The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a grieving father's pain over mocking protests at his Marine son's funeral must yield to First Amendment protections for free speech. All but one justice sided with a fundamentalist church that has stirred outrage with raucous demonstrations contending God is punishing the military for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. The 8-1 decision in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., was the latest in a line of court rulings that, as Chief Justice John Roberts said in his opinion for the court, protects "even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate."
BREGA, Libya (AP) — Rebel forces routed troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi in a fierce battle over an oil port Wednesday, scrambling over the dunes of a Mediterranean beach through shelling and an airstrike to corner their attackers. While they thwarted the regime's first counteroffensive in eastern Libya, opposition leaders still pleaded for outside airstrikes to help them oust the longtime leader. The attack on Brega, a strategic oil facility 460 miles (740 kilometers) east of Gadhafi's stronghold in Tripoli, illustrated the deep difficulties the Libyan leader's armed forces — an array of militiamen, mercenaries and military units — have had in rolling back the uprising that has swept over the entire eastern half of Libya since Feb. 15.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Wednesday sent President Barack Obama a Republican-drafted stopgap funding bill that trims $4 billion from the budget, completing hastily processed legislation designed to keep partisan divisions from forcing a government shutdown. Moments later, Obama called on congressional leader to meet with top administration figures including Vice President Joe Biden to discuss a longer-term measure to fund the government through Sept. 30.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — A man armed with a handgun attacked a bus carrying U.S. Air Force troops at Frankfurt airport Wednesday, killing two airmen and wounding two others before being taken into custody, authorities said. Boris Rhein, the top security official in the German state of Hesse where the shooting took place, identified the shooter as a 21-year-old from Kosovo. Family members in Kosovo described the suspect as a devout Muslim, who was born and raised in Germany and worked at the airport.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army says it has filed 22 additional charges against Pvt. 1st Class Bradley E. Manning, the soldier suspected of providing classified government documents published by the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group. Army officials say the charges were filed on Tuesday. They accuse Manning of using unauthorized software on government computers to extract classified information, illegally download it and transmit the data for public release by what the Army termed "the enemy."
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Republican-controlled Ohio Senate has passed a measure that would restrict the collective bargaining rights of roughly 350,000 teachers, university professors, firefighters, police officers and other public employees. Senators passed the legislation on a 17-16 vote Wednesday, with all 'yes' votes coming from the GOP. Six Republicans voted against the bill.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple CEO Steve Jobs briefly emerged from his medical leave and walked on stage to a standing ovation Wednesday to unveil the second generation of the popular iPad. It comes with two cameras and will go on sale March 11 in the U.S. Jobs looked frail as he appeared in his signature black mock turtleneck, blue jeans and wire-rimmed glasses.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi mother was arrested Wednesday in the death of her 3-year-old son after authorities said they found the child's burned body in an oven. Washington County Coroner Methel Johnson said police found Tristan Robinson's body inside the electric oven at his mother's apartment shortly after midnight. Johnson said the child had been burned in the oven, but an autopsy was ordered to determine whether he died before or after being put there. Greenville Police Chief Freddie Cannon said Terrie A. Robinson, 24, was charged with murder. She was to be arraigned Thursday in Greenville, a city of about 35,000 residents in the Mississippi Delta.
NEW YORK (AP) — A 50-year-old with diabetes dies six years sooner than someone without the disease, and not just from a heart attack or a stroke, new research suggests. The large international effort to measure diabetes' toll found the disease also raises the risk of dying prematurely from a host of other ailments, even breast cancer and pneumonia.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Charlie Sheen's estranged wife Brooke Mueller obtained a restraining order to keep the actor away from her and their young sons because she was afraid of violent comments the actor had made in recent days, including threats that he would stab her in the eye with a pen knife. The order, which was issued after Mueller filed claims of physical abuse and threats, prompted police to take the nearly 2-year-old twins from Sheen's Hollywood Hills home on Tuesday night and return them to her care.