Texas Gov. Rick Perry rocketed to the top of the field after he jumped in the race for the GOP nomination for president last month.
His early rise in the polls was based on what Republican voters thought they knew about him. But the debates gave Republicans a chance to see Perry in action — and the normally aggressive Texas governor has been forced into the uncomfortable position of defense.
The state of California will begin shifting responsibility Saturday for tens of thousands of prisoners to local officials. The unprecedented change is under way because the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the state to reduce its dangerously overcrowded prisons.
County officials have had just months to plan for the influx of prisoners and parolees into their communities. Of all the prisoners and parolees leaving the state's system, the bulk are headed to Los Angeles County. Los Angeles is expecting to have to deal with 15,000 additional criminals.
With a nighttime liftoff from a launch pad on the edge of the Gobi Desert, China today put its unmanned Tiangong-1 ("Heavenly Palace-1") module into orbit and started a decade-long project aimed at constructing its own space station.
The module will "conduct surveys of Chinese farmland using special cameras, along with experiments involving growing crystals in zero gravity," The Associated Press says. Then, in coming years:
In Saudi Arabia, where King Abdullah has the only vote that really counts, elections are still a novelty.
Municipal elections on Thursday marked just the third ballot in the kingdom's history. Only men could vote in polls to fill half the seats on some 300 municipal councils. The other half are appointed by the government.
Even before the polls closed, Saudi officials declared the election a success. But turnout appeared low at many voting stations, including in the capital, Riyadh.
Bank of America is next year going to start charging most holders of its debit cards $5 a month if they use them to make purchases. It's the biggest sign so far of how new bank regulations are going to mean big changes for the millions of customers who have come to rely on cards that are tied to their checking accounts — and don't rack up potentially huge interest bills.