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Dateline: Week Of July 15, 2010 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts

In The News -

The Labor Department said Thursday (July 15) that new claims dropped by 29,000 to 429,000, the lowest level since August 2008. But much of that was the result of seasonal factors. General Motors and other manufacturers skipped their usual summer shutdowns.

Argentina legalized same-sex marriage Thursday, becoming the first country in Latin America to declare that gays and lesbians have all the legal rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage brings to heterosexual couples.

The United States handed over the last detention facility under its control to Iraqi authorities on Thursday, a milestone in Iraq's push for complete sovereignty seven years after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein. Iraq's assumption of control over the base near the international airport on the southwestern outskirts of Baghdad also marks the end of a troubling chapter in the U.S. presence in the country — one defined for years by the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. With the handover, Iraq has now taken control of the last of three such prisons controlled by U.S. forces.

Workers at the World Trade Center site are excavating a 32-foot-long ship hull that apparently was used in the 18th century as part of the fill that extended lower Manhattan into the Hudson River. It's hoped the artifact can be retrieved by the end of the day on Thursday, said archaeologist Molly McDonald. A boat specialist was going to the site to take a look at it.

Congress on Thursday passed the stiffest restrictions on banks and Wall Street since the Great Depression, clamping down on lending practices and expanding consumer to prevent a repeat of the 2008 meltdown that knocked the economy to its knees. A year in the making and 22 months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered a worldwide panic in credit and other markets, the bill cleared its final hurdle with a 60-39 Senate vote. It now goes to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature, expected as early as Wednesday.

Resolving a high-profile government case linked to the mortgage meltdown, Goldman Sachs & Co. has agreed to pay a record $550 million to settle civil fraud charges that it misled buyers of complex investments. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement Thursday with the Wall Street titan, just hours after Congress gave final approval to legislation imposing the stiffest restrictions on banks and Wall Street firms since the Great Depresssion.

Consumer prices fell for the third straight month, providing some bargains to American shoppers. The Consumer Price Index, the government's most closely watch inflation barometer, dipped 0.1 percent in June, the Labor Department reported Friday. Less expensive energy bills were a big factor behind the drop. Prices for some food items, airlines fares, computers, telephone service and personal care products also fell last month.

Federal authorities said Friday they are conducting the largest Medicare fraud bust ever in five different states and arrested dozens of suspects accused in scams totaling $251 million. Several doctors and nurses were among those arrested in Miami, NYC, Detroit, Houston and Baton Rouge, La., accused of billing Medicare for unnecessary equipment, physical therapy and HIV treatments that patients typically never received. Ninety-four suspects were indicted, and authorities said 36 people had been arrested as of Friday morning.

Iranian police arrested 40 people following the devastating bombings of a mosque in the country's southeast as funerals were under way for the victims, local media reported on Saturday. A Sunni insurgency called Jundallah, which has carried out several other bombings in the southeast over the past few years, claimed responsibility for the twin blasts, which killed 27.

As concerns grow about the war in Afghanistan, Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton is heading to South Asia on a mission aimed at refining the goals of the nearly 9-year-old conflict.

President Barack Obama took aim at Republican lawmakers Monday, accusing them of holding the public hostage to Washington politics by blocking extended unemployment benefits for millions of out of work Americans. "It's time to do what's right, not for the next election, but for the middle class," Obama said in a presidential jawboning statement in the Rose Garden Monday morning.

Anthony Ward, a commodities trader with hedge fund Armajaro Holdings, bought 241,000 tons of cocoa beans -- the equivalent of all of Europe's supply -- for £658million, or more than $1 billion, according to British newspaper reports, the biggest single purchase in 14 years. The purchase came as prices rose to £2,732 per ton, the highest level since 1977. Ward now owns enough cocoa to manufacture more than 5 billion quarter-pound chocolate bars -- enough to fill five Titanics, according to Chris Skinner, chairman of the Financial Services Club.

