John Galliano Apologizes for Behavior But Denies Claims of Anti-Semitism

Photo Courtesy - Scott Barbour/Getty Images(PARIS) -- A day after being fired from his post as creative director for high fashion label Christian Dior, John Galliano apologized -- not for the anti-Semitic remarks he allegedly made at a Paris bar, but for "allowing myself to be seen to be behaving in the worst possible light."

"I fully accept that the accusations made against me have greatly shocked and upset people," Galliano said Wednesday in a statement released by his lawyers. "I only have myself to blame and I know that I must face up to my own failures and that I must work hard to gain people's understanding and compassion."

The lengthy statement continued "I have fought my entire life against prejudice, intolerance and discrimination, having been subjected to it myself. In all my work, my inspiration has been to unite people of every race, creed, religion, and sexuality by celebrating their cultural and ethnic diversity through fashion," he said. "Anti-Semitism and racism have no part in our society. I unreservedly apologize for my behavior in causing any offence."

Galliano also denied the claims filed by a Paris couple last week who said he verbally assaulted them La Perle, the same bar where he was seen on video in an anti-Semitic rant. He was suspended from his post at Dior on Friday after those allegations.

Wednesday, Paris prosecutors said that Galliano will stand criminal trial over those alleged racial insults -- using anti-Semitic language is a criminal offense in France.

The designer swiftly fell from fashion's highest ranks after a video of his tirade appeared on the website of the British tabloid The Sun on Monday. In the video, Galliano declares to La Perle's patrons, "I love Hitler," says that "people like you would be dead," and "your mothers, your forefathers" would all be "gassed." It's unclear when the video was recorded.

Dior fired Galliano on Monday. In a statement, Dior's CEO, Sidney Toledano, said, "I unequivocally condemn the statements made by John Galliano which are in total contradiction to the longstanding core values of Christian Dior."

Since joining Dior in 1996, Galliano, 50, has used his provocative sense of style to push the luxury label to the top of the fashion heap. Celebrities covet his creations; Nicole Kidman and Sharon Stone wore Dior gowns to Sunday's Academy Awards.

At the moment, Natalie Portman serves as Dior's most prominent celebrity endorser -- she stars in the new ad campaign for Miss Dior Cherie perfume. Backstage at the Oscars Sunday, after winning the best actress award, Portman declined to talk about Galliano's suspension. But the following evening, she released a statement condemning the designer's alleged rants. 

"I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano's comments that surfaced today," Portman said. "In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way. I hope at the very least, these terrible comments remind us to reflect and act upon combating these still-existing prejudices that are the opposite of all that is beautiful."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Stocks Have a Mixed Wednesday

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Stock market averages are mixed Wednesday as a positive report on jobs trimmed earlier losses for stocks, but the February employment report comes out on Friday.

Gold prices are up again, now at $1,440 an ounce, a gain of ten dollars, and global oil prices are above a hundred one dollars a barrel. Fears about supply are a major drag on financial markets. If gasoline and oil prices stay high they could cut U.S. economic growth . 

The office supply retailer Staples reports an 18 percent rise in fourth quarter profits, but sales were flat.

Strong sales for Costco as profits rose and the result beat analyst expectations. Sales at U.S. Costco stores rose 7 per cent in the latest quarter. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Job Reports Show Mixed Results

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Two new reports were released Wednesday on jobs with one showing a rise in layoffs and the other reporting an increase in hiring.

The payroll firm ADP says private sector hiring is on the rise:  Businesses added 217 thousand jobs last month. But a separate survey reports more layoffs.

The biggest layoffs came not from business, but the government and non-profit groups.

"These jobs cuts sort of don't compare even though they're up from what we saw during the recession," says employment executive John Challenger. As far as high gas prices are concerned, Challenger says "If they continue high, it could really cause damage to the recovery."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tax Tip: Some Important Tax Forms Will No Longer Be Mailed

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- More than ever, tax prep is going online, and with that comes changes to what you would normally receive in the mail.

"Certain things will no longer be in the mail," says Mary Beth Franklin of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.  "If you're waiting for your IRS tax forms to arrive in the mail it's going to be a really long wait, because this is the first year that the IRS will not automatically mail forms to taxpayers."

Franklin says "you can still get printed copies if you want at participating libraries and post offices or you can go to and download them."

If you need help with these forms or with e-filing, your local library may be a good place to go.

Most taxpayers now file electronically, not through the mail -- just one reason why the IRS is also changing with the times.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Coffee Prices Jump to Highest Level in Over a Decade

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Consumers may soon be shelling out more cash to pay for their morning cup of joe.

Coffee prices are now at their highest levels in 14 years.  Within the last year alone, prices have risen 100 percent.

"Prices have been rising steadily over the last four or five years," Jose Sette, head of the International Coffee Organization, told ABC News affiliate WABC-TV in New York. "But these price rises have accelerated since May."

The reason behind the spike is attributed to unsuccessful harvests in Columbia.

"Coffee prices are high primarily because we have had three disappointing harvests in Columbia in a row and Columbia is the biggest producer of fine quality coffee," Sette said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


States in the Red Try Creative Ways to Balance Budgets

Photo Courtesy - Stephen Chernin/ Getty Images(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- From Connecticut to Wisconsin, states across the country are trying to fill budget gaps with new taxes and cuts in spending.

In Connecticut, Gov. Dan Malloy is even going after coupon clippers.  As part of $1.5 billion in new taxes in Connecticut, Malloy proposes a sales tax on the original price of something -- never mind whether you get a big discount when you buy it.

