Dateline: Week Of June 15, 2010 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
Oklahoma Flooding - Record-busting rainfall in Oklahoma led to a day of rescues from swift floodwaters, but officials and residents acknowledged the outcome could have been far worse. No one had to be hospitalized Monday, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. There was just one unconfirmed report of a death, in Lawton on Monday night. Stranded motorists climbed trees and waited for rescuers, including one crew whose boat sank and had to be saved themselves.
Police have arrested 178 people in Europe and the United States suspected of cloning credit cards in an international scam worth over 20 million euros, Spanish police said on Tuesday. Police in fourteen countries participated a two-year investigation, initiated in Spain where police have discovered 120,000 stolen credit card numbers and 5,000 cloned cards, arrested 76 people and dismantled six cloning labs.
Dedicating new urgency to the Gulf oil spill, President Barack Obama accused BP of "recklessness" in the first Oval Office address of his presidency Tuesday and swore not to rest until the company has paid for the damage it has caused to lives, businesses and shorelines. He announced that he had asked former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan in concert with local states, communities, fishermen, conservationists and residents "as soon as possible." "BP will pay for the impact this spill has had on the region," declared Obama before a prime-time television audience. A poll indicates 52% don’t like the way Obama is handling the disaster.
Israel agreed on to ease its land blockade on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, hoping to quell growing international criticism following a deadly sea raid. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office released few details about the changes in its three-year-old blockade, and it was not clear whether any firm decisions had been made. The only item singled out in its statement was a plan to allow in desperately needed construction materials for civilian projects, but only under international supervision.
Afghanistan's untapped mineral wealth is worth at least $3 trillion — triple a U.S. estimate, according to the government's top mining official, who is going to Britain next week to attract investors to mine one of the world's largest iron ore deposits in the war-torn nation. Geologists have known for decades that Afghanistan has vast deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and other prized minerals, but a U.S. Department of Defense briefing this week put a startling, nearly $1 trillion price tag on the reserves. Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani said Thursday that he's seen geological assessments and industry estimates that the minerals are worth at least $3 trillion.
The number of people filing new claims for jobless benefits jumped last week after three straight declines, another sign that the pace of layoffs has not slowed. Initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 472,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the highest level in a month and overshadowed a report that consumer prices remain essentially flat.
The Justice Department announced Thursday that investigators have made nearly 500 arrests since March in a major crackdown on mortgage fraud. The nationwide initiative called Operation Stolen Dreams is the largest collective enforcement effort aimed at confronting the problem of mortgage fraud, Attorney General Eric Holder told a news conference. It involves 1,215 criminal defendants in cases that uncovered more than $2.3 billion in losses.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the first prostate cancer chemotherapy drug found to extend the survival of men who are no longer being helped by other treatments. The drug is Jevtana and it is made by Sanofi-Aventis of France. The FDA approved Jevtana to treat prostate cancer that does not respond to hormone-deprivation treatments or to docetaxel, the cancer drug most commonly used to fight prostate tumors. Earlier this year, a study showed Jevtana prolonged survival for those patients by 10 weeks.
Death row inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner died in a barrage of bullets early Friday as Utah carried out its first firing squad execution in 14 years. Shortly before the shooting, Gardner was strapped into a chair and a team of five marksmen aimed their guns at a white target pinned to his chest. He was pronounced dead at 12:20 a.m.
Utah adopted lethal injection as the default execution method in 2004, but Gardner was one still allowed to choose the controversial firing squad option because he was sentenced before the law changed. He told his lawyer he did it.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Thursday she's angry over comments by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that the Obama administration will sue the state over its new immigration law. In a June 8 media interview in Ecuador that began circulating Thursday in the U.S., Clinton said President Barack Obama thinks the federal government should determine immigration policy and that the Justice Department "will be bringing a lawsuit against the act." Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler on Thursday declined to say whether the department would sue and that "the department continues to review the law."
The Obama administration has decided to file suit to block a new Arizona law aimed at deporting illegal immigrants, thrusting itself into the fierce national debate over how the United States enforces immigration policies. The move is a rare instance of the federal government forcefully intervening in a state’s affairs, and it carries significant political risks. With immigration continuing to be a hot-button issue in political campaigns across the country, the Arizona law, which gives local police greater power to check the legal status of people they stop, has become a rallying point for the Tea Party and other conservative groups.
Weekly radio and Internet - President Barack Obama accused Republicans on Saturday of blocking legislation that would boost the nation's economic recovery and lift a $75 million cap on what oil companies must pay to families and small businesses affected by an oil spill. Obama said the stalled Senate bill would extend unemployment benefits to workers without jobs and a tax credit for first-time homebuyers. He also said the legislation would save thousands of jobs across the country. "Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in the Senate won't even allow this legislation to come up for a vote," the president said. “And if this obstruction continues, unemployed Americans will see their benefits stop. Teachers and firefighters will lose their jobs. Families will pay more for their first home."
