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Dateline: Week Of December 15, 2008 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Entertainment  & Fascinating Facts 


In The News

No timetable for bailout set but Detroit automakers got public reassurance  from President Bush that short-term government help for the industry is in the works and could come soon. "An abrupt bankruptcy for autos could be devastating for the economy," Bush told reporters aboard Air Force One during an unannounced trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. "We're now in the process of working with the stakeholders on a way forward. We're not quite ready to announce that yet."

 An impeachment committee began hearings Tuesday on whether to remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office as state legislators continued to press him to resign to end the unprecedented proceeding. The 21-member committee was approved unanimously Monday by the Illinois House of Representatives. It will meet daily except for Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day to consider recommending that Blagojevich be removed from office.

OPEC says its cutting 2.2 million barrels a day from its output — the largest cut ever at one time — to stem crude prices that have plummeted more than 70% from summer highs of nearly $150 a barrel, but the production cut failed to stem the drop in oil prices, with markets already pricing in a reduced flow of oil.

Rates on 30-year-fixed mortgages dropped this week to their lowest levels in at least 37 years, as the Federal Reserve pledged to pour money into the mortgage market to spur home sales and refinancings. Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reports that average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 5.19% from the year's previous low of 5.47%, set last week.

The Bush administration comes to the rescue of the troubled U.S. auto industry Friday, offering $17.4 billion in loans in exchange for concessions from carmakers and their workers. "Allowing the auto companies to collapse is not a responsible course of action," President George W. Bush said.

Skeletal remains found in the woods are the Florida 3-year-old who has been missing since June, but they don't reveal any clues about how she was killed, a county medical examiner said.. A utility worker stumbled upon the remains last week, less than a half-mile from where the girl lived. DNA tests confirm that the remains match Caylee Anthony's genetic profile, said the medical examiner, Dr. Jan Garavaglia. Caylee's mother, 22-year-old Casey Anthony, was indicted in October on first-degree murder and  other charges, even though no body was found. She has insisted that she left the girl with a baby sitter in June, but she didn't report her missing until July.

Passing - W. Mark Felt, the former FBI second-in-command who revealed himself as "Deep Throat" 30 years after he tipped off reporters to the Watergate scandal that toppled a president, has died. He was 95.

A Continental Airlines jet taking off from Denver veered off the runway into a ravine Saturday night, forcing passengers to evacuate on emergency slides as the plane burned, officials said. Two people were critically injured and 36 others were taken to hospitals. Denver Fire Department Division Chief Patrick Hynes said a fire associated with the accident burned the entire right side of the plane. Melted plastic from the overhead compartments dripped onto the seats down below, he said. It was unknown when or how the fire started.

 President-elect Barack Obama has increased his employment goal with the nation's economic outlook worsening, seeking to create or save 3 million jobs in the next two years instead of the 2.5 million he proposed last month. Obama set the more ambitious target earlier this week after meeting with top economic advisers who cautioned that the nation's unemployment rate could exceed 9 percent given the current pace of job losses, Obama transition officials say.


Fascinating Facts – Burger King News – December 15, 2008

New scent for … Burger King? Just in time for the festive season, the company has released its very own men's body spray, Flame. Not recommended for vegetarians, Flame is being promoted as "the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broilled meat". While the smell itself might not inspire confidence, the price will. Flame is on sale for the credit crunch-busting sum of just $3.99, suggesting the Burger King promotions department has realised their contribution to the fragrance market might work best as a novelty stocking-filler. Flame, a body spray for men, was launched this week online and in a selection of US stores.


Sports News – December 15, 2008

The Dallas Cowboys play their final game at Texas Stadium , Alas, the Baltimore Ravens ruined the fun, wiping out an early Dallas lead and turning back repeated comeback attempts in the final minutes. Tony Romo threw two touchdown passes in the final 3:50, but the Cowboys lost in their 313th and final game here 33-24. "I know the stadium was pretty electric out there and it was a great atmosphere for football," Romo said. "It's disappointing that we weren't able to allow the fans to have a better evening." About half the crowd of 63,800 stuck around for the postgame celebration featuring around 100 former players and 12 members of the Ring of Honor. It started with a videotaped message from Garth Brooks, then Hank Williams Jr. ran out onto the field.


Entertainment/Celebrity News – December 15, 2008

 Sam Bottoms, who had small but memorable roles in the 1970s classics "Apocalypse Now" and "The Last Picture Show," has died. He was 53.

Los Angeles police are investigating a burglary at Paris Hilton's home they say left her bedroom ransacked and about $2 million in jewelry missing.Los Angeles police Officer Julianne Sohn said the break-in occurred at Hilton's home in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles. Sohn says detectives report that a man wearing a hooded sweat shirt and gloves broke in through the home's front door and ransacked Hilton's bedroom. Hilton was not at home at the time. She had been photographed the previous night at several LA nightspots.

Goodbye Ms. Amy - Less than two months after giving birth to son Archie, Amy Poehler made a surprise return to SNL- the NBC comedy show where she has been a regular for eight seasons. Last Saturday, she surprised viewers again by telling them goodbye. "This is my last show," Poehler announced from her "Weekend Update" anchor desk. "Being able to do over 140 shows with my friends and my family has been a dream come true."

Changes for “American Idol” season 8 - Thirty-six hopefuls, up from 24, will be chosen for February's semifinals, and wild-card picks — back for the first time since Season 3 — will let the judges put three singers into the top 12. Those changes, along with the addition of fourth judge, songwriter Kara DioGuardi and a second week of the Hollywood round, constitute Season 8 "tweaks" for Fox's top-rated Idol, executive producer Ken Warwick says. "They're not mega-changes. They are just little things to keep the whole format fresh and interesting."

A spokeswoman says Madonna has settled with ex-husband Guy Ritchie for at least 50 million pounds ($76 million). The figure includes the value of the couple's country home Ashcombe in western England. While the financial component of the settlement has been worked out, custodial arrangements for the couple's children have yet to be finalized. (later this week – both said this was an error but that a settlement was reached by both parties. We’ll keep it in for posterity).


MTV News – December 2008

MTV to add 16 reality shows as the channel’s recent ratings declines include a 23% fourth-quarter drop in its core demo of 12- to 34-year-olds. So MTV is embarking on a major programming overhaul, with 16 new unscripted series over the next 4½ months. The series come from high-profile producers including Sean Combs, Matt Stone & Trey Parker, Donald Trump and Nick Lachey. And they represent a major thematic shift for the channel -- more toward the meta-scripted reality of MTV's "The Hills," one of the cabler's few success stories these days.

While MTV pioneered reality series with 1992's "The Real World," that genre has become ubiquitous, so the network is offering a slate that avoids the backbiting and bitchery of most nonfiction fare.


Top Pop Hits – December 15, 2008

Live Your Life - T.I. fea. Rihanna

Womanizer - Britney Spears

I'm Yours - Jason Mraz

Hot 'N Cold - Katy Perry

Just Dance - Lady Gaga fea. Colby O'Donis

So What - Pink

Let It Rock - Kevin Rodolf fea.Lil Wayne

Whatever You Like - T.I.

If I Were A Boy - Beyonce

Right Now (Na Na Na) - Akon

Love Story - Taylor Swift

Miss Independent - Ne-Yo

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