Supreme Court lets stand ex-Rep. Jefferson's bribery conviction

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court is leaving in place the corruption conviction of a former Louisiana congressman who hid money from bribes in his freezer.

The justices on Monday rejected without comment an appeal by former Rep. William Jefferson, who is serving a 13-year term in federal prison.

The Louisiana Democrat was convicted in 2009 after FBI agents investigating allegations of corruption found $90,000 in cash hidden in Jefferson's freezer.

A federal appeals court upheld all but one of the 11 counts on which a jury convicted Jefferson.


Giants end slide, snap Packers' five-game winning streak with 38-10 romp

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Adam Merchant had a wish and a command for the New York Giants.

The 15-year-old fan from Barre, Vt., attended practice and then Sunday's game with the Packers thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He wanted the Giants to snap their two-game slide and get out of their offensive funk.

So he ordered the Giants to "play like world champions," and they delivered a 38-10 rout of the Green Bay Packers.

"That was the theme of our meetings," coach Tom Coughlin said.

Eli Manning came back from the bye week with a rested arm, and that offensive slump was tossed aside. The Giants (7-4) said they turned things around for themselves, and for Merchant, who has cancer.

Manning throws 2 TD passes as AFC West-leading Broncos beat Chiefs 17-9 for sixth straight win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Peyton Manning was wooed by the Chiefs early in the offseason, after the four-time MVP had been cut loose by Indianapolis and before he signed a five-year deal with Denver.

On Sunday, he showed exactly why Kansas City was after him.

Manning threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns, and led the Broncos down the field in the final minutes when the Chiefs were frantically trying to get a stop, setting up a field goal that sealed a 17-9 victory and their sixth consecutive win.

It allowed Manning to break a tie with his boss and Broncos vice president John Elway with his 149th win as a starting quarterback, trailing only Brett Favre (186) for most in NFL history.

Cyber Monday likely to be busiest online sales day

NEW YORK (AP) -- Bye-bye Black Friday. So long Small Business Saturday. Now, it's Cyber Monday's turn.

Cyber Monday, coined in 2005 by a shopping trade group that noticed online sales spiked on the Monday following Thanksgiving, is the next in a series of days that stores are counting on to jumpstart the holiday shopping season.

It's estimated that this year's Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day of the year for the third year in a row: According to research firm comScore, Americans are expected to spend $1.5 billion, up 20 percent from last year on Cyber Monday, as retailers have ramped up their deals to get shoppers to click on their websites.

`Shopping IS the holiday': On Black Friday, many feel powerless to resist tradition, emotion

BEAVER FALLS, Pa. (AP) -- Gravy was still warm. Dallas Cowboys were still in uniform. Thanks were still being given across the country as the pilgrimages to the stores began, heralding a new era of American consumerism.

Lured by earlier-than-ever Black Friday sales, people left Grandma and Grandpa in search of Samsung and Toshiba. They did not go blindly: In dozens of interviews, people acknowledged how spending has become inseparable from the holidays. Older folks pined for the days of Erector Sets and Thumbelinas while in line to pay iPad prices. Even some younger shoppers said it felt wrong to be spending money instead of quality time on Thanksgiving.

Wal-Mart suspends India staff in corruption probe

MUMBAI, India (AP) -- Wal-Mart's Indian joint venture said Friday it has suspended several employees as part of an internal corruption investigation, another blow to the U.S. company's plans for aggressive expansion in a giant market that is largely untapped by foreign retailers.

Bharti Walmart, Wal-Mart's joint venture with India's Bharti Enterprises, said it had suspended "a few associates" and was "committed to conducting a complete and thorough investigation." India's Economic Times newspaper reported that the company's chief financial officer was among the five employees suspended, a claim the company declined to verify.

The news comes at a sensitive time for foreign retailers in India, where corruption scandals in everything from telecommunications to coal mining have badly damaged the ruling Congress Party. Eager to rekindle foreign investment, the Congress Party eased foreign investment rules in September, paving the way for Wal-Mart and others - which had been limited to wholesaling - to run retail shops with a local partner.

