10 things you need to know today: June 25, 2016
Ban on transgender troops to be lifted, West Virginia floods kill 23, and more
Ban on transgender troops to be lifted July 1
The Pentagon will announce Monday a finalized plan for lifting the military's ban on transgender troops 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."
West Virginia floods kill 23, including toddler
Massive flooding in West Virginia on Friday left tens of thousands without power, hundreds stranded overnight, and killed at least 23 people, including a 4-year-old boy. The National Guard has been deployed in eight counties to help with relief efforts following heavy rains the National Weather Service called a "one-in-a-thousand-year event." Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said rescuers are prioritizing those still trapped in homes, stores, and cars, and urged his state to "continue to work together and support each other as West Virginians always do."
Britain, EU quarrel over 2-year exit timeline
Britain has voted to leave the European Union, but the now-official Brexit won't happen overnight. The EU has a formal, two-year exit process which Britain must initiate, something European diplomats from other nations are pushing to happen as quickly as possible. There "is a certain urgency" to the exit timeline, said French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, "so that we don't have a period of uncertainty, with financial consequences, political consequences." The United Kingdom says it will start the process in several months.
David Cameron resigns after Britain votes to leave the EU
Following the Brexit win, Prime Minister David Cameron, who had urged voters to deny the Brexit referendum, said Friday he would resign. "I do not think it's right for me to try to be the captain that tries to steer our country to its next destination," Cameron remarked. Leave supporter Boris Johnson, the former London mayor and likely successor to Cameron when a new leader is selected in October, said that "there's no need for haste" in leaving the EU.
Hawaii law is the first to automatically put gun owners in FBI database
Hawaii became the first state in the nation to automatically place all gun owners in an FBI criminal tracking database, which will enable the federal government to "monitor them for possible wrongdoing anywhere in the country." If a Hawaiian gun owner is arrested for any reason, their hometown police will be notified and their permission to own a gun reexamined. Hawaii Gov. David Ige, who signed the bill Thursday, said it "has undergone a rigorous legal review," but critics say the new law is an extreme and invasive measure.
Other EU exit movements are already underway
Inspired by Britain's vote to exit the European Union, similar campaigns are already underway in other member states, typically led by right-wing, nationalist parties. Slovakia's People's Party has launched a petition calling for a referendum vote even as Slovakia prepares to assume the EU's six-month rotating presidency in July. Marine Le Pen of France's National Front Party tweeted her interest in a Frexit, writing, "Victory for Freedom! As I have been asking for years, we must now have the same referendum in France and EU countries."
President Obama declares LGBT icon Stonewall Inn a national monument
President Obama on Friday signed a proclamation to designate New York's Stonewall Inn as a national monument, the first such monument to LGBT rights. The iconic building is the place where, on June 28, 1969, LGBT protesters defied a police raid in a seminal struggle for gay rights. "The riots became protests. The protests became a movement. The movement ultimately became an integral part of America," Obama said in a video announcing the designation. "Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights." During his presidency, Obama has protected more than 265 million acres of national land.
$15 minimum wage added to Democratic Party platform
In a significant concession to candidate Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Party has added support for a national $15 minimum wage to its official platform, even using Sanders' favored phrase — "starvation wage" — to describe the current federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has generally preferred a $12 minimum wage, and Sanders is widely believed to be maintaining his campaign to secure such policy wins. The platform committee also echoed Sanders in supporting death penalty abolition and the expansion of Social Security.
Pope pays tribute to victims of the Armenian genocide
Pope Francis commemorated the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian genocide of 1915 on Saturday, participating in a prayer service with the Armenian Apostolic Church. "Here I pray, with pain in my heart, so that never again will there be tragedies like this, so that humanity does not forget and knows how to overcome evil with good," he wrote in a church guestbook. The pope's use of the term "genocide" for the century-old massacre is controversial, as Turkey — then part of the Ottoman Empire, which perpetrated the attacks — denies the killings constitute a genocide.
Kanye West’s new video features nude wax figures of Taylor Swift, Donald Trump, and more
Rapper Kanye West debuted a music video for his single, Famous, Friday night to an audience of 8,000 fans in Inglewood, California. The video features waxworks of 12 celebrities, all fully nude, reclining on a giant bed together. The lifelike figures are of Taylor Swift, George W. Bush, Donald Trump, Anna Wintour, Chris Brown, Kim Kardashian West, Ray J, Amber Rose, Caitlyn Jenner, Bill Cosby, and Rihanna. "It’s not in support or anti any of [the people in the video]," West said. "It’s a comment on fame."