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MICHAEL JACKSON

Jackson trial witness details star's deep financial troubleSANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) _ The prosecution is trying to prove that Michael Jackson is having severe financial problems.A forensic accountant testified that Jackson has been spending 20-to-30 (m) million dollars more every year than he earns. The prosecution claims there's a deep financial problem that underlies the conspiracy allegations in the case.Prosecutors also attempted to discredit earlier testimony from one of their own witnesses -- Jackson's ex-wife, Deborah Rowe.An investigator testified that Rowe told him last year that the singer was a "sociopath." Rowe said on the stand last week that Jackson is a wonderful father and a generous person.FED-INTEREST RATESFed nudges up interest rates, againNEW YORK (AP) _ The Federal Reserve Board has raised interest rates for the eighth time in the past year.Fed policymakers boosted the federal funds rate one-quarter percent to three percent.The Fed's statement, issued with the rate hike decision, touched on many issues that have concerned traders. The Fed acknowledged spending growth has slowed as a result of rising energy prices. It also said that longer term inflation expectations "remain well-contained."AUTO SALESToyota sets record...Ford, G-M see sales down in AprilDETROIT (AP) _ The nation's two largest automakers are reporting lower April sales, while Toyota tells of record U-S sales.Consumers were shying away from S-U-V's and were looking for hybrids and other more fuel-efficient vehicles.The world's largest automaker, General Motors, says total vehicle sales were down seven-point-seven percent. Ford, number two, says sales declined five-point-one percent.By contrast, Toyota reported its best-ever sales month. Overall vehicle sales rose a stunning 21 percent from April of last year.PRISONER ABUSE-ENGLANDJury seated in England Abu Ghraib caseFORT HOOD, Texas (AP) _ A military jury of five men and a woman has been seated to recommend a sentence for Lynndie England. She's the Army reservist who admitted mistreating prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison camp in Iraq.England pleaded guilty yesterday to seven counts of mistreating prisoners. She accepted responsibility for the smiling, thumbs-up poses she struck for photographs taken at Abu Ghraib. She says she let her comrades talk her into going along with the abuse, even though she knew it was wrong.While the charges carry up to eleven years in prison, prosecutors and the defense reached an agreement that caps the sentence at a lesser punishment.IRAQ-GOVERNMENTIraqi government sworn inBAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Iraq's new prime minister is promising to unite his nation's rival ethnic and religious factions and to fight terrorism.The comments from Ibrahim al-Jaafari (EE'-brah-heem ahl JAH'-fah-ree) came as Iraq's first democratically-elected government was sworn in.Today's ceremony came amid continued violence, including a gunbattle in Ramadi that killed 12 suspected insurgents and three other people. Nearly 170 people have been killed in six days of bloodshed.Al-Jaafari, a Shiite Muslim, told his nation's widows and orphans "your sacrifices have not gone in vain."Five ministries -- including the defense and oil portfolios -- do not yet have permanent heads, and two deputy prime minister's slots remain unfilled. Al-Jaafari is working to fill some key posts with members of the Sunni minority while balancing the demands of other groups.BASE CLOSINGSCommission chairman: base closings to hit communities hardWASHINGTON (AP) _ They're like tsunamis in the communities they hit. That's how one official describes the coming wave of U-S military base closings.Anthony Principi, chairman of the commission that will help decide which facilities survive, says his nine-member panel will try to provide a "clear-eyed reality check" of the Pentagon's hit-list of domestic defense installations.The Defense Department is expected to release its list of facilities that should be shuttered or downsized next week.The base closure panel, which met for the first time today, will spend the next four months reviewing the Pentagon's list.NUCLEAR DETECTORSNEW: Study: Few nuclear detection systems installed at foreign ports so farWASHINGTON (AP) _ Congressional investigators say the Energy Department has installed radiation detectors at only two of 20 high-risk foreign shipping ports.In addition, the Government Accountability Office says the department has failed to develop long-term plans to expand the security measures beyond ports scheduled for the detection systems by 2010.An estimated seven (m) million cargo containers from across the globe are shipped to U-S ports annually. The detection program is supposed to stop smugglers or terrorists from shipping nuclear and other radioactive materials across international borders. However, some nations are resisting the detection systems, fearing they would slow economic traffic at their ports.The G-A-O reports says that without a plan, Congress will have trouble determining whether the Energy Department is making progress.RUNAWAY BRIDE-HISPANICSNEW: Hispanics' advocate: runaway bride should apologizeLAWRENCEVILLE, Ga (AP) _ The head of a Hispanic advocacy group says the would-be Georgia bride who ran away from her impending wedding last week should apologize.Fernando Mateo (muh-TAY'-oh) -- of Hispanics Across America -- says Jennifer Wilbanks' original story that she was kidnapped by a Hispanic man only adds to racial stereotyping. Mateo says he'd like to see her perform community service for a Hispanic group as part of any punishment.So far, Wilbanks has not been accused of any crime. Prosecutors are investigating whether to charge her with false reporting, and the city of Duluth is considering suing to recover search costs.FREEZER BODYNEW: Man with mother in freezer chargedLA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) _ A man who says he kept his mother's body in a freezer for more than four years has been charged in a Wisconsin court.Philip Schuth (SHOOF) faces a long list of charges that includes concealing a corpse, attempted homicide and possessing explosives.He has also been accused of shooting at neighbors who confronted him about hitting their son after he'd wandered onto Schuth's property.After a standoff with police, he allegedly told officers that he had put his dead mother in a chest-style freezer in his basement in 2000.CHURCH FIREPastor, wife charged with setting fire to their own churchSUMMERVILLE, S.C. (AP) _ A South Carolina pastor and his wife are facing arson charges in connection with a fire that gutted their own church last week.Authorities aren't discussing a possible motive. But they say they had suspected last Thursday's fire and three earlier acts of vandalism were an inside job.Summerville police say they found gasoline on some clothing in the church residence, and also on the pastor's shoes.Yesterday's arrests of the Reverend Harold Hunter and Patricia Hunter came a day after the pastor gave a sermon in which he said he prayed for the "sick, sadistic" person who burned down the church.No one was hurt in the fire.WHOOPING COUGHGovernment approves whooping cough boosterWASHINGTON (AP) _ The government has approved the first booster shot for whooping cough, to vaccinate against a disease that's made a dangerous comeback.Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a bacterial infection that leads to coughing violent enough to break a rib.The new shot adds pertussis protection to a diphtheria and tetanus vaccine designed to be administered to adolescents.Babies have been getting whooping cough vaccine since the 1940s in developed countries. But it's on the rise, especially among adults and teenagers.As late as 1980, there were fewer than two-thousand cases a year in the United States. Last year, there were nearly 19-thousand.SUPER FAST PIZZANew business: cooking pizza en routeFOND DU LAC, Wisconsin (AP) _ One night last year, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Scott Matthew called for a pizza, but changed his mind when he heard it would take an hour to get there.He went to bed hungry but woke up inspired.What if you cooked the pizza in the delivery van? It would get there sooner and hotter.Now his company, Super Fast Pizza, is doing just that, delivering pizzas around Fond du Lac with the cheese still bubbling in about 15 minutes.The pizzas, kept in the refrigerator and popped into the oven when the order comes in, aren't going to make a connoisseur's palate sing. But they will satisfy a sudden craving.Says Matthew: "our pepperoni tastes like a pepperoni."

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