Dateline: Week Of January 22, 2009 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate, is going on the offensive against news organizations and bloggers she says are perpetuating malicious gossip about her and her children. But political observers say Palin can't have it both ways: trotting out the children to showcase her family values, then trying to shield them from scrutiny.
Gov. David Paterson picks Democratic U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to fill New York's vacant U.S. Senate seat, an aide to the governor said, a day after Caroline Kennedy abruptly withdrew from consideration. Gillibrand, a second-term lawmaker from upstate New York, fills the seat vacated when Hillary Rodham Clinton resigned to become secretary of state in the Obama administration.
President Obama said that a mammoth economic stimulus package is "on track" to be passed by Presidents Day, Feb. 16, despite growing concern among some Republicans that the legislation doesn't include broad enough tax cuts and that massive spending on roads, schools and other projects won't jump-start the economy as quickly as it should. In his first White House meeting with congressional leaders, Obama hosted Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate in the Roosevelt Room. "I recognize there are some differences" between Democrats and Republicans, he said, adding that it's crucial to get the bill through Congress soon because "we are experiencing an unprecedented, perhaps, economic crisis."
In a discouraging report for the American economy, General Electric Co. posted a 46 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings and warned of a “tough environment”” this year as it struggles with its ailing finance business. The results cap a difficult 2008 for one of the world’s largest industrial companies. Shares dropped more than 50 percent as profits at its finance arm, GE Capital, were sapped by a recession that has forced companies and consumers to limit borrowing or default on loans.
Technology News - January 22, 2009
Microsoft Corp. plans to cut up to 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months, including 1,400 immediately, as its profit tumbles amid PC market weakness.
The software giant said the moves were driven by deteriorating global economic conditions and lower client revenue, resulting from weakness in the PC market and a shift to lower-priced notebook models. It also said it is unable to offer profit and revenue guidance for the rest of the year, due to market volatility.
More News - January 22, 2009
A British man who murdered his wife after becoming enraged when she changed her relationship status on Facebook to "single" was jailed for at least 18 years late this week. Edward Richardson, 41, stabbed wife Sarah, 26, to death in a "frenzied and brutal" attack at her parents' home in Biddulph, central England, last May after she altered her profile on the Internet social networking site. The couple had been living apart since the previous month, said Fiona Cortese, a spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service which is responsible for prosecuting cases in England and Wales.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the way for the first trial to see if human embryonic stem cells can treat people safely, a company involved in the controversial research on Friday. Geron Corp, a California biotechnology company, said it plans a clinical trial to try to use the stem cells to regrow nerve tissue in patients with crushed, but not severed, spinal cords. The issue of human embryonic stem cell research has been a political touchstone, with anti-abortion forces backed by former president George W. Bush arguing the technique involves the destruction of human embryos. Advocates say it could transform medicine.
President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration. "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.
A British tabloid newspaper is reporting that Prince Harry and his longtime girlfriend have broken up. The News of the World reported on its website that the prince, 24, and Chelsy Davy decided to split up after a series of talks last week. Harry, third in line to the throne, began training to become an Army helicopter pilot earlier this month. He and Davy, a 23-year-old law student, had been dating for about five years, the paper said.
Illinois' beleaguered Gov. Rod Blagojevich said that when he was deciding who would take President Obama's Senate seat he considered appointing talk show host Oprah Winfrey. Blagojevich made the revelation to Diane Sawyer on "Good Morning America" on the day his impeachment trial is set to begin. That trial is expected to toss him out of office.
President Barack Obama has chosen Al-Arabiya - an Arabic satellite TV network for his first formal television interview as president, delivering a message to the Muslim world that "Americans are not your enemy." The interview underscored Obama's commitment to repair relations with the Muslim world that have suffered under the previous administration.
Timothy Geithner is sworn in as U.S. Treasury secretary, putting him at the center of a global effort to arrest the financial crisis and end what is already the nation’s longest recession in a quarter-century.
Thousands of U.S. troops originally destined for Iraq have deployed south of Afghanistan's capital in the first illustration of a new military focus on the increasingly difficult fight in the South Asian nation, NATO said.
Well over a million people shivered in ice-bound homes across the country Wednesday, waiting for warmer weather and for utility crews to restring power lines brought down by a storm that killed 23 as it took a snowy, icy journey from the Southern Plains to the East Coast. But with temperatures plunging, utility officials warned that it could be mid-February before electricity is restored to some of the hardest-hit places. The worst of the power failures were in Kentucky, Arkansas and Ohio.
