Dateline: Week Of June 1, 2009 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
A missing Air France jet carrying 228 people from Rio de Janeiro to Paris ran into lightning and strong thunderstorms over the Atlantic Ocean, officials said Monday. Brazil began a search mission off its northeastern coast.
Chief Air France spokesman Francois Brousse said, "it is possible" the plane was hit by lightning. Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330, left Rio on Sunday at 7 p.m. local time (2200 GMT, 6 p.m. EDT) with 216 passengers and 12 crew members on board, company spokeswoman Brigitte Barrand.
General Motors Corp. said Tuesday that it has tentatively agreed to sell its Hummer brand, a day after the U.S. automaker filed for bankruptcy protection with hopes that it will transform its most profitable assets into a new company within just 30 days. The Detroit-based company did not name the proposed buyer or the price, but said the sale will likely save more than 3,000 U.S. jobs in manufacturing, engineering and at various Hummer dealerships.
A child has become the fifth person in New York City to die with swine flu. The medical examiner is conducting tests to determine what role the virus played in the child's death. The Health Department has refused to release the victim's name or say what borough the child lived in. However, the Daily News identified the child on Monday as 11-week-old Steven Montanez of the Bronx. The family told the newspaper that the baby had the flu when his aunt found him unconscious Thursday and he died shortly afterward.
Appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor is getting her first chance to make an impression on senators who will vote on her nomination to the Supreme Court, with a marathon set of Capitol Hill meet-and-greets that kicks off what could be a long debate. Sotomayor's schedule Tuesday is packed with roughly half-hour meetings — known as "courtesy calls" — that are as important for the courtly tone they set for the debate as they are for offering a few moments of candid conversation with the nominee.
Swine flu cases have now been reported in all 50 states, with the total number of people infected probably surpassing 200,000, U.S. health officials said Monday. "It's accurate to say that there are probably several hundred thousand people that have been impacted by this flu," said Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "But that's in line with what we would see with seasonal influenza if we had the number of cases we are reporting right now."
New Hampshire became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage after the Senate and House passed key language on religious rights and Gov. John Lynch — who personally opposes gay marriage — signed the legislation Wednesday afternoon.
Cairo Egypt - Quoting from the Quran for emphasis, President Barack Obama called for a "new beginning between the United States and Muslims" Thursday and said together, they could confront violent extremism across the globe and advance the timeless search for peace in the Middle East. "This cycle of suspicion and discord must end," Obama said in a widely anticipated speech in one of the world's largest Muslim countries, an address designed to reframe relations after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
President Obama is in the middle of a four-nation Middle East trip.
The number of people on the unemployment insurance rolls fell slightly for the first time in 20 weeks, while the tally of new jobless claims also dipped, the government said Thursday. The Labor Department report provides a glimmer of good news for job seekers, though both drops were small and the figures remain significantly above the levels associated with a healthy economy.
France – Recalling the "unimaginable hell" of D-Day suffering, President Barack Obama paid tribute Saturday to the against-all-odds Allied landings that broke Nazi Germany's grip on France and turned the tide of history. "The sheer improbability of this victory is part of what makes D-Day so memorable," Obama said. He spoke under a sunny sky at the American Cemetery on cliffs overlooking Omaha Beach and the rest of the Normandy coastline where on June 6, 1944 Allied ships disgorged American, British and Canadian soldiers under the withering fire of Nazi troops awaiting the Allies' cross-channel gamble.
Soldiers fought for two hours with armed men apparently holding police hostage at a house in Acapulco, leaving one soldier and 15 gunmen dead, a military official said Sunday. Three soldiers and three Mexican bystanders were wounded. Several Mexican tourists were evacuated from small hotels in the old Acapulco neighborhood, which was once popular with Hollywood stars but has since become run-down. The gunbattle erupted Saturday night when soldiers received a tip about the presence of armed men at a gated house, said an army colonel who led the operation and spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
Three Indiana state pension and construction funds want the Supreme Court to block Chrysler's sale to Fiat so they can pursue an appeal in hopes of getting a better deal. The funds filed emergency papers at the high court early Sunday.
An appeals court in New York approved the sale Friday, but gave objectors until Monday afternoon to try to get the Supreme Court to intervene. Chrysler LLC wants to sell the bulk of its assets to a group led by Italy's Fiat Group SpA as part of its plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection.
Technology News – June 1, 2009
Microsoft said it is buying the assets of Rosetta Biosoftware, a unit of Merck, as part of an effort to expand into the life sciences software arena. The Rosetta technology will be used to add genetic and genomic data management abilities to Microsoft's recently announced Amalga Life Sciences effort.
