News That Matters

First Thing: Near-total abortion ban takes effect in Indiana | US news

Good morning.

A sweeping abortion ban went into effect in Indiana today, containing only extremely narrow exceptions for medical emergencies, rape and incest – making it the latest state to largely outlaw the procedure in the US.

The ban is being challenged in court by the ACLU and several abortion care providers, with hearings set to start on 19 September.

Indiana lawmakers passed the legislation during a special legislative session in early August, with a six-week pause before it came into effect. Then, Indiana was the first state in the nation to bring in a new law banning abortion after Roe fell.

The law in effect wipes out abortion access for 1.5 million Indianans of reproductive age, and will have far-reaching consequences as Indiana had become a safe haven for those seeking abortion in other nearby states.

“We will always have more work to do because we need to make it unimaginable to end an unborn baby’s life,” the Republican state senator Liz Brown said when she backed the bill six weeks ago.

  • What are the exceptions? The Indiana law – known as SB 1 – is an all-encompassing abortion ban with some extreme restrictions. It limits abortions to cases where there is serious risk to the health or life of the pregnant person, and in the case of a lethal fetal anomaly up to 20 weeks post-fertilization.

‘People disappeared’: Izium’s residents on Russia’s occupation

An allegedly Russian tank in the street of the city Izium, September 2022
A Russian tank abandoned in Izium. Photograph: Alessio Mamo/The Guardian

The horror slowly unfolds from the burnt-out rubble in Izium, one of the most strategically vital towns for the Russians before its recapture last weekend by Ukrainian forces.

Tank carcasses with Moscow’s signature Z symbol are dotted along the crater-covered streets. Dozens of bombed-out apartment buildings in the city centre lie derelict along roads covered with the debris of what has been one of this war’s most fierce battles, resulting in the deaths of at least 1,000 people, according to Ukrainian officials. On Wednesday, the city, described as a second Mariupol because of the heavy bombardments it has suffered, was visited by the outside world for the first time after its recapture.

“It is impossible to explain what we have been through if you have not lived it,” says Olga, 44. “We lay down on the floor and remained inside our house, for so long that we learned to recognise bombs. If the Russian plane we heard from outside wasn’t that loud, then we knew it was going to drop two bombs. If, on the other hand, the plane was very loud, it would drop six. We counted every single explosion before we could breathe a sigh of relief.”

  • What’s happening now in the city? Regarded for centuries as the gateway to the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and, from there, to the Black Sea, today Izium is a giant crime scene where Ukrainian prosecutors are moving fast to gather evidence on war crimes allegedly perpetrated by the Russians.

R Kelly found guilty on child pornography and sex abuse charges

FILE - Musician R. Kelly, center, leaves the Daley Center after a hearing in his child support case on May 8, 2019, in Chicago. Closing arguments are scheduled Monday, Sept. 12, 2022 for R. Kelly and two co-defendants in the R&B singer’s trial on federal charges of trial-fixing, child pornography and enticing minors for sex, with jury deliberations to follow. (AP Photo/Matt Marton, File)
The verdict is the latest legal blow for the R&B artist, who faced 13 counts. Photograph: Matt Marton/AP

A federal jury has convicted R Kelly of several child pornography and sex abuse charges in his home town of Chicago, delivering another legal blow to a singer who used to be one of the biggest R&B stars in the world.

Kelly, 55, was found guilty on three counts of child pornography and three counts of child enticement.

But the jury acquitted him on a fourth pornography count as well as a conspiracy to obstruct justice charge accusing him of fixing his state child pornography trial in 2008. He was found not guilty on all three counts of conspiring to receive child pornography and for two further enticement charges.

His two co-defendants were found not guilty on all charges.

The verdict comes months after a federal judge in New York sentenced Kelly to 30 years in prison in June for racketeering and sex trafficking. Based on that sentence, the 55-year-old won’t be eligible for release until he is around 80.

In other news …

This undated photo courtesy of Marianites of Holy Cross, shows from left, Sister Suellen Tennyson, with Sister Pascaline Tougma, a midwife from Burkina Faso, and Sister Pauline Drouin, a nurse from Lake Magantic in Canada. Sister Suellen Tennyson was taken from her bed in Yalgo, Burkina Faso, late Monday, April 4, 2022 , Sister Ann Lacour, U.S. congregational leader for the Marianites of Holy Cross in Covington, Louisiana, told The Associated Press. (Courtesy of Marianites of Holy Cross via AP)
Sister Suellen Tennyson, left, was taken from her bed in Yalgo, Burkina Faso. Photograph: AP
  • A Catholic nun from New Orleans who was kidnapped while working in western Africa, contracted malaria as she was held for nearly five months and was ultimately freed, said reciting prayers helped her survive her ordeal. “Prayer sustained me,” Suellen Tennyson, 83 said.

  • Donors to a GoFundMe appeal have raised enough money to pay the $150,000 restitution an Iowa court ruled a teenage human trafficking victim must pay to the family of her accused rapist, whom she stabbed to death. The judge in the case said he had “no other option” but to impose restitution on Pieper Lewis, 17.

