LOS ANGELES — Billy Crystal is doing it again.

The 63-year-old comedian and veteran Oscar host said Thursday on Twitter that he is hosting the Feb. 26, 2012, Academy Awards “so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions.”

“Some of the best moments of my career have happened on the Oscar stage,” said Crystal in a later statement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “I am thrilled to be back there.”

Academy president Tom Sherak added: “I’m thrilled to welcome Billy back to the Oscar stage. He’s a comic legend and Oscar icon, and it feels good to have him back where he belongs.”

This will be the ninth Oscar stint for Crystal, one of the most popular Oscar hosts of recent years. His last time was in 2004. Only Bob Hope hosted more Oscar shows, with 19 ceremonies between 1940 and 1978.

The naming of Crystal follows a groundswell of sentiment for his return after he led a tribute to Hope on the 2011 Oscar show for which he received a standing ovation. Crystal said later he was moved by the warm reception and that “it might be fun” to host the show again.

“I think the show needs to change,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press in March. “There’s too many awards and it has to sort of freshen itself up, and if I can be a part of that, that would be great.”

Crystal previously hosted in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2000, and 2004 – some of the most successful shows in Oscar history. The 1998 show was the highest-rated Oscar telecast, when “Titanic” sailed away with multiple trophies.

The 2011 ceremony featured the duo of Anne Hathaway and James Franco in an effort to attract younger viewers, but with disappointing results.

Comedian Eddie Murphy had been chosen to host the 2012 show, but pulled out Wednesday following the departure on Tuesday of producer and friend Brett Ratner, who left amid criticism of his use of a pejorative term for gay men at a screening of the director’s action comedy “Tower Heist,” which stars Murphy and Ben Stiller.

Rep. Giffords interviewed by Sawyer

PHOENIX — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is able to speak with a clear voice in her first TV interview since she was shot 10 months ago.

The 41-year-old congresswoman was seated with her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, as she spoke with ABC’s Diane Sawyer for an interview that will air Monday. A preview was broadcast Thursday on “World News.”

Giffords was wearing dark eyeglasses. Her brown hair has grown out since it was shaved after the shooting.

When Sawyer asked how she felt, Giffords said, “Pretty good.” She also said her recovery was “difficult.”

Giffords is recovering from a brain injury she suffered Jan. 8 when a gunman opened fire outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket.

Prince William will be sent to the Falklands

LONDON — Prince William will be deployed to the politically sensitive Falkland Islands next year as an air force search and rescue pilot, Britain’s defense ministry said Thursday.

The second in line to the British throne will spend six weeks in February and March at the British outpost 290 miles east of Argentina’s coast in the Atlantic Ocean, the Defense Ministry said.

He will be part of a crew of four Royal Air Force personnel on the deployment.

The prince, known in the military as Flight Lt. William Wales, is an RAF helicopter pilot, currently based in Wales.

The defense ministry said William, 29, would not undertake any ceremonial royal duties during the deployment. His wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, will remain in Britain.

Britain has ruled the Falklands for more than 180 years, but Argentina claims sovereignty over the islands it calls Las Malvinas.