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In brief: Army doctor will be dismissed

BALTIMORE – An Army doctor convicted of disobeying orders to deploy to Afghanistan because he questioned whether Barack Obama is eligible to be president was sentenced Thursday to six months in a military prison followed by dismissal from the Army.

Lt. Col. Terrence L. Lakin stood stoically in his dress uniform as an eight-person military jury handed down the punishment.

Lakin had become a hero of the “birther” movement when he refused to report for a second deployment to Afghanistan until he received an answer to his question of whether President Barack Obama is a natural-born U.S. citizen constitutionally eligible to be president.

The outcome of the court-martial has cost Lakin, a Greeley, Colo., native with only a little more than two years until retirement, his $90,000 annual salary, allowances, benefits and lifetime pension.

Execution used euthanasia drugs

Mcalester, Okla. – Oklahoma officials executed a convicted murderer Thursday using a drug combination that includes a sedative commonly used to euthanize animals, after a nationwide shortage of a key ingredient forced the state to tinker with the usual formula.

John David Duty was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m. at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. The 58-year-old, who was sentenced to die for strangling his cellmate nearly a decade ago, is believed to be the first person in the United States whose execution included the use of pentobarbital.

Duty and two other death-row inmates had challenged the state’s decision to use pentobarbital, arguing it could be inhumane because a person could be paralyzed but still aware when a painful third drug is administered to stop the heart. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court upheld a ruling against the other two inmates. Duty did not take part in the appeal.

Director Edwards dies at 88

LOS ANGELES – Blake Edwards, the veteran writer-director whose films include the “Pink Panther” comedies, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Days of Wine and Roses” and “10” and whose legendary disputes with studio chiefs inspired his scathing Hollywood satire “S.O.B.” has died. He was 88.

Edwards, whose collaborations with his wife, Julie Andrews, included the 1982 comedy “Victor/Victoria,” died of complications of pneumonia Wednesday evening, said Gene Schwam, Edwards’ longtime publicist.

Edwards scored his first box-office hit with “Operation Petticoat,” a 1959 comedy about a World War II submarine crew starring Cary Grant and Tony Curtis. But a turning point in Edwards’ film career came in 1961 with “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Displaying his versatility, Edwards followed up that success with “Days of Wine and Roses,” a grim drama about a young couple battling alcoholism.

But it’s Edwards’ comedies for which he is best known. As co-writer and director of “The Pink Panther” and “A Shot in the Dark” (both released in 1964), starring Peter Sellers as police Inspector Clouseau, Edwards earned a reputation as a master of slapstick comedy.


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