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Obama recognizes 17 with nation’s highest civilian award

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will recognize 17 people on Tuesday with the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Entertainers receiving the award are Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Stephen Sondheim, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, James Taylor and Itzhak Perlman.

Politicians include three Democrats: Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, former Rep. Lee Hamilton from Indiana and the late Rep. Shirley Chisholm from New York, the first African-American woman elected to Congress.

Honorees from the sports are Willie Mays and the late Yogi Berra.

Other honorees include veterans advocate Bonnie Carroll; NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson and former EPA chief and deputy attorney general William Ruckelshaus. He’s known for refusing to fire the Watergate special prosecutor.

Posthumous recipients include Indian tribal advocate Billy Frank Jr. and civil rights advocate Minoru Yasui.