Dateline: Week Of July 1, 2010 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
Hurricane Alex ripped off roofs, caused severe flooding and forced thousands of people to flee coastal fishing villages before weakening to a tropical storm over northern Mexico. The Atlantic season's first hurricane largely spared nearby Texas, which had prepared for a possible direct hit. While it brought rain, spawned two tornadoes and caused 1,000 people to evacuate low-lying areas there, state officials reported no injuries or major damage.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose last week for the second time in three weeks. At the same time, more than a million people have lost benefits and more could be cut off now that Congress has failed to extend federal jobless aid. New claims for benefits jumped by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 472,000, the Labor Department said Thursday The four-week average, which smooths fluctuations, rose to 466,500, its highest level since March.
A wave of census layoffs cut the nation's payrolls in June for the first time in six months, while private employers added a modest number of jobs. The unemployment rate dipped to 9.5 percent, its lowest level in almost a year. Employers cut 125,000 jobs last month, the most since October, the Labor Department said Friday. The loss was driven by the end of 225,000 temporary census jobs. Businesses added a net total of 83,000 workers, an improvement from May. But that's also below March and April totals.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday ordered about 200,000 state workers to be paid the federal minimum wage (7.25/hr) this month because the state Legislature has not passed a budget, but the state controller is refusing to comply. Department of Personnel Administration Director Debbie Endsley sent the order in a letter to the state controller, who refused a similar order two years ago. The matter is tied up in the appellate courts, leading the controller to say he will abide by whatever final ruling emerges, which could be years down the road. He said he can't follow the order now due to technical and legal issues.
Toyota will recall 270,000 Lexus and other vehicles worldwide to fix faulty engines, the company said Friday, in the latest quality lapse by the world's No. 1 automaker. Flaws in valve springs, a crucial engine component, could make the vehicle stall while it's moving. Lexus General Manager Mark Templin said contaminated materials had been used for valve springs during manufacturing.
A massive gun battle between rival drug and migrant trafficking gangs near the U.S. border Thursday (July 2) left 21 people dead and at least six others wounded, prosecutors said. The fire-fight occurred in a sparsely populated area about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the Arizona border, near the city of Nogales, that is considered a prime corridor for immigrant and drug smuggling. The Sonora state Attorney General's Office said in a statement that nine people were captured by police at the scene of the shootings, six of whom had been wounded in the confrontation. Eight vehicles and seven weapons were also seized. Gang violence near the Arizona border has led to calls from officials in the U.S. state for greater control of the border and is one reason given for a controversial law passed in April requiring Arizona police to ask people about their immigration status in certain situations.
More than 200 people were killed and 100 injured when a fuel tanker overturned and exploded in the Democratic Republic of Congo late Friday. Some died while trying to collect fuel leaking from the tanker, but authorities said most were killed by the fire that tore through nearby houses in the village of Sange, on the road between the provincial capital Bukavu and Uvira. Hundreds of people in the village — like millions across Africa — were watching Friday night's Ghana-Uruguay World Cup soccer game at the time of the incident.
A patient and his wife were among the dead when an air ambulance crashed shortly after takeoff from a West Texas airport, killing all 5 people on board.
The crash happened about 12:15 a.m. Sunday about a mile east of Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airport, around 200 miles southeast of El Paso. The twin-engine Cessna 421 had just taken off for Midland International Airport in Midland when it went down in an open area, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
China today ignored a personal appeal from President Barack Obama and sentenced a U.S. geologist to eight years in prison for buying confidential information about China's oil industry. The court in Beijing also fined Xue Feng $30,000 for attempting to obtain and traffic state secrets.
July 4th weekend - Hotel occupancies are down and disappointment over the oil spill is high this Fourth of July in the Gulf of Mexico, where beaches once packed with bathing suit-clad tourists are now filled with cleanup crews in hazmat gear.
During a holiday weekend that has long been a highlight of summer tourism along the gulf, the industry is hurting as out-of-town guests decide against making the trip to hotels, restaurants and bars dotting a coast where oil now washes ashore. Hotels and inns from Alabama to the Florida Panhandle have reported at least 50 percent dips in occupancies and spikes in cancellations in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill.
