Associated Press

Military announces plan to lift transgender ban

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Ash Carter has ordered a six-month study aimed at formally ending one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service, saying the Pentagon's current regulations banning transgender individuals from serving in the military need to be examined.

Am Samoa questions gay marriage validity in territory

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (AP) -- American Samoa is the only U.S. territory to hold out against the recent Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage.

As the Pacific island's attorney general reviews the decision, legal observers and gay rights advocates are saying it should go into effect immediately.

"It should be unquestioned," said Rose Cuison Villazor, a professor at University of California, Davis' law school and an expert on territorial law. "The Supreme Court's decision was pretty strong."

The right look: Casting call for "Hawaii Five-0"

HONOLULU (AP) — At 6 feet tall and 280 pounds -- with a distinctive shaved head -- Conrad Kalauoka'aea could picture himself appearing as an extra in an episode of "Hawaii Five-0" as an undercover cop, or maybe a bodyguard.

"Why not?" Kalauoka'aea asked after getting his picture taken Saturday and submitting an application to appear as a "Five-0" extra for the show's sixth season.

Tuilaepa announces half-day holiday for historic test

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Samoans have been granted a half-day holiday next Wednesday to mark the historic first home rugby test against New Zealand at Apia.

Prime minister Tuilaepa Sa'lele Malielegaoi, who is also chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union, declared the holiday on Friday, saying "we have to have a half day. It's a day where everyone should prepare to support the boys."

Samoans have been clamouing for their government to declare a full national holiday on Wednesday, to ensure as many people as possible can be freed from work or school watch the game which kicks off at 3pm.

Treviranus to captain Samoa against the All Blacks

APIA, Samoa (AP) " London Irish flanker Ofisa Treviranus will captain Samoa in its home rugby test against the All Blacks on July 8.

The match, at Apia Park in the Samoa capital, will be the first test played by the All Blacks in the Pacific Islands and will be one of the most historic in Samoa's rugby history.

Treviranus said he was surprised when his appointment was announced during a meeting between Samoa Rugby Union and team members on Sunday.


VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis on Sunday encouraged people of different religions to work together in caring for the Earth, which he called our `'common house."

Speaking from his window in a Vatican palazzo to tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists, Francis singled out a few hundred people who had marched to St. Peter's Square under the banner `'One Earth, one family."

The marchers included Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and others who had walked from near the French embassy to remind people of a key U.N. climate change conference in Paris in December.

South Korean schools reopen despite widespread MERS fear

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- The death toll continued to mount in South Korea's MERS outbreak on Tuesday even as schools reopen and people recover from the virus.

Nineteen people have died in the largest outbreak of the disease outside the Middle East, with three more dying since late Monday, the Health Ministry said. More than 150 have been infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and nearly 5,600 have been quarantined.

LBJ's dialysis clinic reopens after 2-day closure


Pago Pago, AS (AP) — American Samoa's only dialysis clinic has reopened after a product recall forced it to close for two days.

LBJ Medical Center said the clinic reopened at 4 p.m. Friday and began treating patients who require dialysis. The clinic shut down Wednesday after the hospital learned of a recall of a solution used in its machines. A fresh supply arrived to the island around 2 p.m. Friday. The clinic had been scheduled to reopen at 1 a.m. Saturday.


ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) -- President Barack Obama saluted Americans who died in battle Monday, saying the country must "never stop trying to fully repay them" for their sacrifices and noting the first Memorial Day in 14 years without U.S. forces involved in a major ground war.

Speaking under sunny skies to some 5,000 people on the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, Obama called the burial place "more than a final resting place for fallen heroes"

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1 dead as plane carrying Marines crashes in Hawaii

HONOLULU (AP) -- A U.S. military plane crashed and caught fire as it tried to land during training exercises in Hawaii, killing one Marine, injuring 21 other people and sending black smoke billowing into the sky.

Their injuries ranged from critical to minor, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific spokesman Capt. Alex Lim said.

The tilt-rotor aircraft, which can take off and land like a helicopter but flies like an airplane, had a "hard-landing mishap" around 11:40 a.m. Sunday at Bellows Air Force Station on Oahu, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit said in a statement.

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