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In the Nation

Swimming lessons OK for toddlers

CHICAGO - The nation's largest pediatricians group is relaxing its stance against swimming lessons for children younger than 4.

In the past, the American Academy of Pediatrics has said swim classes might give toddlers and parents a false sense of security. Now the group says it's fine to enroll children as young as 1.

A few small studies suggest toddlers may be less likely to drown if they've had lessons. The doctors aren't recommending lessons for every young child. Some parents may feel their little ones aren't ready and that's OK.

The updated policy, released online Monday by the journal Pediatrics, also recommends fences around all pools, including popular inflatable versions - kids can drown by leaning over the soft sides and falling in.

- AP

Shuttle undocks and heads home

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - After a week of flying together, shuttle Atlantis undocked from a larger and virtually completed International Space Station on Sunday and headed for home on its final voyage.

"Have a safe trip back and Godspeed to you," radioed the space station's skipper, Oleg Kotov.

Atlantis isn't due to land until Wednesday. On Monday, the six crewmen will conduct one last safety inspection of their ship.

The two spacecraft parted company 220 miles above the Indian Ocean. Before the hatches closed between them, the commanding officers shook hands twice and laughed, then embraced. Their crewmates - representing the United States, Russia, and Japan - followed suit.

- AP

A Republican wins in Hawaii

HONOLULU - Republicans cited Rep.-elect Charles Djou's victory for a seat long out of their reach as evidence of steadily increasing election-year strength, but Democrats said Sunday that the winner's 40 percent vote share portended a short stay in Congress for him and predicted nothing about the fall.

Djou became the first Republican in nearly 20 years to win a congressional seat from his state, and he seemed to recognize that his political future was anything but secure.

Democrats virtually conceded the Hawaii race earlier in the month, after quiet diplomacy failed to persuade either Colleen Hanabusa, a state senator, or Ed Case, a former congressman, to withdraw to avoid splitting the vote. The two drew 59 percent of the vote between them. - AP


Connecticut State Police say a van carrying former President Bill Clinton was hit from behind on the Merritt Parkway while he was on his way to deliver the Class Day speech at Yale University on Sunday. He told WTIC-TV that the accident was "just a fluke" and that he is fine.

Jury selection begins Monday in the trial of former Chicago police Lt. Jon Burge, who is alleged to have overseen torture of black men for years.

Police in Pueblo, Colo., arrested a suspect in a home invasion after recognizing a tattoo on his upper lip that a witness saw through his mask.