At 11.1 percent, South Carolina is tied for the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the country. Its small, conservative town of Spartanburg was hit hard in the past few years when the textile industry moved overseas. Now residents are seeking ways to make ends meet — from going to the food bank to getting their GEDs.
The city of Harrisburg has filed for municipal bankruptcy and is entering uncharted legal waters. Pennsylvania's capital is mired in more than $300 million of debt related to a botched trash incinerator project.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has sprung up in scores of U.S. cities over the past month. The size of the demonstrations have varied depending on the day and who showed up. But in Boston, protesters have used their own freewheeling version of democracy to organize a village — one they're not planning to abandon anytime soon.
Congress approved free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama Wednesday night. They represent the biggest trade pacts since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. President Obama has promised to sign them into law. Supporters say the pacts will open new markets to U.S. companies, but others say they will hurt industries already weakened by imports.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is fighting for the survival of his center-right government as he goes before parliament for a vote of confidence Friday. He faces growing discontent within his own party over his personal lifestyle and judicial woes. The test comes as Italy is increasingly engulfed in the eurozone debt crisis.
U.S. banks have become cautious about lending to European banks, and money markets are pulling out. But there are other, indirect ways Europe's problems bounce back, making it hard to quantify the threat to the U.S. financial system.
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