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> PENNSYLVANIA

Parents who lost 7 kids in fire have new baby

LOYSVILLE, Pa. (AP) -- The Pennsylvania parents who lost seven of their eight children in a farmhouse fire three months ago have a new son.

The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reported Monday that Gabriel Nelson Clouse was born Friday to Ted and Janelle Clouse.

Grandfather Noah Sauder told the newspaper that the family is living in their newly built house on their dairy farm near Loysville in Perry County, about 30 miles from Harrisburg.

Investigators weren't able to pinpoint a cause for the March 8 fire. Six girls and a boy, all under 12, died of smoke inhalation.

Janelle Clouse was milking cows in the barn and Ted Clouse was making rounds in a milk truck when the blaze began.

Their daughter, Leah, 3, ran from the house to alert her mother and wasn't harmed.

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> DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Diabetic justice talks to afflicted children

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was 7 years old and living in the South Bronx when she found she was thirsty all the time. Soon after, she started wetting her bed at night.

"I was ashamed," the justice, 56, said, as she related how she came to learn that she has diabetes. The audience for the unusually personal glimpse at a justice's life was children who are diabetics, like Sotomayor. And the reason she met with them Tuesday was to assure them that their common affliction is no bar to doing anything they want.

"It's a disease you have to deal with, but you can," she said, as she sat in an armchair with 150 children seated in a semicircle on the carpet in front of her.

Sotomayor said she has the job of her dreams and that coping with diabetes has become second nature. She injects herself with insulin four to six times a day, often before she takes the bench with her colleagues on the Supreme Court.

Sotomayor's condition has long been known, but she has not previously spoken so openly about managing diabetes.

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> DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Panetta is confirmed as defense secretary

WASHINGTON -- The Senate unanimously confirmed Leon E. Panetta as secretary of defense Tuesday, putting the Pentagon in the hands of a former Democratic congressman and budget expert amid growing political discontent over the cost and reach of President Obama's military engagements.

Panetta, who spent two years as director of the CIA, will replace Robert M. Gates, who is retiring after serving in two consecutive administrations.

In a statement, Panetta thanked the Senate "for the strong vote of confidence" and said he was "deeply honored" by the 100-0 tally and the president's nomination.

His confirmation comes as Obama is poised to reveal the plan to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan, and as Congress is expressing frustration over the administration's stance on the U.S. military's role in Libya.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said the Panetta pick was a "wise and solid one," while Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called Obama's nominee "a home-run choice."

-- Los Angeles Times

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