Dateline: Events/Headlines - Week Of August 1, 2009 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
The Pentagon is seeking to speed deployment of an ultra-large "bunker-buster" bomb on the most advanced U.S. bomber as soon as July 2010, the Air Force said on Sunday, amid concerns over perceived nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran. The non-nuclear, 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, which is still being tested, is designed to destroy deeply buried bunkers beyond the reach of existing bombs.
A third man has died of pneumonic plague in northwest China, in an outbreak that prompted authorities to lock down a town where about a dozen people were infected with the highly contagious deadly lung disease, a state news agency said. The World Health Organization office in China said it was in close contact with Chinese health authorities and that measures taken so far to treat and quarantine sickened people were appropriate.
North Korea welcomed former President Bill Clinton to Pyongyang with flowers and hearty handshakes Tuesday as he arrived in the communist nation on a surprise mission to bring home two jailed American journalists. Clinton landed in the North Korean capital in an unmarked jet. On arrival he shook hands with Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan and the deputy speaker of parliament. Footage from the television news agency APTN showed Clinton bowing and smiling as a young girl presented him with flowers.
Consumers opened their wallets and pocketbooks a bit more in June, increasing their spending for the second straight month while saving a bit less, even as incomes fell sharply. Consumer spending is closely watched because it accounts for about 70 percent of total economic activity. The increase could provide a lift to the economy, but may be hard to sustain if incomes continue to fall. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that consumers boosted their spending 0.4 percent in June, slightly ahead of analysts' estimates. That comes after spending rose 0.1 percent in May.
A gunman walked into an exercise class in suburban Pittsburgh and fired dozens of shots, killing three women and himself and injuring nine other women, authorities said. Two women and the man believed to be the shooter died at the scene Tuesday night and another woman died on the way to a hospital, Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in for a second term as Iran's president Wednesday while security forces battled hundreds of protesters chanting "Death to the Dictator" in the streets around parliament where the ceremony was held.
Key opposition leaders, moderate lawmakers and all three of Ahmadinejad's election challengers boycotted the swearing in ceremony. State-run Press TV said more than 5,000 security forces were in the streets around parliament and police with sniffer dogs patrolled the area after the opposition called for demonstrations to coincide with the inauguration.
The number of newly-laid off workers seeking unemployment insurance fell last week, the government said Thursday, fresh evidence that layoffs are easing.
The Labor Department said that initial claims for jobless benefits dropped to a seasonally adjusted 550,000 for the week ending Aug. 1, down from an upwardly revised figure of 588,000 in the previous week.
The Senate is poised to add $2 billion to the popular "cash-for-clunkers" program after lawmakers agreed to vote on the government car incentives and give shoppers until Labor Day to visit their local dealerships and make a deal. Administration officials have estimated the tripling of the $1 billion program could fund an additional 500,000 new car sales, giving automakers a late summer boost after months of ragged sales. The Obama administration has said the program would go broke by Friday without congressional approval of the extension.
Employers sharply scaled back layoffs in July, and the unemployment rate dipped for the first time in 15 months, sending a strong signal that the worst recession since World War II is finally ending. A net total of 247,000 jobs were lost last month, the fewest in a year. That compares with 443,000 jobs that disappeared in June. And the unemployment rate for July declined to 9.4 percent from 9.5 percent in June.
Pakistan's Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud, who unleashed a fearsome campaign of suicide attacks and assassinations that made him the country's most-wanted man, was killed in a U.S. missile strike, an aide said Friday. The U.S. put a $5 million bounty on his head in March. Increasingly, American missiles fired by unmanned drones have focused on Mehsud-related targets.
Sports News – August 1, 2009
Tiger Woods shot a 69 Sunday and coasted to a three-shot victory with a 20-under 268 at the Buick Open for the 69th PGA Tour title of his career. "This one feels good," he said.
Technology News – August 1, 2009
Five-year-old start-up SplashCast Media will be shutting down in the next few weeks. Co-founder and CEO Michael Berkley put out a blog earlier this week detailing the various directions the company had taken, going from an enterprise content management tool, all the way to a video player that was integrated with social networks like Facebook and MySpace--none of which were enough to keep it afloat.
