file under: just kiddin' like jason

U.S. consumers, saddled with huge debt loads, are poised to face even tougher times with more layoffs, rising oil prices and a looming U.S. war with Iraq. When President Bush on Friday warned "the game is over" for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, stock prices fell to four-month lows.

Intelligence information suggests al-Qaida attacks may occur as early as this week in the United States.

North Korea has an untested ballistic missile capable of reaching the western United States, intelligence officials said Wednesday.

Reports of new infections with the HIV virus, along with cases of AIDS, have risen in the United States for the first time in a decade, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile

ABC's latest foray into the reality-show derby Are You Hot?: The Search for America's Sexiest People allows viewers (with the help of what now passes for a celebrity-judge panel — Lorenzo Lamas, Rachel Hunter, and designer Randolph Duke) to select the sexiest man and woman from 128 aspirants around the country. There's no discernible talent required, and the winners split a $100,000 cash prize.

The goal behind Hot (which begins its six-week run on 02.13 @ 8:00 PM) is a noble one: to provide America with as many definitions of hotness as possible.

Who are the first 32 finalists in the search for America's sexiest people?

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