The Obama administration put off a plan to collect a fee on Christmas trees. An industry group asked for the fee, 15 cents per tree. Conservatives denounced what they labeled a tax on Christmas trees. The White House defended the fee, saying it's not a tax at all. All the same, the administration says it will delay collecting the money.
Had Wednesday's first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System been a real alert, some may have been left in the dark. Instead of that irritating tone interrupting television and radio programming, some TV viewers heard Lady Gaga singing "Paparazzi." Others had their programming switched to QVC, a home shopping channel.
Alabama's most populous county has filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Jefferson County commissioners voted to declare bankruptcy after years of squabbling with creditors over $4 billion in debt.
Presidential hopefuls and voters alike sometimes get upset about so-called gotcha questions from reporters that seem designed to embarrass contenders. But Wednesday night's Republican debate outside Detroit demonstrated how some candidates have done a perfectly good job of "getting" themselves.
The debate had some dramatic moments — including one excruciating moment that Texas Gov. Rick Perry would probably like to forget. The comments focused on the economy and jobs, but there were also questions about the sexual harassment allegations against front-runner Herman Cain.
The Obama administration's first attempt to try a Guantanamo detainee in a military commission began Wednesday with the arraignment of the man accused of masterminding the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. The incident killed 17 servicemen and women in Yemen in 2000. Human rights groups object to trying terrorists in a parallel justice system hundreds of miles off U.S. shores.
House Republicans have released emails related to solar panel maker Solyndra which got $535 million in government loan guarantees and then went bankrupt. Republicans say the emails show an Obama campaign bundler used his influence at the White House to make the loan happen.
President Obama flies to Honolulu on Friday to begin the third Asia trip of his presidency. He'll visit Hawaii, Australia and Indonesia in a nine-day trip that's meant to reaffirm a fundamental shift in America's foreign policy.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has described this reorientation as "America's Pacific Century."
Saudi women are getting conflicting messages from their government about whether it intends to expand their rights.
They received a boost from King Abdullah who pledged to give them more political power in the coming years. But new Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdel-Aziz Al Saud is known for his opposition to women's rights.
A reunion of art is taking place in Paris right now. Works that haven't been there together in almost a century are reunited once again. The art was collected by writer Gertrude Stein and her brothers starting in the early 1900s. The Steins bought paintings right out of the studios of young avant-garde artists — Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and others who would become masters as the 20th century progressed.
Imagine driving without a speedometer and still trying to go the speed limit. Chris Montag, chief operating officer of Ladybug Teknologies, says that's analogous to going out drinking without a Breathalyzer.
"It's something we've done for hundreds of years, and nobody's ever had a tool and we guess ... that we're OK," Montag says. "But, really, how do you know when you've never been able to measure it?"
Lawmakers in Jefferson County, Ala., voted Wednesday to file for bankruptcy. It will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. For more, Guy Raz talks with Tanya Ott of member station WBHM in Birmingham.
For nearly half a century, Penn State football has been the model for how to run a successful — and clean — college sports program. And coach Joe Paterno has been its leader, revered in all quarters not only for winning games but for his virtuous, fatherly leadership.
That all changed this week, with the arrest of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky on 40 criminal counts related to the alleged sexual abuse of minors. In addition, two top university officials have been charged with perjury and failing to report allegations to police.
Ohio voters on Tuesday resoundingly repealed a controversial law that would have severely limited collective bargaining for public employees, a law Republican Gov. John Kasich made the centerpiece of his legislative agenda this spring.
Voters not only disliked Kasich's law — 61 percent voted to repeal it, 39 percent supported keeping it — they also have grown to dislike Kasich. The governor's approval rating was at 36 percent in an October Quinnipiac poll.
Those were finger nails working their way across a chalkboard. Some of you might have felt a shiver. It's one of those sounds that provokes a physical reaction. Scientists have looked into the why foryears and this week, scientists presented another theory at the Acoustical Society of America meeting.
When the Republican presidential candidates meet Wednesday evening in Michigan for their ninth debate (it feels like there've been many more than that) the main topic up for discussion is supposed to be the economy.
But is there anyone who expects that the travails of Herman Cain won't be a subtopic?
The former Godfather Pizza CEO's flat-tax plan encountered severe turbulence at the last debate and it is likely to experience more during the encounter at Oakland University outside Detroit.
Voters in Mississippi were expected to make it the first state to confer protected legal status to fertilized human eggs Tuesday. Instead, they made it the second state to reject a so-called personhood amendment to its constitution.
One possible reason is that the effort divides even those who consider themselves against abortion.
Libya may be months from a new government, but the still-infrequent international flights to Tripoli are packed with businesspeople looking to land contracts with this oil-rich North African state. The Turks and Europeans appear to be moving quickly, while the Americans seem to be several steps behind.
On one recent afternoon, the plush Rixos hotel in Tripoli hosted hastily organized meetings between Libyans and a swarm of Turks representing 150 different companies.
Russia and the former Soviet Union haven't had much luck when it comes to missions to the red planet. On Tuesday, it launched a probe destined for Mars. It was supposed to land on Phobos, one of the planet's moons, scoop up some rocks and return home with its specimens.
Instead, the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft launched successfully into orbit, but then its boosters failed to ignite, so for now, it's stuck orbiting our planet.
These photos, which came to us via email from the World Wildlife Fund, show an amazing scene: Nineteen sedated black rhinoceroses were airlifted out of an area in South Africa, and spent about 10 minutes upside down in the air en route to a new home.