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Wednesday, Jan 23rd

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Supreme Court allows transgender military ban to go into effect

SCOTUS allows transgender ban in military to go on, temporarilyThe Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump's transgender military ban to go into effect on Tuesday, dealing a blow to LGBT activists who call the ban cruel and irrational.
The Justices did not rule on the merits of the case, but will allow the ban to go forward while the lower courts work through it.
The Justices did not rule on the merits of the case, but will allow the ban to go forward while the lower courts work through it. The four liberal justices on the Court objected to allowing the administration's policy banning most transgender people from serving in the military to go into effect.
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Navy sub commander relieved of duty for hiring prostitutes in Philippines

USS Bremerton sub commander hired prostitutes

The commander of a Navy submarine was relieved of duty last summer after admitting to investigators that he paid for “female accompaniment” while the boat was in port in the Philippines.

Capt. Travis Zettel was relieved of duty in August following a loss of confidence in his ability to command the fast attack submarine USS Bremerton, which is now tied up in Bremerton for decommissioning.

The incident occurred March 1 while the sub was ported in Subic Bay, according to documents released to the Kitsap Sun under a federal Freedom of Information Act request. NCIS agents interviewed a tipster to the Department of Defense Inspector General’s hotline that Zettel had told him and another sailor at a hotel pool that Zettel had “requested/ordered ten girls to arrive at the hotel.” Later, at dinner, the sailor saw Zettel with around 10 “provocatively dressed females outside the front door of the hotel.”

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Syria troop withdrawal under way, says US-led coalition

Syria troop withdrawal has begun

The US-led coalition in Syria has begun withdrawing troops, a military official has said, after days of back and forth over Donald Trump’s surprise announcement of a rapid drawdown of the US presence in the country.

Col Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State, said the process of deliberate withdrawal from Syria had started, but declined to comment on specific timetables or movements.

There were no other details, and it was not immediately clear how many vehicles or whether any troop units had withdrawn.

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Two Marines, Navy corpsman under investigation in Iraq death of contractor and former Green Beret

Navy personnel accused in killing of contractor in Iraq

Two Marines and a Navy corpsman are under investigation in the death of a Lockheed Martin contractor in northern Iraq.

The New York Times reported the American contractor was severely wounded in a scuffle on New Year’s Eve in Erbil, Iraq, and was transported to Landstuhl, Germany, where he was pronounced dead Friday.

The Daily Beast identified the Lockheed contractor as Rick Rodriguez, a former Green Beret with nearly twenty years of service in the Army.

“Lockheed Martin was saddened to learn of the loss of one of our employees, who was fatally injured while supporting Special Operations Forces within the Operation Inherent Resolve area of operations in a non-combat related incident,” a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told Marine Corps Times in an emailed statement.

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Federal appeals court sides with Trump on military transgender ban, but injunctions remain in place

Military transgender ban upheld by courtA powerful federal appeals court in the nation's capital sided with the Trump administration Friday on its military transgender ban, but other courts' blockades of the policy remain in effect.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the partial ban announced by the Pentagon, but never implemented, should not have been blocked by a district court while it was being challenged.

The three judges on the panel were appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

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Gen. Stanley McChrystal: I Wouldn’t Work For ‘Immoral’ Trump

Gen, Stanley McChrystal would not work for TrumpRetired Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal slammed Donald Trump in an interview Sunday, saying he considers the president “immoral” and wouldn’t work in his administration because of concerns about Trump’s honesty.

“It’s important for me to work for people who are basically honest,” McChrystal said on ABC’s This Week.

ABC interviewer Martha Raddatz asked McChrystal, who resigned as the head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2010 after a Rolling Stone profile in which he and his aides criticized the Obama administration, whether he thinks Trump is “immoral.” “I think he is,” McChrystal said.

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' exit prompts concern from Europe to Asia

World worried about Mattis resignation

The Europeans were unnerved. The Russians skeptical. The Chinese stayed silent.

The revelation that after two years in the job, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was resigning citing policy differences with President Donald Trump led to dismay on Friday but also a period of reflection among longstanding American allies and adversaries.

"A morning of alarm in Europe," former Swedish prime minister and now chairman of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank, Carl Bildt wrote on Twitter.

"SecDef Mattis is the remaining strong bond across the Atlantic in the Trump administration. All the others are fragile at best or broken at worst," he added.

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