  • Prosecutors have filed a motion to vacate the murder conviction of 42-year old Adnan Syed, a case that previously gained international attention after it was featured on the podcast Serial. Baltimore City state’s attorney has requested the new trial after an investigation pointed to alternative suspects.

  • Lebanese and Syrians firefighters have joined forces to fight wildfires after more than 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) were destroyed by fire last year. The volunteer firefighting service is bringing refugees and local people together to save Akkar province’s ancient woodlands, where some trees are more than a 100 years old.

  • Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff secretly bought a book in which 27 mental health professionals warned that the president was psychologically unfit for the job, then used it as a guide in his attempts to cope with Trump’s irrational behavior.

Stat of the day: Mourners wait in 3 mile line to pay last respects to Queen Elizabeth II

People queue to pay their respect to the late Queen Elizabeth II during the Lying-in State, at Westminster Hall in London, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022. The Queen will lie in state in Westminster Hall for four full days before her funeral on Monday Sept. 19. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
People queue to pay their respect to the late Queen Elizabeth II during the lying in state. Photograph: Markus Schreiber/AP

In a country famous for perfecting the orderly queue, those lining up for a few seconds alongside the Queen’s coffin proved no exception. By 5pm, when the first members of the public filed into Westminster Hall, the line snaked back through the capital for about 3 miles (5km), crossing the Thames and stretching all the way to London Bridge. After the long wait, it took little more than three minutes to file past the coffin. A few crossed themselves. Most bowed or curtsied. Some wiped away tears, but most were stoic. The queue outside continued to grow as night fell and will be open 24 hours a day until 6.30am on Monday, before the funeral later that day.

Don’t miss this: How house music changed the world

Norway, Bergen - April 30, 2018. The American singer and songwriter Robin S performs a live concert during the We Love the 90’s show at Bergenshallen in Bergen. (Photo credit: Gonzales Photo - Jarle H. Moe).MJA6WM Norway, Bergen - April 30, 2018. The American singer and songwriter Robin S performs a live concert during the We Love the 90’s show at Bergenshallen in Bergen. (Photo credit: Gonzales Photo - Jarle H. Moe).
Robin S: ‘People say your song saved my life’. Photograph: Gonzales Photo/Alamy

When house first broke, nearly 40 years ago, the genre seemed to offer a temporary release, rather than longer-term liberation. Yet today it’s clear that the music, which used affordable technology to rework disco, provided a much longer lasting voice to queer, Black and marginalised musicians, DJs and club goers, first in the big cities of the American midwest, then across the world. From Chicago to New York, Manchester, London, Tokyo, Paris and Berlin, house seeded local scenes and reshaped pop. As Beyoncé and Drake take on the genre, legends from Robin S to Jesse Saunders reflect on its resurgence.

Climate check: Healthy teenagers at risk of irregular heartbeats from air pollution, says study

Fridays For Future global climate action day in Berlinepa09485027 A protester holds cardboard reading ‘smells like air pollution’ during the Fridays For Future global climate action day in Berlin, Germany, 24 September 2021. Climate activists of Fridays For Future call for socially fair and consistent measures to limit climate heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius ahead of German federal elections, that take place on 26 September 2021. The young activists are planning hundreds of protests and demonstrations worldwide during a ‘climate strike’ on 24 September 2021. EPA/CLEMENS BILAN
A protester holds up a sign during a climate strike in Berlin in September 2021. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA

Healthy teenagers are more prone to irregular heartbeats after breathing in fine particulate air pollution, according to the first major study of its impact on otherwise healthy young individuals. Doctors monitored heart activity and the air breathed by more than 300 healthy US teenagers over 24-hour periods. The findings have raised concern among researchers because heart arrhythmias, which can increase the risk of heart disease and sudden cardiac death, appear to be triggered even when air pollution is within common air quality limits.

Last Thing: ‘Wobbly’ moon probable cause of mass tree deaths in Australia, scientists say

The moon shines over mangrove trees at Vanga, Kenya on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. Several mangrove forests across Africa have been destroyed due to coastal development, logging or fish farming, making coastal communities more vulnerable to flooding and rising sea levels. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)
The moon shines over mangrove trees. Photograph: Brian Inganga/AP

A wobble in the moon’s orbit around Earth affects mangrove cover across Australia and most likely contributed to mass tree deaths in the Gulf of Carpentaria, new research suggests. A study has found that an 18.61-year cycle known as the lunar nodal cycle shapes the condition of tidal wetlands. The moon’s orbit around Earth does not occur in a flat plane. “Since the 1720s, people have known that it moves up and down by a few degrees,” said the study’s author, Prof Neil Saintilan. He likened the motion to “when you’re spinning a coin – as it loses momentum, it kind of wobbles”.

Sign up

Sign up for the US morning briefing

First Thing is delivered to thousands of inboxes every weekday. If you’re not already signed up, subscribe now.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or comments about any of our newsletters please email

Source link