Syrian rebels capture helicopter air base near the capital Damascus after fierce fighting

BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian rebels captured a helicopter base just outside Damascus Sunday in what an activist called a "blow to the morale of the regime" near President Bashar Assad's seat of power.

The takeover claim showed how rebels are advancing in the area of the capital, though they are badly outgunned, making inroads where Assad's power was once unchallenged. Rebels have also been able to fire mortar rounds into Damascus recently.

The director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdul-Rahman, said rebels seized control of the Marj al-Sultan base on the outskirts of Damascus on Sunday morning. He said at least 15 rebels and eight soldiers were killed in the fighting that started a day earlier. The rebels later withdrew from the base.

Former champion boxer 'Macho' Camacho dies in Puerto Rico after being taken off life support

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Former championship boxer Hector "Macho" Camacho died Saturday at the hospital in Puerto Rico where he has been unconscious since he was shot in the face in an attack in his hometown.

Camacho went into cardiac arrest in the pre-dawn hours and he was then taken off life support and died shortly thereafter, said Dr. Ernesto Torres, the director of the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan.

Camacho's mother, Maria Matias, said Friday night that she had supported removing him from life support after his three sons had arrived from the U.S. mainland and had a chance to see their father for the last time. They managed to visit him before he died, said former pro boxer Victor "Luvi" Callejas, a longtime friend.

Superstorm puts federal beach program in spotlight after stripping sand from NJ coast

SPRING LAKE, N.J. (AP) -- The average New Jersey beach is 30 to 40 feet narrower after Superstorm Sandy, according to a survey that is sure to intensify a long-running debate on whether federal dollars should be used to replenish stretches of sand that only a fraction of U.S. taxpayers use.

Some of New Jersey's famous beaches lost half their sand when Sandy slammed ashore in late October.

The shore town of Mantoloking, one of the hardest-hit communities, lost 150 feet of beach, said Stewart Farrell, director of Stockton College's Coastal Research Center and a leading expert on beach erosion.

'Anonymous' targets Israeli websites over Gaza war

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A concerted effort of millions of attempts to cripple Israeli websites during the Gaza conflict has failed, Israel's finance minister said Monday, claiming that the only site that was successfully hacked was back up within minutes.

Cyber security experts said that such hacking attempts have become a new aspect of modern-day warfare and states have to invest in fortifying their virtual defenses on a battleground with vague terrain.

Israel regularly fights off hundreds of hacking attempts every day, but nothing on the scale of the recent torrent of attacks.

Gun shop says no protesters in New Mexico coyote hunting contest

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- No protesters showed up Saturday at a New Mexico gun shop sponsoring a coyote hunting contest this weekend that set off howls of protests from animal activists.

In fact, television and radio reporters milling in the shop's parking lot were the biggest problem the hunt created, said Rick Gross, business manager of Gunhawk Firearms in Los Lunas.

Animal activists and the state's trust land commissioner were incensed when Gunhawk owner Mark Chavez said he'd go ahead with the hunt despite the protests.

The two-day hunt sparked thousands of angry emails, social media postings and a petition signed by activists from as far as Europe who have demanded that the hunt be called off. Last week, a small group of protesters held a rally outside of Gunhawk Firearms and waved signs denouncing the event as cruel and "bloodthirsty."

Hyde scores in OT to lead No. 6 Ohio State to 21-14 victory over Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Ohio State clinched one title, and kept its slim hopes for another alive.

The sixth-ranked Buckeyes won the Leaders Division crown outright Saturday, beating Wisconsin 21-14 on Carlos Hyde's 2-yard scoring run in overtime. Buckeyes safety Christian Bryant batted down Curt Phillips' pass on fourth down to preserve the win.