China money - China's yuan surged the most since its revaluation in 2005, sending a clear signal ahead of this weekend's G20 summit that Beijing is sticking to its word of allowing greater currency flexibility. The central bank has maintained the peg since the middle of 2008, a controversial policy aimed at steadying the world's fastest-growing major economy during the global economic downturn. But the central bank stepped aside on Monday to back up its surprise weekend announcement that it would allow greater flexibility for the yuan, buying some time against Western critics who argue the currency is undervalued and gives China an unfair advantage in world trade. By late Monday, the yuan was trading at about 6.8012 to the U.S. dollar in the spot market, strengthening from 6.8272 on Friday.
Iran said Monday it has banned two U.N. nuclear inspectors from entering the country because they disclosed to the media the contents of a "false" report on the country’s disputed nuclear program before the U.N. nuclear watchdog reviewed it. The ban is the latest twist in Iran's deepening tussle with the Vienna-based IAEA and the West over its nuclear program. The United States and Israel say Iran's program is geared toward making nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge, insisting that it is for peaceful purposes only.
Montana Tornado - National Guard Troops and local police were keeping a close eye on damaged property after a tornado barreled through two Billings neighborhoods, tearing the roof off a sports arena and several buildings. The tornado struck at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday, running through Main Street and damaging about 10 small businesses in the city's northeast area before quickly moving toward the 10,000-seat Rimrock Auto Arena about a half-mile away. The twister hovered for about 15 minutes over the arena, which often hosts concerts and rodeos but was mostly empty Sunday afternoon.
Abnormally high radiation levels were detected near the border between the two Koreas days after North Korea claimed to have mastered a complex technology key to manufacturing a hydrogen bomb, Seoul said Monday. The Science Ministry said its investigation ruled out a nuclear test by North Korea, but failed to determine the source of the radiation. It said there was no evidence of an earthquake, which follows an atomic explosion.
The Supreme Court has upheld a federal law that bars "material support" to foreign terrorist organizations, rejecting a free speech challenge from humanitarian aid groups. The court ruled 6-3 Monday that the government may prohibit all forms of aid to designated terrorist groups, even if the support consists of training and advice about entirely peaceful and legal activities.
Calling himself a "Muslim soldier," a defiant Pakistan-born U.S. citizen pleaded guilty Monday to carrying out the failed Times Square car bombing, saying his attack was the answer to "the U.S. terrorizing ... Muslim people." Wearing a white skull cap, Faisal Shahzad entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Manhattan just days after a federal grand jury indicted him on 10 terrorism and weapons counts, some of which carried mandatory life prison sentences. He pleaded guilty to them all.
SpahettiO’s Recalled - A notice has been announced by the USDA. Campbell Soup Company has announced that it will recall 15 million pounds of SpaghettiOs. Apparently, a cooker malfunctioned at one of the Campbell plants in Paris, Texas leaving the product under-processed, which has prompted the recall.
Gulf Oil Spill News Update - June 15, 2010 -
BP won permission to start burning oil and gas piped up from its broken seafloor well as part of a pledge to more than triple how much crude it stops from spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. Federal authorities gave permission late Monday for BP PLC to use a new method that involves pumping oil from the busted wellhead to a special ship on the surface, were it would be burned off rather than collected. The British oil giant announced Monday it hopes to trap as much as roughly 2.2 million gallons of oil daily by the end of June as it deploys additional containment equipment, including the flaring system.
As efforts to contain the 114 million gallons of Gulf oil dragged on with only partial success, BP has ordered 32 centrifuge machines from Ocean Therapy Solutions, a company backed by actor Kevin Costner. The centrifuges, which weigh in at about 4,000 pounds each, suck in oil and water and spin them at high speeds. Because they have different densities, the fluids are separated, the oil is trapped, and clean salt water is released back into the ocean.
BP will set up a $20 billion escrow fund to pay claims for damages following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, administration officials said Wednesday.
A day after telling the nation he would make BP "pay for the damage their company has caused," President Barack Obama met with the company's top executives at the White House — and news of the agreement emerged shortly afterward.
As BP reported progress in drilling the first of two relief wells to plug the massive Gulf of Mexico leak, lawmakers in Washington on Friday expressed concern the oil giant was "stiffing" victims who filed damage claims.
BP has spent $2 billion in two months of fighting its Gulf of Mexico oil spill and compensating victims, with no end in sight to the disaster or the price tag
Sports News - June 15, 2010 –
Looks like the NBA championship will go to game 7 as the Lakers beat the Celtics in game 6 – 89-67.
