Dateline: Week Of July 8, 2010 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
Three suspected al-Qaida members were arrested Thursday (July 8) for what Norwegian and U.S. officials said was a terrorist plot linked to similar plans to bomb New York's subway and blow up a shopping mall in England. Officials believe the men were planning attacks with portable but powerful bombs like the ones at the heart of last year's failed suicide attack in the New York City subway, an attack U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has called one of the most serious plots since 9/11. On Wednesday, U.S. prosecutors revealed the existence of a related plot in Manchester, England.
The largest Russia-U.S. spy swap since the Cold War appeared to be in motion Thursday, with a Russian convicted of spying for the United States reportedly plucked from a Moscow prison and flown to Vienna. Defense lawyers in the U.S. say they hoped for an immediate resolution for their 10 clients charged with spying for Russia. A swap would have significant consequences for efforts between Washington and Moscow to repair ties chilled by a deepening atmosphere of suspicion. Ten people accused of spying for Russia were set to appear at a hearing in New York federal court later Thursday. An 11th person charged in the case is a fugitive after jumping bail in Cyprus.
Half of Americans reject President Barack Obama's lawsuit against Arizona's controversial immigration law, with only a third supporting the move, according to a Gallup poll released this week. It noted that those who followed news about the law most closely were most likely to oppose it. Obama's Democratic administration is seeking an injunction through the Justice Department to stop the Arizona law from going into effect on July 29, slamming it as unconstitutional, abusive and divisive.
A 64-year-old Roman Catholic priest has been arrested after an investigation into the theft of church money. He is accused of stealing funds in order to support some very un-priestly habits. Kevin Gray turned himself in to Waterbury (CT) police morning after learning of a warrant for his arrest on larceny charges. The former pastor of a Waterbury church is accused of stealing $1.3 million dollars over the course of seven years, and using the money to pay for personal expenses, including hotel rooms, restaurants, clothing, and male escorts. Cops say that Gray racked up $200,000 on various Manhattan restaurants, $100,000 on hotels, $80,000 on clothing and designer suits and $45,000 on rent and tuition for two men.
A pair of suicide bombers struck outside a government office Friday (July 9) in a tribal region where the army has fought the Taliban, killing 62 people and wounding 111 in one of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan this year.
Five American service members and at least a dozen civilians died in attacks Saturday in Afghanistan's volatile east and south, adding to a summer of escalating violence as Taliban militants push back against stepped-up operations by international and Afghan forces.
Tylenol Brand Is In Trouble as Johnson & Johnson reports sales and market share are down 65% from a year ago. This is a crisis on par with the 80% market share drop Tylenol suffered after its tablets were laced with cyanide in 1982. But unlike in the 1982 crime, JNJ has only itself to blame for the Tylenol headaches this time around. The company has serious manufacturing problems, and its McNeil Consumer Healthcare division, which makes Tylenol, announced seven recalls between September and March.
Russia's neighbors, Georgia, claim that the oldest person in the world lives in their country. Georgian officials say that Antisa Khvichava was born on July 8, 1880 in one of the country's mountain villages. Khvichava claims to be 130-years-old. Khvichava's birth certificate was lost 100 years ago or so. Khvichava claims though that she has documents that can prove her age.
Simultaneous explosions tore through crowds watching the World Cup final at a rugby club and a restaurant in Uganda's capital, killing at least 74 people, including one American, officials said. Police feared an al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group was behind the attacks. The blasts went off as people watched the game between Spain and the Netherlands late Sunday (July 11).
A former employee opened fire at an Albuquerque fiber optics manufacturer Monday, killing two people and wounding four others before turning the gun on himself in what police called a domestic violence dispute. The shooting at Emcore Corp. appeared to involve the 37-year-old gunman's girlfriend, police Chief Ray Schultz said. It was not immediately clear whether she was among the dead.
Archaeologists say a newly discovered clay fragment from the 14th century B.C. is the oldest example of writing ever found in antiquity-rich Jerusalem. Dig director Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University said the 2-centimeter (0.8-inch) long fragment bears an ancient form of writing known as Akkadian wedge script. The fragment includes a partial text including the words "you," "them," and "later."
The captain of a Gaza-bound Libyan aid ship on Tuesday (July 13) rejected an Israeli demand that it dock instead in Egypt, the mission organizers said, setting course for a new confrontation over Israel’s naval blockade. Six weeks after it drew world outcry by killing nine Turks in the botched boarding of another ship that tried to reach the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory, Israel vowed to turn away or seize the cargo vessel Amalthea -- renamed "Hope" by activists.
France's lower house of parliament overhwelmingly approved a ban on burqa-like Islamic veils Tuesday, a move that is popular among French voters despite serious concerns from Muslim groups and human rights advocates. There were 336 votes for the bill and just one against it at the National Assembly. Most members of the main opposition group, the Socialist Party, refused to participate in the vote — though they support a ban, they have differences with President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservatives over some aspects of it.
