Dateline: Week Of March 8, 2009 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
President Barack Obama is ending former President George W. Bush's limits on using federal dollars for embryonic stem cell research, with advisers calling the move a clear signal that science — not political ideology — will guide the administration. Obama was to sign an executive order on stem cells and memo on science Monday in an East Room ceremony, a long-promised move that would fulfill a campaign promise. Advisers said it was part of a broader declaration on science that would guide the administration's policies on matters ranging from renewable energy to climate change.
President Barack Obama says human cloning is "dangerous, profoundly wrong" and has no place in society. Obama made the comments as he was signing an executive order that will allow federal spending on embryonic stem cell research.
Some critics say the research can lead to human cloning. Obama said the government will develop strict guidelines for the research because misuse or abuse is unacceptable. He said he would ensure that the government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction.
Merck & Co. is buying Schering-Plough Corp. for $41.1 billion in stock and cash in a deal that gives the companies more firepower to compete in a drug industry facing slumping sales, tough generic competition and intense pricing pressures.
A suicide bomber struck Sunni and Shiite tribal leaders touring a market after a reconciliation meeting west of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing 33 people in the second major attack in the capital area in two days.
Bernard Madoff pleads guilty to 11 criminal counts including money laundering, perjury and securities, mail and wire fraud and will do so without a plea deal, knowing it carries a potential prison term of 150 years, lawyers said Tuesday in court. Lawyers outlined the plea arrangement for the 70-year-old former Nasdaq chairman that was set to unfold later this week after Madoff waived several potential conflicts of interest between Madoff and his lawyer, Ira Sorkin.
Saying he was "deeply sorry and ashamed," Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty Thursday to pulling off perhaps the biggest swindle in Wall Street history and was immediately led off to jail in handcuffs after his seething victims applauded in the courtroom.
Embattled Citigroup Inc. surprised Wall Street with news that the bank company has operated at a profit in the first two months of the year. But despite the upbeat news, Congress and the Fed continue to review strategies for dealing with a further deterioration of the troubled global banking giant.
A 17-year-old gunman dressed in black opened fire at his former high school in southwestern Germany , killing at least 15 people before police shot him dead, officials said. Nine students and three teachers were among the dead, State Interior Minister Heribert Rech said. It was Germany's worst shooting since another teenage gunman killed 16 people and himself in another high school in 2002.
Another shooting spree – this one in Alabama - Police say Michael McLendon of Kinston went on a two county rampage before turning the gun on himself. The Coffee County coroner said McLendon started his day off with bloodshed at the Kinston area home owned by his mother; a home he ended up burning to the ground. The mother's body was still inside the house Tuesday evening, but Coroner Robert Preachers said officials had not been able to enter the house to determine if she was shot. It's also believed McClendon's girlfriend was killed inside the home. The death toll now stands at 12, including the gunman. Others citizens and law enforcement officers were wounded as McClendon drove though town firing shots at anyone in his path.
Weekly radio address - President Obama says the nation's decades-old food safety system is a "hazard to public health" and in need of an overhaul, starting with the selection of a new head of the federal Food and Drug Administration. He announced the nomination of former New York City Health Commissioner Margaret Hamburg as FDA commissioner, and his choice of Baltimore Health Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein as her deputy.
Fascinating Facts/Trends - March 8, 2009
Trends - Media companies and people with camcorders and spare time — the drivers of popular online sites including Hulu.com and YouTube— are starting to face tough new competition for the attention of Web users who like to watch videos.
Businesses, colleges and institutions are leaping into online video production as the audience for clips soars and production and distribution costs plummet
A Yale University student from Ohio has filed a lawsuit seeking $1 million from US Airways for a video game console he says was taken from his luggage. Twenty-one-year-old Jesse Maiman alleges that during a flight from New Haven, Connecticut, to Cincinnati in December, his Xbox 360 with a specialized hard drive disappeared from his luggage.
Television News – March 8, 2009
CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer appears on Jon Stewart’s Comedy Central Daily Show. Stewart – for good reason, trashed a lot of the CNBC air talent for being irresponsible. Stewart has charged that people at CNBC knew what was going on behind the scenes on Wall Street but didn't tell the public. He has accused CNBC anchors and pundits of abandoning their journalistic duties and acting like cheerleaders for the market. This appearance was highly touted in the media and Stewart had a nice ratings bump.
Entertainment/Celebrity News – March 8, 2009
Singer and actress Ashlee Simpson is the latest star said to be headed to the newly renovated "Melrose Place." Ashlee will reportedly play a fresh faced small-town girl named Violet, who has a dark "calculating, shrewd sex kitten within," according to the mag - which bears a striking resemblance to the show's original good-girl-gone-bad, Sydney, played by Laura Leighton.
British singer Amy Winehouse will not get a work visa to travel to the United States in time to perform at a leading music festival because she was charged with assault last week. Winehouse, 25, had been expected to perform at the annual Coachella festival in California, where she was due to join acts including Paul McCartney and The Killers. According to the festival website, she was down to sing on April 18.
Passing - Jimmy Boyd, the child singer and actor best known for the original rendition of the Christmas novelty hit "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" in 1952, has died. He was 70. "I Saw Mommy" shot to the top of the Billboard charts three weeks after it was released. It sold 2 million records in less than 10 weeks. It has since been interpreted by such artists as the Jackson 5, John Mellencamp and Amy Winehouse.
Poison frontman Bret Michaels promises to tell all when he publishes his autobiography, "Roses and Thorns: The Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy to My Reality." "It will give people the untold story," Michaels tells Billboard.com of the Simon & Schuster book, which hits shelves in June. "It gives you the sex, the drugs, the rock 'n' roll, but it also gives you the diabetes. It gives you every aspect of my life and what I'm going through. I think it's pretty frank. It's honest. It's at times self-deprecating. It's about what happens when you try to live out your dream and the reality of it all sets in and it's the hardest and the strangest thing you will ever do…”
Beverly Hills Police Department is confirming a warrant was in fact issued [March 13] for the arrest of Lindsay Lohan. The $50,000 warrant issued by the Beverly Hills Superior Court stems from a May 2007 arrest of Miss Lohan for DUI and hit-and-run. The circumstances leading to the issuance of the warrant by the court are not readily available at this time. It is our hope that Miss Lohan will surrender herself so that this matter will be resolved in a timely manner.".