Syria has forbidden the country's students and teachers from wearing the niqab — the full Islamic veil that reveals only a woman's eyes — taking aim at a garment many see as political. The ban shows a rare point of agreement between Syria's secular, authoritarian government and the democracies of Europe: Both view the niqab as a potentially destabilizing threat.

hamid karzai news update july 2010President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday (July 20) reaffirmed his commitment for Afghan police and soldiers to take charge of security nationwide by 2014 and urged his international backers to distribute more of their development aid through the government. Karzai spoke at a one-day international conference on Afghanistan's future that comes at a critical juncture: NATO and Afghan forces have launched a major operation to drive the Taliban out of their strongholds, and the insurgents are pushing back. Rockets fired at the Kabul airport

A black USDA official in Georgia has resigned after publicly admitting she didn't help a white man trying to save his farm to the "full force" of her power and instead referred him to "one of his own." Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack accepted Shirley Sherrod's resignation, saying there was "zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA." But Sherrod, in a TV interview, said her remarks to the NAACP were being intentionally misconstrued by conservative groups stoking racial tensions.

The United States on Wednesday announced new sanctions against North Korea, targeted against its leadership, and warned of serious consequences if it again attacked the South. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the sanctions would be aimed at the sale or procurement of arms and related goods as well as luxury items used to fund the regime's activities. The U.S. will freeze assets as well as prevent some businesses and individuals from traveling abroad, and collaborate with banks to stop illegal financial transactions. The sanctions also will seek to stop the abuse of diplomatic privileges in order to carry out illegal activities, Clinton said.

Reveling in victory, President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed into law the most sweeping overhaul of financial regulations since the Great Depression, a package that aims to protect consumers and ensure economic stability from Main Street to Wall Street. The law, pushed through mainly by Democrats in Washington's deeply partisan environment, comes almost two years after the infamous near financial meltdown in 2008 in the United States that was felt around the globe. The legislation gives the government new powers to break up companies that threaten the economy, creates a new agency to guard consumers and puts more light on the financial markets that escaped the oversight of regulators.

The city of Oakland, California on Tuesday (July 20) legalized large-scale marijuana cultivation for medical use and will issue up to four permits for "industrial" cultivation starting next year. The move by the San Francisco Bay Area city aims to bring medical marijuana cultivation into the open and allow the city to profit by taxing those who grow it.

Passing – Australian David Warren – inventor of the black box on aircraft. He came up with the idea of a crash and fire-proof machine to record the crew's voices and instrument readings after helping to investigate the mysterious crash of the world's first jet airliner, the Comet, in 1953. Warren designed and built the world's first flight data record prototype in 1956 which became known as the "black box" but it took five years before the value and practicality of his invention was realized. It took another five years until authorities ruled that the flight-data recorders should be fitted to cockpits in Australian aircraft.

Gulf Oil Spill Update - July 15, 2010 -

gulf oil spill update july 15 2010BP hopes to restart the testing process on the cap it's put on top of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill now that a leak in the machinery has been fixed, the company said Thursday (July 15). Kent Wells, a senior vice president in the company, said at a Thursday morning news briefing that the testing of the cap's capabilities could begin later in the day. A number of steps have to be carried out before then, including checking the seals on the equipment and moving robotic submersibles back into proper position. The work was interrupted after a leak was discovered late Wednesday in a line that can funnel oil up to a ship if necessary.

Oil giant BP said Thursday that it planned to start drilling off the coast of Libya within weeks despite calls from U.S. senators for a moratorium over the company's alleged links to the release of the Lockerbie bomber. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., told NBC’s TODAY on Thursday that the U.K. government should investigate what role the company played in the decision to free Abdel Baset al-Megrahi in August 2009.

BP finally choked off the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday (July 15) — 85 days and up to 184 million gallons after the crisis unfolded — then began a tense 48 hours of watching to see whether the capped-off well would hold or blow a new leak. To the relief of millions of people along the Gulf Coast, the big, billowing brown cloud of crude at the bottom of the sea disappeared from the underwater video feed for the first time since the disaster began in April, as BP closed the last of three openings in the 75-ton cap lowered onto the well earlier this week... And several days later – so far, so good.

The Obama administration’s point man for the spill, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, said early Monday that the company promised to watch closely for signs of new leaks around the mile-deep well, which has stopped gushing oil into the water since the experimental cap was closed Thursday. Late Sunday, Allen said something was detected seeping near the broken oil well and demanded in a sharply worded letter that BP step up monitoring of the ocean floor. Allen didn't say what was seeping. White House energy adviser Carol Browner told the CBS "Early Show" seepage was found less than two miles from the well site.

