Dateline: Week Of February 22, 2009 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts
In The News
President Barack Obama is bringing together dozens of advisers and adversaries to discuss how to curb a burgeoning federal deficit laden with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid obligations. Obama's summit at the White House on Monday is the first meeting toward a strategy to address the long-term fiscal health of the nation. The gathering also comes as Obama prepares ambitious plans to cut the federal deficit by half within four years.
Thousands of protesters surrounded the prime minister's office Tuesday demanding Thailand's Parliament be dissolved and new elections held. The rally by demonstrators allied with exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra came three days before Thailand is to host the annual summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. About 7,000 people attended, police said.
President Barack Obama introduced former Washington Gov. Gary Locke as his nominee for Commerce secretary trying a third time to fill a key Cabinet post for a country in recession. "I'm sure it's not lost on anyone that we've tried this a couple of times. But I'm a big believer in keeping at something until you get it right. And Gary is the right man for this job," Obama said, standing with the fellow Democrat in the Indian Treaty Room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building near the White House.
A Turkish Airlines plane carrying 135 people slammed into a muddy field while attempting to land at Amsterdam's main airport in misty weather Wednesday. Nine people were killed and more than 50 were injured, many seriously, officials said.
The economy contracted at a staggering 6.2 percent pace at the end of 2008, the worst showing in a quarter-century, as consumers and businesses ratcheted back spending, plunging the country deeper into recession.
The U.S. government will exchange up to $25 billion in emergency bailout money it provided Citigroup Inc. for as much as a 36 percent equity stake in the struggling bank, greatly increasing the risks to taxpayers as voter unhappiness about the broader bailout program rises.
Some good news as commercial banks and investment firms trimmed borrowing over the past week from the Federal Reserve's emergency lending program, a modest sign of some easing in credit strains.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency because of three years of below-average rain and snowfall in California, a step that urges urban water agencies to reduce water use by 20 percent.
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is President Barack Obama's choice for secretary of health and human services, a White House source said Saturday.
Television News – February 22, 2009
Jerry Seinfeld is reteaming with NBC to launch his first reality series.
The comedian's project is tentatively called "The Marriage Ref" and features celebrities, comedians and athletes who will judge couples in the midst of marital disputes while recommending various strategies to resolve their problems.
Seinfeld is partnering with "The Oprah Winfrey Show" veteran Ellen Rakieten on the project, which reunites the comedian with the network that aired his hit sitcom "Seinfeld" for nine years.
Fox has just ordered two more seasons of the show, making it the longest-running in primetime history. The network has picked up an extra 44 episodes, increasing the total number of Simpson cartoons to a total of 493. The previous record holder for the longest-running series was Gunsmoke, which was on the air for 20 years.
Entertainment/Celebrity News – February 22, 2009
Annual Academy Awards – Some winners:
Kate Winslet, The Reader
Sean Penn, Milk
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
A.R. Rahman and Gulzar,Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire
More Entertainment/Movie News - February 22, 2009
Slumdog Millionaire's rags-to-riches trajectory was completed as the indie film picked up eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Actor Hugh Jackman emceed the event, cracking jokes about the recession, and singing and dancing his heart out. "Due to cutbacks, the Academy said they didn't have enough money for an opening number. … I'm going to do one anyway," he bantered. Former best supporting actor winners Alan Arkin, Kevin Klein, Joel Gray, Christopher Walken, and Cuba Gooding Jr. awarded Ledger, while Eva Marie Saint, Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Angelica Houston, and Tilda Swinton presented best supporting actress.
It happened a few weeks ago at the Golden Globes and then again at the Oscars: Angelina Jolie seems to be avoiding E! red carpet host Ryan Seacrest. Seacrest apparently got in a single question (asking the obvious, "How does it feel to be nominated?") With Brad Pitt, to which the hunky star gave a brief answer before darting off in search of his better half, but Angelina didn't so much as acknowledge him. Sources even say that she actually went so far as to walk in an arc around the E! station on the red carpet to avoid speaking with Seacrest.
Music News – February 22, 2009
Britney Spears will be sawed in half -- among other stunts -- on her upcoming Circus tour. “Right away, she got into the boxes and into the magic contraptions to learn the stuff, and she's so excited about this tour and all the elements that are in it," illusionist-comedian Ed Alonzo said. Alonzo, the lead illusionist on MyNetwork TV's Masters of Illusion, will be doing a number with Spears at each performance. "We're going to be doing the classics of magic but a little high-tech," he said. "We'll be doing a little dissection, transposition, a vanish, an appearance," he said.
All the divorce business between Kimora Lee Simmons and Russell Simmons has been sorted out. Kimora was granted sole custody of the two daughters (9-year Ming and 6-year old Aoki) she had with the music mogul and he’ll pay $40,000 per month for child support until they each daughter reaches 19 ½. Kimora and Russell's divorce was finalized in January.
Fans of singers Chris Brown and Rihanna expressed dismay on at reports the couple had reunited just three weeks after Brown was alleged to have assaulted her. Celebrity magazines People and Us Weekly said that the R&B stars were spending time together at the Miami home of hip hop mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs -- and that Rihanna's father was supporting her decision..