Ohio State (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) is ineligible for the postseason as part of its punishment for NCAA violations under former coach Jim Tressel. The best the Buckeyes can hope for is to finish the regular-season unbeaten, then have the teams above them all lose at least once to give them a shot at playing spoiler for The Associated Press title.

"We have a saying, `A team that refuses to be beat won't be beat,'" Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "Somehow, someway."

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has 'minor procedure' for irregular heartbeat

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was sent to the hospital Thursday for a "minor procedure" after doctors discovered he had an irregular heartbeat.

The team said it anticipates Harbaugh will be back at the 49ers facility Friday, though it's unclear in what capacity. No details about the procedure were given.

The NFC West-leading 49ers (6-2-1) host the NFC-North leading Chicago Bears (7-2) on Monday night at Candlestick Park.

Solar cars roll across Earth's driest desert

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- The second annual Solar Challenge has begun in Chile's Atacama desert, where 15 solar-powered cars rolled out of an old salt mine Thursday.

The solar-powered prototypes will travel more than 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) through the world's driest desert in the four-day, multinational race.

There are two categories: cars powered only by solar energy, and three-wheeled models that get a little help from pedals pushed by the drivers themselves.

BBC settles libel suit from UK politician wrongly implicated in child sex abuse report

LONDON (AP) -- The BBC reached a settlement Thursday with the Conservative politician wrongly implicated in a child sex abuse scandal.

The BBC has already apologized for linking 70-year-old Alistair McAlpine, a member of the House of Lords, to child sex abuse that happened decades ago in Wales. The mistaken report, broadcast nearly two weeks ago, has caused turmoil within BBC management ranks and led to the resignation of its chief.

The British broadcaster said late Thursday it had resolved McAlpine's libel claim, calling it a "comprehensive" settlement that "reflects the gravity of the allegations that were wrongly made."

China leader's brings a new affability to the job

BEIJING (AP) -- In his travels abroad, Xi Jinping has often been something unusual for a Chinese communist leader: an ordinary guy.

In Ireland, he stopped at a stadium to kick a soccer ball around. On a key getting-to-know-you visit to the U.S., he took several hours to visit with Midwestern families who had hosted him more than a quarter-century before. While visiting with schoolchildren in Los Angeles, Xi talked of his love of sports and films and about how finding personal family time was "mission impossible."

And even Thursday in the Great Hall of the People, when he was introduced as the Chinese Communist Party's new secretary general, the most powerful man in the world's most populous nation showed some humility. He apologized to the media for running 45 minutes late.

Japan, North Korea reopen stalled bilateral talks

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan and North Korea began talks Thursday in Mongolia that Tokyo hopes will shed light on decades-old abductions.

The meetings in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator are scheduled to last through Friday. In August, lower-level negotiators from Japan and North Korea held the countries' first bilateral talks in four years, but made little progress.

Japan wants information on the abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents in the 1970s and '80s. Japan believes at least one abductee may still be alive in the North, though North Korea denies this. Five abductees were returned to Japan in 2002.

Review: `The Twilight Saga' ends with real bite

Finally (AP) -- finally! - the "Twilight" franchise embraces its own innate absurdity with the gleefully over-the-top conclusion, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2."

This is by far the best film in the series. This does not necessarily mean it's good. But as it reaches its prolonged and wildly violent crescendo, it's at least entertaining in a totally nutso way.

Review: iPad Mini charms, but screen is a letdown

NEW YORK (AP) -- I bet the iPad Mini is going to be on a lot of wish lists this holiday season. I also bet that for a lot of people, it's not going to be the best choice. It's beautiful and light, but Apple made a big compromise in the design, one that means that buyers should look closely at the competition before deciding.

Starting at $329, the iPad Mini is the cheapest iPad. The screen is a third smaller than the regular iPads, and it sits in an exquisitely machined aluminum body. It weighs just 11 ounces - half as much as a full-size iPad - making it easier to hold in one hand. It's just under 8 inches long and less than a third of an inch thick, so it fits easily into a handbag.