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Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Pilots on four commercial flights reported being targeted by green lasers during flights over New York Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

According to the FAA, the flights -- American 185, Shuttle America 4213, Delta 2292 and Delta 2634 -- were flying at an altitude of 8,000 feet approximately four miles northwest of Farmingdale on Long Island when the pilots reported that lasers were illuminating their aircraft, a federal crime.

The planes were flying out of John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The incidents all occurred between 9:30 and 10 p.m. No injuries were reported, and the flights all continued without further incident.

Authorities are investigating, but at this point no one has been taken into custody.

Pointing a laser into the cockpit of a plane carries a maximum of five years in federal prison and a quarter of a million dollars fine.

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(OXON HILL, Md.) -- The Scripps National Spelling Bee ended on Thursday night with not one, but two winners!

Gokul Venkatachalam and Vanya Shivashankar were named co-champions Thursday night after running out of words.

This was the second consecutive year where the bee ended with co-champions, after Ansun Sujoe and Sriram Hathwar each earned a share of the title last year. Prior to 2014, the last tie was in 1962.

Shivashankar spelled the word scherenschnitte correctly to earn a share of the win, while Venkatachalam forced a draw by correctly spelling nunatak.

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God Gazarov is seen in this undated photo posted to LinkedIn. Courtesy God Gazarov(NEW YORK) -- His prayers have been answered. 

A Brooklyn, New York man named God won a battle with the credit reporting agency Equifax, which finally recognized his name after years of problems getting loans and higher limits, according to a court settlement. 

The 27-year-old sued the agency last year in Brooklyn Federal Court because Equifax claimed its computer systems wouldn't allow it to issue a credit report under the name God despite several pleas that his name was real. 

But now, the credit agency said it has made the "necessary alterations" so that its system recognizes the name for Gazarov and anyone else. His credit score is now near perfect, he told ABC News. 

"I never claimed I'm the almighty leader of the world," Gazarov joked. "This country is built on immigrants, and there's nothing wrong with people carrying non-American names. It's not like I'm trying to say I'm Mickey Mouse and my address is Disney World in Orlando." 

Equifax has also agreed to pay Gazarov an undisclosed amount of money to settle the lawsuit, said his lawyer James B. Fishman of Fishman & Mallon, LLP. 

"I realized this is something American companies need to be able to deal with," Fishman told ABC News Thursday. "There are plenty of people who come here from other countries, who have unusual names, and American companies need to understand they are real people with real names that should be recognized." 

According to court records, Gazarov, who came to the U.S. from Russia as a child, was denied a higher credit line from Capital One and a car loan from Infinity in recent years because Equifax reported he had no credit history. 

"Our claim was that they were put on notice four to five times he was a real individual and that God was his real name," Fishman said. "He gave them his driver’s license, social security card, tax return and even a letter from his landlord to prove he’s real." 

An Equifax representative even told Gazarov, a jewelry store owner, that he should consider changing his name, court documents said. 

"But I'd never want to change my name," Gazarov told ABC News. "I was named after my grandfather who's also named God, and I'm proud to carry his name. He was a very big commander in army and well respected back home."

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MariaArefyeva/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) –  Thousands of service members will be getting paid back by their student loan company this June. But this isn't a paycheck, it's more like a rebate.

That's because tens of thousands of service members in school were overcharged on their student loan interest rates by Navient (the loan company that includes the former Sallie Mae).

By law, service members' student loan rates are supposed to be capped at six percent.  But Navient charged some of these students more. The company will pay the students back this June, according to a Justice Department settlement announcement on Thursday.

“This compensation will provide much deserved financial relief to the nearly 78,000 men and women who were forced to pay more for their student loans than is required under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,” Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery said in a release. 

Checks for the students, which will be mailed out in June, range from 10 bucks to over $100,000. 

