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Russia banned from next year's Winter Olympics

The Russian team enters the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Photo: Mark Humphrey / AP

Russia has been banned from participating in next year's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea as a result of an extensive, systematic state-backed doping campaign uncovered during 2014's Sochi Winter Olympics, per The New York Times. The report branded the penalties against Russia as "so severe they were without precedent in Olympics history," though Russian athletes with impeccable drug-testing records might be allowed to compete under a neutral flag.

Why it matters: The decision will likely only serve to exacerbate tensions between Russia and the West as Russia routinely uses the Olympic Games to showcase its athletic prowess to the rest of the world. Case in point: Russia led the Sochi medal table — in both total medals and gold medals — before some of its medals were stripped under the investigation.

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Trump: Transgender people "disqualified" from the military

SecDef Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty Images

President Trump late Friday issued an order disqualifying most transgender people from serving in the military.

"[T]ransgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery -- are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."

Why it matters: Anything short of an inclusive policy for transgender troops will be viewed as a continuation of the ban Trump announced on Twitter in August.

Haley Britzky 9 hours ago
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Both Bush and Obama also requested line item veto power

Donald Trump.
Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday evening that to avoid having "this omnibus situation from ever happening again," he wants Congress to re-instate "a line-item veto."

Why it matters: This would allow him to veto specific parts of a bill without getting rid of the entire thing. Trump was deeply unhappy with the $1.3 trillion spending bill approved by Congress early Friday morning, but signed it anyway on Friday afternoon.