GM exits bankruptcy; CEO vows to do better
DETROIT - General Motors completed an unusually quick exit from bankruptcy protection on Friday with ambitions of making money and building cars people are eager to buy.
Once the world's largest and most powerful automaker, new GM is now leaner, cleansed of massive debt and burdensome contracts that would have sunk it without federal loans.
But GM, whose 40 days under court supervision was far shorter than anyone predicted, faces the worst auto sales slump in a quarter-century.
At a news conference, CEO Fritz Henderson said the revamped automaker will be faster and more responsive to customers than the old one.
Big IRS bill looms for Jackson estate
NEW YORK - The Tax Man is in the mirror for the estate of the late King of Pop.
Creditors and heirs of Michael Jackson hoping for a cut of his musical empire will have to line up with the Internal Revenue Service, which could lay claim to $80 million or more in federal estate taxes.
To settle his tax bill, the executors of his estate may have to sell or borrow against lucrative but hard-to-value assets or ask the IRS for a multi-year extension.
Obama artist admits to vandalism
BOSTON - The artist who created the 'Hope' poster of President Barack Obama was sentenced to two years' probation Friday after pleading guilty to three vandalism charges. Prosecutors dropped 11 other charges.
Shepard Fairey pleaded guilty in Boston Municipal Court to one charge of defacing property and two charges of wanton destruction of property under $250, all misdemeanors.
The 39-year-old Los Angeles street artist must pay $2,000 to a graffiti removal organization and cannot possess tagging materials.
NYPD: Missing high-rise worker might be in trash
NEW YORK - Police believe that a cleaning woman who vanished from a Manhattan high-rise may be dead, that her body was dumped in the trash and that she could turn up in a Pennsylvania landfill.
'We have reason to fear the worst,' Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
A search of the high-security building has failed to turn up any witnesses or clear evidence of a crime. But police say they suspect foul play because Eridania Rodriguez left behind her purse and other personal belongings and had not contacted loved ones since her disappearance midway through her shift on Tuesday evening.
Workers made $300,000 by gravedigging
ALSIP, Ill. - Four former employees accused of digging up bodies and reselling plots at a historic black cemetery near Chicago made about $300,000 in a scheme believed to have stretched back at least four years, authorities said Friday.
Three gravediggers and a manager at the Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip are accused of unearthing hundreds of corpses and either dumping some in a weeded, desolate area near the cemetery or double-stacking others in graves. The cemetery is the burial place of civil rights-era lynching victim Emmett Till and blues singers Willie Dixon and Dinah Washington.
While Till's grave site was not disturbed, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said investigators found his original iconic glass-topped casket rusting in a shack at the cemetery.
Cocoa plant where worker died not licensed
CAMDEN, N.J. - Officials say a cocoa processing center in New Jersey was operating illegally when a worker fell into a vat of melting chocolate and died.
Camden cited Lyons & Sons Inc. for not having a business license after Vincent Smith II died Wednesday. Authorities said the 29-year-old was hit by a mixing paddle.
Company spokesman Kevin Feeley said that it's a misunderstanding and that Camden officials knew the firm was operating in the former Campbell Soup plant.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death.
The Food and Drug Administration is monitoring the plant.