A list containing the names and personal information of 1,300 people an anonymous group contends are illegal immigrants has been mailed around Utah, terrifying the state's Hispanic community. Republican Gov. Gary Herbert wrote in a tweet Tuesday that he has asked state agencies to investigate the list — sent anonymously to several media outlets, and law enforcement and state agencies. A letter accompanying the list demands that those on it be deported immediately. Most of the names on the list are of Hispanic origin. The list also contains highly detailed personal information such as ssn’s, birth dates, workplaces, addresses and phone numbers. Names of children are included, along with due dates of pregnant women on the list.
A billboard created by an Iowa tea party group that compares President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin is drawing sharp criticism — even from fellow tea party activists who have condemned it as offensive and a waste of money. The North Iowa Tea Party began displaying the billboard in downtown Mason City last week. The sign shows large photographs of Obama, Nazi leader Hitler and communist leader Lenin beneath the labels "Democrat Socialism," "National Socialism," and "Marxist Socialism."
More News - July 8, 2010 -
The mayor Coppell Texas, a small city near Dallas, and her teenage daughter have been found shot to death at their home, city officials said Wednesday (July 14). Police discovered the bodies of Coppell Mayor Jayne Peters, 55, and Corrine Peters, 19, around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, community information officer Sharon Logan said. Police found no signs of forced entry, Logan said. "It appears that both suffered gunshot wounds to the head," said Logan. Police officers went to their home after the usually prompt mayor failed to arrive at a city council meeting and did not call to explain her absence, Logan said. (Later it’s learned it was a murder-suicide propelled by Jayne Peters).
Retail sales fell in June for the second straight month, more evidence that the recovery will slow in the second half of the year. Spending on retail goods dropped 0.5 percent in June, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. That followed a 1.1 percent fall in May. Excluding autos, spending was down 0.1 percent in June. Pulling down the overall June figures was a drop in auto sales and declining gas prices. When taking those out, sales would have risen 0.1 percent for the month.
Eight American troops died in attacks in southern Afghanistan, including a car bombing and gunfight outside a police compound in Kandahar, officials said Wednesday as the Taliban push back against a coalition effort to secure the volatile region.
Nine thrill-seeking runners were injured, three by goring, in a dangerous last running of the bulls at Spain's San Fermin festival, officials said Wednesday. It was the bloodiest run of this year's festival. Bulls tossed people on the slippery cobblestone streets of Pamplona, where a red bull at the tail of the pack fell and became separated from the rest, leaving it disoriented and irritated by the large crowds, and causing panic among runners.The injured include a 30-year-old Irish citizen, a 26-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand and seven Spaniards from four different regions, the regional government of Navarra, in northern Spain, said in a statement.
Gulf Oil Spill Update - July 8, 2010 -
The Wall Street Journal reports that BP hopes to completely shut off flow from its gushing Gulf of Mexico oil well by later this month -- weeks earlier than the company's previous public forecasts. Managing Director Bob Dudley is quoated: "it's possible to be ready to stop the well between July 20 and July 27." But Dudley acknowledges that's "in a perfect world with no interruptions." And he says that "perfect case" could be derailed by the hurricane season.
With a tight new cap freshly installed on its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, BP planned gradual tests starting Tuesday to see if the device can stop oil from pouring into the sea for the first time in nearly three months. The cap would be just a temporary solution, but it offers the best hope yet for cutting off the crude that has fouled the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.
After days of progress on the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, BP said that delays have temporarily stopped work beneath the water on both a stopgap solution and a permanent fix to the gusher. BP was vague about the reasons for pushing back tests of a new cap meant to trap oil in the well and why it stopped, for up to 48 hours, drilling on a relief well aimed at plugging the gusher for good from underground.
Media News - July 8, 2010 -
The FCC's indecency policy, which bars fleeting profanities and other indecency from the nation's airwaves, has been overturned by a federal court. In a surprise ruling, a three-judge panel in New York struck down the rule, calling it "unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here." The ban has been on the books since 2003, when Bono dropped the F-word during a live broadcast of the Golden Globes awards, and currently allows networks to be fined up to $35 million for each offense. That forces broadcasters to "choose between not airing or censoring controversial programs and risking massive fines or possibly even loss of their licenses...”
Fascinating/Random Facts - July 8, 2010 -
Trend - Wine By Vending Machine - Pennsylvania, which has some of the most Byzantine liquor laws in the U.S., recently introduced the country's first wine "kiosks." If the machines are successful in their test run inside two grocery stores, the state Liquor Control Board could place the high-tech alcohol automats in about 100 others.
