ARMY SERGEANT RECEIVES 2ND HIGHEST MILITARY HONOR: FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) — A Brazilian-born Army sergeant credited with saving two lives during an attack in Afghanistan while wounded has been presented with the nation's second highest military honor, the Distinguished Service Cross.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno presented the medal to Sgt. Felipe Pereira (PUR-air-rah) of the 101st Airborne Division during a ceremony Thursday at the installation on the Tennessee-Kentucky state line.
Pereira is the first soldier from the famed 101st Airborne Division since Vietnam to receive the honor. He is assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
Born in Brasilia, he moved to America at the age of 17 to learn English at a Nebraska college. He earned a degree in biology and was working as a martial arts instructor when he decided to join the Army. In 2010, he became a dual citizen of Brazil and the United States.
RFK SON INVOKES FATHER'S DEATH AT NY COURT DATE: MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. (AP) — The son of Sen. Robert Kennedy invoked his father's assassination Thursday in a case stemming from his attempt to take his newborn son from a hospital maternity ward.
Douglas Kennedy is charged with endangering the baby and physically harassing two nurses in the January incident.
After a mostly procedural court session, Kennedy said, "It is OK for a father to hold his son in his arms ... my father was taken away from me when I was a baby."
"The only thing I wanted to do that night was to be with my son and hold him in my arms," Kennedy said.
On Jan. 7, Kennedy tried to take his 2-day-old son from the maternity ward at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, about 30 miles from Manhattan. He said he wanted some fresh air for the baby, but nurses tried to stop him, citing hospital policy, and a tussle was recorded on hospital video. Security guards were summoned and the baby stayed in the hospital.
OFFICIAL: 1 OFFICER KILLED, 4 HURT IN NH SHOOTING: GREENLAND, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire Attorney General Mike Delaney says one police officer has been killed and four hurt in a shooting stemming from a drug investigation in the small town of Greenland.
He says an armed person and a woman remain in the home where the incident started around 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Police remain on the scene. Delaney says he can't release much information because there is still an active armed standoff in the neighborhood.
COAST GUARD: 2 DEAD IN SHOOTING AT ALASKA STATION: ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Two Coast Guard members were fatally shot Thursday at a communications station on an island off Alaska in what officials said appeared to be a double homicide. They have yet to identify a suspect.
The victims were found at their work areas inside the Kodiak Island station early Thursday by another Coast Guard member, spokeswoman Sara Francis said.
Officials believe a third person was involved in the shooting, she said, adding the rest of the roughly 60 enlisted personnel and civilians working at the station have been accounted for.
MASS. MAN GIVEN 17 1/2 YEARS ON TERROR COUNTS: BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts man convicted of conspiring to help al-Qaida was sentenced Thursday to 17½ years in prison after giving an impassioned speech in which he declared his love for Islam and said, "This is not terrorism; it's self-defense."
Tarek Mehanna, 29, an American who grew up in the wealthy Boston suburb of Sudbury, was found guilty in December of traveling to Yemen to seek training in a terrorist camp with the intention of going on to Iraq to fight U.S. soldiers there. Prosecutors said that when that plan failed, Mehanna returned to the United States and began translating and disseminating materials online promoting violent jihad.
"In your eyes I'm a terrorist. I'm the only one standing here in an orange jumpsuit," Mehanna said in U.S. District Court in Boston. He later added: "America will change and recognize this trial for what it is."
'IDOL' JUDGES SAVE FINALIST FROM ELIMINATION: LOS ANGELES (AP) — The "American Idol" judges didn't stutter: Jessica Sanchez "ain't going home."
The 16-year-old high school student from San Diego who powered through the Jazmine Sullivan ballad "Stuttering" on Wednesday, was revealed to have received the fewest viewer votes on Thursday, but the "Idol" judges unanimously decided to save Sanchez before she could even finish her last-chance performance of Deborah Cox's "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here."
"Give me that mic," interrupted Jennifer Lopez. "This is crazy! Yes, we're using the save. You ain't going home."
Sanchez, sometimes known as her sassy alter ego "Bebe Chez," had been deemed one of this season's front-runners, consistently impressing the panel with savvy-beyond-her-years takes on such tunes as Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" and Beyonce's "Sweet Dreams."
ESTRANGED WIFE OF SHERIFF MAULED BY POLICE K-9: BAKERSFIELD (AP) — The estranged wife of Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood is recovering from injuries she suffered when a Bakersfield police dog mauled her inside her home on Easter Sunday.
Attorney Daniel Rodriguez tells KBAK/KBFX that Victoria Youngblood was asleep in her bedroom when the dog pounced on her and clamped down on her head.
A medical report shows Youngblood's right ear was mutilated and she is in danger of losing her hearing.
Rodriguez says police went to the home to serve a search warrant involving the Youngblood's son who was arrested earlier in the day for investigation of possession of a controlled substance.
Police Sgt. Joe Grubbs says the K-9 handler announced the officers' presence before entering the home but Victoria Youngblood did not respond.
PTA CHAPTER IN NY ADDRESSES NEEDS OF GAY STUDENTS: GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (AP) — Rachael Scheinman hears anti-gay slurs all the time.
The senior at the Portledge School in Locust Valley, N.Y., says many of her peers use hateful vocabulary as generic putdowns without realizing the harm.
"These slurs are used very cruelly, and when I ask people about it they say they are not being anti-gay; they are just substituting the slur to mean 'stupid' or something like that,"" said the 18-year-old, who identifies herself as gay.
Scheinman was among those celebrating Thursday at the approval of a Parent-Teacher Association chapter designed specifically for the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.
David Kilmnick, executive director of the Long Island GLBT Services Network, said the new organization will lobby for stronger anti-bullying measures that target gays, and seek to have the contributions of gays incorporated into curriculums.
"The bullying gay kids face in our schools is at a much higher level; it's really an epidemic," Kilmnick said. "Parents come to us frustrated and want schools to do something. This PTSA is really going to be a lifesaver for those parents and kids. They will now have a vehicle to have their voice heard."