Three years ago this month, chaos ruled in financial markets.
Huge financial companies, such as Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG were stumbling, and government officials were scrambling to prevent a global financial meltdown. They threw together bailouts and pushed weak companies to merge with stronger ones.
The central bankers, Treasury officials and lawmakers eventually did manage to reassure investors enough to restore order in the financial system. However, the aftershocks of the crisis are still being felt today.
When President Obama addressed the U.N. General Assembly in New York, he held up the example of South Sudan as the right way to join the world body — through a peace process and an independence vote.
"One year ago, when we met here in New York, the prospect of a successful referendum in South Sudan was in doubt," he said, "but the international community overcame old divisions to support the agreement that had been negotiated to give South Sudan self-determination."
After a patient told neurosurgeon Lee Buono to thank the teacher who inspired him, he called up Al Siedlecki.
As a middle-school student in the '80s, Lee Buono stayed after school one day to remove the brain and spinal cord from a frog. He did such a good job that his science teacher told him he might be a neurosurgeon someday.
That's exactly what Buono did.
Years later, a patient with a tumor came to see Buono. The growth was benign, but interfered with the patient's speech. "He can get some words out," Buono recalls, "but it's almost unintelligible. It's almost like someone's sewing your mouth closed."
Al Siedlecki (left) and Lee Buono speak at the launch of StoryCorps' National Teachers Initiative at the White House.
Credit AJ Chavar / StoryCorps
You may have already heard of StoryCorps, the American oral history project on NPR. Two people sit down in a studio and talk, telling stories about their lives, and the people at StoryCorps record and archive the conversation.
StoryCorps is honing in on lessons about learning with a new project for the academic year, called the National Teachers Initiative. It'll feature conversations with teachers across the country — teachers talking to each other, students interviewing the teachers who changed their lives, and more.
A group of semi-nomadic Irish known as the Irish travellers face eviction from Dale Farm, land they've lived on outside London for a decade.
Credit Carl Court / AFP/Getty Images
A group of semi-nomadic Irish known as Irish travellers has been ordered to leave the former scrap yard east of London where they've been living.
The local government has been trying to evict most of the group since it started living on the land 10 years ago, an eviction that has long been delayed due to legal wrangling. But on Monday, a judge will finally rule on the plea of the travellers to remain on land that's been their home for a decade.
Supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad carry a giant flag with his image on it during a pro-regime protest in Damascus, Syria, in August. Pro-government forces are now taking their message to a new arena: cyberspace.
Credit Muzaffar Salman / AP
Struggling to put down a rebellion now in its seventh month, the Syrian government has turned the Internet into another battleground.
Sophisticated Web surveillance of the anti-government movement has led to arrests, while pro-government hackers use the Internet to attack activists and their cause. It appears to be part of a coordinated campaign by the embattled government.
Syria's leadership insists there is no uprising in the country. Syria's official news media reports that the unrest is a fabrication, part of an international plot.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks before Florida's straw poll at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando on Saturday. Cain won the straw poll with 37 percent of the vote.
Credit Mark Wilson / Getty Images
Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain pulled off an upset Saturday in the Florida straw poll: He took 37 percent of the 2,657 votes cast, easily beating Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Perry came in second with 15 percent of the vote; and Romney took third, with 14 percent.
The economic news has been nothing but grim lately: weak expansion, sluggish consumer spending and unemployment holding steady at just over 9 percent.
Overseas, the picture isn't any rosier, with Greece expected to default on its debts — possibly followed by Portugal and Ireland — and the International Monetary Fund predicting a global economic slowdown.
So is the U.S. heading for a double-dip recession? Or are we there already? And what can we do about it?
Short story writers, your time is short! The deadline for this round of our contest Three Minute Fiction is Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. The rules set by this round's judge, writer Danielle Evans, are simple: One character must come to town and, one character must leave town. And remember, your story can't longer than 600 words. Enter here.