Laurel Wamsley

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.

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.

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