G7 Leaders Begin Summit in Japan
The heads of state of the world's seven wealthiest nations plus the leaders of the European Union began their annual summit on Thursday in the coastal Japanese city of Ise Shima.
Prime Minster Shinzo Abe greeted U.S. President Barack Obama and the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada at the Ise Grand Shrine. Each leader walked across a long bridge to the shrine, accompanied by a white-robed priest, before assembling for a traditional group photograph.
The agenda for the two-day G7 summit is dedicated to boosting the sluggish global economy, combating terrorism and maritime security, the last point an obvious nod to China's increasing territorial expansion in the resource-rich South China Sea.
After the summit's conclusion on Friday, Obama will travel to Hiroshima, where tens of thousands of Japanese were killed when a U.S. warplane dropped the world's first atomic bomb in 1945, hastening the end of World War Two.
11 States Sue US Over Transgender Bathroom Guidelines in Schools
Eleven U.S. states are suing the Obama administration over guidelines covering which school bathrooms transgender students can use.
The federal guidelines recommend that public schools let students use the bathrooms of the gender with which they identify, instead of what is on their birth certificate.
The lawsuit by 11 states, led by Texas, accuses the Obama administration of conspiring to turn schools into "laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights."
Neither the White House nor the Justice Department has commented on the lawsuit.
Critics of the administration's policy argue that it marks a significant change to settled law which should be left up to Congress, not the White House. The Justice Department has rejected that argument, saying that federal civil rights laws, which bar discrimination on the basis of sex, provide the legal foundation for the department's guidance.
The guidance is non-binding, but school systems could lose millions of dollars in federal aid if they fail to follow it.