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Man accused of smuggling deadly cobras into U.S. inside potato chip cans

Customs officials said they seized three highly venomous king cobra snakes that were being smuggled into the country earlier this year inside potato chip cans.

>> Read more trending news 

The two-foot-long snakes were shipped from Hong Kong to California in March and were intended for Rodrigo Franco, 34, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A crocodile, three alligator snapping turtles and five diamond back terrapins also were seized from Franco over the past year, the Times reported.

Officials searched Franco’s Monterey Park home in March and found a tank with a crocodile and turtles inside his children’s bedroom, according to the Times.

Franco was charged with one count of illegally importing merchandise into the United States. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in federal prison, authorities said.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

These 18 countries allow transgender people in their militaries

In a series of tweets Wednesday, President Donald Trump said transgender people will be barred from serving in the U.S. military “in any capacity.”

» RELATED: Trump: Transgender people won't be allowed in the military 

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” he wrote.

In 2015, the National Center for Transgender Equality estimated 15,000 trans people served in the U.S. military.

>> Read more trending news

The Pentagon ended the ban on transgender people in the military last year, placing the United States in the company of at least 18 other countries that allow trans people to serve in their militaries, according to a 2014 report from the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies.

» RELATED: QUIZ: How well do you know transgender Americans? 

Researchers behind the “LGBT Military Personnel: a Strategic Vision for Inclusion” report analyzed policies regarding LGBT inclusion in more than 100 countries and ranked them based on four principles: admission, tolerance, exclusion and persecution — each determined by a total of 19 different indicators, including transgender personnel.

Here are 18 countries that allow trans military personnel, according to the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies report:

  1. Australia
  2. Austria
  3. Belgium
  4. Bolivia
  5. Canada
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Denmark
  8. Estonia
  9. Finland
  10. France
  11. Germany
  12. Israel
  13. Netherlands
  14. New Zealand
  15. Norway
  16. Spain
  17. Sweden
  18. United Kingdom

» RELATED: Trump breaks tradition, doesn't recognize LGBT Pride Month

But even in those countries that researchers found inclusive to trans military members, several have set specific policies regarding trans personnel.

For example, in the United Kingdom, trans individuals should have finished transitioning before they serve.

It’s similar in Belgium, where policies state a person must undergo surgery and sterilization for the military to recognize their identified gender.

Australia’s Air Force, on the other hand, offers assistance in transitioning.

Read the full report from the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies.

WATCH: Sri Lankan navy rescues elephants swept out to sea

Two elephants that were swept out to sea were rescued by Sri Lanka's navy on Sunday, according to a CBS report. 

>> Watch video of the rescue here

The navy patrol located the elephants more than a half a mile from the shore, the navy said in a news release.

>> Elephant swept out to sea rescued 10 miles off coast by Sri Lankan navy

CBS reported that the animals, who likely were swept out while crossing a lagoon, were in distress.

>> See photos of the rescue here

The navy and wildlife officials sent in vessels and divers as part of its "mammoth effort,” the news release said.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

The elephants were “carefully directed to the shore without causing any harm to the animals” and released into the Foul Point jungle, the navy said.

>> Read more trending news

Read more here.

Prince George marks his fourth birthday with official photo

Prince George celebrates his fourth birthday on Saturday, and the royal family released photographs of the beaming child, the Independent reported.

>> Read more trending news

The son of Prince William and his wife Kate is third in line to the British throne.

In a statement, Kensington Palace said that "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to share a new official portrait of Prince George to mark His Royal Highness's fourth birthday tomorrow.

"The Duke and Duchess are very pleased to share this lovely picture as they celebrate Prince George's fourth birthday, and would like to thank everyone for all of the kind messages they have received."

Canadian rock legend Kenny Shields dies 

Kenny Shields, the lead singer of Canadian classic rock ‘n’ roll band Streetheart, died Friday after cardiac surgery in Winnipeg, CBC News reported. He was 69.

>> Read more trending news

Shields and Streetheart charted during the 1970s and 1980s with hits like “Action,” “Hollywood,” “Here Comes the Night,” and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb.”

