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5 US soldiers sue Trump over ban on transgender military service

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Washington, Aug 10, 2017: Five US active-duty transgender troops on Wednesday sued President Donald Trump in a Washington federal court over Trump’s tweets about a possible ban on transgender people from serving in the US military.

They are arguing that the president’s related tweets have impinged on their constitutional rights, and, though there is no concrete new policy from the White House yet, they have already been harmed because they no longer have a reasonable expectation they can continue serving.

“The directive to reinstate a ban on open service by transgender people violates both the Equal Protection component of the Fifth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution,” says a complaint filed by two LGBTQ groups on behalf of the five anonymous soldiers, listed only as Jane Doe 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

“The categorical exclusion of transgender people from military service lacks a rational basis, is arbitrary, and cannot be justified by sufficient federal interests,” the complaint filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia wrote.

The five plaintiffs in the lawsuit have nearly 60 years of combined service, according to the groups, namely the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House spokeswoman, said the White House “will work with the Department of Defense to lawfully implement the policy,” but revealing no details about how or when such a policy would be released.

“As is with any ongoing litigation we cannot comment on it,” she told BuzzFeed News in an email on Wednesday.

On July 26, Trump tweeted that the US military “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” claiming he had consulted with “generals and military experts” before making the decision.

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you,” he said in another tweet.

However, Pentagon so far hasn’t promulgated such a ban. US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said the next day that Pentagon would not change the current policy until the White House issued further “guidance.”

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates there are more than 15,000 transgender troops in the US military. The RAND Corporation estimates there are between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender personnel in the active service and between 830 and 4,160 in the selected reserve.

According to a report released by the Palm Center on Wednesday, it would cost 960 million dollars for Pentagon to recruit and train replacements for the estimated 12,800 transgender troops serving in the US armed forces.

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Philippines President Duterte calls God ‘stupid’

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Rodrigo Duterte

Infuriating the Catholic population in the country,Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte courted controversy after he called God “stupid” for the concept of “original sin” in the Bible’s creation story.

Duterte’s provocative comments about God come in the wake of the recent killing of three Catholic clergymen in the Philippines.Duterte, in recounting the Catholic Church’s version of the Adam and Eve creation myth, stated: “Adam ate it then malice was born. Who is this stupid God?”

“You created something perfect and then you think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of your work,” he added.

“That was your mother and father’s deed,” Duterte extrapolated to the audience, adding, “you weren’t born yet, but now you have original sin. What kind of religion is that? I can’t accept it,Media reported quoted Duterte as saying.

Addressing a summit in Davao City on Friday, Duterete said that he had issues with the Bible and questioned God’s logic, calling him “stupid.”
The Philippine strongman continued in a similar vein, remarking: “That son of a bitch is stupid if that’s the case.”

After Duterte made those remarks, the Catholic Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, Socrates Villegas, released a statement criticizing the cursing of God.

“The list of cuss words against God is endless. God is still God and those who have cursed Him are now dust,” Villegas, former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said on June 10.

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25 injured in Germany building explosion

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IED Blast

Berlin, June 24 (IANS) At least 25 people were injured in an explosion that ripped through a building in Germany’s Wuppertal city, police said on Sunday.

The explosion took place late Saturday night with fire fighters still trying to douse the flames in different parts of the building as of Sunday morning, reports Express News.

The cause of the explosion remains unclear.

“It can currently not be ruled out that there are still other people in the building. The rescue efforts are ongoing,” a police officer said.

Four of the injured were reported to be critical.

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Erdogan seeks second term as Turkey votes to elect President, Parliament

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Ankara, June 24 : Turkish voters are going to polls to to decide whether to grant President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a second five-year term and for a new Parliament.

This elections is considered as  the most fiercely fought elections for Erdogan and his Islamist rooted AK party that has ruled Turkey for 15 years.

Erdogan is facing major challenge from Muharrem Ince from the main opposition Republican People’s Party as country’s economic condition has worsened  and national security is also one of  the  main electoral issue.

If Erdogan is elected , democracy will be weakened as he  narrowly won a referendum last year to convert the country’s parliamentary system to a powerful executive presidency.Whoever wins will be given sweeping new powers, as the role of Prime Minister is dissolved and the President gains the authority to issue laws by decree.

He implemented policies that encouraged sustained economic growth and development, challenged Turkey’s secular foundations by bringing Islamic conservatism to public life and gutted public institutions by having tens of thousands of people arrested following a failed military coup in 2016.

 

There are a total of 56,322,632 registered voters with 180,065 ballot boxes across the country.

Voting started at 8 a.m. and will continue till 5.00 p.m and voters are casting two separate ballot papers in the same envelope — one for the presidential and one for the parliamentary elections.

After the voting ends, ballots cast for the presidential candidates will be counted first.

Some 1.49 million expats voted in a 13-day period between June 7-19 at 123 Turkish missions abroad.

Six candidates are running for president: incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the People’s Alliance formed by the Justice and Development (AK) Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Muharrem Ince from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Selahattin Demirtas for Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Meral Aksener for the newly formed Good (IYI) Party, Temel Karamollaoglu for the Felicity (Saadet) Party, and Dogu Perincek for the Patriotic (Vatan) Party, Anadolu reported.

If none of the candidates gain a clear majority, Turkey will hold a run-off presidential vote on July 8

For the parliamentary polls, eight political parties are in the fray.

 

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