Dateline: Week Of June 22, 2009 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
Conflict in Iran - Riot police attacked hundreds of demonstrators with tear gas and fired live bullets in the air to disperse a rally in central Tehran Monday, carrying out a threat by the country's most powerful security force to crush any further opposition protests over the disputed presidential election. Britain, accused by Iran of fomenting post-election unrest, said it was evacuating the families of diplomats and other officials based in Iran — the first country to do so as Iran's worst internal conflict since the 1979 Islamic Revolution escalated. Witnesses said helicopters hovered overhead as about 200 protesters gathered at Haft-e-Tir Square. But hundreds of anti-riot police quickly put an end to the demonstration and prevented any gathering, even small groups, at the scene.
President Barack Obama cited his own long struggle to quit the cigarettes he got hooked on as a teenager as he signed the nation's strongest-ever anti-smoking bill Monday and praised it for providing critically needed protections for kids. "The decades-long effort to protect our children from the harmful effects of tobacco has emerged victorious," Obama said at a signing ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.
A former Boston medical student pleaded not guilty Monday to charges he lured a masseuse he met through Craigslist to a Boston hotel, then bound her, beat her and shot her to death with a gun authorities say he later stashed in a hollowed-out medical textbook. Philip Markoff firmly stated "not guilty" when asked how he pleaded to the seven charges including kidnapping, armed robbery and weapons violations, then stared straight ahead as prosecutors outlined their case during a brief arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court.
One Metro transit train smashed into the rear of another at the height of the capital city's Monday evening rush hour, killing at least six people and injuring scores of others as the front end of the trailing train jackknifed violently into the air and fell atop the first. Cars of both trains were ripped open and smashed together in the worst accident in the Metrorail system's 33-year history. District of Columbia fire spokesman Alan Etter said crews had to cut some people out of what he described as a "mass casualty event." Rescue workers propped steel ladders up to the upper train cars to help survivors scramble to safety.
The Dutch Defense Ministry says Somali pirates have released a hijacked cargo ship aboard which one crew member was fatally shot. The ministry says Dutch marines are escorting the MV Marathon to a safe port. It says one of the 19 crew members died of a gun shot wound sustained when pirates seized the ship on May 7. Another crew member was injured, but the ministry did not give details of his condition. Dutch media say the crew members are Ukrainian.
North Korea threatened Wednesday to wipe the United States off the map as Washington and its allies watched for signs the regime will launch a series of missiles in the coming days. Off China's coast, a U.S. destroyer was tailing a North Korean ship suspected of transporting illicit weapons to Myanmar in what could be the first test of U.N. sanctions passed to punish the nation for an underground nuclear test last month. The Kang Nam left the North Korean port of Nampo a week ago with the USS John S. McCain close behind. The ship, accused of transporting banned goods in the past, is believed bound for Myanmar, according to South Korean and U.S. officials.
A bombing at a bus station in a Shiite neighborhood in southwest Baghdad on Thursday killed at least seven people and wounded 31 others, police said, the latest in a series of deadly attacks ahead of a U.S. military withdrawal from cities next week.
The woman with whom South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford had an affair broke her silence Sunday long enough to say she wouldn't discuss her relationship with the now-embattled governor.In a statement released to Argentina's C5N television network, Maria Belen Chapur said her private life "has already been made too public during these last days, bringing to me even more pain." Gov. Sanford admitted that he had an extramarital affair with Chapur, a former television reporter. The 49-year-old governor's admission came after he disappeared from the public eye for nearly a week, with aides telling reporters he had gone on a hiking trip along the Appalachian Trail.
President Ahmadinejad accused Barack Obama of behaving like his predecessor toward Iran and said there was not much point in talking to Washington unless the U.S. president apologized. Obama said on Tuesday he was "appalled and outraged" by a post-election crackdown and Washington withdrew invitations to Iranian diplomats to attend U.S. Independence Day celebrations on July 4 -- stalling efforts to improve ties with Tehran.
