President Joe Biden creates his first national monument. Los Angeles City Council meeting ends with protesters shutting officials down. And how scientists are using rats with human cells in their brains to better understand us.
👋 Hey! Laura Davis here. It’s Wednesday – ready for the news?
But first, you gotta see these pictures: The Natural History Museum’s prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition revealed some seriously striking images of creatures around the world. I love the flamingos and the Russian house bears. Check out the incredible pictures here.
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‘This is the story of America the beautiful’
We’ve got a new national monument, y’all. President Biden on Wednesday signed the designation of Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument, protecting for future generations a rugged landscape in the heart of the Rocky Mountains where the legendary 10th Mountain Division trained for alpine warfare during World War II. “This is the story of America the beautiful,” Biden said. “You just can feel the power in this place.” It is the country’s 130th national monument. Learn more about the new national monument here.
Los Angeles City Council meeting ends amid rowdy protests
Another day of uncertainty in Los Angeles. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council’s former president, Nury Martinez, resigned in disgrace after audio leaked this week of her using racist language. Earlier in the day, the embattled council attempted a meeting to discuss the issues, but it ended before city business could be conducted after demonstrators drowned out officials. Protesters stomped, clapped and chanted in celebration as the chamber’s lights dimmed and officials filed out of the room. Following Wednesday’s meeting, council member Mitch O’Farrell, who is acting president, said the council members in the recording must resign from their positions to allow the city to move on.
What everyone’s talking about
- Amid growing ‘abortion deserts,’ a haven in small-town Illinois takes shape.
- Brett Favre: I’ve been ‘unjustly smeared’ in Mississippi welfare fraud case.
- We’ve finally heard Angelina Jolie’s story. Are we listening this time?
- Lung-disease tests fail Black patients. Experts are calling for change.
- Did DeSantis use COVID-19 money for migrant flights? Treasury Department examining pandemic-aid spending.
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Former Texas police officer arrested after shooting teen in parking lot
The San Antonio Police Department announced Tuesday that former officer James Brennand was arrested and faces charges of aggravated assault after he shot a 17-year-old in a McDonald’s parking lot. “It was unjustified both administratively and criminally,” San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said. Brennand was responding to an unrelated call and saw Erik Cantu sitting in his car eating a hamburger. Thinking it was a potentially stolen car that had evaded him earlier, Brennand approached the vehicle – a move that ultimately ended in Cantu’s shooting. Brennand was later fired, while Cantu was left unconscious and on life support.
Accidental nuclear Armageddon?
President Biden recently said the world is now at the highest risk of nuclear “Armageddon” in decades due to Russia President Vladimir Putin’s increasingly threatening language. The use of nuclear weapons has huge disadvantages besides the threat of all-out world war. The radioactive fallout would likely kill thousands of civilians, destroy infrastructure, and contaminate the food and water supply. Experts worry a nuclear exchange between Russia and the U.S. could happen accidentally, even if neither side intentionally wanted one. History shows the potential is there.
- Cuban Missile Crisis, a misplaced tape: When the world came close to nuclear disaster.
- Ukraine news: Russia arrests 8, including 5 Russians, in Crimean bridge bombing; Pentagon derides ‘nuclear saber-rattling.’ Wednesday’s updates.
🌤 What’s the weather up to in your neck of the woods? Check your local forecast here.
Unlocking the human brain with rats?
These rats have human brains in their brains. Yeah, that might sound like the newest Halloween special on Netflix, but this is real. Dr. Sergiu Pașca knows that brain conditions can be difficult to understand and treat, so he put clumps of human cells in the brains of rats at his Stanford University lab. Teach a rat that it can get water from a spigot only when its human cells are activated, and it will learn how in about two weeks. Pașca believes his work will eventually help scientists better understand psychiatric conditions – like autism and schizophrenia – and by using cells from typical brains in some rats and cells from people with brain conditions in others, he can see what’s different. Keep reading.
Are these images too similar?
Reader votes are in: Yesterday, I asked you to vote on whether two images were just a bit too similar. Out of 168 total votes, 84 of you thought there was no infringement: “Yeah, it’s the same picture, but it’s not EXACTLY the same. Think of the fashion industry.” And 73 readers thought that yes, it is copyright infringement. “I’d be hopping mad if that was my photo of Prince.” The rest of the voters wanted to know what SCOTUS had to say about it. Thanks for voting!
- As it turns out, the Supreme Court on Wednesday was just about as divided as Short List readers. The justices argued for nearly two hours over the case that pits Andy Warhol’s foundation against a photographer who claims copyright infringement on a 1981 photo of Prince. But it’s not so simple: Is it different enough because it’s Warhol? Is a different meaning enough to distinguish the two? Here’s what happened in court.
A break from the news
Laura L. Davis is an Audience Editor at USA TODAY. Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow along with her adventures – and misadventures – on Twitter. Support quality journalism like this? Subscribe to USA TODAY here.
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