Vice President Joe Biden ended a visit to Iraq on Monday without presenting any plan to nudge the country's leaders toward forming a government, four months after an election. Biden made no proposals in talks with incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, top vote winner and ex-premier Iyad Allawi, and others, causing disappointment among those who had hoped his visit might help to end the post-election deadlock.
A heatwave hits the Northeast – with temperatures hovering around 95degrees between DC and Boston.
Afghanistan – The ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee said Monday that NATO and Afghan troops will prevail in the war if they can succeed in securing and bolstering governance in the Taiban stronghold of Kandahar. Sen. John McCain, who visited Afghanistan's largest city in the south on Monday with two other U.S. lawmakers, warned of tough fighting ahead and predicted that casualties would rise in the short-term.
A disabled sightseeing boat adrift in the Delaware River with at least 37 people aboard was struck by a barge and capsized Wednesday, spilling passengers into the water and leaving two people unaccounted for after a frantic rescue effort. The amphibious “duck boat” " had gone into the water just after 2:30 p.m. and suffered a mechanical problem and a small fire, officials said. It was struck about 10 minutes later, then sank. Searchers were looking for a 16-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man believed to have been aboard the vessel, which has wheels and can travel seamlessly on land and water, police Lt. Frank Vanore said. Several people went to hospitals, but there were no immediate reports of serious injuries.
The 11 people accused of spying for Russia were formally charged in a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday, more than a week after the FBI announced their arrests. The indictment charged all the defendants with conspiring to act as secret agents and also charged nine of them with conspiracy to commit money laundering. And it demanded that those accused of money laundering return any assets used in the offense.
President Barack Obama bypassed the Senate Wednesday and appointed Dr. Donald Berwick, a Harvard professor and patient care specialist, to run Medicare and Medicaid.
Eight-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Jenny Thompson says would-be robbers punched her in the face in a failed bid to steal her scooter outside Boston. The Dover, N.H., native told WBZ-TV on Wednesday that she was riding in Brookline on Monday night when a vehicle stopped behind her with its headlights out. She says two people got out, punched her, pushed her down and tried to grab her ride. Thompson held onto the scooter and screamed for help, forcing the assailants to flee. The 37-year-old suffered a cut on her nose and several scrapes and was treated at the scene.
Gulf Oil Spill Update - July 1, 2010 -
BP's massive oil spill became the largest ever in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday based on the highest of the federal government's estimates, an ominous record that underscores the oil giant's dire need to halt the gusher. The oil that's spewed for two and a half months from a blown-out well a mile under the sea hit the 140.6 million gallon mark, eclipsing the record-setting, 140-million-gallon lxtoc I spill off Mexico's coast from 1979 to 1980. Even by the lower end of the government's estimates, at least 71.7 million gallons are in the Gulf.
BP announced today that its costs from America's worst-ever oil spill have topped $3 billion, and that it's accelerating cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico after a lull during Hurricane Alex's storm surge. The price tag is up from a figure of $2.35 billion that BP announced late last month. With American financial markets closed for the 4th of July holiday, trading was light today on London markets, and BP's shares don't appear to have taken a hit after the company's announcement. In fact, BP's stock was up to 2.4% in early London trading.
New Orleans, which managed to escape the oil from the BP spill for more than two months, can't hide any longer. For the first time since the accident, oil from the ruptured well is seeping into giant Lake Pontchartrain, threatening another environmental disaster for the huge body of water that was rescued from pollution in 1990s to become, once more, a bountiful fishing ground and a popular spot for boating and swimming.
Technology News - July 1, 2010 -
Google announces it will buy online travel software company ITA Software for $700 million cash, a move the search giant hopes will boost its visibility in the highly competitive airfare market. Boston-based ITA specializes in organizing airline data, including flight times, availability and prices. Its data is used on a host of websites like Kayak, Orbitz, Expedia.com, TripAdvisor and Microsoft's) Bing, as well as a number of airlines' websites. Nearly half of airline tickets are now bought online, according to Google.