Entertainment/Celebrity/Television/Movie News – August 1, 2009
Jay Leno’s new prime-time series is going to kick off with a performance by Jay-Z, Rihanna, Kanye West. NBC said the three singers will perform together on "Run This Town," a tune from Jay-Z's new album, on the Sept. 14 debut of "The Jay Leno Show." The network and Leno said this week that there will be fewer musical acts. They also said he will feature interesting combinations of performers.
John Hughes, who directed iconic 1980s films Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, died of a heart attack. He was 59.
Adam Sandler's serious side has caught on with audiences. Universal Pictures' "Funny People," with Sandler trading adolescent humor for an adult story about a terminally ill comedy star, debuted as the top weekend movie with $23.4 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. It was a modest weekend for Hollywood, with the shadow of last summer's juggernaut "The Dark Knight" hanging over the current blockbuster season. Overall summer revenues, which had been running ahead of last year's since early May, dipped below those of 2008, when "The Dark Knight" was packing theaters for weeks on end.
Mark Wahlberg and his longtime girlfriend, model Rhea Durham, have married in Beverly Hills. People magazine reports the 38-year-old "Boogie Nights" actor tied the knot Saturday in front of about a dozen friends and family at Good Shepherd Catholic Church. Wahlberg walked the aisle in a dark suit and the 31-year-old bride wore a white strapless dress with silver embroidery.
Cameron Douglas, the son of Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas, has been arrested on drug charges, media reports and authorities said on Monday. Douglas, 30, was arrested in New York for possession of what The New York Post reported was a "massive amount" of crystal methamphetamine with intent to distribute it.
The primetime game show that became a phenomenon a decade ago is returning to ABC for a two-week stint with original host Regis Philbin, a few game modifications and an extensive Hollywood guest list! "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" will return to primetime on August 9th in celebration of its 10th anniversary.
Jesse Ventura, the former Navy SEAL, wrestler and Minnesota governor, will explore the mysteries behind modern-day conspiracies in a new cable TV series. TruTV, formerly Court TV, has ordered seven episodes of "Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura," which will premiere in late 2009.
Former TV news anchor Dan Rather sued CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves and former CBS News President Andrew Heyward on Monday in a bid to have them reinstated as defendants in his $70 million lawsuit against the network. In a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court, Rather accused the two men of fraud relating to his claim that CBS made him a scapegoat in a scandal over a 2004 report on then-President George W. Bush's military record. "These are the two individuals who committed the crime on behalf of CBS and we're holding them personally responsible," said Rather's lawyer, Martin Gold.
Michael Jackson’s 79-year-old mother was awarded custody of the singer's three children on Monday and given more time to spell out objections to having two music executives administer his multi-million dollar estate. Judge Mitchell Beckloff officially admitted the pop singer's 2002 will into probate court and extended until October 2 the temporary control of the "Thriller" singer's estate granted to executors John Branca and John McClain. Jackson's mother, Katherine, has asked for more say in guiding the matters of his estate, valued at more than $500 million in an attachment to his will, and Superior Court Judge Beckloff gave her until October 2 to come up with reasons why she should have greater input.
After eight seasons, Paula Abdul confirmed late that she is leaving the hit Fox show American Idol. "With sadness in my heart, I've decided not to return to Idol," Abdul, 47, Twittered. "I'll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from day one become an international phenomenon."
Television sked/listings/TV Guide – week of August 1, 2009
Monday night TV
Discovery's Shark Week continues all night.
At 8, ABC has Sugarland: Live on the Inside.
NBC has a new Great American Road Trip at 8.
ABC Family has a new Secret Life of the American Teenager at 8, followed by a new Make It or Break It.
At 9, USA has a new Monday Night RAW (with Jeremy Piven).
TNT has a new episode of The Closer at 9, then a new Raising the Bar.
TLC has the return of Jon & Kate Plus 8 at 9 (two episodes).
At 10, ABC has a new Dating in the Dark.
NBC has a new Dateline at 10.
Showtime has a new Weeds at 10, then a new Nurse Jackie.
TLC has a new Ultimate Cake-Off at 10.
Bravo has a new Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List at 10.
IFC has the movie I, The Jury at 10.
Also at 10: Food Network has a new Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
Top Movies – August 1, 2009
500 Days of Summer
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
My Sister’s Keeper
Taking of Pelham 1-2-3
Ice Age: Dawn of The Dinosours
Away We Go
My Life in Ruins.