The Pentagon confirmed Friday it will not allow rainbow pride flags to fly at military facilities in celebration of Pride Month. That fell in line with the Pentagon's 2020 decision to permit only certain flags at Department of Defense installations.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told reporters the DOD chose not to make an exception to the existing flag policy after careful consideration.
Along with the American flag, the current policy implemented under the Trump administration authorizes flags representing states and U.S. territories, military services, prisoners of war and missing in action, national flags of U.S. allies and a handful of others.
"This in no way reflects any lack of respect or admiration for people of the LGBTQ+ community, personnel in and out of uniform who serve in this department," Kirby said. "We're proud of them."
The flag policy was put into place last July to bar the display of the Confederate flag without specifically referencing it, as NPR previously reported.
The Ship Sinking Off Sri Lanka Looks Like A Lasting Environmental Disaster
A sinking cargo ship off the coast of Sri Lanka is causing an environmental disaster for the country that looks set to have long-term effects.
The X-Press Pearl caught fire on May 20 and burned for two weeks, but the fire appears to have mostly burned out. The crew was evacuated. The ship is now partially sitting on the seabed with its front settling down slowly.
Its cargo is the concern: The ship was carrying dangerous chemicals, including 25 tons of nitric acid and 350 tons of fuel oil. The ship's operator says oil has not spilled so far. But what's already having an impact on beaches nearby are the 78 metric tons of plastic called nurdles — the raw material used to make most types of plastic products.
Wave after wave of plastic pellets are washing ashore. The ship is about 5 miles from the nearest beach.
"It's a beach that I've been to many times before," says marine biologist Asha de Vos. "It's that idyllic tropical beach with the palm trees and the beautiful sand."
Overseas Bank Helped Recover IRS Stimulus Checks To Non-Americans. It Didn't Go Well
When Congress rushed to flood the U.S. economy with stimulus money during the pandemic, it prioritized speed over accuracy. That decision resulted in the U.S. Treasury mistakenly sending more than a billion dollars in economic impact payments to dead people and to citizens of other countries who are not eligible for the money.
Now, the IRS is trying to get back some of those stimulus checks, creating legal mayhem overseas — even as it repeats the mistake that caused the problem.
In the Western Pacific Ocean islands of Micronesia, dozens of customers have sued the Bank of Guam, saying it illegally seized stimulus deposits totaling more than $400,000, and in some cases returned them to the IRS.
One of those customers is Craig Reffner, a lawyer who moved from the United States to Micronesia about 25 years ago but has kept his U.S. citizenship and files U.S. taxes, which made him eligible for the stimulus money.
When Reffner's first check, for $1,200, arrived in the spring of 2020, he deposited it in his account at the Bank of Guam. When his second check, for $600, arrived earlier this year, he did the same thing — but the bank put a hold on the payment.
End of lockdown poses Boris Johnson one of his toughest decisions
At some point towards the end of next week Boris Johnson will make one of the trickier decisions even of this pandemic period: whether to lift the final tranche of Covid rules. Some of those watching the closest will be his own MPs.
The PM and his aides will be mindful of both the more vocal lockdown dissenters centred on the Covid Recovery Group, and also for any signs that a wider group of Tory backbenchers could be setting themselves against delay.
Conservative MPs’ views about whether to shed the bulk of restrictions in England as planned on 21 June remain distinctly mixed, and there are those who say they could imagine selling the idea of a brief delay to constituents, particularly given the threat of high-transmissible Covid variants.
UK reports 6,238 daily Covid cases amid fears over Delta variant infectiousness
The Delta variant of coronavirus is 30% to 100% more transmissible than the previously dominant variant, Prof Neil Ferguson has warned, as the number of daily reported Covid cases exceeded 6,000 for the first time since March.
In one of a number of signs of a third wave, Office for National Statistics data suggested infection levels in England rose by about 75% in a week, with 85,600 people thought to have had Covid in the week ending 29 May – or one in 640 people - compared with 48,500 the week before.
