In entertainment news, two thousand hopefuls sign up for the Iraqi Idol:
Many Iraqis already obsessively watch "American Idol", a version of the original British "Pop Idol" franchise, and a glitzy Lebanese copy called "Arab Superstar" on free-to-air Arabic satellite channels.
But "Iraq Star" is a brave indigenous effort to perk up the spirits of a depressed nation. The studio set is spartan and drab, and there is no studio audience, though viewers are being promised tinseltown touches when the finale is held in Beirut.
"We are trying to lighten the load and problems Iraqis are going through," said director Wadia Nader during recording of an episode this weekend in a Baghdad hotel.
"We had shows like this in the 1960s when people were discovered on television. But since then, with so many wars, Iraqis couldn't see this kind of thing," he added.
A lot more here.