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Amid North Korea threat, old law prevents Washington state from preparing for nuclear disaster

As North Korea considers a strike against the U.S. territory of Guam, KIRO-TV is looking into the plans to protect Washington state residents.

>> Watch the news report here

KIRO-TV found that a law from the '80s is blocking the state's effort to prepare for the worst.

That law actually prevents Washington State Emergency Management from planning for a nuclear strike.

>> Look at these photos from inside North Korea

Lawmakers passed it as a symbolic end to the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

In the 1950s and '60s during the Cold War, Washington state had a clear plan and places to shelter – even bunkers built inside Seattle bridges – in case of nuclear disaster.

>> Trump improvised 'fire and fury' warning to North Korea: reports

But currently, with North Korea's escalating threats with nukes, few people know state law prevents planning for nuclear disaster.

A little-known 1984 state law states that "Comprehensive Emergency Management" does not mean preparation for emergency evacuation or relocation of residents in anticipation of a nuclear attack.

>> Why is North Korea threatening Guam?

Washington state Sen. Mark Miloscia has been trying to repeal that old law, which he says enacted in Washington state during the Reagan era.

“I couldn’t believe how this thing could go on the books,” Miloscia said. “If we ever have to evacuate or relocate citizens due to a nuclear attack or an impending nuclear attack, right now, we can’t plan for that. It puts like a big stop order on any sort of planning we have to do to prepare for the unthinkable.”

>> North Korea, Trump exchange threats

Hawaii has a nuclear disaster plan which may include re-opening Cold War-era tunnels and shelters.

The message for lawmakers in Washington state is clear.

“I think there is, right now, a common-sense support for repealing this. We’ve just got to educate people that let’s do that soon,” Miloscia said.

>> Read more trending news

Miloscia knows something about nuclear preparedness. He was a B-52 bomber pilot during the Cold War.

He said lawmakers from both parties want to change the law.

Military dad surprises daughter with unexpected homecoming at zoo

A military dad’s surprise homecoming at a dolphin show is melting hearts across the country.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

“Everything else disappeared when I saw her,” U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Joshua Flury told WLS.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Military mom hides pregnancy, surprises dad when he gets home 

Flury told his wife he’d be coming home within the week, and together they came up with a plan to surprise their 12-year-old daughter, Kristi.

>> Watch the clip here

His wife, April Flury, worked with the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois to coordinate the big surprise.

>> Read more trending news

Kristi thought it was just going to be her and her mom at the zoo earlier this month, but as she and her mom waited for the dolphin show to begin, she was shocked to hear an announcer welcome her dad home.

Kristi leaped into his arms as he emerged from his hiding place backstage.

Read more here.

Virginia native first black woman to serve as West Point First Captain

A Virginia native will be the first African-American woman to serve as West Point’s First Captain, the U.S. Military Academy Public Affairs Office announced Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

Simone Askew, 20, of Fairfax, will lead a 4,440-member Corps of Cadets, according to the announcement. This is the top leadership role for cadets; she will assume the post on Aug. 13, according to a statement by the Academy.

“It’s a great step for not only women but African-American women, because it shows that no matter what your sex, or your race, you can really do anything,” her sister, Nina Askew, told WRC. “There’s nothing that can hold you back.”

Askew is an international history major and currently leads 1,502 cadets as the Regimental Commander of Cadet Basic Training II. She first set her sights on the Army when she was in just third grade. She saw midshipmen march into a Navy football game.

“She saw them all in formation and rose up and asked me, ‘What does it take to lead that?’” her mother, Pam Askew told WRC.

“Simone truly exemplifies our values of duty, honor, country. Her selection is a direct result of her hard work, dedication,and commitment to the Corps over the last three years,” said Brig. Gen. Steven W. Gilland, commandant of cadets. “I know Simone and the rest of our incredibly talented leaders within the Class of 2018 will provide exceptional leadership to the Corps of Cadets in the upcoming academic year.” 

Askew was president of her class at Fairfax High School, founder of the Black Student Union and captain of the volleyball team, her family told WRC.. She is currently a member of the Army West Point crew team and the recipient of the Black Engineer of the Year Award for Military Leadership, according to the announcement.

She will graduate from West Point in 2018.

Fundraiser for wife of soldier killed in Afghanistan tops $32K in first day

An online fundraiser for the pregnant wife of a soldier killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday has raised more than $32,000 in its first day, Army Times reported.

