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Military eases hairstyle restrictions accused of being racially biased

military hair dosUnited States military branches announced they have loosened grooming requirements that sparked controversy for allegedly targeting the natural hairstyles of African-American soldiers.

The U.S. Army on March 31 banned hairstyles including twists, dreadlocks, some types of braids, and Afros that were previously authorized. Following outcry from black members of the U.S. armed forces, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in April ordered the secretaries of all military branches to review their policies on grooming.

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Obama Authorizes Targeted Airstrikes, Humanitarian Aid In Iraq

ObamaPresident Barack Obama announced Thursday night he had authorized the Pentagon to launch targeted airstrikes if needed to protect Americans from Islamic militants in northern Iraq and help Iraqi security forces protect civilians under siege, threatening to revive U.S. military involvement in the country's long sectarian war.

In a televised late-night statement from the White House, Obama also said American military forces had already carried out airdrops of humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of Iraqi religious minorities desperately in need of food and water.

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Broken Code: Air Force Academy superintendent calls for investigation

AFAU.S. Air Force Academy cadet athletes flouted the sacred honor code by committing sexual assaults, taking drugs, cheating and engaging in other misconduct at wild parties while the service academy focused on winning bowl games and attracting money from alumni and private sources in recent years, a Gazette investigation has found.
The findings are egregious enough that academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson told The Gazette that she has called for an Inspector General's investigation of the athletic department.
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Perry Sending National Guard Troops to Border

Nat'l guard to borderGov. Rick Perry is deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border over the next month to combat what he said Monday were criminals exploiting a surge of children pouring into the U.S. illegally.

Perry, a vocal critic of the White House's response to the border crisis who is himself mulling a second presidential run, said the state has a responsibility to act after "lip service and empty promises" from Washington.

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Military to begin Manning's gender treatment

Chelsea ManningThe Bureau of Prisons has rejected the Army's request to accept the transfer of national security leaker Pvt. Chelsea Manning from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to a civilian facility where she could get better treatment for her gender-identity condition. The military will instead begin the initial treatment.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has approved the Army's recommendation to keep Manning in military custody and start a rudimentary level of gender treatment, a defense official said Thursday. The initial gender treatments could include allowing Manning to wear some female undergarments and also possibly provide some hormone treatments.

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Freed Taliban captive Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl reportedly returns to active duty

BergdahlSgt. Bowe Bergdahl, released in May after five years as a Taliban prisoner of war in Afghanistan, will return to active duty Monday, The New York Times reported. According to the newspaper, the move is intended to further aid the former captive's return to life in the U.S. after his captivity.

Bergdahl’s return from Afghanistan was fraught with controversy, as fellow soldiers accused him of desertion, saying the initial search for the sergeant led to the deaths of U.S. troops. An Army investigation into the circumstances of Bergdahl’s ordeal continues.

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Native American veterans face lonely battle against PTSD

Native American vetsOn Oct. 11, 2013, 37-year-old Watts was taken to the Gallup Indian Medical Center on the border of the Navajo Nation. He had blood clots in his lungs and pneumonia, and his heart — damaged by chronic and heavy alcohol use — was unable to provide oxygen to his body anymore.

Only a year before, Watts had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. His doctor told him that if he didn’t stop drinking he would die, but he didn’t listen.

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