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March 24, 2016
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On Wednesday night, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed a bill that prohibits transgender people in the state from using a restroom or locker room that doesn't match the gender on their birth certificate, bars local governments from passing their own anti-discrimination laws, and bans municipalities from raising the minimum wage above the state level. The Republican-controlled state legislature had called an emergency session on Tuesday to pass the bill, at a cost of $42,000, in order to quash an anti-discrimination ordinance set to take effect in Charlotte on April 1.

The hastily crafted law — which puts in place a statewide nondiscrimination measure that doesn't mention gay or transgender people — passed in the state House, 82-26, and unanimously in the Senate after every Democrat walked out in protest. "We choose not to participate in this farce," explained Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue (D). Republicans argued that the bill was necessary to ensure public safety and preserve the primacy of state law over local measures. "It's common sense — biological men should not me be in women's showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms," said Rep. Dean Arp (R) before the measure passed.

Similar measures prohibiting gender-identity bathroom use recently failed in Tennessee and in South Dakota, where the Republican governor vetoed it. "North Carolina has gone against the trend," said North Carolina ACLU head Sarah Preston. "And they crafted a bill that was more extreme than others. They specifically left gays, lesbians, and the transgender community out of the anti-discrimination policy. They want to make it plain that they think that kind of discrimination is okay."

The three hours of General Assembly debate on Wednesday included public testimony. People supporting the bill focused on the idea that predatory males could go into female bathrooms and sexually abuse people. Those opposed to the measure called that idea nonsense and argued that it can be dangerous and awkward for a transgender person to use a bathroom for his or her birth gender. "I can't use the men's room," said Madeleine Gause, a transgender woman who said she was bullied as a boy in Hickory. "It is unsafe for me.... And it freaks people out when I go to the men's room. Would you want to go to the men's room with me?" Besides, when transgender people go into a restroom, "people aren't getting raped and murdered," she added. "They are just going to the bathroom." Peter Weber

8:12 a.m. ET
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The Pentagon will announce Monday a finalized plan for lifting the military's ban on transgender troops beginning in July. Each branch of the armed services will have a year to determine and implement any resultant changes to uniforms, housing, and recruitment.

The decision is the result of a working group established last summer by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who said at the time he expected to see the ban go — provided the group did not produce evidence it would have an "adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness."

Of the 1.3 million current members of the U.S. military, the Pentagon estimates around 2,500 are transgender and about 65 seek gender reassignment surgery each year. Skeptics of proposals to lift the ban have questioned whether the military will begin including reassignment services in its medical care for soldiers, an issue which was not the primary focus of the Pentagon's research to date. Bonnie Kristian

June 24, 2016
Courtesy Bentley & Skinner

Take heart if you harbor princess aspirations — "tiaras are no longer the sole province of royalty," says Dana Thomas at The Wall Street Journal. The Georgian diamond floral tiara ($210,000) shown here helped trigger the craze when Downton Abbey's Lady Mary Crawley wore it for her 2012 wedding, but just in the past 12 months, fashion houses, including Saint Laurent and Gucci, have introduced glittering diadems into their collections. You could, of course, shop for affordable options, along with other "mere mortals." But London's Bentley & Skinner, jeweler to the queen, is offering 10 antique diamond and pearl tiaras starting at $39,000, including Lady Mary’s 45-carat diamond garland. Until it's purchased, it can be rented for $2,100 a day. The Week Staff

June 24, 2016
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A California man who rescued a family from an overturned vehicle has been billed $143 by paramedics for making sure he was OK, The Washington Times reports. First responders gave Derrick Deanda a bottle of water and checked his pulse after he smashed a window and freed four trapped passengers last fall. "A couple of months later I get a bill," Deanda said. "Makes you wonder why people don't want to stop to help at an accident scene." The Week Staff

June 24, 2016
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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed Friday that it had suspended the laboratory assigned to handle drug testing at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The decision, which comes just six weeks ahead of the opening ceremony, was based on a "'noncomformity' with international standards," The New York Times reports. The suspension took effect Wednesday, and the lab has 21 days to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

However, this isn't the first time the Rio lab has been suspended by the WADA. It last happened in 2013, a year prior to Brazil hosting the World Cup. While the WADA decided to reinstate the lab last year, after nearly $60 million was invested in its facilities and an additional 90 technicians were trained, it has deemed the lab still not up to snuff for the Olympic Games.

The lab will not be allowed to test blood and urine samples during its suspension. So, for now, drug tests are being sent to a lab outside of Brazil to be analyzed. The New York Times reports that it "was unclear Friday if the issue would be resolved — and the suspension lifted — in time for the Rio Games." Becca Stanek

June 24, 2016
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A prominent gun-rights activist is calling on bars to limit alcohol sales so that customers can safely carry guns, The Huffington Post reports. "Control the amount of booze you sell, but don't make them sitting ducks," said Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, a group that criticizes the NRA for being too soft. "That's what gun-free zones do." The Week Staff

June 24, 2016
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Five people seeking to "unleash the power within!" ended up in the emergency room following motivational speaker Tony Robbins' hot coal-walk exercise in Dallas on Thursday. Dozens more were treated for burns on site, CBS News reports.

Robbins encourages his followers to "turn fear into power" by "storm[ing] across a hot bed of coals." "Once you start doing what you thought was impossible, you conquer the other fires of your life with ease," TonyRobbins.com explains.

At first hundreds of people were thought to have been burned when someone "not familiar with the fire walk observed the event and called 911 erroneously," Robbins Research International said in a statement. "While we are grateful to the quick and robust response from Dallas emergency services, only 5 of 7,000 participants requested any examination beyond what was readily available on site."

The head trainer for the Robbins' organization, Tad Schinke, agreed that five hospitalizations isn't so bad. "I've been doing events with Tony for 23 years," he said, "and while it may not look like that way, this was a successful event." Jeva Lange

June 24, 2016
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Megyn Kelly reminded CNN on Thursday night that its newest hire, former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, hasn't always been so nice to the folks who are now his coworkers. Lewandowski, Kelly pointed out during an episode of her Fox News show, "has had some very ugly language attributed to him when it comes to women and now he will be getting paid by Donald Trump one day and by CNN the next." (It was announced Thursday that Lewandowski had been signed by CNN as a salaried political commentator.)

Kelly also reminded viewers of a past incident between Lewandowski and CNN's Noah Gray. Last November, Lewandowski "threatened" Gray during a campaign event to "get back in the pen or he's f------ blacklisted." "Think about the CNN reporter, the one who he threatened," Kelly said. "I hope they don't bump into each other in the green room. That's going to be awkward. It's really remarkable."

Watch Kelly's full takedown — with additional remarks from media critic Howard Kurtz — below. Becca Stanek

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