, Huang’s press release announcing her bid for Congress didn’t mention her four years on the Yorba Linda City Council. Likewise, Huang doesn’t mention her tenure on the council, or where she lives, in an otherwise detailed biography posted to her campaign website.

In a candidacy statement filed with the Federal Election Commission, Huang used the address for a PostalAnnex in Irvine, which is the location for her campaign’s official P.O. Box.

‘Carpetbagging’ not rare

Carpetbagging hasn’t been a disqualifying factor for some federal representatives.

At least 5 percent of House reps were found to be living outside their district in 2017, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting records.

That included Mimi Walters, who lived in Laguna Niguel during the two terms she represented CA-45, until Porter defeated her by 4.2 percentage points in November. And Cisneros moved into the 39th just as he was launching his 2018 campaign, though he said the move was to be closer to his wife’s family in Yorba Linda.

What voters have to decide, Balma said, is whether they believe candidates such as Huang can accurately reflect their concerns in Washington even while living outside any of the cities they represent.

“Is Yorba Linda so radically different from Irvine that she couldn’t possibly represent those people?” Balma said.

If 2018 proved anything, Balma said, it’s that “anything can happen.”

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5 garden tips to try in your yard this week, April 27-May 3

1. Take cover

Plant summer annuals and groundcovers. Campanula poscharskyana is a low-growing evergreen groundcover that prefers shade or filtered sunlight and blooms in spring with heavy clusters light blue inch-wide stars. Most of the year it is under three inches high but flower clusters may rise to a billowy eight inches for a short while. Add sea lavender, or perennial statice, Limonium perezii, for another beautiful shade of blue in the garden. It blooms throughout spring, summer and fall, sometimes even through winter as it did this past season.

2. Feeding time

Feed citrus trees again – the third of four annual feedings for mature citrus trees. We apply high-nitrogen citrus food about every six weeks in the first half of the year – in late January, mid-March, late April and mid-June. Apply four cups of ammonium sulfate, or two overflowing cups of ammonium nitrate, or 1.5 cups of urea, each time you feed your trees.

3. Micronutrients make a difference

Remember – to get the sweetest-possible home-grown oranges and other citrus fruits be sure to apply micronutrients, such as “Grow More Citrus Grower Blend” or “Tru-Green Citrus Growers Mix,” because Southern California soils are notoriously low in micronutrients, as well as nitrogen. These products are available from many garden centers, nurseries and home-improvement centers. Twice-a-year applications – sprinkled on dry and watered in, or mixed with water and sprayed directly onto foliage – make a fabulous difference in the sweetness of oranges – and fruits of all kinds. Use at least in spring and again in fall, or more often in accordance with instructions on the label.

4. Cheers for spears

Harvest home-grown asparagus spears from plants over two years old. Cut spears below ground level as they lengthen but before the heads begin to branch out. Continue for several weeks until the newest spears are pencil thickness or less, then let them grow out for the summer. Feed asparagus generously and water frequently.

5. Shapely shrubs

Prune Euryops (the yellow daisy shrub) as needed after the first major flowering of the year so the plants stay compact and shapely. One type has glossy deep green foliage, and another form has grayish foliage. Cut plants back about halfway. Also, prune spring-blooming climbing roses and hybrid English roses immediately after flowering to control their size and yield more beautiful flowers next season.

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Bargain Hunter: The Oinkster is giving away a guitar

The Oinkster in Eagle Rock is giving away a Jared James Nichols Epiphone Old Glory Signature Les Paul Custom guitar. You can enter the sweepstakes with the purchase of a Blues Power Burger by April 28. The Blues Power Burger is an Angus beef patty with house barbecue sauce, blue cheese/Thousand Island dressing, smoked onion and fried pickles topped with a barbecue rib. The Oinkster is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 2005 Colorado Blvd. Call 323-255-6465 or go to www.theoinkster.com.

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Bargain Hunter: Free Workonomy paper shredding event at Office Depot and OfficeMax

Workonomy is offering free document shredding services at Office Depot and OfficeMax through April 27. You may bring in up to 5 pounds of documents to shred for free with the coupon found here https://bit.ly/2IuQwec. Be sure to read the coupon rules before use. For more information about Workonomy, go to www.officedepot.com/workonomy.

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Sri Lanka minister: Easter bombings a response to New Zealand attacks


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka  — Sri Lanka’s state minister of defense said Tuesday that the Easter attack on churches, hotels and other sites was “carried out in retaliation” for the shooting massacre at two New Zealand mosques last month, as the Islamic State group sought to claim responsibility for the attack.

