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U.S Army Eases Tattoo Restrictions With New Policy

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A Soldier from 325th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division poses after executing physical readiness training on Schofield Barracks, Oahu, Hawaii, May 18, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Rachel Christensen)

To help compete for top talent, the Army has updated its regulations for tattoos, cutting processing times for new recruits who have the body art.

Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth made it official today by signing the updated directive that allows recruits and current Soldiers to receive tattoos on their hands, the back of their ears and the back of their necks.

The Army will now allow Soldiers to have one tattoo on each hand that does not exceed one inch in length. Soldiers also have the option to place one tattoo no larger than two inches on the back of their neck and one, inch-long tattoo behind each ear. Additionally, tattoos can be impressed between fingers as long as the designs cannot be seen when the fingers are closed.

Previously, recruits who had tattoos in these areas had to file waiver exceptions and sometimes had to wait weeks before they could be processed into service.

“We always review policy to keep the Army as an open option to as many people as possible who want to serve,” said Maj. Gen. Doug Stitt, Director of Military Personnel Management. “This directive makes sense for currently serving Soldiers and allows a greater number of talented individuals the opportunity to serve now.”

The Army will continue to prohibit tattoos on a Soldier’s face and the body art will continue to be allowed on a Soldier’s arms and legs as long as they do not become visible above a Soldier’s collar. Soldiers may not cover up tattoos with bandages or wrappings to comply with the regulation.

Sgt. Maj. Ashleigh Sykes, uniform policy sergeant major, said that a Soldier may choose to get tattoos for a wide range of reasons. Some see tattoos as form of creativity while others can get tattoos for religious reasons.

“Everyone has a different reason for getting a tattoo,” said Sykes who has tattoos herself. “Some see it as art, some see it as individuality, and some may even have cultural tattoos. Tattoos are more [accepted] now; it’s a change in society.”

Through May, Army recruiters have filed more than 650 waivers in 2022 for active duty and reserve recruits said David Andrews, Army Training and Doctrine Command enlisted chief.

Andrews said that tattoos have grown in popularity among younger people. According to research by TRADOC, 41% of 18 to 34 year olds have at least one or more tattoos. The Army originally began allowing Soldiers to have tattoos in 2015, granting more freedom for individual expression.

Sykes added that the waivers, which can take up to 14 days impacts the recruiting process because potential recruits who previously had tattoos in restricted areas could have decided to enlist in another military branch. He said that the Navy and the Marines have less restrictive tattoo policies.

Army Recruiting Command and TRADOC recommended the changes to Army senior leaders.

“Some may change their mind or go to a different service,” Sykes said. “[Or] they just didn’t want to wait anymore.”

According to the directive, tattoo designs must not contain any offensive, extremist or hateful words or images. Company commanders perform annual inspections of tattoos so that the tattoos remain within Army regulations.

Soldiers who have tattoos that do not meet the service’s restrictions will be counseled. They will then have 15 days to explain to commanders whether they will have the tattoos removed or altered. Soldiers who do not comply could potentially face separation.

While facial tattoos remain prohibited, Sykes said that some Soldiers may file for an exception if they would like to receive a facial tattoo for religious reasons. Previously, the service only allowed ring tattoos on hands.

“[The directive] gives us the opportunity to put people in [the Army] right away that have these types of tattoos,” Andrews said. “We don’t want people walking away from opportunities in the Army who are otherwise qualified.”

The Army relaxed restrictions on tattoos in 2015 when the service updated Army Regulation 670-1 to remove limits on the number of tattoos Soldiers could have on legs and arms. Andrews said the limits on tattoos impacted the Army’s ability to recruit top talent.

Several Soldiers have stated that the change allowed them to join the Army including Army Ranger, Staff Sgt. Matthew Hagensick a Madison, Wisconsin native who sports many tattoos on his arms.

Hagensick enlisted in the Army after the service updated the regulation in 2015 and he later went on to win the 2018 Soldier of the Year contest.

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Lomé Will, Again, Host WHO’s African Regional Committee Meeting

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Lomé, the Togolese capital, will host the 72nd session of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) African Regional Committee from 22 to 26 August.

This was revealed by the Minister of Health, Public Hygiene, and Universal Access to Health Care, during the Council of Ministers held on August 3, 2022.

“This choice attests to the efforts and progress made by our country, under the leadership of the Head of State, in the field of public health,” the government said. “The Council welcomed this choice and encouraged all ministers to be actively involved for the success of this regional meeting,”it added.

According to the provisional agenda of WHO Africa, the meeting, in hybrid format, will be structured on 5 pillars. It will address issues such as the Regional Strategy for the control of serious non-communicable diseases in primary health care facilities, the framework for strengthening the implementation of the global action plan for mental health, protection against financial risks for universal health coverage in the WHO African Region, a framework for integrated control, elimination and eradication of tropical and vector-borne diseases in the African Region 2022-2030, or the strengthening of the UN agency, for more effective and efficient support to African countries

Togo hosted (via videoconference) the previous session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa.