The money will go to support the wife of 25-year-old Spc. Christopher Michael Harris of Jackson Springs, North Carolina, according to the description of a GoFundMe account set up by a friend.

“Britt has recently discovered that she and Chris were expecting their first child,” wrote Jenny Ann Stone, who created the fundraising page. “During this time, money should be the absolute least important thing on her mind.”

The page has a goal of $50,000.

Funds pledged to the account will supplement survivor’s benefits paid out by the Defense Department — a tax-free $100,000 gratuity — and Servicemembers Group Life Insurance, which automatically enrolls all service members for a $400,000 death benefit, Army Times reported.

Harris was one of two soldiers killed during an attack in Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province, Fox News reported. The other man who died was 23-year-old Sgt. Jonathon Michael Hunter, of Columbus, Indiana. Both men died when an explosive device detonated near their convoy, Pentagon officials said Thursday.

Both soldiers were part of the 82nd Airborne Division, 2nd Battalion, 504th Infantry Regiment.

Marines by the hundreds say goodbye to dying brother

It’s a military motto that “no man is left behind.” And for a U.S. Marine from Missouri, who will be taken off life support Friday, his comrades in arms have been stopping by his hospital bed to say goodbye. Many of them are strangers but they all share the common bond of brotherhood in the military.

>> Read more trending news 

Phillip Rochette, 49, enlisted in the Marines out of high school. In early July he began having headaches and vomiting spells. His sister, Denise Rochette, called an ambulance. En route to the hospital, Rochette suffered a massive stroke, KTVI reported.

Denise Rochette posted her brother’s condition on Facebook. During a conversation with a Marine, she mentioned it would be nice if some fellow Marines paid him a visit. The Marine posted a photo of Rochette on Facebook and it was shared more than 1,000 times, KTVI reported.

For the past week, hundreds of Marines have been showing up at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Jeremy Kohler saw the post on Instagram and drove from Chicago on Thursday.

“It’s the end of his watch, time for him to go home, so we will take it from here,” Kohler told KTVI.

Iranians: U.S. Navy ship fired warning flares in Persian Gulf

A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier fired warning flares at Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf on Friday, according to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

>> Read more trending news

In a statement Saturday, the IRGC navy said the American ship was “unprofessional and provocative,” CNN reported.

The USS Nimitz and a second American ship approached the Iranian ships, the IRGC navy said. The Iranian vessels ignored the flares, and the U.S. ships later left the area, CNN reported.

Pentagon spokesman U.S. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis previously told reporters that there had been 35 incidents of unsafe or unprofessional behavior by Iranian vessels in 2016, CNN reported.

Reports: Latest North Korean missile could reach Chicago, East Coast

The North Korean Hwasong-14/KN20 intercontinental ballistic missile fired Friday by North Korea could hit Washington D.C. or New York City, according to thediplomat.com, while other sources estimated it could hit Chicago or Denver.

>> Read more trending news

The website, citing sources in the U.S. government, said based on the missile’s flight time and it’s 3,700 mile-high apogee, it showed a vast improvement from the test of the missile in early July, and could reach as far as Washington, D.C., while carrying a nuclear warhead.

Scientist David Wright of The Union of Concerned Scientists estimated the missile could fly a range of 10,400 kilometers, potentially 11,000 km. Ranges would be based on the size of the payload it was carrying. 

>> Related: North Korea fires intercontinental ballistic missile, Pentagon says

Anna Fifield, the Tokyo bureau chief for the Washington Post, wrote the missile could at least hit Chicago, with New York a possibility

The Russian Ministry of Defense’s assessment was quite different. The Russians said the launch Friday was 732 km, far below the estimates of the United States, North Korea, South Korea, Japan and China. 

Thediplomat.com is the website for The Diplomat Magazine, an international news publication covering politics and society in the Asia-Pacific region out of Tokyo. 

Joint Chiefs: Transgender policy won't change until Pentagon gets it in writing from Trump

The nation’s highest ranking military officer said in a letter Thursday to top military officials that there will not be changes to the military’s transgender policy until after President Donald Trump sends direction to the Pentagon.

>> Read more trending news

"I know there are questions about yesterday's announcement on the transgender policy by the president," Marine Gen. Joe Dunford wrote in the message, addressed to the chiefs of the services and senior enlisted leaders, according to Politico. "There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president's direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance.”

