Walters stands by O'Donnell
New York - Barbara Walters is back from vacation - and she's standing by Rosie O'Donnell in her bitter battle of words with Donald Trump.
Walters, creator of ABC's "The View," said Wednesday on the daytime chat show that she never told Trump she didn't want O'Donnell on the show, as he has claimed. "Nothing could be further from the truth," she said.
"She has brought a new vitality to this show and the ratings prove it," Walters said of O'Donnell, who is on vacation this week. When she returns, Walters said, "We will all welcome her back with open arms."
Walters also took a moment to try to smooth things over with The Donald, who got all riled up when O'Donnell said on "The View" that he had been "bankrupt so many times."
"ABC has asked me to say this just to clarify things, and I will quote: 'Donald Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy. Several of his casino companies have filed for business bankruptcies. They are out of bankruptcy now,"' Walters said.
In a phone interview with The Associated Press, Trump said he appreciated that Walters "did a retraction" and claimed the show's "ratings are up because of people like me."
"Barbara fully understands what Barbara told me," he said. "At the same time, she can't say that because she has to work with the woman. But she won't be working with her long. I mean, that thing will explode because Rosie's wacko."
O'Donnell and Trump have been feuding since he announced last month that Miss USA Tara Conner, whose title had been in jeopardy because of underage drinking, would keep her crown. Trump is the owner of the Miss Universe Organization, which includes Miss USA and Miss Teen USA.
Houston's gear auctioned to pay storage debt
Newark, N.J. - Few people can sing like Whitney Houston. But next week, anyone with some spare cash can dress like the Grammy winner, right down to one of her black velvet bustiers, and croon into one of her microphones.
Those items and more than 300 others from a 1999 world tour, including grand pianos, drum kits and a forklift, will be auctioned Tuesday in an effort to cover unpaid storage fees on the gear and clothing, said Jeffrey Campisi, an attorney for Speed of Sound, a company that has been tending to the equipment.
The tour gear, which includes speakers, amplifiers and a vintage barber chair along with designer clothes, has been stored in Irvington since the tour, Campisi said.
Speed of Sound went to court in May after not receiving payments from Houston's company, Nippy Inc., for a year. The company is now owed $175,000 to $200,000, Campisi said Wednesday.
He couldn't estimate what the auction might bring, but said any excess money will go to Nippy.
Lisa Ling engaged
New York - Lisa Ling, National Geographic Channel correspondent and former co-host of "The View," got engaged to Paul Song, a Chicago-based doctor, over the holidays.
Ling and Song plan to marry later this year in Los Angeles, Chris Albert, a representative for the National Geographic Channel, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The 41-year-old Song, an oncologist, popped the question to Ling, 33, alongside their families at a Chicago restaurant, Albert said.
Ling, who is also a correspondent for Oprah Winfrey's talk show, ended her engagement to entrepreneur Philip Levine in October 2005. She left ABC's "The View" in 2002 after three years, and went on to host National Geographic's "Ultimate Explorer."
Paternity test ordered
Los Angeles - A judge in the Anna Nicole Smith baby dispute has given the former Playboy playmate until Jan. 23 to have her daughter undergo paternity testing sought by a former boyfriend, the man's attorney said.
Superior Court Judge Robert Schnider ruled in favor of the 39-year-old Smith's ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead last month. Birkhead claims he's the father of Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, who was born Sept. 7 in the Bahamas.
It wasn't known when Smith's daughter might have the DNA test.
"We can't make it any easier for her," Birkhead's attorney, Debra Opri, said Tuesday.
Smith's attorney, Ronald A. Rale, said Wednesday his client will abide by the judge's ruling.
Birkhead, who turns 33 on Jan. 22, sued in October to get a paternity test.
Smith's longtime personal attorney, Howard K. Stern, maintains he is the baby's father.