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South African Minister Accuses West of ‘Bullying’ On Ukraine

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and South African Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor appear at a joint press conference after meeting together in Pretoria, South Africa, on Aug. 8, 2022.

South African Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor accused the West of sometimes taking a patronizing and bullying attitude toward Africa, as she hosted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the first leg of his Africa visit. Pandor made it clear that South Africa has different views from the U.S. on Ukraine, China, and Israel and the Palestinians.

At a joint press conference in the South African capital, Blinken stressed he was not on his three-country tour of the continent in order to counter Moscow and Beijing’s growing influence in the region, as has been widely speculated, after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited last month.

“Our commitment to a stronger partnership with Africa is not about trying to outdo anyone else,” Blinken said.

Blinken spoke, too, about U.S. support of Ukraine, saying Russia’s invasion was an aggression against the entire international order.
South Africa has remained neutral on the conflict with Russia, its partner in the BRICS group of countries, and abstained from any U.N. votes on the matter, though Pandor said the country “abhorred” war and would like to see an end to the conflict.

However, she said the different approaches by the international community to different conflicts sometimes “leads to cynicism about international bodies.” She referenced the plight of the Palestinians.

“Just as much as the people of Ukraine deserve their territory and freedom, the people of Palestine deserve their territory and freedom,” she said, “and we should be equally concerned at what is happening to the people of Palestine as we are with what is happening to the people of Ukraine. We’ve not seen an even-handed approach.”

Pandor added that while it didn’t come from Blinken, South Africa had experienced pressure from some in the West to align with its policy on Ukraine. She also appeared to criticize the U.S. bill passed in April, “Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act,” which has been seen by some on the continent as a vehicle to punish African countries that have not toed the line on Ukraine.

“From some of our partners in Europe and elsewhere, there has been a sense of patronizing bullying — ‘You choose this or else.’ And the recent legislation passed in the United States of America by the House of Representatives, we found a most unfortunate bill.”

Bob Wekesa, director of the African Center for the Study of the United States, said Pandor’s candid remarks at the press conference showed the closed-door meeting between the U.S. and South African sides “must have been a very difficult one.”

“I think the U.S. is attempting to figure out how to get South Africa on to its side, but South Africa is not coming to the party,” Wekesa said.

Blinken was in Pretoria to launch the new U.S. Strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa, which focuses on areas such as climate change, trade, health and food insecurity.

During his remarks Monday, he also criticized Beijing for its strong reaction to House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Pandor would not comment specifically on Taiwan but did say South Africa did not want to be made party to a conflict between China and the U.S.

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Man Who Killed His 2-Day Old Daughter For Crying Too Much Found Dead In His Prison Cell

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Trigger Warning: This story mentions child abuse and infanticide which may be disturbing to readers.

Newborn babies cry a lot, in fact, that is how they communicate. But, when a two-day-old baby wouldn’t stop crying, an infuriated father punched her in the face, so hard that she died.

Karen Bissett, 21, the child’s mother had left the child with her father, Liam Deane, when she went to get some sleep on July 10, 2017. Since Luna wouldn’t stop crying while Bissett was away, he shook her hard; punching her in the face, and squeezing her body and arms, reports BBC.

Despite suffering grave injuries, the father did nothing. The next day, he informed Luna’s mother that she was struggling to breathe and lied that she fell from the bed while sleeping at night. The two-day-old was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary where she died in intensive care on July 14.

According to a doctor, Luna died as a result of head trauma, which left her with “catastrophic brain injuries.”

When questioned by police, Deane broke down and admitted that he was the one who attacked the infant. During Deane’s trial, prosecutor Michael Smith stated that the infant suffered damage to her brain, body, and face.

Smith said, “He said he was responsible for all of the injuries that she had suffered and he said that Luna had not settled down and he lost control.” The then 22-year-old father was given a life sentence with a minimum of 10 years in prison in October 2017.

But unfortunately, fate had other plans for him. You see, just months after receiving his sentence, Dean was found dead in his prison cell in IMP Leeds on 12 November 2017. Fellow inmate John Westland, who was serving a sentence for rape and grievous bodily harm, was arrested and given a minimum of 19 years in prison, as he was responsible for the murder of the father.

During the trial, judge Rodney Jameson QC told Westland, “You told the jury that you believed Liam Deane was a sex offender, but he was not. He had committed a very serious crime, but had admitted it from the first and was trying to come to terms with what he had done.”

“It is an unfortunate consequence of life in prison than those who are themselves guilty of serious offenses, as you were, will find another inmate to look down on. Given the nature of your own conviction, some might find that to be rank hypocrisy,” said Judge Jameson.

Then, Westland revealed that because of the nature of Deane’s conviction, he was frequently referred to as a “baby killer” around the jail, and he received daily threats and taunts. He also claimed that his cellmate was in debt to other inmates.

During the week-long trial, jurors heard that the convict killed his cellmate with a broken bottle of aftershave and that the victim had shown symptoms of asphyxiation caused by pressure on his head and face.

Even though Deane’s crime of killing his infant daughter was termed as “an appalling crime that tore her family apart” by West Yorkshire Police, they believed that he was entitled to his right of serving his time in prison.

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