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Congress votes to preserve internment camps

Notorious internment camps where Japanese-Americans were kept behind barbed wire during World War II will be preserved as stark reminders of how the United States turned on some of its citizens in a time of fear.

As one of its last acts, the Republican-led Congress on Tuesday sent President Bush legislation establishing a $38-million program of National Park Service grants to restore and pay for research at 10 camps where the government sent people of Japanese descent after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Lawmakers returned Tuesday for only four days of work before Republicans call it quits after running Congress for 12 years.

Republicans already have left the biggest unfinished tasks of 2006 - approving budgets for most federal agencies - to their successors.

In other action as Congress moved toward adjourning for the year by week's end:

- Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., soon to become chairman of the Environment Committee, predicted the next Congress will pass a bill to curb greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming.

- Senate Democrats from urban states ended a monthslong fight stalling passage of an AIDS funding bill. They freed more money for rural states where the disease is spreading fastest after planned cuts to New York and New Jersey were softened.

- The Senate passed a bill to create a new agency within the Health and Human Services Department to oversee the development of medicine and equipment to respond to a bird flu pandemic or a bioterrorism attack.

- The Senate scrapped a measure to provide $4.8-billion in disaster aid to drought-stricken farmers after Bush threatened to veto it. Conservative Republicans argued that it was to expensive.

- House and Senate negotiators worked on a final bill to allow shipments of U.S. civilian nuclear reactor fuel to India despite its development of nuclear weapons outside an international nonproliferation regime.