Apple Inc. said Friday (Jul 2) that it was "stunned" to find that its iPhones have for years been using a "totally wrong" formula to determine how many bars of signal strength they are getting. Apple said that's the reason behind widespread complaints from users that the latest model, iPhone 4, can show a sudden plunge in signal strength when they hold it in a way that covers a small black strip on one edge of the phone. Users online have jokingly called this the "death grip" for the phone. That drop seems exaggerated because the phone can wrongly display four or five bars of signal strength when it shouldn't, Apple said
Sports News - July 1, 2010 -
Passing - Don Coryell, the innovative coach whose Air Coryell offense produced some of the most dynamic passing attacks in NFL history, has died. He was 85. The San Diego Chargers confirmed Coryell died Thursday at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in suburban La Mesa. The team did not release the cause of death, but Coryell had been in poor health for some time.
NASCAR – Daytona – Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the lead on pit road under caution with 26 laps to go Friday night in the Nationwide race. Running a No. 3 Chevrolet with a Wrangler paint scheme to honor his father's induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Earnhardt brought his loyal fans to their feet for the final sprint to the checkered flag. Earnhardt raced to his first victory since 2008 on Friday night, driving a tribute car to his father in the Nationwide Series race. It was Earnhardt's first points win since his Sprint Cup Series victory at Michigan in 2008, and his first Nationwide win since Michigan in 2006.
Entertainment News July 1, 2010 -
"Ferris Bueller" actor Jeffrey Jones was charged Wednesday with failing to update his sex offender registration status, authorities said. Jones, 63, failed to update his information with California officials after his birthday in September, Los Angeles county district attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said. Jail records show he was arrested by Los Angeles police on June 23 and released after posting $20,000 bail.
According to Variety, Paul Reubens' beloved character, Pee-wee Herman, is slated for a return to the big screen with Judd Apatow set to produce. The new Pee-wee movie reportedly takes him on the road in "a gigantic adventure."
Mel Gibson’s breakup from Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva was supposed to be a quiet affair, but a confidential settlement and sealed court case haven't kept the former couple's troubles from hitting the spotlight. The latest flare-up began last week when Grigorieva apparently named Gibson in a child custody case, which is sealed and will likely remain out of the public domain. The seal hasn't kept the breakup out of headlines, though, continuing Gibson's streak in recent years of making news more for his personal life than his film career.
Andrew Garfield has been cast as Peter Parker in Sony's “Spider-Man” " reboot, the studio announced. It was one of the best-kept secrets in Hollywood.
Passing - British Novelist Dame Beryl Bainbridge died at the age of 75 after battling cancer. Liverpool-born Bainbridge was nominated for the Man Booker prize on five occasions and two-time winner of the Whitbread award for fiction. Her bestsellers include "An Awfully Big Adventure," "Master Georgie" and the "Dressmaker."
Liza on Home Shopping - Liza Minnelli joined HSN for two hours Wednesday to debut her new clothing line, The Liza Collection. Minnelli seemed to enjoy herself, chatting with callers, directing the models and informing viewers that her clothes don't need selling, "It sells you."
Hollywood socialite Paris Hilton was arrested after a World Cup match in South Africa Friday on suspicion of marijuana possession but subsequently released without charge. The 29-year old great-granddaughter of Hilton hotels founder Conrad Hilton and her friend Jennifer Rovero were taken into custody after the Brazil-Netherlands World Cup quarter-final game in the South African coastal city.
British singer and television personality Cheryl Cole has contracted malaria and is being treated in hospital, a spokesman said on Tuesday. The 27-year-old, best known as a member of the band Girls Aloud and a judge on "The X Factor" reality television series, had already canceled her work commitments for a week on the advice of doctors.