Larry Dorman, spokesman for the Connecticut State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition, said the coupon tax and the governor's other budget proposals "hit the middle class disproportionately."  He said he is also concerned about the possible repeal of a $500 property tax credit and an increase in the income tax on middle-income wage earners.

Ben Barnes the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management in Connecticut's budget office, said that the taxes were not preferred solutions to balance the budget.  He said they were painful but necessary features of a budget proposal.  He also said Gov. Malloy's budget proposal was a "good mix of revenue, spending cuts and concessions from state employees" to balance the budget.

Dorman said the state employees union has been "constructively engaged" with the governor and "hopes to continue that process."

"This isn't Chris Christie or Scott Walker," said Dorman, referring to the governors of New Jersey and Wisconsin who have played tough with labor unions.  "So there's some reason for optimism at this early stage."

Many states are also feeling the pinch and getting creative to find financial solutions.  In January, Illinois approved an increase in the sales tax and corporate tax rates, to the dismay of businesses there.

Jimmy Patronis, a Florida state legislator, said some companies in Illinois have expressed interest in moving south.

"We have been very frugal with how we've been doing business," said Patronis.  "The cost of doing business here is very reasonable.  It has made us a little bit of a safe haven."

But Florida has a budget deficit of its own.  Florida's state legislature will begin to try to fill a $3 billion budget shortfall when it convenes on Mar. 8.  Its spring lawmaking session will last 60 days.

Patronis, in his fifth year as a representative of Panama City, said Florida will have to make a number of tough decisions to constitutionally balance the budget.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Stock Futures Mixed in Pre-Market Trading

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Overseas stocks have taken a pounding after Tuesday's sharp sell off in New York.

The Dow was down 168 the S&P 500 lost 21 points -- a drop of more than one and a half percent.  Another rise in global oil prices is the reason, and with growing concern this will put the brakes on the global recovery.

West Texas crude is trading at just under $100 dollars a barrel and Brent is at $116.  Traders are closely watching the violence in Libya, which has been the main driving force behind the increase in oil and gas prices.  The latest prices are close to the highest level reached late last week.

Asian shares also dropped sharply overnight into Wednesday.  Japan's Nikkei Stock Average lost 2.4 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 1.5 percent, China's Shanghai Composite fell 0.2 percent, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 decreased by 0.5 percent. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


It's Best to Pay Off Credit Card Balances in Full

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Borrowing money can be very expensive, and most personal finance experts agree that the number-one rule when using credit cards is to pay off the balance in full each month.

"If you don't have that money to pay off the balance at the end of the month you're going to carry that balance, you're going to continue to pay extra in terms of the interest on that balance," says Robert Long, managing editor of  "It really is one of the worst debts you can have."

If you don't pay your bill in full, the interest you will have to pay can be over 20 percent.  But if you do pay your bill in full, using a credit card may be a money saver.

"That can be an interest free loan on purchases you make for a month.  I know lots of people who really prosper from the rewards they get from their credit cards," Long says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Markets Down after Fed Chief's Report; Oil Prices Still Rising

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A warning from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke pushed the markets down Tuesday.  The Dow closed down 168 points, the NASDAQ lost 45, and the S&P gave up 21.

Bernanke told a House committee Tuesday if the price of oil continues to rise, it could slow down or reverse the recovery.

Crude closed at just under $99.63 a barrel.  On the other hand, Bernanke is only predicting slight inflation.

The rising cost of jet fuel is causing American Airlines to fly a little less.  It's cutting passenger-carrying capacity by one percent. If other airlines copy the cutbacks, it could result in higher fares. 

An increase at the gas pumps seemed to help the big three auto manufacturers last month.  Sales for GM were up 49 percent, Chrysler's up 13 percent and Ford saw a 10-percent increase in sales.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Federal Report: Women Gaining in Education But Stalled on Pay

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- American women are making real gains, especially in college and graduate education, but they continue to lag behind men in pay, according to a report released Tuesday by the White House that administration officials say will be used as a basis for policy changes.

The White House released the report, "Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being," to kick off Women's History Month. It was described as a "statistical portrait" showing how women are faring in the country today and how their roles have changed over time.

Administration officials acknowledged that there is nothing new to these reports -- compiled from reports that were already available to the public -- but said that the compilation of the findings shows something important for women and families that will influence the president's policies.

The administration said some of the key findings of the report were:

Women have not only caught up with men in college attendance but younger women are now more likely than younger men to have a college or a graduate degree. Women are also working more and the number of women and men in the labor force has nearly equalized in recent years. As women's work has increased, their earnings constitute a growing share of family income.

Gains in education and labor force involvement have not yet translated into wage and income equity. At all levels of education, women earned about 75 percent of what their male counterparts earned in 2009. In part because of these lower earnings and in part because unmarried and divorced women are the most likely to have responsibility for raising and supporting their children, women are more likely to be in poverty than men. These economic inequities are even more acute for women of color.

Women live longer than men but are more likely to face certain health problems, such as mobility impairments, arthritis, asthma, depression and obesity. Women are also less physically active than men. Women are less likely than men to suffer from heart disease or diabetes. One out of seven women age 18-64 has no usual source of health care and the share of women in that age range without health insurance has also increased.

Women are less likely than in the past to be the target of violent crimes, including homicide. But women are victims of certain crimes, such as intimate partner violence and stalking, at higher rates than men.

The report focused on five areas: people, families and income; education; unemployment; health; and crime and violence. The administration will be observing Women's History Month by highlighting a different section of the report each week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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