The banking scandal has political implications in Iran, and the president's top adviser, Rahim Mashaei, has come under criticism. He's shown here in a 2007 photo.
Credit Karim Sahib / AFP/Getty Images
A man walks past a branch of Iran's Bank Saderat in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. An estimated $2.6 billion has been stolen from Bank Saderat and other leading Iranian banks, causing a growing scandal.
A bank fraud scandal of unprecedented proportions is shaking domestic politics in Iran.
Several of Iran's largest banks have been swindled out of an estimated $2.6 billion. The scandal has sparked a widening investigation with more than 30 arrests so far. It has also led to charges that some of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's closest advisers were involved.
On its face, it appears it was easy for some of Iran's most important bankers to steal so much money.
It's not clear yet whether the Occupy Wall Street protests will be a good thing or a bad thing for Democrats. That's why President Obama always treads carefully when asked about them.
"People are frustrated, and that frustration has expressed itself in a lot of different ways," he said Tuesday on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. "It expressed itself in the Tea Party. It's expressing itself in Occupy Wall Street."
Opening statements are expected to begin Thursday in an unusual terrorism trial, involving a young Massachusetts man named Tarek Mehanna. What makes this case unusual isn't the alleged terrorist's plot. It's his defense: the First Amendment.
Mehanna's lawyers asked the judge Wednesday to instruct the jury about free-speech rights under the U.S. Constitution. Prosecutors say 29-year-old Mehanna tried to help al-Qaida by promoting its cause in an online blog. Mehanna's attorneys say he was just exercising his right to free speech — and isn't a terrorist at all.
The self-proclaimed "world's largest furniture market" in High Point, N.C., is the industry's showpiece event, where manufacturers hawk their products to retailers. And this week, the market also has an old-school component: a large pavilion dedicated to furniture that's made in America.
In fact, there are signs that market conditions stemming from China's fast growth could spur a comeback for furniture makers in the United States.
Dwayne Stenstrom is a professor of American history. His office is lined with towers of obscure books and poetry on the walls. There's even a copy of the Declaration of Independence in a binder.
He teaches this document like many other professors, beginning with, "We hold these truths to be self evident." But he stops on another phrase — "the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages."
To feed China's insatiable demand for coal, U.S. companies are trying to sell and ship the lucrative commodity to the Asian market from new West Coast ports. Above, the cooling towers of a coal-fired power plant are seen on the outskirts of Beijing.
Credit Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images
A 133-car coal train is loaded at the Buckskin Coal Mine in Gillete, Wyo. Each car carries 120 tons of coal. New terminals in Washington state could eventually be destinations for coal, which is currently used for power in St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago and the eastern U.S.
This is the second of two reports on plans to export U.S. coal to China.
Coal producers in Wyoming and Montana are hoping new export terminals will be built in Washington state so they can ramp up their sales to China. Activists are trying to stop those ports, in part because they're concerned about global warming. But a thriving export market could also drive up the price of coal here in the United States, and that has climate implications as well.
European leaders met through the night in Brussels and finally emerged Thursday with a debt deal they say is wide-ranging. They're hopeful it will guide the continent out of the widening debt crisis that started with Greece. But it's unclear whether they have the political will and economic flexibility to implement it.
Another prisoner exchange is expected in the Middle East on Thursday. Israel is freeing 25 Egyptian prisoners — mostly smugglers and drug dealers — in exchange for an Israeli-American who was detained in Egypt four months ago on suspicion of spying for Israel. Israel has denied the accusation.