Passing - John Updike, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, prolific man of letters and erudite chronicler of sex, divorce and other adventures in the postwar prime of the American empire, died Tuesday at age 76. Updike, a resident of Beverly Farms, Mass., died of lung cancer, according to a statement from his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf.
Business News – January 22, 2009
A businessman's plans to sell a doll named after a slain 2-year-old Orlando girl were suspended early Tuesday after public outcry over "The Inspirational Caylee Sunshine Doll." Caylee Anthony's story touched people across the country. After a five-month search, her body was found in a wooded area near Orlando. Her mother, Casey Anthony, is charged with first-degree murder in the case.
US fast-food giant McDonald's says its 2008 net profit soared 80 percent from a year, lifted by growing demand from consumers seeking low-cost meals in a deepening global recession. Net profit for the full year totaled 4.3 billion dollars, compared with 2.3 billion in 2007, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said in a statement. Customers served per day increased to more than 58 million in 2008.
Medical/Health News – January 22, 2009
Medical – in S. California - A woman gave birth to eight babies, only the second time in history octuplets have survived more than a few hours, doctors said. Dr. Mandhir Gupta, a neonatologist at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center, told ABC's "Good Morning America" the eight babies "are doing actually very, very well."
Wyeth in a move that will consolidate two of the industry's largest drug developers. The deal comes as Pfizer's profit takes a brutal hit from a $2.3 billion legal settlement over allegations it marketed certain products off-label, or for conditions they are not yet approved. The company is also cutting 10% of its workforce, slashing its dividend and reducing the number of manufacturing sites.
Pfizer, the maker of Lipitor and Viagra, said it will pay $50.19 a share under for Wyeth, valuing it at a 14.7% premium to the company's closing price of $43.74 Friday.
More Technology News – January 22, 2009
Ready 2 Almost Ready - Justin Timberlake and David Beckham don't have any real-life beef with each other, but cartoony characters resembling the famous crooner and soccer player will face off — along with 16 other A-list impersonators — in the upcoming Wii boxing game Ready 2 Rumble Revolution from publisher Atari and developer AKI. Besides the Timberlake and Beckham copycats, players can don boxing gloves as a lanky Brad Pitt ringer named Fight Clubber or a flabby John Travolta lookalike dubbed Fever Friction. Other characters resemble such famous faces as Sylvester Stallone, David Hasselhoff, James Brown, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Shaun White, Simon Cowell and Antonio Banderas.
Vatican to begin YouTube channel - Now the pope is trying to broaden his audience by joining the wannabe musicians, college pranksters and water-skiing squirrels on YouTube. The Vatican said that with the YouTube channel, it hoped to broaden and unite the pontiff's audience — an estimated 1.4 billion people are online worldwide — while giving the Holy See better control over the pope's Internet image.
The creator of "Star Trek" and his wife will spend eternity together in space. Celestis Inc., a company that specializes in "memorial spaceflights," said Monday that it will ship the remains of Gene Roddenberry and Majel Barrett Roddenberry into space next year. The couple's cremated remains will be sealed into specially made capsules designed to withstand the rigors of space travel. A rocket-launched spacecraft will carry the capsules, along with digitized tributes from fans. The Roddenberrys' remains — and the spacecraft — will travel ever deeper into space and will not return to earth, company spokeswoman Susan Schonfeld said.
Music News – January 22, 2009
Billy Powell of Lynyrd Skynyrd dies at his northeast Florida home. He was 56.
Entertainment/Celebrity News – January 22, 2009
15th annual SAG Awards – Winners:
Cast: "Slumdog Millionaire."
Actor in a leading role: Sean Penn, "Milk."
Actress in a leading role: Meryl Streep, "Doubt."
Supporting actor: Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight."
Supporting actress: Kate Winslet, "The Reader."
Stunt ensemble: "The Dark Knight."
Drama series cast: "Mad Men."
Actor in a drama series: Hugh Laurie, "House."
Actress in a drama series: Sally Field, "Brothers & Sisters."
Comedy series cast: "30 Rock."
Actor in a comedy series: Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock."
Actress in a comedy series: Tina Fey, "30 Rock."
Actor in a movie or miniseries: Paul Giamatti, "John Adams."
Actress in a movie or miniseries: Laura Linney, "John Adams."
Stunt ensemble: "Heroes."
Life Achievement: James Earl Jones.
Top Movies- January 22, 2009
Paul Bart: Mall Cop
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Hotel For Dogs
My Bloody Valentine 3D
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marley and Me