President Trump awards the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. David G. Bellavia on Tuesday in the East Room of the White House. Bellavia is the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the honor.

President Trump on Tuesday awarded the nation’s highest military honor to an Iraq War veteran who took on an insurgent stronghold and allowed members of his platoon to move to safety during heavy fighting in Fallujah.

The president presented the Medal of Honor to former Army Staff Sgt. David G. Bellavia, of Lyndonville, New York. He is the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the honor.

Bellavia was leading a squad in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah in November 2004. The White House said that after Bellavia helped his platoon escape fire, he entered a house and killed at least four insurgents who were firing rocket-propelled grenades.

“Bleeding and badly wounded, David single-handedly defeated the forces who had attacked his unit and would have killed them all had it not been for the bravery of David,” Trump said.

Bellavia, who left the Army in 2005, has been awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross.


Illinois’ new governor delivered on a top campaign promise Tuesday by signing legislation making the state the 11th to approve marijuana for recreational use in a program offering legal remedies and economic benefits to minorities whose lives critics say were damaged by a wayward war on drugs.

Legalization in Illinois also means that nearly 800,000 people with criminal records for purchasing or possessing 30 grams of marijuana or less may have those records expunged. It also gives cannabis-vendor preference to minority owners and promises 25% of tax revenue from marijuana sales to redevelop impoverished communities.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose election last year gave Democrats complete control over state government again, signed the bill in Chicago amid a bevy of pot proponents.


A judge on Tuesday ordered that the trial for a man charged with killing five people at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland is to be held in two parts and granted a request for more time to conduct a mental health review by the state health department.

Judge Laura Ripken granted a request by Jarrod Ramos’ defense attorneys for the trial to first determine guilt or innocence. If he is found to have committed the crimes, a second phase would determine whether his mental state made him not criminally responsible. Ramos, 39, has pleaded not guilty and not criminally responsible.

Ripken also granted a request from the state health department for 60 more days for a mental health evaluation of Ramos because more records are needed to finish it.


San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes after supervisors gave the measure its second and final vote Tuesday.

Backers said they hope the legislation will curb underage use of e-cigarettes, but critics said the ban will make it harder for adults to purchase an alternative to regular cigarettes.

E-cigarette maker Juul Labs, which is based in San Francisco, said it is opposed to youth vaping.

The company is working on a ballot initiative that would regulate, but not ban, e-cigarette sales.

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