Hero dog saves 7-year-old girl from rattlesnake

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — When a venomous Eastern diamondback rattlesnake appeared in the backyard of a 7-year-old Florida girl, her German shepherd came to her rescue, refusing to back down despite multiple snakebites.

  • Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Endangered Sumatran rhino gives birth in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A Sumatran rhinoceros has given birth at an Indonesian sanctuary in a success for efforts to save the critically endangered species.

  • Written by STEPHEN WRIGHT, Associated Press

US gives directive to schools on transgender bathroom access

WASHINGTON (AP) — Public schools must permit transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity, according to an Obama administration directive issued amid a court fight between the federal government and North Carolina.

The guidance from leaders at the Justice and Education departments says public schools are obligated to treat transgender students in a way that matches their gender identity, even if their education records or identity documents indicate a different sex.

"There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement accompanying the directive, which is being sent to school districts on Friday.

In issuing the guidance, the Obama administration is wading anew into a socially divisive debate it has bluntly cast in terms of civil rights. The Justice Department on Monday sued North Carolina over a bathroom access law that it said violates the rights of transgender people, a measure that Lynch likened to policies of racial segregation and efforts to deny gay couples the right to marry.

The guidance does not impose any new legal requirements. But officials say it's meant to clarify expectations of school districts that receive funding from the federal government. Educators have been seeking guidance on how to comply with Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs and activities that receive federal funding, Education Secretary John B. King said in a statement.

"We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence," King said.

In Texas, Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick said on Friday that the state was ready to forfeit federal education money, currently about $10 billion, rather than comply with the guidance.

  • Written by ERIC TUCKER, Associated Press

House, Senate hope to craft quick anti-drug abuse compromise

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is ready to start crafting compromise legislation addressing the nation's opioid abuse crisis, which should be an easier lift than other issues facing lawmakers. The reason: Both parties have an election-year incentive to show they're tackling a problem that's killing people in America's biggest cities and smallest towns.

  • Written by ALAN FRAM, Associated Press