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June 30th, 2009
04:13 PM ET
June 30th, 2009
01:15 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Home prices drop, but at a slower rate

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

We have new signs this morning that the housing market may finally be hitting bottom.

Home prices continued to tumble in April, falling more than 18% from a year earlier. But the month-over-month change narrowed sharply, indicating that housing markets may be starting to turn a corner.

The 20-city slice of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index recorded a drop of 0.6% from March to April, compared with a 2.2% drop in the prior month. The index has declined every month since July 2006.

And while S&P’s David Blitzer cautions that one month's data cannot determine if a turnaround has begun, some stabilization may be appearing in some regions.

Consumer confidence drops

On the flip side, however, consumer confidence fell unexpectedly in June after two straight months of gains as Americans' optimism over business and job conditions weakened.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Housing Market
June 30th, 2009
12:58 PM ET

My trip to Neverland, and the call from Michael Jackson I'll never forget

Michael Jackson, shown at one of his last rehearsals, June 23rd

Michael Jackson, shown at one of his last rehearsals, June 23rd

Paul Theroux
The Telegraph

I heard the news today, oh boy, that Michael Jackson had a heart attack – and died of cardiac arrest, at the age of 50, in Los Angeles. I am reminded of a long conversation I had with him at four o'clock one morning, and of my visit to Neverland. The visit came first, the conversation a few weeks later, on the phone.

Neverland, a toytown wilderness of carnival rides and doll houses and zoo animals and pleasure gardens, lay inside a magnificent gateway on a side road in a rural area beyond Santa Barbara. Nosing around, I saw pinned to the wall of the sentry post an array of strange faces, some of them mugshots, all of them undesirables, with names and captions such as "Believes she is married to Mr Jackson" and "Might be armed" and "Has been loitering near gate".

And sprawling over many acres, the Jackson zoo of bad-tempered animals. The giraffes were understandably skittish. In another enclosure, rocking on its thick legs, was Gypsy, a moody five-ton elephant, which Elizabeth Taylor had given as a present to Michael. The elephant seemed to be afflicted with the rage of heightened musth. "Don't go anywhere near him," the keeper warned me.

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Filed under: Michael Jackson
June 30th, 2009
12:47 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz: The investigation continues

Michael Jackson waves to a crowd of fans and photographers in New York's Times Square.

Michael Jackson waves to a crowd of fans and photographers in New York's Times Square.

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Anderson is in Los Angeles today, where he’ll be looking into a number of developments in the Michael Jackson case.

A will drafted by Michael Jackson in 2002 divides his estate among his mother, three children and charities. What exactly is in his will and who are the executors? More answers tonight.

We’ll have more information on the medical investigation too. Last night his trainer told us he thought Jackson was in great shape – better than he’d seen him in 15 years. How could he be rehearsing one day and be so near death the next?

LAPD detectives are interviewing an unknown number of doctors who treated or prescribed medication to Michael Jackson as they continue their probe into the pop star’s death. Many have speculated that Jackson may have been on a number of prescription drugs. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be on to tell us more about ‘celebrity doctors’ - private practitioners who prescribe meds to the stars. What kind of regulation is in place to determine just how many prescriptions someone can have?

FULL POST


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
June 30th, 2009
12:40 PM ET

My Childhood, My Sabbath, My Freedom

As a young boy, Michael Jackson writes he wished for nothing else but 'to be a normal little boy.'

As a young boy, Michael Jackson writes he wished for nothing else but 'to be a normal little boy.'

Program Note: This story originally was published on Beliefnet in December, 2000. For a closer look into Michael Jackson's faith, tune in to AC360° live from Los Angeles tonight at 10p ET.

Michael Jackson
For Beliefnet

Childhood
"Have you seen my childhood?
I'm searching for that wonder in my youth
Like pirates in adventurous dreams,
Of conquest and kings on the throne…"
Written and Composed by Michael Jackson

When people see the television appearances I made when I was a little boy–8 or 9 years old and just starting off my lifelong music career–they see a little boy with a big smile. They assume that this little boy is smiling because he is joyous, that he is singing his heart out because he is happy, and that he is dancing with an energy that never quits because he is carefree.

But while singing and dancing were, and undoubtedly remain, some of my greatest joys, at that time what I wanted more than anything else were the two things that make childhood the most wondrous years of life, namely, playtime and a feeling of freedom. The public at large has yet to really understand the pressures of childhood celebrity, which, while exciting, always exacts a very heavy price.

More than anything, I wished to be a normal little boy. I wanted to build tree houses and go to roller-skating parties. But very early on, this became impossible. I had to accept that my childhood would be different than most others. But that's what always made me wonder what an ordinary childhood would be like.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson
June 30th, 2009
11:24 AM ET
June 30th, 2009
10:38 AM ET
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