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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.


For Clinton, tiny fundraisers equal big campaign money
WASHINGTON (AP) - A single elevator could have accommodated the donors who recently gathered with Hillary Clinton at the Pritzker family home in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. Small in number, the group was big in largesse, contributing at least $1 million to help elect her and other Democrats this fall. It would have taken a 37,000-seat stadium of Bernie Sanders fans each chipping in the campaign's self-described average donation of $27 to raise that much money. In her bid for the White House, Clinton is using every fundraising technique at her disposal, including salon-style gatherings with elite donors. Alongside small-donor efforts like email marketing and happy hours for young professionals, these intimate events are helping Clinton collect as much as $1 billion to battle Republican Donald Trump.


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.


The Latest: Clinton, Biden to campaign in PA together
Hillary Clinton plans to hold her first campaign event with Vice President Joe Biden next week in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, for the state Democratic Party. Biden endorsed Clinton earlier this month and the former secretary of state is scheduled to make her first joint appearance with President Barack Obama in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday. Biden, the former Delaware senator, put out his first fundraising email Wednesday night for Clinton, calling her "a force of nature." He was born in Scranton and lived there for 10 years before moving to Delaware. Clinton has her own Scranton ties: She often notes that her grandfather worked in a lace mill there and her late father, Hugh Rodham, grew up there.


At 150, KKK sees opportunities in US political trends
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Born in the ashes of the smoldering South after the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan died and was reborn before losing the fight against civil rights in the 1960s. Membership dwindled, a unified group fractured, and one-time members went to prison for a string of murderous attacks against blacks. Many assumed the group was dead, a white-robed ghost of hate and violence. Yet today, the KKK is still alive and dreams of restoring itself to what it once was: an invisible white supremacist empire spreading its tentacles throughout society. As it marks 150 years of existence, the Klan is trying to reshape itself for a new era


Palestinian kills Israeli girl, 13, sleeping in her bedroom
JERUSALEM (AP) - A Palestinian youth sneaked into a fortified Jewish settlement in the West Bank on Thursday, broke into a home and stabbed to death a 13-year-old Israeli-American girl as she slept in bed before frantic security guards arrived and killed him. The girl, identified as Hallel Yaffa Ariel, became the youngest Israeli victim of a nine-month wave of violence that has seen dozens of Palestinian attacks. The early-morning stabbing, carried out by a 17-year-old Palestinian high school dropout, was among the most brazen attacks so far, drawing angry accusations and calls from Israeli leaders for the world to condemn the incident.


Wildlife officials hunt for bear that killed mountain-biker
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Wildlife officials set traps, installed wilderness cameras and scouted the woods by helicopter Thursday for the bear that attacked and killed a U.S. Forest Service employee as he rode a mountain bike along a trail outside Glacier National Park. Brad Treat, 38, was knocked off his bike Wednesday after he another rider apparently surprised the bear - a grizzly, according to initial and still-unconfirmed accounts - in the Flathead National Forest, authorities said. The other rider, whose name was not released, went to get help and was not hurt. Bears that attack humans are killed if it is found that they displayed predatory behavior, such as stalking the person, or consumed their victim.