Technology News July 15, 2010 -

Apple Inc. will give free protective cases to buyers of its latest iPhone to alleviate the so-called "death grip" problem in which holding the phone with a bare hand can muffle the wireless signal. Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the giveaway Friday during a news conference at the company's headquarters, even as the company denied that the iPhone 4 has an antenna problem that needs fixing. The more than 3 million people who have already bought the iPhone 4 and new buyers through Sept. 30 will all be eligible. People who already purchased the $29 "Bumper" cases will be refunded.

An unmanned solar aircraft has smashed the world record for continuous flight. The "Zephyr" plane, developed by UK defense technology company, QinetiQ, took off from the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona on July 9. Seven days on, it was still flying high.

Google, in an effort to utilize more green energy and become carbon neutral, has signed a twenty-year deal with an Iowa wind farm to purchase energy. The deal, beginning at the end of this month, will supply Google with 114MW worth of energy. The cost of the deal amounted to approximately $38 million, a considerable sum for the struggling power producer. Google will not use the power directly to service its server centers. It is going to purchase the power and resell it back to the grid as a way to offset its own power consumption.

Sports News - July 15, 2010 -

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was hit with a $100,000 fine by the NBA for his His emotional, controversial letter criticizing LeBron James for leaving to join Miami. Some fans want to help out with that fine!

ESPY Awards – Some Winners:

drew breeze espy award best athlete july 2010Drew Brees, NFL

Lindsey Vonn, Skiing

Brett Favre, Vikings

Drew Brees

Entertainment News July 15, 2010 -

Roy Rogers' stuffed horse, Trigger, has been sold at auction in New York City for more than $266,000. Christie's says Rogers' faithful companion was bought by RFD-TV in Omaha, Neb., at an auction Wednesday of items from the now-closed Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Mo. The television network's chief financial officer says Rogers reflects the company's values. The station calls itself "Rural America's Most Important Network."

lindsay lohan hires robert shapiro july 2010Lindsay Lohan hires Atty. Robert Shapiro – best known for the shared defense of O.J. Simpson. Shapiro said he agreed to represent Lohan on the condition that she serves her jail time and fully complies with the terms of her probation. Lohan is scheduled to begin serving a 90-day sentence on Tuesday (July 20).

TBS is planning to air a full week of Seinfeldepisodes featuring George Steinbrenner. The first of the 10 episodes, "The Opposite," will air Monday, July 19 at 7/6c. Larry David, who executive produced Seinfeld, portrayed the legendary New York Yankees owner. The first episode features George Costanza convincing Steinbrenner to give him a job. The final of the 10, "The Muffin Tops," shows Steinbrenner trading Costanza for new chicken concessions at the stadium.

Aaron Sorkin will make his feature film directorial debut with a movie about former presidential candidate John Edwards. The screenwriter has acquired rights to the The Politician, the tell-all book written by Edwards' one-time aide detailing the then-senator's extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter.

A Michigan couple were found guilty of attempting to extort $680,000 from John Stamos with purported photos of him with strippers and cocaine. Allison Coss, 24, and Scott Sippola, 31, both of Marquette, Mich., were convicted Thursday of conspiracy and using e-mail to threaten a person's reputation.

mel gibson audio temper july 2010Mel Gibson - On the fifth piece of audio, released this week, Mel Gibson loses his temper during another heated conversation with ex Oksana Grigorieva, with whom he has a 8 1/2-month-old daughter, Lucia.Gibson is first heard shouting that, after making tens of millions of dollars during his career, he now "doesn't have any f*cking money!" (He reportedly had no prenup with ex-wife Robyn when they split last year, meaning she may have walked away with about $450 million).

Tom Cruise says he'll return as Ethan Hunt in "Mission: Impossible IV." "It's official," a message on Tom's official Twitter page announced this week. "Tom Cruise is returning in the role of Ethan Hunt for the upcoming Mission Impossible IV!"

Passing - James Gammon, the gravel-voiced actor who played the manager of the Cleveland Indians in the 1980s comedy “Major League" and had a host of other movie and TV roles, has died. He was 70.The craggy-faced actor also played the father on the Don Johnson TV show “Nash Bridges."

