Jewish group demands apology from Jackson

Jewish group demandsapology from Jackson
LOS ANGELES -- The Anti-Defamation League demanded an apology from Michael Jackson on Wednesday after ABC aired what was said to be a telephone answering-machine message in which the pop star referred to Jews as "leeches." The message was supposedly recorded two years ago and has now surfaced in connection with a lawsuit against the pop star. On Tuesday, ABC's "Good Morning America" aired portions of a 2003 voice message that Jackson was alleged to have left for a former adviser, Dieter Wiesner. A transcript quotes Jackson as saying: "They suck them like leeches. ... They start out the most popular person in the world, make a lot of money, big house, cars and everything and end up penniless. It's a conspiracy. The Jews do it on purpose." Jackson spokeswoman Raymone K. Bain said Wednesday the singer had no comment.
Busiest shopping hour:1-2 p.m. Christmas Eve
ST. LOUIS -- When it comes to holiday shopping, this might be the year of the procrastinator. The busiest shopping hour of the year won't likely happen on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but rather the afternoon of Christmas Eve, according to an annual analysis conducted by MasterCard International Inc. MasterCard predicts the busiest hour of shopping this year will be 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST on Dec. 24. The analysis also found that shopping in the evening and morning hours is the best way to avoid long lines and crowded parking lots, said Linda Locke, a spokeswoman for Purchase, N.Y.-based MasterCard International, whose data office is based in suburban St. Louis. MasterCard analyzes about 900 million credit card transactions each November and December to gauge shopping patterns for the next holiday season. This year, it also conducted a consumer survey and found that respondents wanted to reduce the time they spend shopping, Locke said.
Judge: Boy violatedprobation in marrying
GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- A judge declared a 15-year-old boy a delinquent Wednesday for violating his probation by skipping school to marry a 37-year-old woman who is pregnant with the boy's child. The boy, identified only by his initials "A.S.G.," admitted in a juvenile court hearing to violating his probation on a previous burglary conviction by missing school and leaving home Nov. 8 to marry Lisa Lynnette Clark of Gainesville. Clark has been charged with child molestation and cannot come within 100 feet of the boy. Juvenile Court Judge Mary Carden ordered the boy not to have contact with Clark in person, by letters, phone calls, or through others. The boy's grandmother, his legal guardian, filed a police report Oct. 6 when she learned from a friend that Clark was pregnant. Georgia law allows children of any age to marry -- without parental consent -- if the bride-to-be is pregnant.
U.S.: Expand coveragefor weight-loss surgery
WASHINGTON -- The government proposed on Wednesday expanding Medicare coverage of weight-loss surgery for the disabled, but eliminating coverage of such surgery for the elderly. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries may help people with extreme obesity. That is why the agency is proposing to make it easier for the disabled to get the surgery. Currently, Medicare covers the cost if the surgery is recommended to treat other health problems. The proposed expansion would allow for the treatment of obesity before associated health problems set in. But recent medical studies also have shown that weight-loss surgery poses greater risks for the elderly, the agency said in explaining its proposal that Medicare not cover such operations for those beneficiaries.
Jury convicts Pakistaniof trying to aid terrorist
NEW YORK -- A Pakistani man who said he was pressured into a false confession was convicted Wednesday of trying to help an Al-Qaida operative slip past U.S. immigration officials. A federal jury deliberated for about five hours before finding Uzair Paracha, 25, guilty of providing material support to terrorists and of other related charges. He could face up to 75 years in prison. The government accused Paracha of trying to help Majid Khan, an alleged Al-Qaida member, sneak into the country using fake travel documents. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karl Metzner told the jury Paracha wanted to help Khan and "did so knowing that a terrorist was coming here for one purpose: to kill Americans." Paracha testified he was pressured into confession and only told investigators "what I thought they wanted to hear."
Associated Press