ABC News Blogs
  • Pop Star Shaves Head in Remorse

    TOKYO - In a long list of publicity stunts thought up by Japan's most popular pop group AKB48, this may be the most bizarre. Or is it?

    Minami Minegishi is one of the most popular idols in the 90 plus member super unit. The 20-year-old singer offered a tearful apology on YouTube Thursday, saying she shaved her head to atone for committing a cardinal sin - violating the group's no-dating rule.

    The video, posted to the band's YouTube channel, followed a Japanese tabloid report claiming Minegishi spent the night at a 19 year-old boy band member's apartment. Published photos showing the star sneaking out of the building with sunglasses and mask covering her face set fans abuzz.

    The nearly four minute confession that followed, began with a deep bow but ended with Minegishi sobbing and pleading to stay in the band.

    "I was supposed to set an example for younger members, but my actions were extremely careless and

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  • The mother of a 5-year-old Massachusetts boy who was threatened with suspension from his school's after-care program after he made a gun out of Lego pieces and pointed it at other students says she believes the school mishandled the situation, but the district said the boy was disruptive and disrespectful, and it's standing by its action.

    Sheila Cruz, 33, of Hyannis, Mass., said this week that she was "dumbfounded" when she got a letter from Hyannis West Elementary School last. Dated Jan. 25, 2013, the letter, sent by the school's day care program, said Cruz's son, Joseph, had gotten his first written warning the day before for "using daycare toys inappropriately."

    "Please be reminded that a second written warning will result in two weeks out of day care," the letter added.

    Joseph's offense? While in the school's after-care program, he used Lego pieces to make a toy handgun. Joseph used the object to "taunt other students with it while simulating the sound of gunfire," according

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  • 2013 Forecast: More US Jobs

    Morning Business Memo

    Today's January jobs report gives us a one-month snapshot of the U.S. employment market. For 2013 as a whole, "we do think the trend is toward improvement," says Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. "It's across the board in terms of services and also the construction numbers as the housing sector comes back. I wouldn't count on manufacturing being very strong." The economy has averaged about 150,000 additional jobs a month in the past two years, not enough to rapidly reduce still-high unemployment.

    Some experts say the relatively low workforce participation rate is a sign of continuing weakness. O'Sullivan argues that such concerns might be overblown. "As the population ages and more people get closer to retirement age, or at retirement age, there's a natural tendency for the participation rate to go down." As baby boomers hit their mid-60s, "I think that's an important reason why the workforce participation rate has fallen," he

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  • Hanyu takes command at figure skating worlds comeback
    Hanyu takes command at figure skating worlds comeback

    Olympic men's figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu closed in on his second successive men's world title Friday, taking the lead in the short programme in Shanghai after the French ice dancers clinched gold. The Japanese pin-up over-rotated and put his hand on the ice as he opened with a quadruple toeloop, but effortlessly swept through his remaining jumps at the World Figure Skating Championships to record his season's best score of 95.20. The gold medallist at last year's Sochi Winter Games was returning to competition for the first time since comfortably defending his Grand Prix Final title in Barcelona in mid-December.

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