Laurel Wamsley

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The nation's highest-ranking military officer said Thursday that the Defense Department was making "no modifications" to current policy regarding transgender service members until President Trump gives more direction.

At a security conference in Australia on Thursday, this scenario was posed to the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet: If ordered to do so by President Trump, would he would launch a nuclear attack on China next week? His response: Yes.

The Trump administration announced sanctions on Wednesday against Venezuela, intended to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to drop plans for a controversial election.

The sanctions target 13 current or former officials from Maduro's government, freezing their U.S. assets and preventing Americans from doing business with them, the AP reports.

At 10:43 a.m. Wednesday, inmate and convicted murderer Ronald Phillips was pronounced dead, executed via lethal injection by the state of Ohio — the first time the state has carried out a death sentence in more than three years.

Phillips' death at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville may mark the end of one chapter in the state's battle to find a legally permissible means of execution – and the state may soon begin carrying out many more death sentences.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

President Trump has announced that the government will not allow transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, a year after the Pentagon lifted its ban on transgender service members.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday morning, he wrote:

The Navy says it has its first female candidates for two elite special operations jobs previously closed to women — including a prospective SEAL.

One woman is in the pipeline to be a SEAL officer, and another is on the path to becoming a special warfare combatant crewman. The news was first reported by Military.com, an independent website. The Navy declined to identify the candidates, citing security considerations.

Updated 12:15 p.m. ET

The United States has ended the ban on large electronics in the cabins of airlines that it announced in March.

The colorful scene melded two time-honored Texas traditions: political protest and the quinceañera.

With skirts flouncing, 15 young women ascended the steps of the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Wednesday morning to a traditional Mexican birthday song played in a mariachi style.

But there was no birthday to celebrate. Instead, the girls had gathered to protest a controversial immigration enforcement law that goes into effect September 1.

A wildfire in the foothills near Yosemite National Park has consumed eight structures — and is threatening 1,500 more in tiny Mariposa, Calif.

The town's 2,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate because of the blaze known as the Detwiler Fire, and Gov. Jerry Brown has issued a state of emergency for Mariposa County.

Dogs are cute. Baby deer are arguably even cuter. So what could be more heroic and life-affirming than a dog saving the life of a fawn?

Storm, an English golden retriever, was out for a walk Sunday morning along the Long Island Sound with fellow dog Sara and his owner, Mark Freeley.

Amid the lapping waves, a baby deer was in over its head out in the sound.

"Storm just plunged into the water and started swimming out to the fawn," Freeley told CBS New York.

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