The department’s investigation of Navient came after service members complained about their student loan rates. The Department of Education is changing their system, adding a database that automatically identifies students who are are eligible for the lower interest rate, instead of requiring service members to apply for the benefit.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Bowe Bergdahl was investigated earlier this year following an allegation of harrassment, but the U.S. Army North said Thursday it cleared him of wrongdoing.

Bergdahl was accused by a fellow soldier who lived in his barracks at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. U.S. Army North spokesperson Lt. Col. Tim Beninato said in a statement Thursday that "the Army takes any allegation of Soldier misconduct very seriously," and that an investigation found the accusation to be untrue and "determined that no disciplinary action was warranted" in Bergdahl's case.

Beninato added that the U.S. Army North Command "promptly addressed [the allegation] with the Soldiers involved."

"Since February," he noted, "no further issues have been brought to the attention of this command."

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Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- A potential trial date was set Thursday for the University of Virginia student who was left bloodied after being arrested outside of a Charlottesville bar, but the charges against him could still be dropped.

Honors student Martese Johnson was arrested by state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents outside a bar near campus on March 18 and the incident sparked protests over police brutality.

In late March, Johnson was expected to enter a not-guilty plea but did not because the prosecution asked for a continuance in the case.

Johnson was charged with public intoxication and obstructing justice.

The Commonwealth's Attorney Office has until June 12 to determine if they will drop the charges or not. If the charges are not dropped, the trial date has been set for Sept. 30.

"We are optimistic that once the investigation has been included, the prosecution will agree that the ABC officers did not have reasonable suspicion to apprehend and arrest Martese and that the charges will be dismissed," Johnson's attorney's office said in a statement.

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This file photo dated 17 December 2001 shows a truck approaching the main gate at the US Army's Dugway Proving Ground, from which samples containing live anthax spores were sent to 18 laboratory facilities. Credit: RGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Eighteen laboratories in nine states have begun turning over samples of anthrax to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine if they contained live anthrax mistakenly provided to them by the U.S. military, the Pentagon said Thursday.

In a precautionary move, 22 employees at a military laboratory in South Korea that also received a shipment of the spores have been ordered to take the antibiotic Cipro because they may have been exposed to live spores during lab training conducted late last week, officials said.

The Pentagon has said that there is no threat to the general public from the inadvertent shipping of live anthrax and that none of the personnel in South Korea have demonstrated any signs or symptoms of exposure to anthrax.

The anthrax distributed to the 18 laboratories originated in one milliliter of live anthrax known as AG1 that was irradiated on March 18, 2014, a Defense Department official told ABC News.

The irradiation was supposed to have left the sample fully inactivated, but subsequent testing has shown it still left some live spores in the sample, the official said.

Over the course of the next 12 months, the Dugway facility provided samples of the AG1 batch to 18 private and academic laboratories in nine states as well as a U.S. military laboratory in South Korea. Each of the institutions was provided samples of the AG1 anthrax for various forms of anthrax research or product development.

On April 29, 2015, the military’s Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center in Maryland shipped some of the AG1 anthrax to eight companies in six states, according to the Pentagon. It was a private company in Maryland that notified the CDC on May 22 that it had received live anthrax as part of that shipment.

Since then, the CDC and the Pentagon have been working to secure all of the samples of AG1 anthrax that had been sent by FedEx to 18 laboratories.

"We are confident that the packaging and transport of these items was in accordance with the procedures outlined to ensure that the public is not at any risk," said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

Since the CDC and the Pentagon were notified last week that the AG1 stock might contain live spores, the remaining AG1 stock at the Dugway Proving Ground has been tested and found to contain a mix of both live and inactivated anthrax.

Stanford University confirmed Thursday that its medical school had received a vial of anthrax last July, but that it had not been used by school personnel since it was initially received 10 months ago.

After the school was notified by the CDC that it may have received minute amounts of live anthrax, the university launched “a safety review of the laboratory where the material was handled by two individuals under appropriate biosafety guidelines," the university said in a statement.

