As the global economy teeters, one market is still reaching stratospheric highs: Chinese art.
A Hong Kong auction of fine Chinese paintings earlier this month raised $94.8 million, three times pre-sale estimates. In fact, China is now the world's biggest art market, according to the art information agency Artprice.
Yet all is not what it seems in the murky world of Chinese art auctions, including a painting that sold last year for more than $11 million, but appears not to be what was advertised.
<p>Rusty George Creative laid off more than half of its 17-person staff when clients stopped buying their marketing services as the economy crashed. After a hard look at finances, the small firm is now ready to hire a new employee.</p>
Credit Courtesy of Rusty George
In this economy, the decision to add even one person to the payroll is a huge leap of faith for a small company. One marketing firm in Tacoma, Wash., has done the math — down to the additional cups of coffee they'd need to make for a new employee — and is ready to hire.
Drugstore and supermarket pharmacies across the country have launched a marketing blitz to attract flu shot customers, touting the convenience of stopping at a local drugstore and often offering drop-in vaccinations anytime the pharmacy is open — sometimes even 24 hours a day.
"If you decided at 4 o'clock in the morning you wanted to go out and had nothing better to do than get a flu shot, you could walk right in and you could get a flu shot," says Scott Gershman, pharmacy manager at a Walgreens drugstore in Springfield, Va.
<p>President Obama holds up a copy of his jobs bill as he speaks at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas. Obama is challenging a divided Congress to unite behind the bill or get ready to be run "out of town" by angry voters. </p>
It's been nearly two weeks since President Obama urged a crowd of supporters in Denver to turn up the heat on lawmakers in Washington to pass his $447 billion jobs bill. So far on Capitol Hill, it's gone nowhere.
That could change Tuesday when the Senate holds a vote on taking up the legislation. But fierce Republican opposition both to the bill and how it's paid for leaves slim prospects of it going any further.
It's dawn and 40 degrees out. The air tastes of dust. Elias Neftali is behind the wheel of a truck, driving us through a long valley encircled by red-rock mountains. As a farmhand in the northwest desert of Namibia, Neftali used to shoot wild animals trying to eat his livestock.
Now he protects wild animals. And that can be scary.
"Oh my god, yep," he says. He tells me about a night he was sleeping in a bungalow out in the bush with some other wildlife guards.
<p>Protesters in Argentina in 2001 wave national flags as they walk through tear gas and smoke from burning street fires set by demonstrators during the country's financial crisis.</p>
Credit Daniel Garcia / AFP/Getty Images
We all know what happens when individuals stop paying their bills: angry letters, pestering phone calls and possibly getting property repossessed. In the end, there's you might declare bankruptcy and start again. That's how it works for a person up to his eyeballs in debt, but how does it work for an entire country?
Harvard economist Ken Rogoff says that it's not unusual for countries to go into default. In fact, he says it's happened hundreds of times.
<p>Former NFL offensive lineman Ben Lynch playing for the San Francisco 49ers. </p>
Credit Bill Fox / Bill Fox
Orlando "Zeus" Brown, an offensive lineman for the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens, was found dead late last month in his Baltimore apartment. The cause: diabetic ketoacidosis, common among those with diabetes.
Brown was 6 feet 7 inches tall and 360 pounds when he played in the NFL. That may sound like a lot for a football player, but it's not uncommon among today's offensive and defensive lineman, who rarely weigh less than 300 pounds.
<p>Thad Holmes and Clem Parnell's company Holy Smoke takes your loved one's ashes and turns them into ammunition.</p>
Credit Courtesy of Thad Holmes
When a loved one dies and is cremated, family members face a tough decision on what do with the ashes. Some want the final resting place to be spectacular — spread in the Grand Canyon, launched into space, sprinkled in Times Square; others just keep Aunt Jane's remains in an urn at home.
"The ashes get put on the mantel, stay there for a couple of years, and then a couple of years later, they get put in the attic," says Thad Holmes. "A few years later, the house gets sold and, 'Oh gosh, we forgot the ashes!'"
Clashes between Coptic Christian protesters and the Egyptian military in Cairo on Sunday left at least 19 people dead and more than 100 wounded, according to official counts. The violence erupted after the Christians were marching to protest what they claim was an attack on a church in southern Egypt by radical Muslims.