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On Friday, March 23, 2018, President Trump vowed officially to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

A memorandum issued in the White House and determined by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stated that transgender people are “disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances.”

The memorandum, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, states that “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria — individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery — are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”

Mattis will have some leeway in implementing the policy, the memo states, as will Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen when it comes to the Coast Guard. The pair “may exercise their authority to implement any appropriate policies concerning military service by transgender individuals,” the memo reads.

LGBT advocates quickly denounced the move.

“There is simply no way to spin it, the Trump-Pence Administration is going all in on its discriminatory, unconstitutional and despicable ban on transgender troops,” Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said in a statement.

“Donald Trump and Mike Pence are pushing their extreme anti-transgender prejudices onto the military over the overwhelming objections of bipartisan officials, national security leaders, and the American public,” Griffin added.

“The Trump-Pence administration’s continued insistence on targeting our military families for discrimination is appalling, reckless, and unpatriotic,” added American Military Partner Association president Ashley Broadway-Mack.

The Palm Center, a group that promotes the study of LGBT people in the military, accused the Pentagon of having “distorted the science on transgender health to prop up irrational and legally untenable discrimination that will erode military readiness.”

“There is no evidence to support a policy that bars from military service patriotic Americans who are medically fit and able to deploy. Our troops and our nation deserve better,” the group said.

In some of his tweets last year, the incumbent president of the United States called for a ban on transgender troops and followed up later in August by issuing a memo banning transgender people from being enlisted.

The ban has since been battled over in court, with Mattis in February giving Trump a final recommendation. It was expected that he would recommend Trump allow transgender troops to remain in the military.

A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on Mattis’s recommendation in February, only confirming that the Defense chief had advised the president on the subject.

Several federal courts blocked Trump’s initial ban, with one ruling in November that the military would be forced to resume accepting transgender recruits starting this year.

In February, the Pentagon confirmed that one transgender recruit had joined a branch of the military after the ban was lifted due to the court order. That individual passed all tests including medical, officials said.

It’s unclear what Trump’s decision will mean for that unnamed recruit and the estimated thousands of other transgender Americans currently serving active duty in the military.

While the exact number of transgender individuals in active duty service is unknown, a 2016 Rand Corporation study commissioned by the Pentagon estimated the number to be anywhere from 1,320 and 6,630, with 830 to 4,160 others serving in the reserves.


Mark Zuckerberg renders apology for a range of problems that have beset Facebook



Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has rendered an apology to the U.S. Congress committee members for a breach of privacy of its users. Mark was chided vehemently by the lawmakers, and, therefore, courteously apologized to the U.S Congress for such precarious mishappenings to Facebook users.

He also apologized for a range of problems that have beset Facebook, including the lack of data protection, but failed to vow to the support of new regulations.

Zuckerberg has been questioned by US Congress committee members over the past two days. He is to answer questions on how his company handled data in the wake of a massive users’ privacy breach.

But what can come out of his testimony? And what steps can be taken to ensure better privacy for social media users?

Presenter: Folly Bah Thibault


Larry Magid – CEO of

Jennifer Pybus – lecturer of digital culture and society at King’s College London

Jim Anderson – CEO of Social Flow


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There’s a baby on the way – Disney Star Tiffany Thornton announced she is expecting her third child



There’s a baby on the way – Disney Star Tiffany Thornton announced she is expecting her third child, and her husband, Josiah Capaci was beside himself with joy after hearing this news from his darling.

Tiffany Thornton, best known for her role as Tawni Hart on Sonny With a Chance and its spinoff, So Random!, posted a picture of her two sons, Kenneth James Carney and Bentley Cash Carney, with her late husband Chris Carney, who was killed in a car crash in 2015. The two little boys have in their hands, a sign over a DockATot baby lounger when the picture was posted and read, “A new best friend coming Nov. 2018.”

Tiffany married to Josiah in 2017, and along with the cute photo she posted, she added a bible verse which reads, “‘For this child, I have prayed, and the Lord has granted the desires of my heart.’ 1 Samuel 1:27.”

It was a distasteful news for Tiffany on December 4, 2015, when it was reported that her former husband, Chris had been killed in a car crash along with one of his childhood friends. Chris was a probation officer and former lead singer of the band The Prom Kings.

In February 2016, on the eve of Bentley’s second birthday, Tiffany wrote on Instagram that she was heartbroken after realizing her “husband/love of my life/best friend in the whole world/confidant/encourager won’t be there with us.”

She wrote on Instagram, “I know God is the supplier of peace in the midst of storms and I draw all my strength from my belief in Him, but some days are just harder than others and today was one of those days.”

Luckily a couple of years later, things have changed for the better


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Middle East

Trump sends warning to Russia after it vowed it would shoot down any US missiles fired at Syria



Trump sends warning to Russia after it vowed it would shoot down any US missiles fired at Syria. In a tweet, the U.S. President said, “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

The tweet was in a reply to the Russian ambassador to Lebanon who said in interview on Tuesday with Hezbollah-owned al-Manar TV that “if there is a US missile attack, we – in line with both Putin and Russia’s chief of staff’s remarks – will shoot down US rockets and even the sources that launched the missiles”.

This statement by the Russian Ambassador to Lebanon infuriated Donald Trump and hence, criticized Russia for supporting the Wednesday’s tweet by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad saying, it “shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, in a rebuttal to Trump’s tweet, said: “Smart missiles should fly towards terrorists, not [Syria’s] lawful government, which has spent several years fighting against international terrorism on its territory.”

The warnings were as a result of the threat that the United States and several European countries used against the Syrian government and its chief ally, Russia, in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on the rebel-held town of Douma.

It was reported late Wednesday that military equipment was being moved from Syrian bases.

“We don’t have any open source information which can verify Syrian movement [of military equipment], but we are supposing this is true,” said Ruslan Leviev, a Moscow-based military researcher with Conflict Intelligence Team, a research organization which investigates conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.

“They moved some of their equipment to Hmeimim. This is a logical step,” said Leviev.

In view of this, Russia is currently operating Hmeimim airbase, which is located in Latakia province, and it has deployed dozens of ground troops and warplanes.

Russia and U.S. drafted a rival resolution on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in order to set up a new expert body to probe chemical weapons attacks in Syria but all efforts proved futile at the United Nations Security Council.

U.S. defense secretary, James Mattis, also failed to rule out any military action against Assad’s forces, while US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, warned Washington was ready to “respond” to the attack regardless of whether the Security Council acted or not.

Russia has vowed to retaliate as Vladimir Shamanov, chairman of the defense affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament, told Russia’s Ria Novosti news agency during an interview on Wednesday.

“Russia has a decent weapon. If there are attempts to test it out, they will get a worthy response,” he said.

Syria is on the alert after being threatened by the U.S. military forces and has, therefore, armed itself to respond to any U.S. missile.

President Assad launched a bloody offensive on Eastern Ghouta with a strong assistance from Russia, which had been under rebel control since mid-2013.

According to the UN, this bloody offensive launched by President Assad has claimed more than 1,600 civilian lives and internally displaced more than 45,000 people.

Trump later tweeted that Russian-US relations are “worse now” than ever before.

In a conclusion, the U.S President said: “There is no reason for this. Russia needs us to help with their economy, something that would be very easy to do, and we need all nations to work together. Stop the arms race?”


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