The comments by Ruwan Wijewardene came shortly before the Islamic State group asserted it was responsible for the bombings in and outside of Colombo that killed over 320 people. But neither Wijewardene nor IS provided evidence to immediately support their claims, and authorities previously blamed a little-known Islamic extremist group in the island nation for the attack.

Wijewardene told Parliament the government possessed information that the bombings were carried out “by an Islamic fundamentalist group” in response to the Christchurch attacks. He also blamed “weakness” within Sri Lanka’s security apparatus for failing to prevent the nine bombings.

“By now it has been established that the intelligence units were aware of this attack and a group of responsible people were informed about the impending attack,” he said. “However, this information has been circulated among only a few officials.”

The office of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern issued a statement responding to the Christchurch claim that described Sri Lanka’s investigation as “in its early stages.”

“New Zealand has not yet seen any intelligence upon which such an assessment might be based,” it said.

Authorities announced a nationwide curfew would begin at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

As Sri Lanka’s leaders wrangled with the implications of an apparent militant attack and massive intelligence failure, security was heightened Tuesday for a national day of mourning and the military was employing powers to make arrests it last used during a devastating civil war that ended in 2009.

The six near-simultaneous attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels and three related blasts later Sunday was Sri Lanka’s deadliest violence in a decade. Wijewardene said the death toll from the attack now stood at 321 people, with 500 wounded.

Word from international intelligence agencies that a local group was planning attacks apparently didn’t reach the prime minister’s office until after the massacre, exposing the continuing political turmoil in the highest levels of the Sri Lankan government.

On April 11, Priyalal Disanayaka, Sri Lanka’s deputy inspector general of police, signed a letter addressed to the directors of four Sri Lankan security agencies, warning them that a local group was planning a suicide attack in the country.

The intelligence report attached to his letter, which has circulated widely on social media, named the group allegedly plotting the attack, National Towheed Jamaar, identifying its leader as Zahran Hashmi, and said it was targeting “some important churches” in a suicide terrorist attack that was planned to take place “shortly.”

The report named six individuals likely to be involved in the plot, including someone it said had been building support for Zahran and was in hiding since the group clashed with another religious organization in March 2018.

On Monday, Sri Lanka’s health minister held up a copy of the intelligence report while describing its contents, spurring questions about what Sri Lanka police had done to protect the public from an attack.

It was not immediately clear what steps were taken by any of these security directors. Disanayaka did not answer calls or messages seeking comment.

Among the 40 people arrested on suspicion of links to the bombings were the driver of a van allegedly used by the suicide attackers and the owner of a house where some of them lived.

Heightened security was evident at an international airport outside the capital where security personnel walked explosive-sniffing dogs and checked car trunks and questioned drivers on roads nearby. Police also ordered that anyone leaving a parked car unattended on the street must put a note with their phone number on the windscreen, and postal workers were not accepting pre-wrapped parcels.

A block on most social media since the attacks has left a vacuum of information, fueling confusion and giving little reassurance the danger had passed. Even after an overnight curfew was lifted, the streets of central Colombo were mostly deserted Tuesday and shops closed as armed soldiers stood guard.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he feared the massacre could unleash instability and he vowed to “vest all necessary powers with the defense forces” to act against those responsible.

Authorities said they knew where the group trained and had safe houses, but did not identify any of the seven suicide bombers, whose bodies were recovered, or the other suspects taken into custody. All seven bombers were Sri Lankans, but authorities said they strongly suspected foreign links.

Later Tuesday, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Sri Lanka attack via its Aamaq news agency, but offered no photographs or videos of attackers pledging their loyalty to the group. Such material, often showing suicide bombers pledging loyalty before their assaults, offer credibility to their claims.

The group, which has lost all the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria, has made a series of unsupported claims of responsibility.

Also unclear in Sunday’s attack was the motive. The history of Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, a country of 21 million including large Hindu, Muslim and Christian minorities, is rife with ethnic and sectarian conflict.

In the nation’s 26-year civil war, the Tamil Tigers, a powerful rebel army known for using suicide bombers, had little history of targeting Christians and was crushed by the government in 2009. Anti-Muslim bigotry fed by Buddhist nationalists has swept the country recently.

In March 2018, Buddhist mobs ransacked businesses and set houses on fire in Muslim neighborhoods around Kandy, a city in central Sri Lanka that is popular with tourists.