The stars of “Jersey Shore” are reportedly "dissatisfied" over their contracts and have gone on strike. The second season of the show has been filming in Miami, with TMZ reporting that the group's return to New Jersey's Seaside Heights will be split off as a third season.

lohan county jail - july 2010Lindsay Checking Into Jail - Lindsay Lohan has arrived at a Los Angeles County women's jail to begin serving a 90-day sentence for a probation violation that is likely to be whittled down to a few weeks. Her arrival in an unmarked Sheriff's Department car on Tuesday morning at the Century Regional Detention Facility in the industrial suburb of Lynwood, Calif., came about an hour after she surrendered and was handcuffed across town in a Beverly Hills courtroom. She’ll probably serve just over three weeks due to overcrowding.

Music news – Authorities say Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry was rear-ended by a car when he was riding a motorcycle, and he has been treated for minor injuries at a Massachusetts hospital. Middleborough police say Perry was on his 2009 Ducati Monster 696 early Thursday afternoon when he was struck from behind by a car driven by 62-year-old Linda O'Brien. Both vehicles were traveling at a low speed.

Justin Bieber is getting own biography comic book, courtesy Bluewater Productions. The 32-page "Fame: Justin Bieber” comic, due out in October, will chronicle the 16-year-old singer's climb to current heartthrob status.

leann rimes news july 2010LeAnn Rhimes is back on Twitter – after a 1-week hiatus: I have so many darling fans and want you all to know how much u r appreciated...Hugs to all! Can't stay away for too long :)"In subsequent Tweets Wednesday and Thursday, she dished on her latest workouts (1 hour of boxing and weights and 1 hour of Pilates. What's gotten into me?!), plans for her new album and beach time. Just a week ago, Rimes dramatically declared that she was "taking a break from twitter for a while...It's unhealthy for me and my family to have to read negative comments from people who's [sic] opinions have no bearing on my life."

A Lady Gaga concert in St. Louis, Mo., took an ugly turn when fans were bombarded by a group of angry protesters, who showed up to boycott the controversial pop star on Saturday night. Protesters from Westboro Baptist Church stood outside the Scottrade Center to protest the singer's ongoing "Monster Ball" tour and her outspoken support of gay rights. The "Bad Romance" hitmaker took to Twitter to warn fans before the show, and in a series of posts pleaded with her followers to ignore the protesters' homophobic slurs.

“American Idol” runner-up Crystal Bowersox’ debut album is set to debut this fall. Bowersox has signed with Simon Fuller’s 19 Recordings/Jive Records.

elvis presley toe tag auction july 2010Autopsy tools used to embalm and prepare Elvis Presley's body for his funeral in 1977 and a toe tag used on the singer for identification purposes are set to go under the hammer at a Chicago auction house. The instruments up for sale at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers on Aug. 12 include rubber gloves, forceps, lip brushes, a comb and eye liner, needle injectors, an arterial tube and aneurysm hooks, all of which the auction house say were used only once. The collection, saved for years by a senior embalmer at the Memphis Funeral Home who wishes to stay anonymous, also includes a toe tag marked "John Doe" which was used as a replacement after the original was stolen by a fan during chaos at the hospital.

Radio News - July 15, 2010 -

A popular disc jockey at a Columbus (OH) radio station has drowned while on a family vacation in Michigan. Alternative music station WWCD says John Andrew "Andyman" Davis drowned Saturday. Davis started working as an on-air personality for WWCD in 1991. He's been programming director there since 1998.WWCD says Davis was the voice of the station's afternoon drive program. He was known for hosting a 48-hour Christmas fundraiser called Andyman-a-Thon, in which he would receive pledges to play song.

Glenn Beck dropped quite the bombshell on a Salt Lake City audience over the weekend, revealing that he's been diagnosed with macular dystrophy, a slowly progressive eye disorder that can cause blindness. He said that he went to a doctor because he "can't focus my eyes." He joked that he went to a LensCrafters first, and that the guy there told him: "Woa, you might be going blind!" When his doctor told him he had macular dystrophy, Beck said, "Is that that Jerry Lewis thing?" He also joked that the doctor wasn't much help, telling him: "You could go blind in the next year . . . or you might not."