Lindsay Lohan gets sentenced to three months in jail and a rehab program after she violated the terms of her probation in a 2007 drug case. The actress immediately burst into tears after the ruling. Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel issued the sentence after listening to testimony from employees of a court-mandated alcohol treatment program.Lohan missed numerous classes — seven since last December — which led to the judge's harsh rebuke of Lohan moments after the former Disney star offered a tearful apology.
Levi Johnston acknowledges that he, indeed, told lies about Sarah Palin and her family after splitting with the former Alaska governor's daughter last year. The 20-year-old tells People magazine Tuesday that he "publicly said things that were not completely true," and "I owe it to the Palins to publicly apologize" for his "youthful indiscretion." Johnston said he was "unhappy and a little angry" after breaking up with his former fiance, 19-year-old Bristol Palin, after their son's birth in December 2008. He says that he said false things against his better judgment.
Music News - July 1, 2010 -
Rapper Lil Wayne, already serving one year in a New York jail for a gun-related crime, was sentenced on Wednesday to three years probation in Arizona on a drug possession charge. Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., was spared time in an Arizona jail under a plea deal stemming from his January 2008 arrest at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in the state. Under the deal, the 30-year-old Grammy winner pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a dangerous drug. Three other drug and weapons charges were dismissed.
Never Been Published - Elvis Presley archivists have found three rare photos dating back more than 50 years that show the young singer greeting fans at the Graceland gates. Negatives of the photos were discovered as archivists pored through a vast collection of documents from the office of Vernon Presley, Elvis' father. The office is a stop on the daily tour of Graceland, Elvis' Memphis estate.
Singer George Michael was arrested on suspicion of being unfit to drive Sunday in London. Police were called after a car had crashed into a building. Michael, 47, was behind the wheel, according to BBC News, and was taken to a north London police station.
Country Music Hall of Famer, Dolly Parton, celebrates the 25th anniversary of her Pigeon Forge,Tenn., theme park, Dollywood on the Hallmark Channel this weekend. Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus and Kenny Rogers appeared in the hour-long special -- "25 Years of Dollywood," on Saturday.
Glam pop singer Lady Gaga is on the brink of becoming the first living person to have 10 million fans on a single social networking site, having already overtaken U.S. President Barack Obama on Facebook, a British group that measures online popularity said on Friday. Famecount said Lady Gaga is already the most popular living musician online, according to her following on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. On Friday, the provocative "Bad Romance" and "Paparazzi" singer had more than 9.9 million Facebook fans and 4.7 million Twitter followers.
Lady Gaga’s exclusion from the best new artist category at this year's Grammys has caused the Recording Academy to change eligibility requirements for the next ceremony. Although Lady Gaga was the most popular new artist of 2009, she was ineligible for a best new artist nomination. Her hit "Just Dance" had been nominated in 2008, before she was a platinum-selling act, and previous Grammy nominees can't be nominated for best new artist. After Lady Gaga was excluded, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said: "There will be some changes so that particular situation won't repeat itself."
Television News - July 1, 2010 -
Hannah Montana’s fourth and final season is set to debut as “Hannah Montana Forever” begins Sunday, July 11. It still follows student-by-day, pop-star-by-night Miley Stewart but now, she and her dad and brother will relocate from their Malibu beach house to their new ranch. In addition, the upcoming season will welcome new guest stars including Sheryl Crow, Jay Leno and Kelly Ripa.