Microsoft’s new Bing search engine in its first week on the planet, but did that early buzz translate into traffic? A report suggested that Bing's debut was successful enough to eclipse Yahoo Search during its first week, but subsequent analysis from Search Engine Land and other data of sites suggests otherwise. Statcounter, a Web traffic tracking company, reported that as of Thursday, June 4, Bing accounted for 16.28 percent of the U.S. search market, surpassing Yahoo's 10.22 percent just days after going live on Monday. Worldwide, Bing's advantage was said to be slimmer (5.62 percent to Yahoo's 5.13 percent). But, Statcounter's data is "based on aggregate data collected by Statcounter on a sample exceeding 4 billion page views per month collected from across the Statcounter network of more than 3 million Web sites. Stats are updated and made available every 4 hours, however are subject to quality assurance testing and revision for 7 days from publication," according to the company.
AMD launched its first six-core processor, which will compete against Intel's "Dunnington" chip. The "Istanbul" Opteron processor is for high-end server computers that use two, four, and eight processors or "sockets." Istanbul boasts up to 34 percent more performance-per-watt over the previous-generation quad-core processors.
Trend - Both Sony and Microsoft pushed upcoming services and devices that allow users to download full games to their hardware. For Microsoft, it's a new arm of its online marketplace that will let gamers download full retail games to their system's hard drives. For Sony, it's the new PSP Go, a slimmed-down version of its flagship portable gaming hardware that does away with its game slot in place of pushing Wi-Fi game downloads to its 16GB of built-in memory. Both companies are pushing direct downloads as the premiere way to buy new games, and many are expecting the direct-downloading technology to be one of the main selling points in the next generation of gaming hardware. As a side effect, the new revenue model largely cuts out used game retailers, since there's less physical media to resell or swap with friends.
Radio News – June 1, 2009
Casey Kasem no longer relevant to current music as Premiere Radio yanks his “American Top 10” and “American Top 20” syndicated countdown shows. Kasem started the national countdown genre back in July of 1970 with “American Top 40.”
Entertainment /Celebrity/Television News – June 1, 2009
Singer Susan Boyle was being treated for exhaustion at a mental health clinic Monday after taking second place in a TV talent competition that turned the humble church volunteer into a global star, the show's producers and a newspaper said. Boyle was admitted to London's Priory Clinic on Sunday, a day after she finished behind a male dance group on the show "Britain's Got Talent," the Sun newspaper reported.
The hit films “Twilight” and “Slumdog Millionaire” " were set to battle it out at the"2009 MTV Movie Awards" but it wasn't much of a fight, as "Twilight" took the biggest bite of Golden Popcorn with five awards. MTV cranked up the cinematic fun quotient this year by debuting the two new categories "Best Song From a Movie" and "Best WTF Moment." Those new categories enabled fans to vote on movie soundtrack hits such as "The Climb" from "Hannah Montana: The Movie:" as well as pick this year's most jaw-dropping "WTF" movie moment that left audiences speechless, such as the naked break-up scene in "Forgetting Sarah Marshal."
Conan O'Brien made his Tonight Show debut Monday -- but critics weren't exactly roaring with laughter. "After one show, let's say he's a work in progress," wrote Randee Dawn of The Hollywood Reporter. "O'Brien commanded the stage, but seemed more comfortable laughing it up with erstwhile sidekick-turned-announcer Andy Richter than in interacting with his 380 audience members." O'Brien's opening monologue mostly consisted of "sketch upon sketch" – notes New York Post TV critic Linda Stasi -- most of which were "at times, painfully unfunny."
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr came together to promote "The Beatles: Rock Band" video game. The two surviving Beatles, along with Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, appeared Monday at Microsoft's Electronic Entertainment Expo presentation at the University of Southern California's Galen Center. Ono and Harrison were briefly introduced, but didn't say anything before McCartney and Starr appeared on stage to banter about the upcoming game. "Whoever thought we'd end up as androids?" joked McCartney. In the music game developed by Harmonix and published by MTV Games, players will be able to follow — and perform as — members of the legendary music group, beginning with their early days in 1963 Liverpool through their final rooftop performance. Unlike its "Rock Band" predecessor, "The Beatles" edition will feature three-part vocal harmonies.