Sports News - July 8, 2010 -
Chicago White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy was put on the 15-day disabled list because of a detached muscle in the back of his right shoulder, an injury that'll almost certainly end his season. "Obviously, this isn't good news,'' Peavy said Wednesday after having an MRI. "You know ... having something completely detached from the bone that's retracted down in my lat. Not good.''
LeBron James – Long of the Cleveland Cavaliers – is taking a lot of heat and moving to Miami – to play for the … Heat. Cleveland fans are stunned by the defection – including the team’s owner – Dan Gilbert, who said, “Cleveland Fans Don’t Deserve His Cowardly Betrayal.” But it’s all about free agency.
World Cup Soccer – Spain beats the Netherlands! Final score – 1-0.
Workers have removed a gigantic Nike banner featuring LeBron James, a sign that hung on the side of a downtown building for years and served as a background for the Cleveland Cavaliers’' success during the seven years he played for them. The mural was taken down after James announced he planned to leave Cleveland as a free agent to play for the Miami Heat.
Passing – Longtime Yankee owner George Steinbrenner - of a massive heart attack. He was 80 and celebrated his birthday July 4, but had been in fragile health for several years. Steinbrenner was a master businessman – purchasing the team for $8.7 million back in 1973, and combining it and the co-owned media YES network today would fetch about $3.2 billion.
Baseball All-Star game – Played in Anaheim, CA – the National League beat the AL – 3-1.
Tech News July 1, 2010 -
Pew Internet and American Life Project 38 percent of U.S. cell phone users accessed the internet from their phones. That's a huge jump from last year, when 25 percent of U.S. cell phone users reported mobile internet use. That’s 89 million people.
IPhone 4 - Consumer Reports contradicts Apple's claim that its iPhone 4 problem is a bad formula that measures signal intensity. That isn't the case. The real problem is the antenna, as critics have charged.
A New York judge issued a temporary restraining order against the social networking site Facebook after a New York man sued the company, claiming he owns an 84% stake in it. Paul Ceglia filed a suit in the Supreme Court of New York's Allegany County on June 30, claiming that a 2003 contract he signed with Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg entitles him to ownership of the company and monetary damages. Ceglia claims that he signed a contract with Zuckerberg on April 28, 2003, and that he paid $1,000 to develop and design a Web site in exchange for a 50% stake in the product.
A recent survey lends some hard proof to the trend that many consumers and investors have already noticed: The BlackBerry is dying. Why? Because the iPhone is killing it -- and because the Google Android operating system is driving strong sales for HTC and other manufacturers. According to a survey conducted by ChangeWave Research at the end of June (just before the Apple iPhone 4 release), Research in Motion (RIMM) and its BlackBerry line of products is barely hanging on to its No. 1 spot in smart-phone market share, and a wave of big demand for the Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone looks like it will soon knock RIM from its perch. (MSN Money)
Entertainment News - July 1, 2010 –
Lower demand - Seven shows on the American Idol Live! Tour have been canceled while others have been changed, according to a revised schedule released by tour organizer Live Nation. The tour featuring the ninth season's top 10 singers was originally planned to end Sept. 16 in Portland, Maine, but is now scheduled to stop on Sept. 14 in Pittsburgh.
The Hollywood Reporter says Ryan Seacrest is piloting a new dance show project for E! Networks. Exact details of the untitled project have yet to be revealed, but the show will co-star Lady Gaga choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson and will revolve around choreographers and dancers in Los Angeles.
National Public Radio says it wants to be known only by its initials – NPR. So – don’t say the name – say the initials – please!
Lady Gaga performs for the Today Show – outside at Rockefeller Center. An estimated 20,000 spangle-eyed fans screeched their approval. They had started lining up more than 33 hours earlier, some coming from as far as Ireland and South Africa to see their idol. Two people in the crowd were taken to Bellevue Hospital with minor cases of heat exhaustion, The New York Times reported.
Celine Dion says she is expecting twin boys in November.
James Bond movie canceled: The next James Bond movie, that was set to star Daniel Craig once again in the iconic role, has been cancelled. The reason for the movie being axed? The studio is out of business due to crushing debt - hard to believe considering the amount of money they've made over the years! In April, Reuters reported that the next James Bond movie had been cancelled "indefinitely" because the studio was put up for auction. Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the producers of the Bond movies, said in a joint statement, "Due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development on Bond 23 indefinitely."
The Hollywood Reporter says Mel Gibson has been dropped by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. Earlier this week, the agency's Patrick Whitesell informed the actors' representatives that he would no longer be represented by the agency. Gibson's longtime agent, Ed Limato, died July 3, and a funeral will take place in New York next week. WME partner Ari Emanuel had previously expressed hostility toward Gibson after the actor made anti-Semitic remarks and made remarks implying skepticism about the Holocaust. Gibson's troubles have only increased in recent weeks with allegations of bigoted tirades against blacks and Latinos and reports that he is under investigation for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Several studio executives have said in the wake of these disclosures that they consider the troubled actor to untouchable in the industry. "I'd rather get engaged to Lindsay Lohan than have anything to do with him," one studio chief said.