“Stanford secured the vial in question for shipping to the CDC for evaluation to determine whether, in fact, the material was not completely inactivated. Stanford has not received any reports of incidents or reactions over the 10 months since the material was last used in the laboratory," the university said.

U.S. military commanders at Osan Air Base in South Korea ordered the destruction of the AG1 sample they had received early last year.

“Emergency response personnel from the 51st Fighter Wing responded and destroyed the sample located in a self-contained contingency facility at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, after it was discovered the bacteria might not be an inert training sample as expected,” the 51st Fighter Wing said in a statement.

The 22 personnel may have been exposed during training on laboratory equipment conducted between May 21 and 23.

“The lab workers were wearing standard lab apparel, including lab coat, eye protection, gloves and using a bio-safety cabinet with filter," according to Col. Amy Hannah, a spokesperson for U.S. Forces Korea.

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A California couple's "puppet wedding." Robert Orsa Photography(LOS ANGELES) -- A California duo who've been dating for fifteen years decided to tie the knot with a surprising crew.

In front of unwitting friends and family, Tammy Caplan and Joe Gold wed, with the help of a rabbi, a minister, a ship's captain, and, of course, the obligatory red-faced wedding crasher--all puppets.  

"Weddings can be so serious," Caplan said. "We wanted a creative, fun vibe."

Groom Gold said they kept the furry, colorful cast a secret, and the guests were totally surprised.

"We kept it from everyone except the vendors until the day before the wedding, when we had to tell the wedding party," Gold said.

The purple puppet minister is ordained, and actually married the couple.

At the reception, guests made their own puppets. Who knows, maybe some of those creations will 'grow up' to become ministers too.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- High school students are getting ready to put their school work behind them and start summer vacation -- but hundreds of students at Loudoun County Schools in Virginia won’t be able to do that.

Some 300 SAT tests got lost in the mail and didn’t get back to College Board, according to a statement from the non-profit.

A Loudoun County School official told ABC News Thursday that their test proctors did everything by the book, including shipping the tests using the UPS label and box that College Board provides.

Junior Chris Unger took the test on May 2 at Broad Run High School in Ashburn, Virigina.

“I think the worst part of this is College Board never officially told us our tests were lost,” the 17-year-old told ABC News. “Even an email would’ve been better than not hearing. I kept checking my online portal for scores and they never came.”

Unger said he feels “gipped” because he walked out of the test feeling confident. He spent dozens of hours studying and he said his parents paid for specialized tutoring sessions on top of the $52.50 registration fee.

Now, the students have a mandatory make-up test date on June 20, the weekend after their final exams. Unger said he wasn’t sure if they had to pay another registration fee.

Loudoun County Schools regularly proctor standardized tests in their 15 high schools and a district official told ABC News this situation is “clearly an anomaly.”

Unger said he got his scores “just fine” when he took the SAT in the beginning of the year.

“I wanted to use this round of scores to see if I need to take it a third time,” said Unger.

"This might mess with people who are applying to colleges for early admission,” he added.

The May 2 test scores should have been released on May 21, according to the SAT website.

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Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) -- The jurors in the trial of accused Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes heard extensively from Holmes for the first time Thursday as the court played videos of his psychiatric interviews recorded after the July 2012 attack.

Holmes, speaking in a calm, monotone voice, admitted to having "regrets" about the shooting while he was in solitary confinement.

"Usually it's before I go to sleep," he says in one part of the nearly two-hour long video.

When asked what people should know about him, Holmes replied: "That I'm kind of shy, I guess. ... I don't like to talk a lot."

Earlier Thursday, a psychiatrist who treated accused Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes said Thursday that he believes Holmes was sane at the time of the attack.

"Whatever he suffered from it did not stop him from forming the intent and knowing what he was doing and the consequences of what he was doing," Dr. William Reid said immediately before the judge called a recess for lunch.

