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USNS Harvey Milk departs the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard after a ceremonial address in San Diego on Nov. 6. Photo: Ariana Drehsler/AFP via Getty Images

The Navy on Saturday christened and launched a ship named for slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk.

Why it matters: Milk served four years in the Navy during the Korean War as a diving officer before he was forced out.

  • He went on to become one of the first openly gay candidates elected to public office when he joined the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. The following year, he was assassinated alongside San Francisco Mayor George Moscone.

What they're saying: Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro and Milk's nephew, Stuart Milk, attended the ceremony in San Diego.

  • “For far too long, sailors like Lt. Milk were forced into the shadows or, worse yet, forced out of our beloved Navy,” said Del Toro, per AP.
  • “That injustice is part of our Navy history, but so is the perseverance of all who continue to serve in the face of injustice,” Del Toro added.

The big picture: The Navy’s Military Sealift Command will operate the USNS Harvey Milk, which is the second ship in the Navy's John Lewis class of fleet replenishment oilers, which serve to refuel Navy ships at sea.

  • Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in 2016 named six new oilers after civil and human rights leaders. In addition to former Rep. John Lewis, the leaders include Sojourner Truth, Chief Justice Earl Warren, Robert F. Kennedy and suffragist Lucy Stone.

Go deeper

Nov 8, 2021 - World

Mock-ups of U.S. warships detected in China

Photo: Maxar Technologies via Reuters

China's military has built targets that resemble U.S. Navy warships in the Taklamakan desert in the northwestern Xinjiang region, according to satellite images captured by Maxar.

Why it matters: The mock-ups of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and destroyer reflect the Chinese government's efforts to expand anti-carrier capabilities, "specifically against the U.S. Navy," per Reuters.

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.

Axios Investigates

Exclusive: Airbnb hosts Xinjiang rentals on land owned by sanctioned group

Data: Axios research, Airbnb, Australia Strategic Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre; Map: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Airbnb has more than a dozen homes available for rent in China's Xinjiang region on land owned by an organization sanctioned by the U.S. government for complicity in genocide and forced labor, an Axios investigation has found.

Why it matters: The listings expose Airbnb to regulatory risk under U.S. law. They also land yet another American tech company in the crossfire between the U.S. and China.

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