After the mob attacks, Sri Lanka’s government also blocked some social media sites, hoping to slow the spread of false information or threats that could incite more violence.

Sri Lanka, though, has no history of Islamic militancy. Its small Christian community has seen only scattered incidents of harassment.

Associated Press journalists Bharatha Mallawarachi, Jon Gambrell and Rishabh Jain in Colombo and Gemunu Amarasinghe in Negombo, Sri Lanka, contributed to this report.


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Bargain Hunter: KOPU sparkling water is offering an Earth Day discount

KOPU is celebrating Earth Day by offering 20 cents off small and 30 cents off large bottles of its sparkling water at Gelson’s, Bristol Farms and Lazy Acres markets April 22. The New Zealand company packages its water in resealable, recyclable aluminum bottles. For more information, go to http://kopuwater.com.

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Diaper costs strain low-income households in Orange County. Will state back diaper bank?

Babies and toddlers go through a lot of diapers. Maybe a dozen a day, depending on age and other circumstances. Typically, for three years.

For households already scrambling to pay for food and rent, buying disposable diapers — at an average retail cost of 20 cents a diaper — can be a prohibitive expense leaving infants and toddlers in wet and dirty diapers longer than is healthy.

And at day care centers, families must supply each day’s worth of disposable diapers. That requirement has proven to be a barrier for some struggling parents, particularly single moms, who end up missing work or school instead.

That’s why the Orange County Food Bank, which distributes a limited supply of donated diapers through a small network of community organizations, is leading an appeal for state funding to operate the county’s first publicly-financed diaper bank.

The proposal asks for enough money — $1.67 million — to set up and operate a countywide diaper bank over the next two years. The money would be consistent with a 2018 appropriation for diaper banks in four other counties.

  • Orange County Food Bank is seeking $1.67 million from the state to run a diaper bank that could serve needy families over the next two years. For now, the food bank relies on the annual HomeAid Orange County diaper drive that includes a competition to build structures made out of diaper boxes, like these shown in this 2017 photo. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • The Orange County Food Bank is hoping to boost its limited supply of diapers for needy families with state funding to establish a diaper bank. For now, it relies on the annual HomeAid Orange County diaper drive, shown in this 2017 photo, for donations of diapers and other baby hygiene products.(Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

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Mark Lowry, director of the OC Food Bank, calculates Orange County needs about 1.5 million diapers a year to help low-income families with infants and toddlers. On average, children are potty trained around the age of 3.

“Diapers are one of the most frequently requested, but least available, items at a food bank,” Lowry said. “I’ve gotten so many calls over the decades from desperate mothers calling all over to find diapers.”

Bottom line

Lowry said he encourages people asking for diapers to visit the food bank for groceries, along with tapping into other subsidy programs they might be eligible for, such as help in paying utility bills. That way, he reasons, they can use the freed-up cash on diapers.

Households that receive CalFresh benefits to buy food under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can not use that resource to purchase diapers. Neither does the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program provide diapers.

Under landmark legislation championed in 2017 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, parents in the state’s CalWorks welfare-to-work program now automatically get a $30 a month “supportive services” payment to diaper each child 3 years and younger.

The CalWorks diaper benefit made California the first state in the nation to subsidize diaper purchases for struggling families.

Gonzalez spearheaded the $10 million diaper bank appropriation last year that is being evenly divided among Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco counties over a three-year period.

Gonzalez, who jokingly has called herself the “Diaper Queen” because of her focus on diaper need, also has tried for several years to win support for eliminating the sales tax on diapers. She estimates families could save an average $100 to $120 a year.

Gonzalez knows firsthand the challenges facing single moms. But she was galvanized by the findings of a 2013 Yale University study indicating one-third of low-income mothers could not afford an adequate supply of diapers for their children. Those moms also were more likely to suffer depression related to diaper need.

Gonzalez said the Orange County diaper bank proposal has her support. She also plans to continue work on the diaper tax — something that would benefit not just families on aid, but the working poor and middle class families, she said.

“This is a priority for us statewide,” Gonzalez said.

Any state measure to alleviate diaper need “is a question of budget priorities,” Gonzalez said, but she added that the dynamics of child- and family-centered legislation have changed with the election of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“We now have a governor who actually has a child in diapers.”

Demand for diapers

Establishing a regional diaper bank here would allow OC Food Bank, a program of Community Action Partnership of Orange County, to join the National Diaper Bank Network of more than 200 members. That would allow the group to buy diapers in bulk, at a discounted price of 13 cents each.