The estimated R number for England is now 1.0 to 1.2, up from 1.0 to 1.1 last week. More than three-quarters of UK adults have now received their first vaccine dose, which ministers hope will break the link between cases and hospitalisations or deaths.
Two trains collide in Pakistan, at least 25 passengers killed - AP
Two express trains have collided in southern Pakistan and at least 25 passengers were killed, the Associated Press reported on Monday, citing police and rescue officials.
The Millat Express derailed and the Sir Syed Express train hit it soon afterward, the AP said.
UN ‘outraged’ as death toll in Burkina Faso attack rises to 132
Gunmen have killed at least 132 people in Burkina Faso’s volatile north, the government said, as the United Nations chief condemned “the heinous attack” and called on countries to step up the fight against “violent extremism”.
The assailants struck during the night on Friday, killing residents of the village of Solhan in Yagha province, which borders Niger. They also burned homes and the village market, according to a government statement on Saturday.
The victims included seven children.
Another 40 residents were also wounded, government spokesman Ousseni Tamboura told reporters.
President Roch Marc Christian Kabore called the killings “barbaric” and said the Burkinabe people “must remain united and solid against these obscurantist forces”.
No group has claimed responsibility so far.
The overnight assault was the deadliest recorded in years in Burkina Faso.
Deutsche Welle (Beer News)
Bundeswehr has to ship beer back from Afghanistan
The German army (Bundeswehr) is planning to bring back 65,000 cans of beer from Afghanistan.
According to a report from the German news magazine Der Spiegel, about 20,000 liters of beer, as well as 340 bottles of wine and Sekt (sparkling wine), and an unknown amount of shandy have to come back to Germany.
Commander Ansgar Meyer imposed a ban on German soldiers drinking alcohol during the last part of the withdrawal from the country. The report said it is because of the potential for attacks in the area. The German army was also not allowed to sell the alcohol to local troops for legal and religious reasons, according to Operations Command.
After unending conflicts, Gazans wrestle with rebuilding — and whether it’s worth it
For the 2 million residents of Gaza, last month’s hostilities were just the latest in an endless cycle of war, the fourth to convulse the Palestinian enclave along the Mediterranean in just 13 years.
The latest fighting was impossible to escape as Israel struck more than 1,500 targets in the Gaza Strip. Hamas and other Gaza-based militants fired more than 4,300 rockets, wreaking terror on the other side of the border.
More than two weeks after the cease-fire, life has returned; even beach cafes have reopened. But existence remains shaped by destruction and reconstruction.
Families are being forced once more to rebuild and repair their homes, their businesses and what they can of their lives — their suffering compounded by losses on top of losses, trauma on top of trauma. BEIT LAHIA, Gaza — After significant damage to family property in three of Gaza’s four conflicts since 2008, Kayan Abu Safiya is not sure it is worth rebuilding.
Cheetah: The world's fastest cat is returning to India
If all goes well, eight cheetahs - five males and three females - will make the 8,405km (5,222 miles) journey from South Africa to their new home in a sprawling national park in India in November.
The world's fastest land animal will make a comeback in India, more than half a century after it became extinct in the country.
"Finally we have the resources and the habitat to reintroduce the cat," says Yadvendradev Jhala, dean of the Wildlife Institute of India, and one of the experts tasked with the effort. This is the first time in the world, he says, when a large carnivore will be relocated from one continent to another for conservation.
With their black spotted coats and teardrop marks, the cheetah is a sleek animal, racing across grasslands at speeds touching 70 miles (112km) an hour to capture prey. The cat is also a remarkably athletic animal, breaking, ducking and diving as it goes for the kill.
The vast majority of the 7,000 cheetahs in the world are now found in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. The endangered cat was reportedly last sighted in India in 1967-68, but their numbers had vastly dwindled by 1900.