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Monday, May 28th

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Four presumed dead in Marine helicopter crash in California

Helicopter crash kills four marines

All four people aboard a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter that crashed Tuesday afternoon in Southern California are presumed dead, the Marine Corps said Tuesday night.

The names of the victims weren't made public pending positive identification and notification of their families.

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Trump signs new transgender military ban

Trump signs ban on transgender people in military

President Trump has signed a memorandum that bans some transgender people from US military service but rolls back the blanket ban he ordered last year.

The new directive adopts recommendations from Defence Secretary Jim Mattis that "transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition" cannot serve.

But it gives the Pentagon and other agencies some discretion in the matter.

The earlier blanket ban was blocked by federal judges.

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Seven U.S. service members killed in Iraq helicopter crash

7 US servicemen killed in helicopter crash in Iraq

All seven service members aboard an American military helicopter that crashed in western Iraq late Thursday were killed, according to two U.S. military officials.

The crash of the U.S. HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter does not appear to be a result of enemy activity and the incident is under investigation, U.S. Central Command and military officials said.

"All personnel aboard were killed in the crash," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, the director of operations for the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition in Iraq and Syria.

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Trump Is Dragging Feet on Transgender Ban Evidence, Judge Rules

Transgender troop ban

The Trump administration has repeatedly failed to identify evidence it may use to defend the government’s stalled ban on transgender soldiers, a federal judge in Seattle says.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman ordered the government on Wednesday to provide the information -- a standard procedure -- within five days. She criticized the administration’s earlier claims that no such information could be identified because the policy wasn’t yet in effect.

Pechman used President Donald Trump’s July 2017 tweets announcing the ban to challenge the government’s claim, noting the president posted that he made his decision after "consultation with my generals and military experts."

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Massive Pentagon agency lost track of hundreds of millions of dollars

Pentagon loses track of hundreds of millions of dollars

One of the Pentagon’s largest agencies can't account for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of spending, a leading accounting firm says in an internal audit obtained by POLITICO that arrives just as President Donald Trump is proposing a boost in the military budget.

Ernst & Young found that the Defense Logistics Agency failed to properly document more than $800 million in construction projects, just one of a series of examples where it lacks a paper trail for millions of dollars in property and equipment. Across the board, its financial management is so weak that its leaders and oversight bodies have no reliable way to track the huge sums it's responsible for, the firm warned in its initial audit of the massive Pentagon purchasing agent.

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VA cuts program for homeless vets after touting Trump's commitment

David Shulkin: VA cuts program for homeless vets

Four days after Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin held a big Washington event to tout the Trump administration’s promise to house all homeless vets, the agency did an about-face, telling advocates it was pulling resources from a major housing program.

The VA said it was essentially ending a special $460 million program that has dramatically reduced homelessness among chronically sick and vulnerable veterans. Instead, the money would go to local VA hospitals that can use it as they like, as long as they show evidence of dealing with homelessness.

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U.S. Coast Guard operating secret floating prisons in Pacific Ocean

War on Drugs: US Coast Guard floats secret prisons

If you've followed the War on Terror at all, you're almost certainly familiar with the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — a U.S. prison that exists outside the realm of the U.S. justice system.

Now, it turns out, there's a secret U.S. detention system in the War on Drugs, too — and this one is aboard U.S. Coast Guard cutters sailing in the Pacific Ocean.

In an effort to staunch the flow of cocaine and other hard drugs from South America to Central America and points north, Coast Guard cutters have been deployed farther and farther from the shore in the Pacific Ocean. When these cutters capture a boat carrying drugs, the smugglers are brought onto the ships and kept shackled to the deck, sometimes outside in the elements, until the Coast Guard makes arrangements for them to be transported back to the U.S. for trial.

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