The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the First Amendment protects fundamentalist church members who mount anti-gay protests outside military funerals, despite the pain they cause grieving families. The court voted 8-1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The decision upheld an appeals court ruling that threw out a $5 million judgment to the father of a dead Marine who sued church members after they picketed his son's funeral.
BREGA, Libya (AP) — Opponents of Moammar Gadhafi repelled an attack by the Libyan leader's forces trying to retake a key coastal oil installation in a topsy-turvy battle Wednesday in which shells splashed in the Mediterranean and a warplane bombed a beach where rebel fighters were charging over the dunes. At least six people were killed in the fighting. The assault on the Brega oil port was the first major regime counteroffensive against the opposition-held eastern half of Libya, where the population backed by mutinous army units rose up and drove out Gadhafi's rule over the past two weeks.
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.
LONDON (AP) — The U.S. Air Force in Britain says the two airmen killed and two others wounded in the Frankfurt airport shooting were based in the U.K. A spokesman for Air Force at Lakenheath airfield confirmed all four were from the military base in eastern England.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who has been on indefinite medical leave, is making an appearance as he unveiled a new iPad in San Francisco. Jobs walked on stage to standing ovation. Jobs looked frail, wearing his signature black mock turtleneck, blue jeans and wire-rimmed glasses.
NEW YORK (AP) — Tennis star Serena Williams underwent "emergency treatment" Monday, days after doctors discovered a blood clot in her lungs, People magazine reported. Spokeswoman Nicole Chabot told the magazine that Williams "underwent emergency treatment for a hematoma suffered as a result of treatment for a more critical situation."
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Assailants purportedly sent by al-Qaida and the Taliban killed the only Christian member of Pakistan's federal Cabinet Wednesday, spraying his car with bullets outside his mother's home. It was the second assassination in two months of a high-profile opponent of blasphemy laws that impose the death penalty for insulting Islam. Shahbaz Bhatti, a 42-year-old Roman Catholic, had been aware of the danger, saying in a video-taped message meant for broadcast in the event of his death that he was being threatened by the Taliban and al-Qaida. The threats would not deter him from speaking for persecuted Christians and other minorities, he said.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A Danish family kidnapped by pirates has reached Somalia's coastline, officials and a pirate said Wednesday, likely meaning a long hostage ordeal for the couple and their three teenage children who were abducted while yachting around the world. The family has been moved to a larger ship, and none of the hostages has been harmed, a pirate said.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI has made a sweeping exoneration of the Jewish people for the death of Jesus Christ, tackling one of the most controversial issues in Christianity in a new book. In "Jesus of Nazareth-Part II" excerpts released Wednesday, Benedict explains biblically and theologically why there is no basis in Scripture for the argument that the Jewish people as a whole were responsible for Jesus' death.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Charlie Sheen's estranged wife Brooke Mueller obtained a restraining order to keep the actor away from her and their 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 twins from Sheen's Hollywood Hills home on Tuesday night and return them to her care.