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Washington just became the first state to legalize the composting of human bodies as an alternative to burial or cremation. In composting, which advocates say is an environmentally friendly process, a body is "covered in natural materials, like straw or wood chips, and over the course of about three to seven weeks...it breaks down into soil," says Katrina Spade, CEO of the human composting company Recompose. Above, Spade is pictured in a Seattle cemetery holding a sample of compost material left from the decomposition of a cow. To learn more, follow @cnnclimate. (📸: Elaine Thompson/AP)
Braxton Moral graduated from his high school in Kansas on Sunday, and on May 30, the 17-year-old is set to receive his undergraduate degree from Harvard University. Moral's parents enrolled him in Harvard Extension School when he was just 11, he told CNN. "My parents noticed I was bored in school and needed something to inspire growth, so they ended up finding the Extension School," he said. The busy teen isn't slowing down now; he plans on attending law school and is currently writing a book. (📸: Mandy Moral/Facebook)
A record-breaking spring storm dumped three inches of snow around the Denver airport on Tuesday, and other parts of the state got as much as six inches of snow. Believe it or not, it's not unusual for it to snow in the Mile High City this late in the season. Denver averages around one inch of snow during the month of May, and it has snowed during May in 52 of the last 70 years. (📸: Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette via AP)
"When it all gets down to it, we're saving lives," says Akbar Cook, the principal of West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey. Cook founded and directs Lights On, a program that gives students a safe place to go on Friday nights, when crime and gun violence are prevalent. In the past three years, Cook says, West Side hasn't lost any students to gun violence.
This high school senior got a huge graduation day surprise when her father, a deployed Army commander, surprised her onstage after years apart. "I felt like I was hugging him for hours. I felt like I was hugging him a little bit too long," said graduate Kayla Tillman. Kayla said her dad had been serving in South Korea and has been in the Army since she was in the second grade.
Across the US on Tuesday, abortion-rights advocates flooded town squares and statehouses, chanting and carrying signs to protest new state laws that criminalize or sharply restrict abortions. "Across the country, we are seeing a new wave of extreme bans on abortion, stripping away reproductive freedom and representing an all-out assault on abortion access," organizers said. Using the hashtag #StopTheBans, the protesters spoke up for reproductive freedom. (📸: Matt Rourke/AP, Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images, Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images, Kevin Lamarque/Reuters and CNN’s @kokomodianne)
Elmo has a new friend on “Sesame Street” named Karlie, and she’s helping highlight the stories of foster families. Karli's appearances contain lessons for foster families -- like the importance of stability and a sense of belonging -- as well as explanations for children, told through the eyes of Elmo. May is National Foster Care Month in the US, and there are more than 440,000 children and youth in foster care, according to the US Department of Health and Human Service's Children's Bureau. (📸: @sesamestreet) #sesamestreet
One of motor racing's greatest drivers has died. Niki Lauda was a three-time Formula One champion with Ferrari and McLaren in 1975, 1977 and 1984 -- with two of the wins coming after a crash that almost cost him his life. At the 1976 German Grand Prix, Lauda collided with a barrier and his car went up in flames. He inhaled toxic fumes and suffered horrific burns that left him close to death and with permanent facial scaring. Nevertheless, he returned to racing just six weeks later. Lauda died on Monday at the age of 70 following a period of declining health. In a 2016 interview with CNN, Lauda warned that introducing too many safety measures would damage Formula One. "My opinion is, if we continue only to think of making it 110% about the safety issues, we're going to destroy Formula One." (📸: ERWIN SCHERIAU/AFP/Getty Images via @cnnsport)
Pedestrians could soon be fined between $25 and $250 for using portable electronic devices while crossing the road, thanks to a bill in the New York State Senate. The statewide ban would include texting, checking emails, browsing the internet, with exceptions for emergencies. Honolulu passed a similar law in 2017 — which appeared to be the first of its kind — known as the “distracted pedestrian” law. (📸: Getty Images)
Monday marked a historic day in Chicago as the city inaugurated its first African American lesbian mayor, Lori Lightfoot. The 56-year-old Democrat, who is a former assistant US attorney, defeated Toni Preckwinkle in a runoff election last month. Lightfoot is now one of just 19 black women in US history to have led a city with a population of more than 100,000.
Watch billionaire investor Robert F. Smith get a standing ovation after announcing that he will pay off student loan debt for Morehouse College graduates 👏🎓 The exact amount to be covered for the 396 students graduating from the historically black college is still being calculated, school President David Thomas told CNN on Monday, but the sum will likely be in the tens of millions of dollars. Thomas called Smith's gesture "a liberation gift."