Dateline: Week Of December 8, 2009 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
Iraqi police and hospital officials say the coordinated series of attacks against government buildings in Baghdad killed at least 118 people and wounded 261.
Three bomb-rigged cars exploded in quick succession Tuesday, striking the Labor Ministry, a court complex and the new site of Iraq's Finance Ministry -- whose previous building was destroyed in an August blast.
President Barack Obama outlined new multibillion-dollar stimulus and jobs proposals Tuesday, saying the nation must continue to "spend our way out of this recession" until more Americans are back at work. Without giving a price tag, Obama proposed a package of new spending for highway, bridge and other infrastructure projects, deeper tax breaks for small businesses and tax incentives to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient.
A fierce winter storm was leaving dangerous ice, heavy snow and vicious winds in its wake as it slogged eastward, snarling traffic and closing hundreds of schools from the Upper Midwest through New England. On the bright side - the storm gave S. California much needed rain – then moved east. More than a foot of snow was expected in parts of Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa, where the National Weather Service warned of "extremely dangerous blizzard conditions" and near whiteout driving conditions. Wind gusts of up to 50 mph could build snow drifts between 8 and 15 feet tall.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announces that the administration will extend the government's financial bailout program until next fall. In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Geithner said the extension is "necessary to assist American families and stabilize financial markets." Money from the $700 billion taxpayer-funded bailout program has helped rescue big Wall Street firms, auto companies and others. That's angered many Americans, who feel the government hasn't provided them with relief from high unemployment and rising home foreclosures.
Norway - President Barack Obama acknowledged the controversy surrounding the Nobel Peace Prize, which he received in here, acknowledging his own few accomplishments while delivering a robust defense of war and promising to use the prestigious prize to "reach for the world that ought to be."
A wartime president honored for peace, Obama became the first sitting U.S. president in 90 years and the third ever to win the prize -- some say prematurely."I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility," he said after accepting the prize. "It is an award that speaks to our highest aspirations — that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice."
The number of newly laid-off workers seeking jobless benefits rose more than expected last week, after falling for five straight weeks. Despite the increase, claims have fallen steadily since this summer, a sign that job cuts are slowing and hiring could pick up as soon as early next year amid a broad economic recovery. Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 474,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was above analysts' expectations of 460,000 new claims.
The al-Qaida extremist killed by a U.S. drone strike in northern Pakistan was the group's director of external operations. Abdirizaq Abdi Saleh, better known by his nom de guerre Saleh al-Somali, was a member of al-Qaida's senior leadership, said the official, and "probably responsible" for planning and executing attacks in the U.S. and Europe.
The House passed the most ambitious restructuring of federal financial regulations since the New Deal , aiming to head off any replay of last year's Wall Street failures that plunged the nation deep into recession. The sprawling legislation would give the government new powers to break up companies that threaten the economy, create a new agency to oversee consumer banking transactions and shine a light into shadow financial markets that have escaped the oversight of regulators. No Republicans voted for the bill and 27 Democrats voted against it.
Iran is ready to exchange the bulk of its stockpile of enriched uranium for nuclear fuel rods — as proposed by the U.N. — but according to its own mechanisms and timetable, the foreign minister said Saturday. The minister's remarks come just days before an expected meeting between the U.S. and allies to discuss new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. The offer, however, falls far short of the conditions set by the international community.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo lifted martial law in a southern Philippine province where 57 people were massacred last month in the country's worst political violence, her spokesman said. Arroyo signed the proclamation lifting martial law and ending the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Maguindanao province before late Saturday, eight days after taking the controversial step in order to move against a powerful clan blamed for killings, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said.
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi is in pain and will remain hospitalized with a fractured nose and two broken teeth from an attack by a mentally disturbed man who hit him in the face with a statuette, doctors and aides said. A government official said he expected the premier's protection to be tightened after an emergency meeting of security officials. Berlusconi, 73, was rushed to the San Raffaele hospital in Milan with his face covered in blood after the attack in the northern Italian city Sunday afternoon.
Citigroup Inc. said Monday it is repaying $20 billion in bailout money it received from the Treasury Department, freeing the banking giant from the close scrutiny and pay restrictions that came with the rescue program. The government will also sell its stake in the company.
Sports News – December 8, 2009 –
Marketers have pulled all Tiger Woods ads from prime-time television broadcast networks and 19 cable channels following reported extramarital affairs. Included – a product endorsement for Gatorade. Later this week - Global consulting firm Accenture PLC has ended its relationship with Tiger Woods, marking the first major sponsor to cut ties altogether with the golfer since his alleged infidelities surfaced and he announced an indefinite leave from the sport to work on his marriage.
Tiger Woods said he would take an indefinite break from professional golf, admitting he cheated on his wife and bowing to the pressure of two weeks of frenzied media scrutiny of his private life. The world's No. 1 golfer made the stunning announcement in his latest posting on his website in which he confessed "infidelity" for the first time, said he was sorry and asked his family, friends and supporters for forgiveness.
Entertainment News – December 8, 2009 -
Anna Nicole Smith’s two doctors and her lawyer-boyfriend pleaded not guilty Friday to drug conspiracy charges, and a judge rejected a belated move by the state attorney general and a medical board to suspend the physicians' medical licenses. Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, Dr. Khristine Eroshevich and Howard K. Stern are accused of conspiring to illegally provide the former Playboy model with sedatives and opiates before she died. They are not charged with causing her death.