Jay Leno asked VP Joe Biden during a taping of "The Tonight Show" why the U.S. was sending 10 accused spies back to Russia while getting only four in return. "That doesn't seem fair," Leno said. "We got back four really good ones," Biden reassured Leno. "And the ten, they've been here a long time, but they hadn't done much." Leno then showed a sultry photo of alleged Russian agent Anna Chapman and asked: "Do we have any spies that hot?" Biden's reply, in a mock-serious tone: "Let me be clear. It was not my idea to send her back."
Marries – Carrie Underwood to hockey player Mike Fisher.
The Swiss government declared renowned film director Roman Polanski a free man on Monday (July 12) after rejecting a U.S. request to extradite him on a charge of having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl. The Swiss mostly blamed U.S. authorities for failing to provide confidential testimony about Polanski's sentencing procedure in 1977-1978. The stunning decision could end the United States' three-decade pursuit of Polanski, unless he travels to another country that would be willing to apprehend him and weigh sending him to Los Angeles. France, where he has spent much of his time, does not extradite its own citizens, and the public scrutiny over Switzerland's deliberations may dissuade other nations from making such a spectacular arrest.
Tore his calf muscle – Jon Bon Jovi injured on stage during concert performance. While performing on stage, Bon Jovi injured his leg, but he didn't allow it to affect the concert and kept performing. Bon Jovi consists of lead singer Jon Bon Jovi, guitarist Richie Sambora, keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres as well as current bassist Hugh McDonald. The band was half-way through the 2 1/2-hour concert at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford.
Kitty Kelley's controversial unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey will be given the biopic treatment. Veteran TV movie producer Larry A. Thompson has acquired the rights to the book, Oprah: A Biography, published in the spring by Crown Publishers, a division of Random House. Thompson plans to turn the book into a TV movie or a miniseries to air in September 2011, coinciding with Winfrey's sign-off from her syndicated daytime talk show after 25 years. He is close to signing a writer for the adaptation and is already shopping the project to TV networks.
Is Sarah Smiling? - Bristol Palin was worried about how she was going to tell her mother that she’s engaged to marry Levi Johnston, the father of her 18-month-old son. She solved the problem by telling a tabloid magazine. “We got engaged two weeks ago. It felt right, even though we don’t have the approval of our parents,” Palin told Us Weekly magazine in a bombshell story published Wednesday.
Television News - July 1, 2010 -
A senior Middle East editor for CNN has been fired for sending out a Twitter message expressing respect for a leading Shiite cleric who had been branded a terrorist by the U.S. Octavia Nasr said her 140-character comments reflected what she called the "pioneering" views on women's rights of Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, who died in Beirut on Sunday.
A federal jury on awarded “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" creator Celador International more than $269 million in damages, ruling that Disney and its family of TV companies failed to "perform the obligations of the rights agreement" of their contract that brought the game show to the U.S. The jury awarded the British producer more than $260,238,024 for revenues from the network license fee, plus $9,193,774 in revenues from merchandising.
CBS said Monday Melina Kanakaredes has decided to leave the crime drama after six seasons. The network expressed disappointment but said it respected her choice to "move on." The actress says she would treasure the "amazing" friendships she made on "CSI: NY."
Top Music Albums - July 1, 2010 -
Recovery – Eminem
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack
Thank Me Later – Drake
Love King – The-Dream
My World 2.0 – Justin Bieber
To The Sea – Jack Johnson
Streets of Gold – 3OH!3
Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
Can’t Be Tamed – Miley Cyrus
Scream - Ozzy Osbourne
The Fame – Lady Gaga
Laws of Illusion – Sarah McLachlan
The Foundation – Zac Brown Brand
Raymond V Raymond – Usher
Mojo – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Night Work – Scissor Sisters
How I Got Over – The Roots
Live at the Troubadour – Carole King & James Taylor
Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals
Glee: The Music, Volume 3
The E.N.D. – The Black Eyed Peas
B.o.B. Presents Of Bobby Ray
Getting Dressed in the Dark – Jaron And the Long Road To Love
Revolution – Miranda Lambert
W.ants W.orld W.omen – Swele
The Element of Freedom – Alicia Keys
Animal – Ke$ha
Top Movies - July 1, 2010 -
Despicable Me (1st week – 60.117 million)
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Predators (1st week - $25.3 million)
Toy Story 3
The Last Airbender
Knight and Day
The Karate Kid