Colin Dwyer

Take a good long look at the state flag of Nebraska, everyone.

Mark well its concentric circles crowded with golden text, its deep blue background, its central scene busy with contrasting colors. Then, reflect on this crucial question: Would you even be able to tell the difference if it were flying upside-down?

Apparently state lawmakers couldn't. In fact, for a span of 10 days earlier this year, not a single visitor to the Nebraska Capitol noticed that the flag had been hoisted upside down — not even state Sen. Burke Harr, who related the story in January.

The U.S. State Department has ordered Russia to shutter its consulate general in San Francisco as well as an annex building in New York City and one in Washington, D.C.

The decision was made "in the spirit of parity," the department said in a statement Thursday, indicating it was a direct response to the Kremlin's decision last month to force the expulsion of 755 U.S. diplomats and staff.

Nearly a decade after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a special court in Pakistan has handed down a verdict addressing the two-time prime minister's killing. The anti-terrorism court sentenced two ex-police officers to prison, acquitted five suspected Islamist militants and labeled former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf a fugitive for failing to appear in court.

It's a pair of rites we see often at the passing of great authors: first, the tributes from those who loved their books; then, the good-faith effort to find their unfinished works and shepherd them to the bookshelves they never would have found otherwise.

A federal judge has dismissed Sarah Palin's defamation lawsuit against The New York Times. U.S. District Judge Jed S.

Pages