Gary, Ind., is among the most troubled cities in the Midwest, but some residents are starting to feel a bit more optimistic.
That's because they've just elected a new mayor with an Ivy League pedigree and some big ideas. Her name is Karen Freeman-Wilson and when she's sworn in at the beginning of the new year, she'll become the first African-American female mayor in the history of the state of Indiana.
But Freeman-Wilson isn't interested in the symbolism. She says her first job will be to promote Gary.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is new to his front-runner status, but he's hardly new to Washington.
He has spent decades weaving relationships in and around government — starting with his successful campaign to win the House majority back in the early 1990s. Some of his most ardent supporters now worked with him back then — but some of his angriest opponents did, too.
Tres Whitlock is stuck in a public school where he feels ignored. He wants out.
The 17-year-old would-be video game designer researched his options online and found his perfect match: Pivot Charter School.
"It's computer-based, and I think I will do better," he says.
But when Whitlock tried to enroll in the school, he found a series of barriers in his way. The reason? He has cerebral palsy, and school officials say they don't have anyone to take Whitlock to the bathroom.
Tiger Mother Amy Chua, the super-strict Chinese-American disciplinarian, became an overnight sensation in the U.S. this year when she wrote about her tough parenting style. But she looks like a pussy cat next to her mainland Chinese equivalent, "Wolf Dad" Xiao Baiyou.
Xiao is the latest media sensation in China — a father who not just beat his son and three daughters, but boasts about how he did it.
As American troops leave Iraq, the one place in the country that's most likely to erupt into violence, at least in the short term, is the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
The city is a complicated ethnic mix of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and others. The question of whether it belongs to the autonomous Kurdish region in the north or to the Arab-dominated central government of Baghdad has long been a point of contention.
The photography pioneer Kodak has been dogged by bankruptcy rumors, its stock has tumbled, and its cash reserves have shrunk. But the company says it expects a strong fourth quarter as it fights toward profitability in 2012.
"I grew up in a Kodak family — aunts, uncles, father, brother-in-law," says Linda Nau. Her connection to the company is similar to that of a lot of native Rochesterians. Nau herself even worked at Kodak.
Thousands of sub-Saharan Africans are either stranded or imprisoned in Libya in the wake of the revolt against Moammar Gadhafi — and they haven't been having an easy time. Many have been detained and abused, accused of being mercenaries in Gadhafi's army.
On a recent day at the military airport in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, a Libyan fighter lines up 115 Nigerians to be deported.
More than ready to leave, the women and men gather their meager belongings.
The share of all U.S. adults who are married has dropped to a record low 51 percent, according to a new report. If the trend continues, the institution will soon lose its majority status in American life.
The report being released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center finds new marriages dropped a sharp 5 percent last year, which is very likely related to the bad economy. Pew senior writer D'Vera Cohn says it fits with a larger trend.
The southern Italian Christmas Eve tradition known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes has become a tradition for Italian-American families as well.
Cindy Coddington, who grew up with the traditional meal in her family, remembers the day as a whirlwind of family and fry pans.
"Ours was fried shrimp, fried scallops, pan-fried smelts, calamari cut up in rings and fried. And I'll tell you after the holidays, you really couldn't stand the sight of any more fried food...for a while," Coddington says.
Hear ye, hear ye: The court of public opinion will now come to order in the class-action suit by disturbed football fans against dopey football players who act like imbeciles in the end zone after scoring a touchdown.
Your honor, the plaintiffs call to the stand a man of great taste, good manners and exquisite judgment –– namely, me.