Two important issues concerning how the government spends taxpayer money have made progress in the U.S. Congress, a break from years of legislative dysfunction and gridlock.
The U.S. economy's tepid performance last quarter -- a 2.2 percent annual growth rate -- was typical of the economic rebound that began in the summer of 2009. Yet the sluggish pace of the recovery has a silver lining: This growth spurt has proved to be one of the most durable since World War II.
U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq's deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement.
When vandals sliced a fiber-optic cable in the Arizona desert last month, they did more than time-warp thousands of people back to an era before computers, credit cards or even phones. They exposed a glaring vulnerability in the U.S. Internet infrastructure: no backup systems in many places.
U.S. resistance to a Chinese-led Asian regional bank has left it isolated among its Asian and European allies and given some heft to China's frequent complaints that Washington wants to contain its rise as a world power.
After a strong performance in last week's parliamentary election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be cruising toward forming a new government of hard-line and religious parties. But in the smoke-and-mirrors world of Israeli politics, a centrist government more amenable to peace negotiations could easily emerge at the last minute instead.
It's a mystery to many: Benjamin Netanyahu's campaign gained steam when he ruled out the creation of a Palestinian state, and he seems determined to continue settling occupied land with Jews.
Nobody knows when exactly, but the day will eventually come when the Federal Reserve nudges its benchmark lending rate from next to zero to something slightly higher.
Palestinian officials believe they can build a stronger case for international pressure on Israel now that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have cruised to re-election by adopting hard-line positions.
Israel's election has yielded a fractured parliament and no clear winner, setting up a horse-trading phase that seems likely to leave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in place and in ever deeper confrontation with the world. To govern, his Likud Party would need to depend on ultranationalists -- a recipe for neither stability nor bold moves toward Mideastern peace.