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  • Turbans and hijabs now officially part of US Army uniform


    Hijabs and turbans must be made in colour 'that closely resembles the assigned uniform'

    Female soldiers in the US Army will now be allowed to wear the hijab — just as long as it is made from flame-resistant material.

    New regulations will allow soldiers to wear turbans, beards and hijabs in most circumstances unless the head coverings present a "specific, concrete hazard ... that cannot be mitigated by reasonable measures". They were welcomed by the Sikh Coalition.


    The rules say hijabs and turbans must be made from "a subdued material in a colour that closely resembles the assigned uniform" or, if the soldier is wearing combat gear, camouflage material. Personnel can be ordered to use fire-resistant cloth.

    The new rules allow accommodations for head coverings and beards to be approved at a lower command level.

    In a memo, Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning said: "Since 2009, religious accommodation requests requiring a waiver for uniform wear and grooming have largely fallen into one of three faith practices: the wear of a hijab; the wear of a beard; and the wear of a turban or under-turban/patka, with uncut beard and uncut hair.

    "Based on the successful examples of soldiers currently serving with these accommodations, I have determined that brigade-level commanders may approve requests for these accommodations.

    "All soldiers must wear the Advanced Combat Helmet and other protective headgear in accordance with the applicable technical manuals. As necessary, soldiers will modify the placement and style of their hair to achieve a proper fit. Removal of pads from helmets for fit or comfort is not permitted except as authorised by the applicable technical manual."

    It follows a lawsuit by decorated Sikh soldier Capt Simratpal Singh.

    Harsimran Kaur, of the Sikh Coalition, said: "While we still seek a permanent policy change that enables all religious minorities to freely serve without exception, we are pleased with the progress that this new policy represents for religious tolerance and diversity by our nation’s largest employer."

    An Army spokesman said: "The Army has reviewed its policies to ensure we allow every opportunity for qualified soldiers to serve, regardless of their faith background."


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  • World Cup: Fifa to expand competition to 48 teams after vote


    The World Cup will be expanded to host 48 teams, up from 32, Fifa has decided.

    An initial stage of 16 groups of three teams will precede a knockout stage for the remaining 32 when the change is made for the 2026 tournament.

    The sport's world governing body voted through the change at a meeting in Zurich on Tuesday.

    The number of tournament matches will rise to 80, from 64, but the eventual winners will still play only seven games.

    More to follow.




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  • Riyadh Emir receives security men who fought terrorists


    RIYADH – Emir of Riyadh Province Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz received on Monday at his office in Al-Hukm Palace here a number of security men who participated in the gun battle against two terrorists in Al-Yasmin District in northern Riyadh, resulting in the killing of the two terrorists.

    Addressing the security men, Prince Faisal said: “You were sincere and brave in your work. You are everybody’s pride. Now we see our security operations getting coverage by the global media gaining praise in countries, some of which were ahead of us in training and follow up. But we have preceded them in many matters with firmness, resolve, sincerity and loyalty in such situations.”


    Later on Monday, the Emir of Riyadh went to the hospital to visit the security man Corporal Jabran Jaber Awaji, who was injured during the confrontation with the two terrorists. He checked on Awaji’s health.

    Prince Faisal described what Awaji and his colleagues carried out as “a heroic act” that was executed precisely and diligently







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  • Huge 7.3 earthquake strikes the Philippines


    Quake measured at a depth of 617 km, according to the US Geological Survey

    The point where the earthquake struck USGS

    A major undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 struck southeast of the Philippines on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

    The quake was measured at a depth of 617 km (380 miles), the USGS said.


    It struck in the Celebes Sea and comes five days after a smaller, 4.7-magnitude tremor in the same area, according to the USGS.

    Journalist Barnaby Lo said he felt "no significant tremor" on the island of Jolo, which lies north-east of the epicentre.

    The US Tsunami Warning Centre has issued no warning, advisory, watch or threat after the quake.


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