Reid was selected by the state mental institution to examine Holmes in the wake of the July 2012 attack where he killed 12 people when he opened fire in a movie theater. Reid's testimony started shortly before the recess was called and was expected to extend into the afternoon.

The videos are a critical piece of evidence in the case as Holmes and his attorneys have pleaded that he was not guilty by reason of insanity, while the prosecution is working to prove that he was sane when he opened fire and killed 12 people in the July 2012 shooting.

There are 22 hours of interviews in total and they were conducted at the state mental health facility in Pueblo, Colorado, after his arrest.

The way in which they would be presented to the jury was a debated issue, with the prosecution successfully arguing that they be shown in parts rather than all in one, as the defense had originally hoped.

Thursday marks the 20th day of the trial and the videos have been one of the most highly anticipated pieces of evidence.

Earlier this week, the court heard from his journal where he wrote about selecting a movie theater as the target for his shooting as opposed to an airport, which he decided had too much security.

Survivors and first responders have been among the dozens of witnesses called to testify about the scene inside the movie theater on the night of the shooting.

Holmes faces the death penalty.

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iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- The entire Manhattan Beach coastline outside Los Angeles is still closed Thursday after globs of an oily substance washed up onto its shores. 

But officials say the beaches could re-open as early as Friday, if no more tar or oil balls come ashore.

The tar-like material began appearing Wednesday afternoon and spread out across 6.5 miles of coastline, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The source of the material is not yet known.

“We do have crews on scene,” Alexia Retallack , a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, told ABC News Thursday. Officials have begun testing the substance to determine its source but do not expect the results to become available for at least a day.

“They are checking it out and beginning cleanup,” Retallack said.

Officials have ruled out natural seepage as the source for the substance, saying the effected area doesn't match with known natural sources, according to Kenichi Haskett, an ocean lifeguard captain with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health posted closure signs along Manhattan Beach and residents have been urged to avoid the ocean.

The news comes a week after a Plains All American oil pipeline ruptured in Santa Barbara, dumping 101,000 gallons of crude oil onto the Refugio State Beach and leaving a 9-mile-long slick in the ocean that decimated sea life. Officials are still trying to clean up the Santa Barbara spill and have removed 10,000 gallons of oily water mixture.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration reported on Thursday that the failed section of that pipeline has been removed and will undergo metallurgical testing. No cause has yet been determined for the failure.

It was not immediately clear whether the two events are linked.

In 2014, a permanent ban on drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara failed to pass the State Assembly. The bill's defeat marked a major success for Sunset Exploration and its partner Exxon Mobile, which are seeking to drill for oil on nearby Air Force property known as the Tranquillon Ridge.

Environmentalists have called on the State Assembly to reconsider the ban.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Millions of Americans in the Great Plains are bracing for more rain and severe weather after being battered for days by powerful storms that are being blamed for several deaths.

Flash flood watches and warnings are in effect Thursday for parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, the latter of which has already been devastated by flooding. In fact, it's the worst flooding the Lone Star State has seen since 2007, according to Jesse Moore, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, Texas.

"We've been in a drought here for the last five or six years and now we're getting a lot of rain, which you know everybody was praying for rain. But, at this point, I think almost all of us are saying ok we've had enough. We can use a dry period," Moore says.

But it will be a while before that dry period can begin

"We're looking at 2 to 4 inches across the area," Moore notes. "We have several rounds of thunderstorms, with the biggest round expected to occur over the weekend."

He says a number of rivers in Texas are near or over flood levels and will stay that way through the weekend.

"The Trinity and the Brazos rivers are the ones that are major concerns. There's of course flooding also on the Sabine River up in northeast Texas, and of course some flooding along the Red River as well," Moore says.

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PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Samples of live anthrax were inadvertently shipped to private research laboratories in nine states and one in South Korea that were supposed to have received dead anthrax samples, the Pentagon confirmed on Wednesday.

There is no known risk to the general public and there have been no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infection as a result of the inadvertent shipment, officials said.