The group’s last album was 2008’s “The Hits/Anthology.” The band had planned a cross-country tour this year to celebrate its 40th anniversary, but scrapped the plan when Shields became ill earlier this month.

Shields’ wife and daughter were with him when he died around 3 a.m., according to close friend and bandmate Jeff Neill.

“The ones that he loved were by his side and he wasn’t in pain,” Neill told CBC News. “And he just slipped away.”

‘Britain’s Got Talent’ champion dog Pudsey dies

Former “Britain’s Got Talent” winner Ashleigh Butler announced the death of her beloved dog, Pudsey on Friday, ITV reported.

>> Read more trending news

Butler, who won the 2012 season title on the ITV television show with Pudsey -- a mix of border collie, bichon frise and Chinese crested -- posted an emotional tribute on her Instagram account.

“My handsome man is gone and I don’t know what to do without him,” Butler wrote.

Butler said Pudsey, who was 11, was put down on Thursday after a short battle with leukemia. 

"I had to make the hardest decision of my life to let my beautiful boy go to sleep at the age of 11," Butler told the BBC.

The pair were notable for their dance routine to the theme song from “Mission: Impossible,” and were the first dog act to win the competition.

Earthquake off Greek, Turkish coasts kills 2

An earthquake that measured 6.7 on the RIchter Scale hit the Greek island of Kos early Friday, killed two people and killing dozens more, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

The quake’s epicenter was 10.1 miles east-northeast of the island in the Aegean Sea, according to US Geological Survey officials.

Surveillance footage from a shop in Bodrum, Turkey, shows the moment an earthquake hit:

Justin Bieber banned in Beijing

Pop singer Justin Bieber is now banned in Beijing.

>> Read more trending news 

Bieber won’t be performing in the Chinese capital due to “bad behavior,” according to a statement from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture.

“His series of misbehaviors while living abroad and during his performances in China has caused public resentment,” said the statement, which was dated July 18. “To regulate the domestic entertainment market and purify its environment, we find it inappropriate to bring in performers with bad behaviors.”

The 23-year-old Canadian is currently on a world tour, CNN reported.  He has dates scheduled in Japan, the Philippines, India, Singapore and Indonesia. Bieber’s website does list a show in Hong Kong on Sept. 27. It does not show any scheduled dates for mainland China.

Bieber joins a list of musicians allegedly blacklisted by China, CNN reported, including Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, Linkin Park, Bjork, Bon Jovi and Maroon 5.

Disney building the world's first Marvel hotel

It’s a hotel that Disney is hoping guests will marvel at.

>> Read more trending news 

Disney’s Hotel New York, a 565-room property near Disneyland Paris’ Disneytown. will be renovated to feature the props, drawings and costumes from Marvel films, television shows and comic books, Travel & Leisure reported.

The Art of Marvel will be the first Marvel Comics hotel. It will boast a skyscraper facade and likely will include Stark Tower, Travel & Leisure reported, continuing Marvel’s expanded presence among Disney properties. 

The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009, and has opened two attractions -- Guardians of the Galaxy, Mission Breakout! at Disney’s California Adventure; and Iron Man Experience at Hong Kong Disneyland. Walt Disney World’s Epcot park in Florida will be opening a Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster soon, while Avengers attractions are being proposed for the Disney California Adventure park, Travel & Leisure reported.

Princess Charlotte said goodbye to Poland with an adorable curtsy, but everyone missed it

Princess Charlotte is a serious pro at the art of a curtsy.

>> Princess Charlotte appears to wear Prince Harry's hand-me-down shoes from 1986

The 2-year-old was spotted on Wednesday morning giving a polite little curtsy to the Polish dignitaries as the royal family left the country for the second part of their tour in Germany. None of the officials seemed to see Charlotte; maybe in a few years she’ll be big enough to grab the spotlight.

>> See the clip here

The tiny princess has taken a cue from her mother, who has also been spotted giving a perfect curtsy while out and about.

>> Read more trending news

Charlotte and her big brother, Prince George, are sitting out many of the family’s official events, but by the looks of it, she is absolutely ready for her royal duty.

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