Texas' abortion law, Louisiana's recovery, Caldor Fire's path: 5 things to know Wednesday


Ida, now a tropical depression, is expected to bring heavy rain and possible flooding from the Tennessee and Ohio valleys up through the Mid-Atlantic states and Southern New England Wednesday. The death toll from Hurricane Ida's direct hit into the Gulf Coast rose to at least four Tuesday after a highway collapsed in Mississippi and flooding remained a threat as remnants of the monster storm swept across the Southeast. Power remained out Tuesday to more than 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and the lack of electricity combined with steamy late-summer weather to make for miserable conditions for the hundreds of thousands of Louisianans trying to recover. In addition, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport canceled all commercial flights for a third day Tuesday, and over 200 cancellations have already been reported for Wednesday, according to FlightAware.com. 

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Texas law banning most abortions has gone into effect

A controversial Texas abortion law took effect at midnight local time Wednesday, but the Supreme Court has yet to act on an emergency appeal from abortion providers and abortion rights advocates to put the law on hold. The Texas law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur at six weeks – often before many women know they are pregnant. What makes the Texas law different is its unusual enforcement scheme. Rather than have officials responsible for enforcing the law, private citizens are authorized to sue abortion providers and anyone involved in facilitating abortions. Under the law, anyone who successfully sues another person would be entitled to at least $10,000.

Texas' abortion law, Louisiana's recovery, Caldor Fire's path: 5 things to know Wednesday
Texas' abortion law, Louisiana's recovery, Caldor Fire's path: 5 things to know Wednesday
Group vows to fight 'sneaky' Texas abortion law
Advocacy groups are promising to challenge a new abortion law in Texas that leaves enforcement to private citizens, who can sue doctors or anyone who helps a woman get an abortion. (May 20)

Caldor Fire spreads, jumps highway in California

Firefighters scrambled Wednesday to keep a growing California wildfire from reaching a resort city at the southern tip of Lake Tahoe after evacuation orders were expanded to neighboring Nevada. Thick smoke from the Caldor Fire enveloped the city of South Lake Tahoe, California, which was all but deserted during a summer week usually bustling with tourists. The National Weather Service warned that critical weather conditions through Wednesday could include extremely low humidity and gusts up to 30 mph. The blaze jumped Highway 89 in California and moved north on a ridge into Meyers in South Lake Tahoe Monday, according to a USA TODAY Network reporter. As of Wednesday morning, the Caldor Fire has grown to over 310 square miles, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The Caldor Fire is one of 83 large fires and complexes burning across the West, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. 

Post-Trump, Ukraine leader Zelensky to push Biden for US support

The Ukrainian leader who found himself ensnarled in former President Donald Trump's first impeachment will meet a new U.S. president Wednesday, seeking increased military aid and backing for his country's bid for NATO membership. The White House says the meeting between President Joe Biden and President Volodymyr Zelensky is aimed at showing support for Ukraine's sovereignty in the face of Russia's seizure of Crimea and backing of armed separatists. Biden also intends to encourage Zelensky's efforts to tackle corruption and reassure him that the U.S will help protect Ukraine's energy security. In advance of the sit-down, the Biden administration said Tuesday it was committing up to $60 million in new military aid to Ukraine. The administration said in a notification to Congress that the aid package was necessary because of a "major increase in Russian military activity along its border" and other provocations.

Texas' abortion law, Louisiana's recovery, Caldor Fire's path: 5 things to know Wednesday
Texas' abortion law, Louisiana's recovery, Caldor Fire's path: 5 things to know Wednesday
US commits $60 million in aid to Ukraine's military
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin welcomed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the Pentagon as the Ukraine president is visiting the United States in hopes of bolstering security ties with Washington. (Aug. 31)

Star-studded Venice Film Festival opens with caution during pandemic 

Venice's central place in the history of battling pandemics provides a relevant backdrop to this year's Venice Film Festival, which opens Wednesday. Pablo Larrain's "Spencer," starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, and Ridley Scott’s medieval drama "The Last Duel," featuring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Adam Driver, are among the major movies that will be unveiled during the event. Precautions at the festival include a huge barricade once again sealing off public access to the red carpet and limited chances for fans to catch VIP water taxi arrivals on the Lido. More than 10 testing stations have been set up for staff and festival-goers, who must show proof of a negative test, vaccination or having recently recovered from COVID-19 to enter screenings. Masks are also required indoors. 

Texas' abortion law, Louisiana's recovery, Caldor Fire's path: 5 things to know Wednesday
Texas' abortion law, Louisiana's recovery, Caldor Fire's path: 5 things to know Wednesday
Kristen Stewart’s Princess Diana movie coming to the Venice Film Festival
The new biopic ‘Spencer’, starring Kristen Stewart as England’s Princess Diana, whose maiden name was Diana Spencer, is reportedly going to have its world premiere in competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

Contributing: The Associated Press