Top Movies - July 1, 2010
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (1st week $69 million)
The Last Airbender (1st week $40.65 million)
Toy Story 3
Knight and Day
The Karate Kid
Get Him To The Greek
Shrek Forever After
Top Pop Hits - July 1, 2010
California Gurls – Katy Perry fea. Snoop Dogg
OMG – Usher fea. will.i.am
Love The Way You Lie – Eminem fea. Rihanna
Billionaire – Travie McCoy fea. Bruno Mars
Airplanes – B.o.B. fea. Hayley Williams
Find Your Love – Drake
Your Love Is My Drug – Ke$ha
Cooler Than Me – Mike Posner
Ridin’ Solo – Jason Derulo
Alejandro – Lady Gaga
Break Your Heart – Taio Cruz fea. Ludacris
My First Kiss – 3OH!3 fea. Ke$ha
Bulletproof – La Roux
Hey, Soul Sister – Train
Can’t Be Tamed – Miley Cyrus
Nothin’ On You – B.o.B. fea. Bruno Mars
Impossible – Shontelle
Rock That Body – The Black Eyed Peas
I Like It – Enrique fea. Lil Wayne
Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
Round & Round – Selena Gomez & The Scene
No Love – Eminem fea. Lil Wayne
Your Love – Nicki Minaj
Somebody To Love – Justin Bieber
Top Video Games - July 1, 2010 -
Wii Sports (Wii)
Transformers: War for Cybertron (X360)
Red Dead Redemption (X360)
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
Transformers: War for Cybertron (PS3)
Wii Sports Resort (Wii)
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa (X360)
Wii Fit Plus
Just Dance (Wii)
Red Dead Redemption (PS3)
TV listings/TV Guide - July 1, 2010 -
Wednesday Night TV
8:00 to 9:00
FOX: 'So You Think You Can Dance' -- Two hours
PBS: 'David Suchet on the Orient Express: A Masterpiece Special'
NBC: 'Minute to Win It'*
DisneyXD: 'Aaron Stone' and 'Naruto: Shippuden'
ESPN2: 'World Cup Primetime' -- Two hours
HGTV: 'Property Virgins'
NatGeo WILD: 'Rebel Monkeys' -- Two episodes
Nick: 'SpongeBob SquarePants'
9:00 to 10:00
NBC: 'America's Got Talent'
BBC America: 'Come Dine With Me'*
Bravo: 'Top Chef'
DIY: 'House Crashers'
Green TV: 'The Fabulous Beekman Boys'
SyFy: 'Ghost Hunters Academy'**
Sundance: 'Man Shops Globe'
TLC: 'I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant'
Travel: 'Man v. Food'
10:00 to 11:00
A&E: 'Billy the Exterminator'
Animal Planet: 'Monster Inside Me'
BBC America: 'The Choir'*
Bravo: 'Work of Art: The Next Great Artist'
Comedy Central: 'Tosh.0' -- 10:30 start
DIY: 'Bath Crashers'
E!: 'Justin Beiber: My World'
Food Network: 'Dinner: Impossible'
Green TV: 'Gutted'
ID: 'The Shift'*
MTV: 'The Real World'
NatGeo: 'Locked Up Abroad'
Science Channel: 'Morgan Freeman's Through the Wormhole'
Showtime: 'Inside NASCAR'
TBS: 'Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns' -- Two episodes
TLC: 'Toddlers & Tiaras'
Travel: 'Bert the Conquerer'
truTV: 'Most Daring'
TV Land: 'Hot in Cleveland'
DIY: 'Yard Crashers'
Spike: 'Half Pint Brawlers'
And now the late night talk shows. Scheduled guests subject to change without notice.
'The Mo'Nique Show' (BET): R&B singers Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill, and Ralph Tresvant (repeat)
'The Daily Show' (Comedy Central): Author Daniel Okrent
'Charlie Rose' (PBS): David Mamet; Joan Rivers
'Chelsea Lately' (E!): Bryce Dallas Howard
'Lopez Tonight' (TBS): Bill Cosby; Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol; performance by Kid 'N Play (repeat)
'Late Show With David Letterman' (CBS): Sarah Jessica Parker; performance by the Black Keys (repeat)
'The Colbert Report' (Comedy): Steve Carell
'The Tonight Show' (NBC): Animal handler Dave Salmoni; performance by Big Boi
'Jimmy Kimmel Live' (ABC): Josh Brolin; actress Lizzy Caplan; performance by Broken Bells (repeat)
'Tavis Smiley' (PBS): U.S. Representative Henry Waxman; Robert David Hall
'The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson' (CBS): Holly Hunter; performance by The Hold Steady (repeat)
'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' (NBC): Ice Cube; performance by Stars (repeat)
'Last Call With Carson Daly' (NBC): astronaut Mike Massimino; performance by B.o.B (repeat)