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Your Monday morning briefing
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Good morning!

The world kept turning while you slept. Here's a sampling of what you need to know to get the work week started:


A hot week is ahead, with little chance for rain, according to the National Weather Service. Expect a high today of 91, then a high in the mid-90s to upper 90s through Friday, with a chance of rain each day Wednesday-Friday.

Gas prices

The price you pay at the pump for gas continues to rise in the Atlanta area, according to In Newton County, a gallon of regular costs $3.62 to $3.64. gAs prices rose on average 7.4 cents per gallon in the past week.

Prices on Sunday were $1.12 per gallon higher that last year, and 10.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, according to GasBuddy. The national average cost is 94.6 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. 


Freddie Freeman's single to right field drove in Martin Prado from second base in the ninth inning, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a 9-8 win over Washington on Sunday.


ATLANTA -Online voting reopens today on a design for Georgia's car tags. The state had a contest and planned to announce the winner last week, but scrapped its plans after confusion arose over whether the motto "In God We Trust" would be on the winning design. More than 400,000 votes were cast during the first online voting period. People can make their picks over the next three weeks. The state will begin issuing the plate next year. People will have the option of adding the religious motto to their tag for an additional dollar.Debt talks bring Washington to a near standstill, with little else on the agenda


WASHINGTON - The debt showdown isn't just the dominant issue in Washington this summer - it's virtually the only one getting any attention in the nation's capital. From the White House to Congress, the negotiations over raising the U.S. debt limit have overshadowed or halted work on everything from job creation to the military conflict in Libya to education reform. And the debt debate has hamstrung President Barack Obama's ability to hit the road to campaign and raise money for his re-election bid. Obama hasn't traveled outside Washington in July, except for a weekend jaunt to the presidential retreat at Camp David. Lawmakers who previously met with the president only sporadically came to the White House for five straight days of talks, and will likely be back again before Aug. 2, when the Treasury Department has warned the government will default unless the debt ceiling is raised. The House and Senate both canceled weeklong breaks planned for this month so they could stay in town to work on a deal. The president has foreshadowed even more debt talk disruptions through the rest of the summer if lawmakers don't reach a compromise.


LONDON - British Prime Minister David Cameron, under huge political pressure over the intensifying phone hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's embattled U.K. newspaper empire, said Monday that Parliament should delay its summer break so he can brief lawmakers. Parliament is due to break up for the summer on Tuesday, but Cameron said that "it may well be right to have Parliament meet on Wednesday so I can make a further statement."

Cameron was speaking in South Africa, on the first day of a two-day visit to the continent. He had planned a longer trip, but cut it short as his government faces increasing questions about its relationship with the Murdoch media empire amid a scandal that has tainted some of Britain's top political, media and police figures.

London police chief Paul Stephenson resigned Sunday over his ties to a former News of the World executive editor who has been arrested over the scandal. In his resignation speech Stephenson made pointed reference to Cameron's hiring of Andy Coulson, a former editor of the shuttered tabloid who was arrested earlier this month over hacking.

Murdoch's former British CEO - and Cameron's friend - Rebekah Brooks, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of hacking.


ORLANDO - Casey Anthony's whereabouts for her first week of freedom were a closely guarded secret Monday, known only to a select few as she tries to start a new life after being acquitted of killing her daughter. Her lawyer says her allies are exploring a number of options for her future. Those options could be limited, though, by lawsuits pending against her, the scorn of multitudes who think she was guilty of the killing and a criminal record from her convictions for lying to police. She walked out of jail shortly after midnight Sunday.

Her attorney Jose Baez told Fox News Channel late Sunday that her lawyers are "certainly exploring all possibilities right now" when he was asked about whether she would enter a residential therapy program. He'd previously said that he hoped she could get counseling and treatment. Baez said he was foremost concerned about Anthony's safety, and struck out at media commentators who have been condemning Anthony as guilty despite the jury's verdict.

"This young woman had her day in court," Baez told Fox News. "We need to start respecting jury verdicts and decisions that juries make."

Experts who have helped other notorious defendants through rough times say she will have opportunities, but it won't be easy for the 25-year-old, who was found not guilty of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, but convicted of lying to investigators.


