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In the Nation


In attack, six

get Purple Hearts

After determining a shooting at a Chattanooga reserve center this summer was inspired by foreign terrorists, the Navy will award the Purple Heart to the four Marines and one sailor who were killed and the one Marine who was injured there.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced the decision Wednesday in a news release that said the terrorist determination came after an extensive investigation by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigation Service.

The FBI earlier labeled shooter Muhammad Abdulazeez, a naturalized U.S. citizen, a homegrown violent extremist but declined to say what might have motivated him. His family said he had problems with drugs and depression that prevented him from holding on to a job. He was also in debt, and considering bankruptcy at 24.

But investigators also found writings from Abdulazeez that refer to Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who encouraged and inspired attacks on the homeland and was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.

Those killed July 16 were Navy Petty Officer Second Class Randall Smith and Marine Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, and Lance Cpl. Squire "Skip" Wells. Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley was injured.

- AP

'Festivus Pole' wins approval

A Florida man said Wednesday his plan has been approved to display in the Oklahoma Capitol rotunda a "Festivus Pole" based on a fictional holiday depicted in the popular 1990s sitcom Seinfeld. Chaz Stevens of Jupiter, Fla., will display a Festivus Pole on Wednesday in the building's first-floor rotunda near an existing display of giant nutcrackers and a gift-laden sleigh.

Stevens said the pole pays homage both to gay rights and the Seinfeld episode in which a character's quirky father describes a holiday that includes feats of strength and the airing of grievances.

- AP


Free speech cited

for panhandling

A man who was cited by police for soliciting donations at an intersection in Providence filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing city officials of violating his constitutional right to free speech.

Michael Monteiro is being represented by the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which says the federal lawsuit against the city of Cranston is the first of several the group is planning over laws it says criminalize the poor.

"Asking for help is a form of free speech," said Marc Gursky, the lawyer who filed the suit.

He said there have been a number of cases in federal courts where such bans have been struck down on free speech grounds, including one last month in Worcester, Mass. - AP