Battle. "In the first violent clash of a nearly monthlong standoff in Bangkok, antigovernment demonstrators stormed a satellite television station on Friday, climbed over rolls of barbed wire and beat back soldiers and riot police officers who confronted them with tear gas and water cannons."

Bankruptcy. "As interest rates on Greek debt spiral upward again, the question facing Europe is no longer whether Athens has the political will to cut spending and raise taxes to curb its gaping budget deficit, but whether Greece will run out of money before it gets the chance to do so."

Back-door Binyamin. "The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has pulled out of Barack Obama's international nuclear weapons conference in Washington next week at the last minute after learning his country was likely to face pressure over its own presumed atomic arsenal."

Budget I: Almost There. "Fatigued lawmakers round up final budget votes... they're only a few votes away from a deal to raise $800 million by taxing candy, gum, beer and soda pop, as well as boosting other taxes."

Budget II: Union Boogaloo. "The state Supreme Court can't force a governor to budget for raises awarded to a public-employee union, even though state law says the governor 'must' include that money in her state spending proposal, justices ruled Thursday. The court's closely divided opinion is a victory for Gov. Chris Gregoire. She was sued in late 2008 by the Service Employees International Union's Local 775... The union, which is active in the state's Democratic politics, was awarded increases in pay and benefits worth more than $80 million in binding arbitration. But Gregoire, a Democrat, refused to ask the Legislature to pay for those items when she proposed a new state budget in late 2008, citing a looming deficit."

Butt out. "Smoking and submarines don't mix. That's the message the U.S. Navy is sending after announcing that smoking will no longer be permitted below decks on its submarines effective December 31."

Bees. Dying and attacking and invading homes.

Bye-bye bow tie. "Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced Friday that he will retire from the court this summer. Justice Stevens' departure won't change the court's conservative-liberal split because Mr. Obama is certain to name a liberal-leaning replacement. But the new justice isn't likely to be able to match Justice Stevens' ability to marshal narrow majorities in big cases."

And Rick Steves takes a little holiday in the sun.: "Esfahan TV, which had televised the prayer service, saw us and wanted an interview. It was exciting to be on local TV. They asked why we were here, how I saw Iranian people, and why I thought there was a problem between the US and Iran. (I pointed out the "Death to Israel" banner that was prominently displayed in the mosque, for starters.) They fixated on whether our show would actually air...and if we'd spin our report to make Iran look evil."