The U.S. prison population is still the world's highest — with more than 1.5 million people behind bars. A study from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee looked at that state's incarceration rates and found they were the highest in the country for black men.
Intelligence chiefs said recent media reports are wrong about their efforts to gather information about the social networks of Americans. They told a Senate panel such efforts are focused on foreigners. But NSA chief Keith Alexander admitted the agency has collected cellphone location information, as part of a short-lived test program years ago.
On Wednesday, President Obama invited the top four congressional leaders to the White House for a chat. But after the meeting, no progress was reported on reopening the government. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have been idled and services curbed across the country.
Payment of veterans' benefits is one of the most emotionally charged issues affected by the shutdown. Politicians of both parties have scrambled to show their support for vets. While the most serious consequences won't come unless the shutdown lasts for weeks, veterans applying for new benefits may already be suffering because of a backlog of claims.
Flooding in Colorado has taken a toll on the state's small businesses. In the small town of Lyons, the road to recovery looks especially long. Businesses there not only need to repair damage, but also stay afloat for as long as six months without much of their customer base. That's because damaged water and sewage lines have made many parts of town unlivable.
Best-selling author Tom Clancy wrote iconic thrillers like The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. His books were turned into Hollywood blockbusters and popular video games. Clancy died on Tuesday.
From Acadia in Maine to Zion in Utah to the North Cascades in Washington, America's 401 national park areas have gates blocking entrance roads. National forest and Bureau of Land Management lands would nearly be impossible to close because there are so many access points.
As the leader of Senate Democrats, Harry Reid has been in a lot of fights — but this one may be different, in that Reid has drawn a line. After a meeting with other congressional leaders and President Obama on Wednesday, Reid said: "The one thing we made very clear ... we are locked in tight on Obamacare."
Nationwide, many cash-strapped cities have raided funds intended for retirees or have chronically underfunded their pension systems. But despite a budget crunch, Milwaukee's fund has consistently ranked among the nation's top pension programs. Even so, some changes lie ahead for city workers.
Pardit Pri left her job as a legal assistant when she had a baby. She thought she'd be able to find a new job with health insurance, but so far has only found contract work with no benefits. She's not sure if her state's new health exchange will make sense for her, given her uncertain income.
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