Streisand, Spielberg, Mays to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Singer and actress Barbra Streisand, filmmaker Steven Spielberg and baseball great Willie Mays are among 17 Americans who this year will receive the nation's highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House said on Monday.

President Barack Obama will award the medals to a star-studded list of Americans to honour their accomplishments in public service, entertainment and sports during a Nov. 24 ceremony, the White House said.

Gloria Estefan, Grammy Award-winning Cuban-American singer, and her husband Emilio Estefan, a producer and songwriter, will each receive the medal, along with Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim, award-winning conductor Itzhak Perlman, and singer James Taylor, the White House said.

Bonnie Carroll, known for her work with veterans, also will be honoured, as will long-serving Democratic Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, former Indiana Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton, NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson, and former Environmental Protection Agency head William Ruckelshaus.

Posthumous honors will be given to New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, African American trail-blazing Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, Indian treaty rights advocate Billy Frank, Jr., and Japanese-American civil rights activist Minoru Yasui, the White House said.