Assemblyman Tom Daly, D-Anaheim, and Sen. Tom Umberg, D-Santa Ana, have co-authored a letter to the chairs of the budget committees in the state legislature’s two chambers. Members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors also promise letters of support.

In addition, Lowry is reaching out to Orange County’s business leaders, the faith-based community, child-care providers and educators, and the local chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Community Action Partnership also launched a diaper bank-focused petition on Change.org.

So far, response has been positive, Lowry said: “It would be kind of hard to argue against diapers for babies from low income families.”

He faces a deadline of Friday, April 26, to harness support. The California Legislature has until June 15 to pass a budget.

The $1.67 million Orange County seeks is equivalent to the balance of the $833,000 a year available to each of the four counties now getting diaper bank funding, Daly and Umberg point out in their joint letter.

In San Diego County, which started drawing on its diaper money in mid-January, distribution through the end of the three-year period is projected to exceed 14 million diapers, said James Floros, chief executive officer of Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank.

Floros said his food bank expects to have 75 distribution hubs in place by the fall, up from eight at the start of the year. Among those receiving free diapers are military families, a huge presence in the San Diego area because of Camp Pendleton.

“We knew there was a need,” Floros said, “but we were blown away by the demand.”

Limited supply

Lowry determined Orange County’s need based on the number of WIC-eligible families with youngsters under 3. His formula looks like this: “46,294 infants x an average 9 diaper changes a day x 365 days a year = 152,075,790.”

That doesn’t include families that aren’t eligible for WIC but are still needy, he said.

For now, the local supply of free diapers depends solely on the community’s generosity.

Demand routinely outpaces supply. Last September, the Orange County Rescue Mission found itself in critical need of 40,000 diapers at its Village of Hope campus in Tustin to get through the end of the year.

A mom-and-pop nonprofit in Orange, Clear Charity, operates a diaper bank that relies on diaper drives and fundraisers to supply several thousand free and subsidized diapers purchased at reduced cost. Its Diaper Aid of Southern California program serves families in Orange County and other communities.

OC Food Bank stores about 750,000 boxed disposable diapers and 250,000 other baby hygiene products collected during HomeAid Orange County’s annual “Essentials” drive and Builders for Babies competition in May and June. Those diapers go to homeless families in shelters supported by HomeAid and a few organizations in the food bank’s network.

Said Lowry, “It’s not a year-round service that benefits the entire community.”

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Coachella 2019: What happened on Saturday of Weekend 2, including a Kanye West surprise

It’s the second weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and we are feeling the love. No, seriously, we are. We found five Southern California couples who shared their Coachella love stories with us. They’re really great.

And if you love the fashion of the festival, check out the photos of some of the stunning looks we have seen this weekend.

After a rough start Weekend 1 with technical difficulties, Billie Eilish left no doubt after her Saturday night set that she was the breakout star of Coachella.

There were also some returning favorites, including Tame Impala, who brought more confetti on a very windy night in Indio.

And Weezer did its barbershop quartet schtick to open the show again, this time with “Buddy Holly,” but then launched into the actual song, but it seemed like some of the band was playing “Hash Pipe” while Rivers Cuomo sang “Buddy Holly.” They got it together by the chorus and played an hour of fun hits, this time without the guest stars, but with two songs from “Pinkerton.” (They also mashed up Green Day’s “Longview” into a cover of the Turtles’ “Happy Together.” And yes, they played “Africa.”)

Check out photos of all the bands and their fans on Saturday.

Before the night was over, there was some confusion over a special guest. An electric sign displayed “Surprise guest Lady Gag,” which we assume meant Lady Gaga, but actually may have turned out to be a gag.

But there was a guest star that wasn’t a joke — Kanye West showed up to do some Kids See Ghosts stuff with Kid Cudi during the latter’s Sahara Tent set. West will need to get up early for the Easter Bunny, though, his Sunday Service begins at 9 a.m. in the campground.

Elsewhere, people waited forever to see Idris Elba in the Yuma Tent, but the internet went nuts for it.

There was also some Southern California love at the festival today when El Monte’s The Red Pears played in the Sonora Tent.

Ever wonder about those decorated recycling bins around the festival? We ranked them. That’s one of the projects of environmental group Global Inheritance, which is celebrating its sweet 16 at the festival.

On the food front, we checked out the best place to have a tea party at the fest.

And some of the spots that weren’t about the art or music or food on the field had freebies for fans, you know, if you’re into the corporate marketing thing.

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