It felt "like being bashed across the cheek with a lead pipe."
That's how Carmen Gentile, a freelance journalist who has done a lot of reporting from Afghanistan for USA TODAY, describes what it was like last September when a rocket-propelled grenade fired at U.S. troops in Kunar province caught the side of his head.
The Los Angeles Unified School District plans to lay off thousands of employees, as it faces a budget shortfall of more than $640 million. The cuts include 85 school librarians — who have been told that they no longer count as teachers. The change in classification would make it easier for the school district to cut the jobs.
The librarians have been facing questions from the district's lawyers, as an administrative law judge seeks to determine if they should be considered as teachers.
It's been nearly a decade since Congress, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, hastily approved the USA Patriot Act and its historic expansion of law enforcement and domestic intelligence-gathering powers.
For just as long, civil libertarians have been agitating for legislators to hold a full-blown debate on the sweeping measure, fast-tracked to President George W. Bush's desk just four days after it was raised in Congress.
U.N. Security Council diplomats have been studying a draft resolution condemning Syria for its deadly crackdown on demonstrators protesting the rule of President Bashar Assad. As the crisis drags on and the Security Council weighs its options, U.S. policymakers are trying to plan for what might come next. In Washington, there is a growing sense that Assad's rule is coming to an end.