A photo of the letter was shared on Twitter Thursday by CNN reporter Barbara Starr.

Ellen DeGeneres fires back at Trump's tweet about transgender military ban

Ellen DeGeneres certainly doesn’t agree with President Donald Trump’s latest announcement about banning transgender individuals from joining the military.

>> Trump: Transgender people won't be allowed in the military

Following the news of the ban, the TV host shared a message with fans on Twitter to express her disagreement.

>> These 18 countries allow transgender people in their militaries

“We should be grateful to the people who wish to serve, not turn our backs on them. Banning transgender people is hurtful, baseless and wrong,” DeGeneres wrote.

>> See the tweet here

DeGeneres previously expressed her dismay when she used humor to address Trump’s refugee ban. In January, DeGeneres used her film “Finding Dory” to explain why she disagreed with the ban.

>> 69 years ago, Truman ordered 'right and just' desegregation of US armed forces

“I don’t get political, but I will say that I am against [the ban],” she said. “I am not going to talk about the travel ban. I am just going to talk about the very non-political, People’s Choice Award-winning film ‘Finding Dory.’”

>> Report: Transgender health care would cost fraction of what military spends on Viagra, similar drugs

“Dory arrives in America with her friends, Marlon and Nemo, and she arrives at the Marine Life Institute behind a large wall. And they all have to get over the wall. And you won’t believe it, but that wall has almost no effect in keeping them out,” she said. “The other animals help Dory. Animals that don’t even need her. Animals that have nothing in common with her. They help her even though they are completely different colors, because that’s what you do when you see someone in need. You help them.”

>> What is the difference between transgender and transsexual?

In November, when Trump was first elected president, DeGeneres shared an inspiring message with her viewers to help bring give hope to Americans who were despondent about the poll results.

>> Read more trending news

“You may have heard that there was a presidential election on Tuesday. The big winner was alcohol,” she said at the time. “Obviously, a lot of people were disappointed with the results. My job is to be hopeful and make everybody feel good, so I am going to keep doing that as long as I can.”

>> Texas mayor: Transgender and kicked out of military? Join our police force

She added: "If you are feeling a little anxious or scared, I am here to tell you that things can turn out OK."

69 years ago today, Truman ordered 'right and just' desegregation of US armed forces

Sixty-nine years ago on July 26, 1948, President Harry Truman issued an executive order abolishing racial discrimination in the United States armed forces.

>> Read more trending news

“It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin,” executive order 9981 stated.

While the issued order established the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, or the Fahy Committee, segregation in the military wouldn’t officially end for months.

>> Related: Trump: Transgender people won't be allowed in the military

The number of black Marines grew quickly, from 1,525 to 17,000 in May 1949.

Full integration, according to the Truman Library, didn’t happen until the Korean War in 1953, “when heavy casualties forced segregated units to merge for survival.”

>> Related: These 18 countries allow transgender people in their militaries

Before executive order 9981, blacks and other minorities serving in the military were segregated into separate units, often performing menial tasks.

Segregation within the armed services came to an official end in November 1954 with the deactivation of the 94th Engineer Battalion, the country’s last black military unit.

Read executive order 9981 below:

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9981

Establishing the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity In the Armed Forces.

WHEREAS it is essential that there be maintained in the armed services of the United States the highest standards of democracy, with equality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our country's defense:

NOW THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, by the Constitution and the statutes of the United States, and as Commander in Chief of the armed services, it is hereby ordered as follows:

  1. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale.
  2. There shall be created in the National Military Establishment an advisory committee to be known as the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, which shall be composed of seven members to be designated by the President.
  3. The Committee is authorized on behalf of the President to examine into the rules, procedures and practices of the Armed Services in order to determine in what respect such rules, procedures and practices may be altered or improved with a view to carrying out the policy of this order. The Committee shall confer and advise the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force, and shall make such recommendations to the President and to said Secretaries as in the judgment of the Committee will effectuate the policy hereof.
  4. All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Committee in its work, and to furnish the Committee such information or the services of such persons as the Committee may require in the performance of its duties.
  5. When requested by the Committee to do so, persons in the armed services or in any of the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall testify before the Committee and shall make available for use of the Committee such documents and other information as the Committee may require.
  6. The Committee shall continue to exist until such time as the President shall terminate its existence by Executive order.

Harry Truman

The White House July 26, 1948

 

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