"Hannah Montana" - Disney Channel has closed a deal for a fourth season of the blockbuster series starring Miley Cyrus. The cable channel also has ordered a second season of its breakout new comedy series "Sonny With a Chance," starring Demi Lovato, and has tapped Jeffrey Hornaday, choreographer of such movies as "Flashdance" and "A Chorus Line," to direct and choreograph the fourth "High School Musical" movie. There had been questions about whether Cyrus would return to the series that made her a global star, with the teen actress-singer recently expressing her intention to continue her small-screen duties as Miley Stewart/Hannah Montana for one more year. As part of the deal, Cyrus will get a long hiatus to work on the feature "The Last Song," with production on the fourth season of "Hannah Montana" slated to begin next year. (Filming of the show's third season wraps this week.)
Miley Cyrus is taking her music on the road and bringing her rock 'n' roll style to Walmart. Miley announced her 2009 North American Tour on Wednesday, presented by Walmart, and promoted by AEG Live. And just in time for her tour, Miley is launching a new clothing line with designer Max Azria of apparel house BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP, sold exclusively at Walmart starting in August. The line includes tops, pants, graphic tees, shoes and accessories all priced below $20.
More Celebrity/Entertainment News – June 1, 2009
Brad Pitt is at studio in L.A. working on pre-production for his next movie, Moneyball, Usmagazine.com has learned. The film -- based off the 2003 book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game -- centers around the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Pitt will play Billy Beane, the A's general manager who assembled the team on shoestring budget with new technology to draft players.
U.S. President Barack Obama is the first sitting head of state to make the Forbes Celebrity 100 Power List, with his many magazine covers and best-selling books blurring the line between politics and celebrity. The president came in at No. 49 on the annual list released on Wednesday -- which ranks celebrities based on their earnings and mentions in the media -- after he made $2.5 million last year from his two best-selling books. "Obama is hands-down the most famous person in the world," said Lacey Rose of Forbes magazine. "His historic presidential run helped him sell more than a million copies of his books; he landed on many magazine.
Lindsay Lohan took to what appears to be her official Twitter page to defend herself after "Celebrity Rehab's" Dr. Drew Pinsky expressed concern over the actress in comments to Parade Magazine. "I thought REAL doctors talk to patients in offices behind closed doors," she Tweeted on Friday, not referring directly to Dr. Drew. "Am I wrong? Hmmmmm. I think NOT! Yay!" I'm convinced that she'll get sober one day," he said. "But I'm afraid that between now and then, she may get a nearly mortal wound of some type. I'm really convinced that something horrible is going to have to happen to her before she really gets over it and embraces sobriety. She needs to give it up. I have this image that she's going to lose a limb or something before she does. And it scares me."
It's official: Angelina is the most powerful celebrity in the world. So says Forbes magazine's annual Celebrity 100 list. – releases this week. The star -- who earned $27 million last year – knocked Oprah Winfrey out of the top spot, which the talk show host has held for the past two years.
"American Idol" champion Kris Allen will sing the U.S. national anthem on Sunday before the second game of the NBA finals, pairing the winner of TV's top-rated talent show with U.S. professional basketball's biggest series. The 23-year-old Allen, a student from Arkansas, won the 2009 season of the popular singing contest, defeating presumed front-runner Adam Lambert who was known for his outlandish style.
The Tony Awards will include a few bona fide music stars among the usual song-and-dance numbers. Elton John, Dolly Parton and Poison will help toast Broadway's finest at Sunday's ceremony, performing with the casts of top-nominated shows "Billy Elliot The Musical," "9 to 5 The Musical" and "Rock of Ages."
Television sked/listings/TV Guide – week of June 1, 2009
HBO2 has a True Blood marathon all night.
At 8, NBC has the Penguins/Red Wings game.
GSN has the Game Show Awards at 8.
At 8:30, CBS has a new Worst Week, then new episodes of Harper's Island and 48 Hours Mystery.
FOX has a new Cops at 8:30, then a new America's Most Wanted.
At 9, BBC America has a new Primeval at 9, followed by a new Graham Norton Show.
CNBC has a new Suze Orman Show at 9.
Also at 9: Hallmark has the movie Come Dance At My Wedding.
At 10, ABC has a new Pushing Daisies.
Travel Channel has a new Samantha Brown's Great Weekends at 10.
At 12:30AM, Cartoon Network has two new episodes of Bleach.
Top Movies – June 1, 2009
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Drag Me To Hell
Angels & Demons
X-Men Origins: Wolverines
Ghosts of Girfriends Past
The Brothers Bloom
Hannah Montana The Movie
Race to Witch Mountain
Monsters vs. Aliens
Fast & Furious.