"The Department of Defense is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their investigation of the inadvertent transfer of samples containing live Bacillus anthracis, also known as anthrax, from a DoD lab in Dugway, Utah, to labs in nine states,” said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

"There is no known risk to the general public, and there are no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infection in potentially exposed lab workers," he added. "The DoD lab was working as part of a DoD effort to develop a field-based test to identify biological threats in the environment. Out of an abundance of caution, DoD has stopped the shipment of this material from its labs pending completion of the investigation."

"One sample of Anthrax was also sent to the Joint United States Forces Korea (USFK) Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition Program at Osan Air Base," Warren said. "There is no known risk to the general public, and no personnel have shown any signs of possible exposure. The sample was destroyed in accordance with appropriate protocols."

The samples were shipped on April 30 from the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah to a military laboratory in Maryland. From there, they were shipped via a commercial shipper to eight companies with laboratories in nine states: California, Texas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey and New York.

According to a Defense official, a laboratory in Maryland detected that their shipment contained live samples and contacted the CDC. That triggered a response from the Defense Department and other agencies, including the FBI, to trace the shipments to ensure that they were properly secured.

According to CDC spokesman Jason McDonald, a CDC team was at Dugway investigating how the inadvertent shipment occurred.

"At least 18 labs in nine states received sample kits containing 23 marked specimens and 2 controls," said McDonald said. "One of the controls was labeled ‘antigen 1.’ It was this vial that tested positive in one lab in Maryland. State health departments have done risk assessments and Maryland offered antibiotics to four lab workers due to possible exposure. Three of the four workers decided to take the antibiotics."

The DoD routinely sends dead anthrax spores or inactivated spores to research facilities. The official said that military laboratories use commercial companies to ship samples of live anthrax to research facilities, but only with the proper bio-level safety protocols.

The samples all came from a batch of anthrax listed as AG-1. The Pentagon has confirmed that one of the shipments contained live samples of AG-1 and suspects that the others do as well.

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Creatas/Thinkstock(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) -- A North Carolina elementary school teacher was apparently captured threatening students in a secret recording, parents say.

Leona Cain says her son Sammy had been trying to tell her for months that his teacher at Alderman Road Elementary School in Fayetteville was verbally abusive, but she says she didn’t believe him until she sent her 10-year-old boy to school with a recording device and heard it herself.

"I don't even like somebody to be behind me when I'm on the board, because I might get mad and pop the mess out of you and then it would be my fault because you were standing behind me," the teacher -- who has not been identified -- could be heard yelling on the recording, sections of which were obtained by ABC News station WTVD in Durham.

The audio, recorded earlier this month, runs for four hours.

“I was infuriated, I was disgusted. I was heartbroken,” Cain said later.

Other parents are also speaking out.

“My son was afraid of her,” parent Kimberly Ballez told WTVD. “He would repeat, ‘I’m scared, she scares me, she scares me.’”

Some parents have pulled their children from the classroom and the school, according to the station. Sammy is home for now.

Leona Cain shared the recording with the school’s principal, and the incident was later reported to district administrators, according to WTVD. School officials have declined to comment, saying this is a personnel matter.

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Brevard County Sheriff’s Office(MELBOURNE, Fla.) -- A Florida man was arrested Wednesday after the plane he was piloting struck a shed, authorities said.

According to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Christopher John Hall, 57, was arrested and booked in jail Wednesday, charged with reckless operation of a vessel -- operation of an aircraft while under the influence -- as well as child abuse.

The plane struck a shed containing communications equipment at Melbourne International Airport, according to ABC News affiliate WFTV. The shed and the plane, a Cessna Skymaster 337, were not seriously damaged.

No one was injured in the incident.

According to air traffic control audio from the incident, tower crews were communicating with the pilot in preparation for takeoff.

“Hold your position,” the air traffic controller warned.

Hall is scheduled to appear before a judge Thursday.

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