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Rapid Reads: 7 Big stories of the day

It’s Wednesday, but we’ll spare you the “hump day” jokes. Instead, check out the CliffsNotes version of your morning news. Here are the top stories everyone will be talking about:

1. The Pope is in town

Pope Francis is in the U.S. for his very first visit. He arrived yesterday afternoon and will embark on a six-day tour that includes addressing both congress and the UN, as well as holding Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Pope Francis has recently spoken out about climate change and relaxed the church’s stance on homosexuality. He’s more open-minded than much of our current congress, so it will be interesting to see how they respond to his visit. In related news, Chinese president Xi Jinping is also here for his first visit. Apparently, it’s a party in the USA. — The Washington Post

More: Susan Sarandon morbidly predicts Pope Francis will be assassinated in America

2. Why are we still debating this?

Yesterday, Senate Democrats successfully blocked a 20-week abortion ban. The bill passed the House earlier this summer but received only 54 of the 60 votes needed to advance in the Senate. Only about 1 percent of abortions are done after 20 weeks gestational age, and they’re usually due to the discovery of a serious issue that affects either the health of the mother or the baby’s ability to thrive. The current law allows women to obtain abortions up to the 27th week of pregnancy, and it looks like it’s going to stay that way for the time being. On Friday, the Senate will vote on the measure to defund Planned Parenthood that passed the House late last week. Hopefully, they’ll swat that one away like an obnoxious fly as well. — USA Today

3. Make a change

The Los Angeles City Council will declare a state of emergency on homelessness today. Council President Herb Wesson will also pledge $100 million to be spent on services for the homeless, including permanent housing and shelter programs. About 45,000 homeless people live in Los Angeles County, and recent stats show more than half of them live within city limits. The council says ending homelessness is a “moral imperative,” and they can’t keep using the same dysfunctional programs and hoping for different results. The next step is for the mayor to release a plan to try to eradicate homelessness citywide. — CBS Los Angeles

More: 9-Year-old girl pays it forward one homeless shelter at a time

4. This will be amazing

Ta-Nehisi Coates, an influential writer and correspondent for The Atlantic, has been asked by Marvel Comics to author a new Black Panther story slated for release next spring. In May, Coates interviewed Sana Amanat, a Marvel editor, about diversity in comics. After that, they reached out to him and started discussions to revamp Black Panther, the first black superhero who was created in 1966. Coates was most recently nominated for the National Book Award for nonfiction for his book, Between The World And Me. He’s also apparently a huge Marvel fan, so we can’t wait to see what he comes up with. — The New York Times

5. Birthday wishes come true

A federal judge has ruled that all copyright claims on “Happy Birthday” are invalid. That means after more than 80 years, the tune is finally considered a public work and free for use by anyone. You might not have known it, but for years filmmakers, restaurants, and others who wanted to use the song had to get permission and pay royalties. That’s why so many restaurants came up with their own awful, obnoxious versions of it. Now, they can sing whatever they want. Or they could just not sing. Can we start that campaign? — The Los Angeles Times

More: Amy Winehouse singing ‘Happy Birthday’ at 14 is beautiful and haunting (VIDEO)

6. One of the greats

Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra died last night at the age of 90. He was one of the greatest catchers in baseball history, but was also known for his “humorous malapropisms.” For example, the phrase “it ain’t over ’til it’s over” is a Yogi Berra original. Berra helped the Yankees win 10 World Series Championships and holds several World Series records. He passed away of natural causes at his home in New Jersey. He will be greatly missed.  — CNN

7. Fall is in the building

Today is the autumnal equinox, also known as the first day of fall. On the equinox, day and night are both approximately 12 hours long, and all of your food and drinks get sprinkled with pumpkin spice. Just kidding about that last part. Temperatures today will be warmer than average in most of the country, and scientists have already predicted a warmer October than we’re used to. Enjoy it while you can because the winter holidays and snow will be here before you know it. — USA Today

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