U.S. Lifts Ban On Transgender Military Service

The Pentagon on Friday announced that transgender individuals can now serve openly in U.S. armed forces.
U.S. defence chief Ash Carter said this at a press conference in Washington.

“Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender.
“Americans who want to serve and can meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to compete to do so,’’ Carter said, adding that the policy will be phased in during a one-year period.

According to 2014 study by RAND Corporation, about 2,500 people out of roughly 1.3 million U.S. active-duty service members and about 1,500 out of 825,000 reserve service members are transgender.

He said that the end of the ban on transgender service was the latest step by the Pentagon to be more inclusive.
However, the U.S. military has also ended the ban on gays serving openly and opened all combat jobs to women.

Credit: NAN

Mozambique Lifts Homosexuality, Abortion Ban

Mozambique decriminalized homosexuality Monday when a new penal code came into force that swept away old Portuguese colonial laws, in a victory for campaigners for gay rights.

The old code, dating back to 1886, targeted anyone “who habitually engages in vices against nature” — though no known prosecutions took place after Mozambique became independent in 1975.

Breaking the law was punishable by up to three years of hard labor. “It’s a symbolic victory, as social inclusion remains the main challenge,” Frank, a student gay rights activist who declined to give his full name, told Agence-France Presse. The new penal code, which was announced last December by then President Armando Guebuza, also decriminalizes abortion after lobbying by civil rights organizations.

Women can now end a pregnancy until the 12th week. Extraordinary circumstances, such as rape or threats to the mother’s life, allow for the procedure until the 16th week.

The code came into force on Monday, though no official events or celebrations were scheduled to mark the occasion.

The majority of African countries outlaw homosexuality, but Mozambique has seen little anti-gay violence or social friction over the issue.

Dercio Tsandzana, an influential blogger and activist, said there had been an absence of public discussion over homosexual rights. “The government instead abides by the external pressure put by some embassies and foreign donors,” he said.

“Most Mozambicans don’t deny homosexuality, but one can’t say either that it is accepted.“

Despite a seven-year campaign, the Mozambican government has not officially recognized Lambda, the only gay rights organization in the country.

Read More: aljazeera

Court Lifts Ban On Obasanjo’s “My Watch”

A Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja has lifted the injunction barring former President Olusegun Obasanjo from publishing his autobiography, My Watch.

The court had in December 2014 ordered law enforcement agencies to confiscate the three-volume book when it was discovered that it had been published before the order was made.

Buruji Kashamu, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had obtained an injunction restraining Obasanjo from releasing the book, saying the subject of the book was libelous to his person. Kashamu also instituted a N20 billion libel case against Obasanjo for referring to him as a drug baron in an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan in December 2013.

But Obasanjo ignored the court order and launched the book at the Lagos Country Club Ikeja on December 9. Justice Valentine Ashi of the FCT High Court on Tuesday ordered the release of seized copies of the book from the custody of the Nigerian Customs Service to Obasanjo. He set aside the order of injunction upon an application by Obasanjo’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN).

Read More: Punch