The Northern Mariana Islands are about 4,000 miles west of Hawaii. They look like the kind of tropical islands you see in the movies with bright blue water and white sand beaches.
The people who live on the islands are American. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is a U.S. territory. And just like a lot of U.S. states, the commonwealth has a pension plan for its government employees.
The final round of the 2012 National Geographic Bee takes place Thursday, with students between the fourth and eighth grades testing their knowledge of countries, canals and lava lakes. Of the 54 contestants who came to the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., for the bee, only 10 remain.
Fireworks fill the sky after the Olympic cauldron was lit on Feb. 8, 2003, marking the one year anniversary of the 2002 Winter Games at the opening and closing ceremony venue in Salt Lake City, the last American city to host the Olympics.
Olympic officials meeting in Quebec City have reached a tentative agreement in a persistent revenue-sharing dispute responsible, in part, for keeping the Olympics out of the United States for at least 20 years.
The dispute centers on the American share of Olympic revenues. Since 1984, The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has received the biggest portion of the billions of Olympic dollars paid by corporate sponsors and American television networks. And the rest of the Olympic world has resented it.