BEREZNIKI, Russia

Court: Jailed musician can’t defer sentence for son’s sake

A Russian court on Wednesday turned down an attempt by an imprisoned Pussy Riot band member to defer serving her sentence for hooliganism until her preschool son becomes a teenager.

Maria Alekhina asked the court in Berezniki, a Urals Mountain city near her prison, to let her serve the rest of her two-year sentence after her 5-year-old son turns 14. She argued that separation from her young child now would do irreparable psychological damage to him.

Alekhina and two other female members of the punk band were convicted last year of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for an anti-Vladimir Putin protest in Russia’s main cathedral. One of the women has had her sentence suspended on appeal.

Judge Galina Yefremova rejected Alekhina’s petition, saying the court that sentenced her had already taken the child’s existence into account.

Alekhina told the court Wednesday that while she wanted her sentence deferred, she still refused to plead guilty. “No one will force me to say I’m guilty – I have nothing to repent for,” she said.

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J.

Contract awarded to rebuild Sandy-shellacked boardwalk

The boardwalk where generations of families and teens got their first taste of the Jersey Shore and where the MTV reality show of the same name was filmed is about to be rebuilt following its destruction in Superstorm Sandy.

Seaside Heights on Wednesday night awarded a $3.6 million contract to have the boardwalk rebuilt in time for Memorial Day weekend.

The walkway, one of the most popular and heavily used at the Jersey Shore, was destroyed in the late October storm, the state’s worst natural disaster.

NEW YORK

Study underscores flu-shot safety for pregnant women

A large study offers reassuring news for pregnant women: It’s safe to get a flu shot.

The research found no evidence that the vaccine increases the risk of losing a fetus, and may prevent some deaths. Getting the flu while pregnant makes fetal death more likely, the Norwegian research showed.

The flu vaccine has long been considered safe for pregnant women and their fetus. But this study is perhaps the largest look at the safety and value of flu vaccination during pregnancy, experts say.

LAS VEGAS

NASA looks at bounce-house units for use as space hotels

NASA is partnering with a commercial space company in a bid to swap out the cumbersome “metal cans” that now serve as astronauts’ homes in space for inflatable bounce-house-like habitats that can be deployed on the cheap.

A $17.8 million test project will send an inflatable room that can be compressed for delivery into a 7-foot tube to the International Space Station, officials said Wednesday during a news conference at North Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace.

– From news service reports