Iranian authorities have barred journalists for international news organizations from reporting on the streets and ordered them to stay in their offices. This report is based on the accounts of witnesses reached in Iran and official statements carried on Iranian media.Riot police clashed with up to 3,000 protesters near a mosque in north Tehran on Sunday, using tear gas and truncheons to break up Iran's first post-election demonstration in five days, witnesses said.
More News - June 22, 2009
Historic swindler Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison Monday for a fraud so extensive that the judge said he needed to send a symbolic message to potential imitators and to victims who demanded harsh punishment.
Scattered applause and whoops broke out in the crowded Manhattan courtroom after U.S. District Judge Denny Chin issued the maximum sentence to the 71-year-old defendant, who said he lives “in a tormented state now, knowing all the pain and suffering I’ve created.”
U.S. troops pulled out of Baghdad on Monday, triggering jubilation among Iraqis hopeful that foreign military occupation is ending six years after the invasion to depose Saddam Hussein. Iraqi soldiers paraded through the streets in their American-made vehicles draped with Iraqi flags and flowers, chanting, dancing and calling the pullout a "victory."
A person close to the proceedings says Michael Jackson's mother has moved to take control of her son's estate, filing a second court action shortly after petitioning for custody of the singer's three children.
According to the person, the court action was initiated by Katherine Jackson with the intent to protect Jackson's legacy.
Four U.S. soldiers were killed in combat shortly before the American military completed a withdrawal from Iraq's cities, and the prime minister assured Iraqis that government forces taking control of urban areas on Tuesday were more than capable of protecting the country.
Republican Norm Coleman has conceded to Democrat Al Franken in Minnesota's contested Senate race, ending a nearly eight-month recount and court fight.
Coleman announced his decision at a news conference in St. Paul, hours after a unanimous Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Franken, a former "Saturday Night Live" comedian and liberal commentator, should be certified the winner.
Technology News – June 22, 2009
Regional prepaid cell phone carrier MetroPCS announced Wednesday a new plan that allows its customers to make unlimited international calls to over 100 different countries for only $5 extra a month. To be eligible for the $5 unlimited international calling plan, users must already be signed up to an unlimited national calling plan that costs $40, $45, or $50 a month. Making international phone calls from a cell phone has typically been rather expensive with major carriers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
Microsoft on Wednesday announced retail pricing for Windows 7 that was at or below comparable Windows Vista prices, while also offering a chance for people to preorder the software at a substantial discount.
From Friday through July 11, consumers in the U.S. will be able to buy an upgrade copy of Windows 7 Home premium for $49 or Windows 7 Professional for $99. That offer is good for both XP and Windows Vista PCs, regardless of whether someone has been trying out the pre-release version of the operating system. That matches the details in a memo from Best Buy that leaked earlier this month.
Entertainment/Celebrity/Television/Movie News – June 22, 2009
Ryan O’Neal says he and longtime love Farrah Fawcett are tying the knot. "I've asked her to marry me, again, and she's agreed," O'Neal, 68, tells Barbara Walters in an exclusive interview on ABC’s 20/20. O'Neal says the 62-year-old Fawcett - who was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006 - is now "fighting for her life." But, he says they "will" wed "as soon as she can, say yes. ... Maybe we can just nod her head." "I promise you, we will," he told Walters. "Absolutely."
Police have charged the tour manager of the Black Eyed Peas with assault after he allegedly punched celebrity blogger Perez Hilton outside a Toronto nightclub. Hilton said he got into an argument with band members Fegie and will.i.a.m at the Cobra nightclub early Monday morning and was punched outside by Polo Molina, the band's tour manager. They were at the club following a Sunday night video awards show. Molina turned himself in and has been charged with assaulting Hilton, Toronto Police Constable Tony Vella said. Molina is due in court Aug. 5.
