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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Thursday asked state residents to voluntarily reduce household water usage by 15% due to worsening drought conditions.

State of play: Newsom is yet to issue a California-wide state of emergency or mandate any water use restrictions. However, on Thursday, he expanded his regional drought state of emergency to apply to 50 of the state's 58 counties, which includes about 42% of the population, Newsom said.

  • Newsom encouraged residents to take shorter showers, run dishwashers only when completely full and refrain from watering lawns.

By the numbers: As of late June, 33% of the state was under 'exceptional' drought conditions, the most severe classification by the Energy Information Administration, Axios' Ben Geman writes.

What they're saying: "We’re hopeful that people will take that mindset they brought into the last drought and extend that forward with a 15%, voluntary reduction, not only on residences, but industrial commercial operations and agricultural operation," Newsom said.

Go deeper: Tallying the Western drought's toll on California hydropower

Go deeper

California bans "stealthing," nonconsensual condom removal

Photo: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Thursday signed a bill outlawing "stealthing," the nonconsensual removal of a condom during intercourse.

Why it matters: The move makes California the first state to ban the act, the New York Times reports.

2 hours ago - World

Report: LGBTQ+ Afghans' lives "dramatically worsened" under Taliban rule

Taliban fighters in Kabul, Afghanistan, earlier this month. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

LGBTQ+ Afghans have been threatened, attacked and "faced an increasingly desperate situation and grave threats to their safety" since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last August, per a report published Wednesday.

What they're saying: "We spoke with LGBT Afghans who have survived gang rape, mob attacks, or have been hunted by their own family members who joined the Taliban, and they have no hope that state institutions will protect them," per a statement from study co-author J. Lester Feder.

4 hours ago - World

Canadian Indigenous group finds 93 suspected unmarked graves

A makeshift memorial honoring the 215 children whose remains were found in a mass grave in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, last May. Photo: Cole Burston/AFP via Getty Images

Indigenous leaders in Canada's western province of British Columbia said Tuesday they believe they've found 93 unmarked graves near a former boarding school.

The big picture: Hundreds of mass graves have been found at the grounds of former residential schools for Indigenous children since last May, when the remains of 215 children were uncovered at one such site in B.C.