With a nighttime liftoff from a launch pad on the edge of the Gobi Desert, China today put its unmanned Tiangong-1 ("Heavenly Palace-1") module into orbit and started a decade-long project aimed at constructing its own space station.
The module will "conduct surveys of Chinese farmland using special cameras, along with experiments involving growing crystals in zero gravity," The Associated Press says. Then, in coming years:
In Saudi Arabia, where King Abdullah has the only vote that really counts, elections are still a novelty.
Municipal elections on Thursday marked just the third ballot in the kingdom's history. Only men could vote in polls to fill half the seats on some 300 municipal councils. The other half are appointed by the government.
Even before the polls closed, Saudi officials declared the election a success. But turnout appeared low at many voting stations, including in the capital, Riyadh.
Bank of America is next year going to start charging most holders of its debit cards $5 a month if they use them to make purchases. It's the biggest sign so far of how new bank regulations are going to mean big changes for the millions of customers who have come to rely on cards that are tied to their checking accounts — and don't rack up potentially huge interest bills.
Mitt Romney may be back on track to the Republican presidential nomination.
It's still early and nothing is certain, of course. But the signs are that Romney has resumed what seemed, until a few weeks ago, his steady march towards becoming his party's standard bearer against President Obama in the 2012 presidential race.
If that Obama-Romney race should happen, by the way, Harvard Law School couldn't lose since it would be the first time two of its graduates faced each other as major-party nominees for the White House.
Last week, Adm. Mike Mullen, the departing head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sat in front of Congress, where he described the Haqqani Network as a "veritable arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency."
The militant group has long been considered one of the most dangerous insurgent forces in the decade-long war in Afghanistan. Their estimated 5,000 to 15,000 fighters, led by militant Jalaluddin Haqqani, roam the mountainous region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they carry out deadly roadside bomb attacks, kidnappings and extortion plots.