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Jefferson County, Ala., Files For Bankruptcy

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.

Actions Toward Protesters Alienate Mayor's Base

The Occupy encampment outside Oakland city hall has become a political quagmire for Mayor Jean Quan. Elected just a year ago, she was at one point a source of hope and inspiration for the city's liberals. Now, after her mishandling of the Occupy campsite — she forcibly evicted the campers, and then let them come back — she's managed to alienate friends and open up an opportunity for her political rivals. The situation may cost her the mayor's office before her term is up.

Why Italy Is So Scary

Italy's borrowing costs spiked Wednesday, pushing the country into bailout territory. But Italy is too big to be saved by Europe's bailout fund. Although the same story has played out in other European countries, an Italian default could be catastrophic.

Italian Lawmakers To Consider Debt Plan

Italy's prime minister Silvio Berlusconi announced Tuesday that he would step down after an economic overhaul plan is approved. The announcement comes amid European concerns over Italy's solvency following the Greek debt crisis.

Greek Leaders Disagree On Country's Next Leader

Greece is still struggling to form a temporary coalition government. The country's economy is in shambles with default a real possibility. And that's something that could ripple through Europe's economy. The problem is, lawmakers in Greece can't agree on who should lead that government.

Biofuels Start To Take Off In The Airline Industry

This week, a Continental flight from Houston to Chicago used a biofuel blend made in part from algae, and Alaska Airlines will fly passengers using a fuel made in part from cooking oil. The fledgling environmental effort has many hurdles, as biofuel costs nearly six times as much as regular jet fuel.

Italy's Growing Debt Woes Have Investors On Edge

On the face of it, Italy's economy has plenty of strengths. But its total debt is equal to 120 percent of its GDP. And with the cost of borrowing quickly rising, investors are growing increasingly concerned with the risk of default, which would spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world.