If America defaults on its debt this week, it won't be the first economic superpower to do so. Imperial Spain was a chronic defaulter in the 16th and 17th centuries, and this helped lead to its downfall.
Silvio Berlusconi started his community service Friday. Italy's flamboyant former prime minister showed up for his first shift at a clinic for Alzheimer's patients near Milan. The billionaire tycoon will be working there a few hours a week for the next year as punishment for committing tax fraud.