United States Defence Secretary Ashton Carter has announced that women will be eligible for all military occupations and positions from January.
Qualified American servicewomen will be allowed to serve in every position in the US military, with “no barriers at all in their way”.
“They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat,” Carter said. “They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers, and everything else that was previously open only to men.”
About ten per cent of military positions had been closed to women prior to today’s announcement. Mr Carter said that the Army, Navy, Air Force and Special Operations Command (SOCOM) had seen no positions for which women had been ineligible; the Marine Corps had asked for several partial exemptions, but were overruled, with Mr Carter saying “we are a joint force and I have decided to make a decision which applies to the entire force”.
California shooting suspects named
Authorities have named the two dead suspects in yesterday’s San Bernadino shooting as Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 27. Witnesses say that Farook, a restaurant inspector for the San Bernadino County Health Department, had been present at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Centre before abruptly leaving. He and Malik returned a short time later, dressed in military-style clothing, and opened fire with assault rifles and semi-automatic handguns. The two were shot dead by police following a manhunt, and authorities have yet to establish a motive for the mass killing.
Pistorius convicted of murder
Oscar Pistorius will return to prison after being found guilty of the 2013 murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal overturned Pistorius’ conviction of “culpable homicide” (manslaughter), finding that the court which sentenced him did not correctly consider whether Pistorius knew that a death would result from firing four times through a locked bathroom door. Pistorius, who has been under house arrest since October after serving one year of his original five-year sentence, now faces a minimum 15-year prison sentence.
Turkey and Russia in ISIS oil stoush
Russia and Turkey have accused one another of illegally buying oil from ISIS. The Russian Defence Ministry has alleged that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his family were benefiting from black-market oil deals with the jihadist group; however, Erdogan has denied these claims, offering his resignation if they are proven true, and is instead accusing a number of Russians, including a famous chess player, of participating in the illegal oil trade. Tensions have been high between Russia and Turkey since Turkish forces shot down a Russian fighter plane near the Turkey-Syria border last month. – Compiled from web sources by Jake Nelson
Top photo of female American fighter pilots in 2006 from US Air Force via Wikimedia Commons.