VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
BAGHDAD (AP) -- The soaring half domes of the Martyr Monument stand out against the drabness of eastern Baghdad, not far from where Saddam Hussein's feared eldest son was said to torture underperforming athletes.
Saddam built the split teardrop-shaped sculpture in the middle of a manmade lake in the early 1980s to commemorate Iraqis killed in the Iran-Iraq War. The names of hundreds of thousands of fallen Iraqi soldiers are inscribed in simple Arabic script around the base.
Today the monument stands as a memorial to a different sort of martyr. In recent years, the Shiite-led government has begun turning it into a museum honoring the overwhelmingly Shiite and Kurdish victims of Saddam's Sunni-dominated regime.
The transformation of the Martyr Monument and other Saddam-era sites highlights Iraq's effort to memorialize those persecuted by the former dictator and purge many symbols of his rule. Yet a decade on from the U.S.-led invasion, Iraqis still grapple with the country's postwar identity and how much should be done to cleanse Iraq of traces of the strongman.
SENATORS PRESS PAROCHIAL HOPES IN SPENDING DEBATE
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sometimes,it's the small stuff. As a government-wide spending bill nears the finish line in the Senate, chamber members are focusing on local concerns like keeping meat inspectors on the job and preventing furloughs at rural airports as well as re-opening the White House to tours.
The massive spending bill is required to avert a government showdown at the end of the month when funding for the day-to-day operations of every Cabinet department expires.
There had once been speculation that the measure could be a potential vehicle to turn off painful across-the-board spending cuts of 5 percent to domestic programs and 8 percent to the Pentagon but now much of the focus is on bread-and-butter issues as facilities back home begin to absorb the cuts.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is pressing to shore up accounts funding the salaries for contractors at Army facilities like the Tobyhanna Army Depot, which plans to lay off 418 civilian contract employees in the coming weeks, though the $60 million he's proposing to add would barely make a dent in the layoffs. Sens. David Pryor, D-Ark., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., want to shift $55 million from lower-priority Agriculture Department accounts to prevent furloughs of thousands of food inspectors.
"Without this funding, every meat, poultry, and egg processing facility in the country would be forced to shut down for up to two weeks," Blunt said in a statement. "That means high food prices and less work for the hardworking Americans who work in these facilities nationwide."
MONITORING YOUR KIDS ON FACEBOOK? THAT'S SO 2009.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- After Friendster came MySpace. By the time Facebook dominated social media, parents had joined the party, too. But the online scene has changed - dramatically, as it turns out - and these days even if you're friends with your own kids on Facebook, it doesn't mean you know what they're doing.
Thousands of software programs now offer cool new ways to chat and swap pictures. The most popular apps turn a hum-drum snapshot into artistic photography or broadcast your location to friends in case they want to meet you. Kids who use them don't need a credit card or even a cellphone, just an Internet connection and device such as an iPod Touch or Kindle Fire.
Parents who want to keep up with the curve should stop thinking in terms of imposing time limits or banning social media services, which are stopgap measures. Experts say it's time to talk frankly to kids about privacy controls and remind them - again - how nothing in cyberspace every really goes away, even when software companies promise it does.
DOCS SAY KEEP TRAINED EYE ON POSSIBLE CONCUSSIONS
NEW YORK (AP) -- A major medical group is updating its guidelines for handling amateur or professional athletes suspected of having a concussion.
The American Academy of Neurology says the athletes should be taken out of action immediately and kept out until they've been cleared by a health care provider with training about concussions.
The new guidelines generally agree with a brief position paper the academy issued in 2010, but they also provide details about assessment and management. The guidelines are based on a comprehensive review of scientific research.
The guidelines replace those published 15 years ago. That advice recommended grading the severity of concussions to determine possible timeframes for return to play. Now the group emphasizes more individualized assessment and management of the injury
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