Pentagon ends ban on transgender troops in military WASHINGTON (AP) - Transgender people will be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military, the Pentagon announced Thursday, ending one of the last bans on service in the armed forces. Saying it's the right thing to do, Defense Secretary Ash Carter laid out a yearlong implementation plan declaring that "Americans who want to serve and can meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to compete to do so." "Our mission is to defend this country, and we don't want barriers unrelated to a person's qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine who can best accomplish the mission," Carter said at a Pentagon news conference.
Boris bows out: UK in shock as Johnson drops leadership bid LONDON (AP) - In a real-life political drama mixing Shakespearean tragedy with "House of Cards," Britain's victorious anti-EU campaigner Boris Johnson saw his chances of leading his country evaporate Thursday after the defection of a key ally. The former London mayor dropped his campaign to become Conservative Party leader and prime minister after Justice Secretary Michael Gove abruptly withdrew his support for Johnson and announced he would run himself. Johnson, a prominent campaigner for Britain's withdrawal from the 28-nation European Union, told a news conference where he was expected to announce his candidacy that the next Conservative leader would need to unite the party and ensure Britain's standing in the world.
Turkish official: Attackers were from Russia, Central Asia ISTANBUL (AP) - As the death toll from the Istanbul airport attack rose Thursday to 44, a senior Turkish official said the three suicide bombers who carried it out were from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and police raided neighborhoods for suspects linked to the Islamic State group. Turkish authorities have said all information suggested the Tuesday night attack on Ataturk Airport, one of the world's busiest, was the work of IS, which boasted this week of having cells in Turkey, among other countries. The police raided 16 locations in three neighborhoods on both the Asian and European sides of Istanbul, rounding up 13 people suspected of having links to the Islamic State group.
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Istanbul airport attack victims mourned, honored, praised ISTANBUL (AP) - An adoring father of his four "princesses." A weeping bride-to-be, bent over her fiance's coffin. Two women looking forward to a few days' vacation with their husbands and their infant children. Victims of Tuesday night's attack at Istanbul's main airport have left behind mourning friends and relatives who are now struggling to deal with their loss. Here are some of their stories: --- Teacher Huseyin Tunc, 28, had a difficult childhood. Having lost his father at the age of five, he grew up having to "collect bread out in the streets," according to his mother. As a legacy of his hardscrabble past, Tunc, who worked as electronics teacher at an Istanbul trade school for the past three years, was paying for his siblings' education.
OBAMA LEGACY: Immigration stands as most glaring failure WASHINGTON (AP) - Hours after the Supreme Court sent his immigration policy into legal limbo, President Barack Obama huddled around a long conference table in the Roosevelt Room with disappointed activists. The president looked out at familiar faces, some teary. It had been a long and tough fight, Obama said, and he had taken some beatings - even from supporters who "whupped on me good." He believed his policies would prevail, according to participants in the meeting, but said it was now up to voters and the next president to take up the baton. And with that, Obama delivered his version of a concession speech on a fight that has frustrated him like few others, roiled the campaign to replace him and is certain to test his successor.
Hope and fear as combative president takes over Philippines MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in Thursday as president of the Philippines, with many hoping his maverick style will energize the country but others fearing he could undercut one of Asia's liveliest democracies amid his threats to kill criminals en masse. The 71-year-old former prosecutor and longtime mayor of southern Davao city won a resounding victory in May's elections in his first foray into national politics. He has described himself as the country's first leftist president and said his foreign policy will not be dependent on the United States, a longtime ally. The frugal noontime ceremony at Malacanan, the Spanish colonial- era presidential palace by Manila's murky Pasig River, was a break from tradition sought by Duterte to press the need for austerity amid the country's grinding poverty.
Clinton and Lynch met privately at Phoenix airport NEW YORK (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton spoke with Attorney General Loretta Lynch during an impromptu meeting in Phoenix, but Lynch said the discussion did not involve the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email use as secretary of state. Lynch told reporters that the meeting at a Phoenix airport on Monday was unplanned and happened while the former president was waiting to depart and walked over to the attorney general's plane after she landed there. Lynch was traveling with her husband and said her conversation with the former president "was a great deal about his grandchildren" and their travels. The former president, who recently became a grandfather for the second time, told her he had been playing golf in Arizona and they discussed former Attorney General Janet Reno, whom they both know.
Amid crisis, support grows for Puerto Rico statehood SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Porfirio Guerrero has grown increasingly frustrated as a decade-long recession has sapped business from his tailor shop in the Puerto Rican capital. He now feels the only way for the island to recover is to become a full-fledged part of the United States, a sentiment that is gaining force in the territory. Puerto Ricans have been divided for decades on whether to remain a semi-autonomous commonwealth, push for statehood or break away entirely from the United States. The island's economic crisis - including a $70 billion debt and looming default - have pushed many like Guerrero toward statehood.
Government urges owners of old Hondas to get air bags fixed DETROIT (AP) - The U.S. government is urging owners of 313,000 older Hondas and Acuras to stop driving them and get them repaired after new tests found that their Takata air bag inflators are extremely dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday that it has data showing that chances are as high as 50 percent that the inflators can explode in a crash, injuring people by sending metal shrapnel into the passenger compartments. "These vehicles are unsafe and need to be repaired immediately," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. "Folks should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired." Takata inflators can explode with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister and spewing metal fragments.
A presidential bar and more: Cleveland for conventioneers CLEVELAND (AP) - Conventioneers, political geeks and others heading to the GOP convention in Cleveland, take note: With seven presidents born in Ohio, there's a lot of history here. But what might be the most intriguing presidential-themed site in Cleveland isn't a museum or historic home. Nope. It's a dive bar named for an obscure president who was actually born in New York. It's called the Millard Fillmore Presidential Library, but the only political memorabilia on display is of the goofball variety - like a photo of Mount Rushmore with Fillmore's face plastered in. The drink menu includes a Fillmore Manhattan and beers named Fireside Chat, 21st Amendment and Jackie O's Firefly Amber.