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In a call with Israel's prime minister, President Joe Biden ramped up pressure for a cease-fire in the Middle East. Texas passed a law that would effectively ban most abortions in the state. And what does it mean when someone says they are "nonbinary"? We break it down for you.
👋 It's Laura! Here's Wednesday's news.
But first, would you live on a sailboat? ⛵️ As housing costs rise, some folks in Florida are doing what they do best: taking to the seas. Who wouldn't want to be rocked to sleep by waves every night?
Biden wants 'a significant de-escalation today'
Israel did not seem to be moving toward a cease-fire after President Joe Biden told the country's prime minister Wednesday he expects "a significant de-escalation today on the path to a cease-fire" in the Israel-Gaza conflict. Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke after Israel widened its strikes on Hamas targets, killing at least six people across the Gaza Strip and destroying the home of an extended family early Wednesday. Until now, Biden had not given Netanyahu a timeline for Israel’s military assault on Hamas but has been quietly ramping up pressure on Netanyahu to end the bombardment of Hamas targets in Gaza amid mounting international alarm over the rising death toll and demands from Democrats in Congress for a cease-fire.
Israeli airstrikes kill 6, level large family home in Gaza as cease-fire efforts ramp up.
'Every incendiary ingredient imaginable': Here's what sparked the worst Mideast violence since 2014.
'Heartbeat' bill signed into law
Effectively banning most abortions in the state, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law Wednesday that restricts abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The law is slated to go into effect Sept. 1. Abortions will be allowed in Texas only before the presence of a fetal heartbeat, barring a medical emergency. The measure would allow virtually any private citizen to sue an abortion provider or others who “aid and abet” an abortion in violation of the ban. Drucilla Tigner, a policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas, said the law is "the most extreme abortion ban in the country," putting Texas at the forefront among the states challenging the boundaries of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case in 1973 that established a woman's legal right to an abortion.
‘Huge numbers’ of abortion cases heading to Supreme Court to test limits of Roe v. Wade. Here's what you should know.
Addressing abortion rights: Here's how different states use 'heartbeat' bills, Roe v. Wade to handle abortion laws.
What everyone's talking about
Bodycam video showing Black man's deadly arrest by Louisiana troopers released after being withheld for 2 years.
You might recognize it from Netflix: The submerged village of Curon emerges from underwater for the first time in decades. You have got to see the pictures.
Moms of pandemic babies are 'terrified.' Here's why.
A high school football champion and honor student attempted suicide in 2014. Seven years and 58 surgeries later, his family is getting ready for his final surgery.
New kind of royals: On their third anniversary, Harry and Meghan embrace revolutionized royal roles.
Brood X emerges 👀
Like teenagers emerging from their bedroom on a Saturday morning, red-eyed periodical cicadas have been seen slowly making their way out from underground, where they have been hanging out for the past 17 years. The group of cicadas, known as Brood X, is expected to appear in the District of Columbia and about 15 states in the eastern USA. They're loud but harmless, according to experts, and the sounds should subside within two weeks. While above-ground, cicadas will lay their eggs, which will hatch four to six weeks later. Then, in a tale as old as time, their offspring will repeat the cycle and head back underground until 2038.
The cicadas have arrived in some states. Can they bite or sting? Are they dangerous to pets? Here's what you need to know.
'Flying salt shakers of death': Brood X cicadas threatened by 'death-zombie fungus' that rots half their bodies away.
Cicada frenzy! Creepy crawlies pop up on US East Coast after 17 years in the ground. Check out these photos.
Summer in Europe, anyone?
Don't make your backpacking-across-Europe plans just yet. Summer vacations are a step closer to reality after European Union representatives agreed Wednesday to ease travel restrictions for vaccinated visitors and any traveler from countries where COVID-19 is under control. But the timing of the reopening is unclear. EU officials have said for weeks that summer travel would be allowed, but no dates have been released, and many of the details will be up to the 27 member countries. Final approval is likely this week by the Council of the European Union, but the lifting of travel restrictions isn't mandatory and won't come with a timetable. Be warned: Following the rules might get tricky, as travelers could face a hodgepodge of travel restrictions well into the summer.
Europe is reopening to American vacationers after a pandemic travel ban. But don't pack just yet.
Andrew Brown Jr.'s family to file civil rights lawsuit against deputies, lawyer says. Here's what we know.
'Slanted and unbalanced': Mitch McConnell opposes commission to investigate Jan. 6 insurrection.
Is Vanessa Bryant going too far in her lawsuit over grisly photos of Kobe Bryant's crash?
'My god makes no mistakes': State Senate OKs ban on gender-affirming care for young Texans.
Could hospitals be overcounting how many kids are admitted for COVID-19?
What does 'nonbinary' mean?
Some major stars have come out as nonbinary, and we thought you might want to know what that means. You've probably heard the term more frequently, and on Wednesday, Demi Lovato announced they were nonbinary and changed their pronouns to they/them.
👉 Defined: "Nonbinary" refers to someone who does not identify only as a man or a woman, i.e. the traditional gender binary, according to the Human Rights Campaign. They could identify as both a man and a woman, in between the two genders or not a part of any gender category at all. GLAAD offers a similar definition.
Other celebrities that who identify as nonbinary include former "Grey's Anatomy" star Sara Ramirez and Grammy-winning singer Sam Smith, who came out as nonbinary and genderqueer in 2019, sharing a few months later they use "they/them" pronouns after what the pop star called a "lifetime of being at war with my gender."
💡 It's a lot of information to cram into a small space. If you want to learn more, check out these links:
Breaking it down for you: Stars Demi Lovato, Elliot Page, Sam Smith identify as nonbinary. What does that mean?
Pandemic lockdowns: Young people found opportunities to explore their gender identity.
Gender X IDs: More than 7,000 Americans carry gender X IDs, a victory for transgender rights. Is it a safety risk, too?
What is gender dysphoria? How does it manifest? Your questions answered.
'It gave us hope': Biden tells transgender youth he's on their side. This is why advocates say that's huge for the community.
A break from the news
💞 'I wish I could live a normal life': What your friend with an anxiety disorder wishes you knew.
🇺🇸 A star-spangled porch: 7 American flag home accents just in time for summer.
🚗 Buying a car? Follow these 4 tips to hit the gas with confidence.
Tomorrow: A Twitter Spaces chat
Join us at 7 p.m. ET Thursday, May 20, on Twitter Spaces! Our reporters and photographers will be talking about our coverage in Minneapolis before, during and after the Derek Chauvin trial, their experiences, race, George Floyd and more. Be sure to follow @usatoday on Twitter to see the Space when it goes live.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas abortion law, Middle East, Cicadas, European travel. It's Wednesday's news.