Americans' predictions for 2007 are grim, including terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and the use of chemical or biological weapons, according to an Associated Press-AOL News poll released last weekend. More than a third of the 1,000 people surveyed think the military draft will be reinstated, and fewer than a third expect the US will withdraw troops from Iraq. Most think Congress will raise the minimum wage, and a third see the possibility of a medical cure for cancer.
Federal investigators are looking at whether officials in the Interior Department took money or favored companies vying for oil and gas contracts, The New York Times reported last weekend, citing unnamed sources. The investigation would be the latest into the department's handling of the $10 billion-a-year in royalties paid by companies operating on leased public land, the government's second-biggest source of revenue after taxes.
AT&T's acquisition of BellSouth was finalized last weekend, making the $86 billion buyout the largest telecommunications takeover in US history. To get final FCC approval, AT&T promised to uphold "network neutrality" – not favoring Internet content providers who pay the company more money. AT&T will operate in 22 states and estimates it will phase out about 10,000 jobs over three years.
More than 8,500 fans lined up in the rain to pay final tribute to James Brown in a funeral ceremony Saturday at an Atlanta arena bearing his name. The funeral took on the feeling of Brown's high-energy concerts, and featured some hits by the "Godfather of Soul," including "Soul Power" and "I Got You (I Feel Good)." The service was followed by a private burial.
A riot involving more than 800 inmates in a state prison in Chino, Calif., sent at least two dozen prisoners to the hospital with moderate to serious injuries last weekend. The riot began with a fight between two inmates and was stopped after about two hours by guards using pepper spray, gas grenades, and foam bullets.