A US federal judge has blocked three new abortion restrictions from happening in Arkansas, including one many say would force the state’s only surgical abortion clinic to shut down.

Judge Kristine Baker granted a 14-day temporary restraining order shortly before midnight on Tuesday. The order blocks the state from enforcing new laws, which includes the measure prohibiting the procedure from 18 weeks into pregnancy regardless of any health issues to parent or child.

The challenge to the restrictions were filled by ACLU of Arkansas.

A spokeswoman said: “We are so relieved that these bans and restrictions have been temporarily blocked from taking effect. And we are determined to see them blocked for good.”

Under law in Arkansas, only a licensed physician can perform abortions.

MEANWHILE, a large British-flagged vessel has transited the Strait of Hormuz, the first passage made by a UK ship since Iran seized the Stena Impero tanker last week.

Maritime publication Lloyd’s List identified the ship as the BW Elm. It reported that the Royal Navy warship HMS Montrose closely shadowed the vessel but did not provide a direct escort.

The ship’s owner declined to comment on specifics but they are “grateful for the UK and international community for their naval presence”.

ELSEWHERE lightning has killed at least 20 people in India, as thunderstorms and heavy rain lash the eastern side of the country, a government official has reported.

Disaster management official Amod Kumar Sharan said the deaths raised the overall death toll in Bihar state to more than 100 from lightning and flooding since the monsoon season started in June.

Last Sunday, 22 people were killed by lightning in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. They were mostly farmers working in the field. Millions of people have been hi by floods, their homes and crops devasted by surging waters in the worst-hit Bihar and Assam states.

AND FINALLY, a right-wing weekly magazine in Poland has sparked outrage by distributing anti-LGBT stickers with their recent edition.

The sticker features a rainbow flag with two black bars across it (top left).

Opposition politicians condemned the stickers, while distribution points including BP Polska gas stations refused the accept the edition, arguing discrimination.

The magazine, called Gazeta Polska, tweeted last week about the distribution, causing the outcry.

A debate on LGBT rights, including the possibility of same-sex marriage, is growing in the predominantly Catholic country ahead of parliamentary elections which are taking place this autumn.