Bryant Gumbel had surgery two months ago to remove a malignant tumor in his lung, the former “Today” host. “We told a few people, we told my family, obviously. I even kept it from my staff at 'Real Sports.' So I'm okay for the time being. I'm hoping they greenlight me to play golf again," he said.
Zhu Zhu Pets — one of the holiday season’s hottest toy crazes — do not violate safety standards, federal toy regulators said Monday after a consumer group raised concerns over the presence of a heavy metal on one model.
First Lady Michelle Obama has been named the "Most Fascinating" person of 2009 by Babara Walters. The First Lady bested a cast of memorable people that made the TV journalists annual top 10 list, including Lady Gaga, Sarah Palin, Adam Lambert, Michael Jackson’s children and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, to take the top honor.
Think you know the Jonas Brothers? Then it's time to meet Nick Jonas’ new band – Nick Jonas & the Administration. The youngest JoBro's solo project will be presented with guest hosts Kevin and Joe Jonas on Radio Disney's "Nick Jonas & The Administration: Total Access Weekend" this weekend.
Diane Sawyer exited ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday with an emotional moment that recalled the biggest story of her time on the show: meeting the children born after their fathers were killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It was a sobering interlude during a nostalgic two hours of video clips, celebrity goodbyes and tearful hugs. The morning news show devoted almost its entire broadcast to a salute to Sawyer, who is replacing her retiring former partner, Charles Gibson, as "World News" anchor.
The cast of MTV's Jersey Shore may seem oblivious to the outside world as they party, pump their fists, and work out, but viewers are taking note of them: The show's second week ratings were up 50 percent in its second week, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Jersey Shore nabbed 2.1 million viewers, a big boost from the 1.3 million viewers that tuned in for the show's debut. The series follows eight twenty-somethings living together in a rented beach house in Seaside Heights, N.J. It has gotten widespread attention in part because of objections from Italian-Americans who say it portrays their culture in a negative light.
MTV News - December 8, 2009 -
MTV's first and last foray into the daytime talk show market has come to an abrupt halt. Alexa Chung, the British model turn talk show host, has lost her daytime talk show “It’s On With Alexa Chung” on MTV after just two seasons. The network announced that the show would not return following its final show on Dec. 17.
Ashley Dupre, the former call girl whose tryst with former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer led to his resignation last year, has a new job. The New York Post has hired the 24-year-old to write a weekly advice column dealing with sex and relationships.
Passing – Actor Gene Barry (90).
TV listings/TV Guide - December 8, 2009 -
Friday night television
At 8, ABC has a new Supernanny, followed by new episodes of Ugly Betty and 20/20.
CBS has Yes, Virginia at 8.
NBC has a new Law & Order at 8, then new episodes of Dateline and The Jay Leno Show.
FOX has two new episodes of Dollhouse.
PBS has a new Washington Week at 8, followed by new episodes of NOW and Bill Moyers Journal.
MyNetwork has a new Smackdown! at 8.
At 8:30, Cartoon Network has a new Ben 10: Alien Force.
At 9, Travel Channel has two new episodes of Ghost Adventures.
BBC America has a new Friday Night with Jonathan Ross at 9.
At 10, Syfy has a new Sanctuary.
E! has a new episode of The Soup at 10.
More Music News - December 8, 2009 -
Music/Decade of the 2000’s - Eminem has sold 32.2 million albums over the course of the 2000s, according to Nielsen SoundScan, making him the decade's most successful artist. And the rapper, who has released four solo albums over the last 10 years, had some serious competition - The Beatles. The Fab Four notched the decade's best-selling release with singles compilation "1," which sold 11.5 million copies. Just below was *NSYNC's "No Strings Attached" with 11.1 million copies sold, the same album that set a one-week sales record in 2000 with 2.4 million copies moved upon its release.
The decade's top-selling track digitally was Flo Rida’s "Low" with 5.2 million downloads, which topped other online hits such as Lady Gaga’s 's "Just Dance" (4.7 million), Jason Mraz’ "I'm Yours" (4.6 million) and the Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow."
Radio airplay, the decade's most-spun songs were Nickelback's "How You Remind Me," Train's "Drops Of Jupiter," and songs by Lifehouse, 3 Doors Down and Lee Ann Womack.
Top Movies - December 8, 2009 -
The Princess and the Frog
The Blind Side
The Twlight Saga: New Moon
Disney’s A Christmas Carol
Top albums this week in 2009 -
For Your Entertainment – Adam Lambert
I Dreamed a Dream – Susan Boyle
I Dreamed Of Christmas – Andrea Bocelli
Rated R – Rihanna
Fearless – Taylor Swift
The Time Of Our Lives – Miley Cyrus
The Fame – Lady Gaga
The Fall – Norah Jones
Play On – Carrie Underwood
The Fame Monster – Lady Gaga
Battle Studies – John Mayer
Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” – soundtrack
The Twilight Saga: New Moon: soundtrack
She Wolf – Shakira
My World – Justin Bieber
Glee: Season One: The Music – Soundtrack
Before I Self Destruct – 50 Cent
Peace On Earth – Casting Crowns
The Circle – Bon Jovi
Now 32 – various
Sounds of the Season – Taylor Swift
Until The Whole World Hears – Casting Crowns
The E.N.D. – Black Eyed Peas
Noel – Josh Groban
Ocean Eyes – Owl City
Southern Voice – Tim McGraw
If On A Winter’s Night – Sting
Lady Antebellum – Lady Antebellum
Good Evening New York City – Paul McCartney
Number Ones – Michael Jackson
Pricele$$ - Birdman
The Blueprint 3 – Jay-Z.