Political battles over the debt limit have been around nearly as long as the law passed by Congress in 1917 that set a statutory limit for how much debt the Treasury could accrue.
Since then, Congress has had to increase that limit on more than 100 occasions — and 40 of those times, lawmakers have tried to tie strings to raising the debt ceiling. In the last few years, though, there's been a marked escalation in those demands.
The U.S. and its Western allies have not been able to win the nuclear concessions they have sought from Iran. But they have been able to inflict considerable economic pain through sanctions.
But now, Iran's call for a nuclear agreement and an end to sanctions has raised hopes among Iranians that better economic times may be ahead. The Iranian currency has stabilized somewhat since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, although inflation and unemployment remain high.
Kenya's deputy president William Ruto is back before the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Monday. He and his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, face charges of instigating and financing deadly tribal violence in Kenya after that country's disputed 2007 election.
But their cases might never have reached this stage if not for one Kenyan judge and a remarkable disappearing act.