Passing - Ed McMahon, the loyal "Tonight Show" sidekick who bolstered boss Johnny Carson with guffaws and a resounding "H-e-e-e-e-e-ere's Johnny!" for 30 years, died early Tuesday. He was 86. McMahon died shortly after midnight at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center surrounded by his wife, Pam, and other family members, said his publicist, Howard Bragman.
Perez Hilton isn't apologizing for using a gay slur. The openly gay gossip blogger said in a statement Tuesday that he would continue to say things upsetting to gay and straight people alike. The comments came after the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation called for Hilton to apologize Monday for unleashing the word during an altercation at a nightclub with Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am. "I wish none of it had happened," said Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira. "I can't take it back. I did what I thought was best at the moment to stand up for myself in a nonviolent yet still assertive way. Clearly, I am not homophobic. Also, I am not nor have I ever claimed to be a spokesperson for the gay community."
Phil Spector is hoping to get a few comforts of home in his new prison cell, and a television, iPod and computer access are at the top of his list. The music producer was transferred this week to the largest state prison in California where he will serve his sentence of 19 years to life for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson.
While glam-rocker Adam Lambert is currently working on his debut album with 19 Recordings/RCA records, the small indie label Hi Fi Recordings/Wilshire Records is digitally releasing On With the Show, an album containing eight songs the label says were copenned by Lambert before his almost-winning run on Idol.
Hi Fi CEO John Hecker claims that the music is not only incredible, it's completely legal. Says Hecker: "We would never put anything out that wasn't fully owned by the parties involved with all the rights secured. We were really careful." The first single, "Want," streamed across websites this week, earning mixed fan reaction. Responses ranged from the Adam-can-do-no-wrong variety to complaints the track is "too pop" and not enough of the Glambert we grew to love on AI.
Rosie O’Donnell, the former talk show queen will host a daily radio show for Sirius XM Radio Inc. Launching this fall, "Rosie Radio" will feature the 47-year-old comedian-actress discussing news and entertainment as well as chatting with occasional guests. O'Donnell said she was approached by the company after she appeared on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM show earlier this year.
The estranged daughter of actor Billy Bob Thornton has been indicted on several charges in the death of a 1-year-old girl she was baby sitting in central Florida. Amanda Brumfield, 29, was booked at the Orange County Jail on Wednesday. She faces charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child.
More Entertainment/Celebrity News – June 22, 2009
Jennifer Lopez - the singer-actress-designer is shutting down her Sweetface line, according to Women’s Wear Daily. It had been in business since 2003. Jennifer is the latest celebrity to recently pull the plug on a fashion line – Mandy Moore and Lauren Conrad also recently announced they were putting their collections on hiatus earlier this year.
Lou Diamond Phillips was crowned king of the jungle on NBC's "I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!" on Wednesday night. The 47-year-old actor bested his fellow stars to take home the title and win the lion's share of the donation money for his chosen charity, Art Has Heart, a non-profit aimed at providing college scholarships for needy high school students.
Passing - Farrah Fawcett, whose luxurious tresses and blinding smile helped redefine sex appeal in the 1970s as one of TV's “Charlie’s Angels" died Thursday after battling cancer. She was 62. The pop icon, who in the 1980s set aside the fantasy girl image to tackle serious roles, died Thursday shortly before 9:30 a.m. PDT in a Santa Monica hospital, spokesman Paul Bloch said.
A Florida medical examiner says television pitchman Billy Mays likely died of a heart attack but further tests are needed. The burly, bearded television pitchman whose boisterous hawking of products such as Orange Glo and OxiClean made him a pop-culture icon, has died. He was 50.
Michael Jackson Dies
Pop icon Michael Jackson dies – and according to TMZ – it could have been from an OD of Demerol by his doctor. Jackson passed away Friday afternoon. The news was unbelievable to most people. Jackson will be remembered for his incredible stage prescence and music. He was rehearsing for comeback shows in Europe.
Top Movies – June 22, 2009
The Taking Of Pelham 1-2-3
Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Land of the Lost
Angels & Demons
Drag Me To Hell
Away We Go.