PARIS - A large study in older veterans raises fresh concern about mild brain injuries that hundreds of thousands of troops have suffered from explosions in recent wars. Even concussions seem to raise the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or other dementia later in life, researchers found. Other research found a possibly high rate of mild cognitive impairment, or "pre-Alzheimer's," in some retired pro-football players, who take many hits to the head in their careers. The studies, reported Monday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in France, challenge the current view that only moderate or severe brain injuries predispose people to dementia. "Even a concussion or a mild brain injury can put you at risk," said Laurie Ryan, a neuropsychiatrist who used to work at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and now oversees Alzheimer's grants at the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

WASHINGTON - So long death panels. Hello "rationing" board. An independent panel authorized by President Barack Obama's health care law to control excessive Medicare cost increases is drawing heavy fire from Republicans. Nearly every health industry lobbying group is pushing for its repeal, as are some consumer advocates. GOP lawmakers call it a rationing panel, and at least one has suggested seniors will die from its decisions. But don't look for the Independent Payment Advisory Board to start chopping any time soon. It doesn't exist yet. Known as IPAB, the board may not be appointed for another couple of years, and remains in suspended animation to see if the brouhaha dies down. IPAB has the power to force Medicare cuts if costs go up beyond certain levels and Congress fails to act. Although Medicare's long-term finances are troubled, it's unclear if short-run costs will rise enough over the next decade to trigger the board's intervention. If that happens, the law explicitly forbids IPAB from rationing care, shifting costs to retirees or restricting benefits.


KABUL, Afghanistan - Gen. David Petraeus handed over command of American and coalition forces in Afghanistan to Gen. John Allen on Monday, transferring responsibility for the nearly 10-year war as Kabul's international allies draw up exit plans from the conflict. Petraeus steps down after a mixed one-year stint in charge of the more than 140,000 international troops in the country. He was the architect of the strategy that aimed to bring peace through an emphasis on protecting the local population and decisive strikes against insurgents. But as he leaves, it is unclear whether the strategy has made Afghanistan safer. Violent attacks have continued, though international military officials argue they are not as widespread or as intense as they would have been otherwise. Allen, who officially took command at a ceremony in Kabul on Monday morning, said the drawdown of U.S. forces that started earlier this month and the transition of some areas to Afghan control this week does not mean that international forces are easing up in their campaign to defeat the Taliban insurgency.

"It is my intention to maintain the momentum of the campaign," Allen said at the handover ceremony in the Afghan capital. He said however, that he does not expect the fight to be easy.


CHICAGO - Kids may be safest in cars when grandma or grandpa are driving instead of mom or dad, according to study results that even made the researchers do a double-take. "We were surprised to discover that the injury rate was considerably lower in crashes where grandparents were the drivers," said Dr. Fred Henretig, an emergency medicine specialist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the study's lead author.

Previous evidence indicates that car crashes are more common in older drivers, mostly those beyond age 65. The study looked at injuries rather than who had more crashes, and found that children's risk for injury was 50 percent lower when riding with grandparents than with parents.

The results are from an analysis of State Farm insurance claims for 2003-07 car crashes in 15 states, and interviews with the drivers. The data involved nearly 12,000 children up to age 15.

Henretig, 64, said the study was prompted by his own experiences when his first grandchild was born three years ago.


TORONTO - The main stage at Ottawa Bluesfest collapsed Sunday night during a Cheap Trick concert as a severe thunderstorm sent the musicians and thousands of fans running for cover. At least five people were injured, one seriously. Cheap Trick's band members got off the stage safely, but witnesses said they were thrown off their feet.

"Everyone is okay and we are so lucky to be alive and hope that all the fans are okay too," the band, best known for hits including "Surrender", "I Want You to Want Me" and "The Flame", said in a message posted on Facebook.

Video of the Bluesfest site posted on YouTube within minutes of the storm's passing showed a stage that had crumpled and collapsed over electronic equipment. Twisted shards of metal jutted out from the stage, which stood several stories tall before it was destroyed.

Concert-goer Leanne Wilson said the stage slowly heaved backwards and caved in.