TV listings/TV Guide - July 15, 2010 -

Thursday night TV

8:00 to 9:00

ABC: 'Wipeout'

CBS: 'Big Brother'

HGTV: 'My First Place' and 'My First Sale'
NatGeo: 'Break It Down'

9:00 to 10:00
ABC: 'Rookie Blue'
FOX: 'So You Think You Can Dance'
A&E: 'The First 48'
BBC: 'Kitchen Nightmares'
Discovery: 'River Monsters'
Discovery Health: 'Born on a Bad Day'
HGTV: 'Bang For Your Buck' -- 9:30 start
Spike: 'TNA Wrestling' -- Two hours
SyFy: 'Mary Knows Best'*
TLC: 'Police Women of Memphis'
truTV: 'Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest Lovers 2'
USA: 'Burn Notice'

10:00 to 11:00
ABC: 'Boston Med'
A&E: 'The First 48'
Bravo: 'Bethenny Getting Married?'
Comedy Central: 'Futurama'
CURRENT: 'InfoMania' and 'Rotten Tomatoes Movie Review Show'
Discovery Health: 'NICU'*
DIY: 'Family Renovation'*
E!: 'E! News Special: Lindsay Lohan: Road to Jail' -- 10:30 start
Food Network: 'Ace of Cakes'
Showtime: 'Penn & Teller: Bulls---t!' and 'The Green Room With Paul Provenza'
SyFy: 'Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files'*
TLC: 'Cellblock 6: Female Lock Up'
truTV: 'Top 20 Most Shocking'
TVOne: 'Donald J Trump Presents The Ultimate Merger'
USA: 'Royal Pains'
VH1: 'The OCD Project'
We: 'Raising Sextuplets'

'The Mo'Nique Show' (BET): Singers MC Lyte and Robin Thicke; comic/actress Loni Love
'The Daily Show' (Comedy Central): Julianne Moore
'Charlie Rose' (PBS): TBA
'Chelsea Lately: Pharrell (repeat)
'Lopez Tonight' (TBS): Terrell Owens; performance by Lifehouse

'Late Show With David Letterman' (CBS): Kyra Sedgwick; Bret Michaels; performance by Jimmy Cliff
'The Colbert Report' (Comedy): San Antonio mayor Julian Castro. (repeat)
'The Tonight Show' (NBC): Ellen Page; TV personalities Austin ``Chumlee'' Russell and Corey Harrison; performance by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

'Jimmy Kimmel Live' (ABC): Kevin James; Nikki Reed; performance by The Dream (repeat)
'Tavis Smiley' (PBS): Christopher Nolan

'The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson' (CBS): Nicolas Cage; performance by Marina & the Diamonds
'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' (NBC): Jennifer Love Hewitt; professional soccer player Thierry Henry; performance by Broadway's 'Million Dollar Quartet'


Last Call With Carson Daly' (NBC): Nicholas Stoller; Kidz in the Hall; performance by City and Colour (repeat)

Top Pop Hits - July 15, 2010 -

California Gurls – Katy Perry fea. Snoop Dogg

Airplanes – B.o.B. fea. Hayley Williams

Love the Way You Lie – Eminem fea. Rihanna

wil.i.am music july 2010OMG – Usher fea. will.i.am

Dynamite – Taio Cruz

Billionaire – Travie McCoy fea. Bruno Mars

I Like It – Enrique iglesias fea. Pitbull

Cooler Than Me – Mike Posner

Ridin’ Solo – Jason Derulo

Find Your Love – Drake

Not Afraid – Eminem

Alejandro – Lady Gaga

Your Love Is My Drug – Ke$ha

Bulletproof – La Roux

Break Your Heart – Taio Cruz fea. Ludacris

I mpossible – Shontelle

Your Love – Nicki Minaj

Hey, Soul Sister- Train

Somebody To Love – Justin Bieber

Nothin’ On You – B.o.B. fea. Bruno Mars

Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready) – Alicia Keys

My First Kiss – 3Oh!3 – fea. Ke$sha

All I Do Is Win – DJ Khaled fea. T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg & Rick Ross

Hello Good Morning – Diddy – Dirty Money fea. T.I.

In My Head – Jason Derulo

Undo It – Carrie Underwood

Breakeven – The Script

POWER – Kanye West

Top Video Games July 15, 2010 -

Lego Harry Potter 1-4 (Wii) (X-360)

wii sports pop video game july 2010WII Sports

Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (DS)

WII Sports Resort

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (PS3)

Dead Dead Redemption (X360)

New Super Mario Bros. (Wii)

Transformers: War for Cybertron (X360)

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa (X360)

Top Movies - July 15, 2010 -

Inception (1st week - $62.7 million)

Despicable Me

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1st week - $24.7 million)

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Toy Story 3

Grown Ups

The Last Airbender


Knight and Day

The Karate Kid

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