The Los Angeles Lakers best the Boston Celtics in game 7 – 83-79! But - the Los Angeles Lakers victory in the NBA championships ended on a sour note as Los Angeles Police Department officers clashed with rowdy fans. The LAPD brought large numbers of officers into the Staples Center area hoping to avoid a repeat of last year's looting and violence. But fans went on a rampage in some parts of downtown L.A., throwing rocks, shattering windows, rocking cars and setting fire to at least one vehicle and several other objects.
Boston Hot Streak - Completing a three-game sweep against the Dodgers - The Red Sox have won six in a row, finishing their interleague homestand with an 8-1 record and improving to 16-4 in their past 20 games against NL teams.
Tiger Cold - Tiger Woods has now thrown away chances to win five of the past six majors, the latest coming Sunday after a disastrous closing 4-over-par 75 at the 110th United States Open.
Technology News - June 15, 2010 -
People trying to pre-order Apple’s new iPhone 4 are running into one problem after another with AT&T’s online ordering system. Numerous reports say AT&T's website is responding with messages about a "system error that prevents us from completing your request."
Google recently announced a new feature found in YouTube's TestLabs. The YouTube Video Editor is a trial feature that will allow YouTube video creators to edit their videos online without any additional software. In its initial form, the video editor allows users to do the following: combine multiple videos to create a new longer video; trim the beginning and/or ending of videos; add soundtracks from YouTube's AudioSwap library; and create new videos online with no uploading required.
Entertainment News - June 15, 2010 -
Jackie Chan says his serious role in "The Karate Kid" was a pleasant break from his usual action-comedy parts. Chan's turn as the stern Mr. Han, the Mr. Miyagi character in the remake of the '80s hit, has won praise from reviewers. He told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday that such parts are rarely offered to him in the U.S., where audiences are more used to seeing him in jokey, lighthearted roles in films such as the "Rush Hour" series. "I'm very happy to take on a different role. It's not just a comedy, but a serious role," Chan said.
To celebrate O, The Oprah Magazine’s 10th anniversary, the Queen of Daytime TV has handed out an iPad and $10,000 to each member of her magazine's staff. On Wednesday, a spokesman for the mag said, "As a thank you for their hard work and dedication, Oprah Winfrey surprised the staff of O, The Oprah Magazine with an Apple iPad and a check for $10,000, to commemorate the magazine's 10th anniversary."
Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart married in a secret ceremony this week. The pair have been dating since 2002, after meeting at that year’s Golden Globe Awards when Calista spilt her glass of wine on the actor. They got engaged on Valentine’s Day last year, but Calista has not been wearing a ring and both stars have repeatedly refused to discuss their wedding plans.
No Regret Is His Middle Name - Perez Hilton appeared on The Joy Behar Show and said he had no regrets about posting an upskirt photo of 17-year-old Miley Cyrus.
Snoop Dogg banned again by Dutch officials. The rapper is forbidden to perform at a Dutch Music Festival by the local town mayor. This is the second time Snoop Dogg has been denied from attending musical festivities in the United Kingdom. This is not the first time Snoop has been denied access to another country. In 2006, he was denied entry into the U.K. after he was arrested following an angry dispute at London's Heathrow Airport.
Passing - Ronald Neame (neem), who produced and co-wrote acclaimed British films like "Great Expectations," saw Hollywood success as director of "The Poseidon Adventure" and was nominated for three Oscars, has died. He was 99. Neame's wife Donna said her husband died in a Los Angeles hospital, about six weeks after being injured in a fall.
"Harry Potter" stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright, and many others hit Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., for the grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Miley Cyrus discussed her "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" performance on ABC's "Good Morning America" with Bret Michaels, Friday morning. "[Bret] still makes albums that he loves and is proud of and he has those kind of fans like my dad has, like I hope I have one day, those ones that have been there for 30 years and still try to go to every show," Miley said. "He's the greatest guy."Though Bret's been in the news for his health woes recently, Miley - who recorded the track "Nothin' To Lose" with him before he got sick - said she was proud to not be a fair-weather fan.
Lady Gaga - the outlandish pop singer, talked her way past security and visited the Yankees clubhouse after the team lost to the New York Mets on Friday night. The New York Post reported Sunday that Yankees co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner was upset with Lady Gaga's antics and permanently barred her from the locker room. While in the clubhouse, she reportedly drank whiskey while wearing a bikini bottom and a pinstriped jersey that was unbuttoned to reveal her bra. Several Yankees, including Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriquez and visited with her.
Music passing - Garry Shider, the longtime musical director of Parliament-Funkadelic whose funky guitar work, songwriting skills and musical arrangements thrilled fans around the globe and earned him a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has died. He was 56.
Top Pop Hits - June 15, 2010 -
Airplanes- B.o.B. fea. Hayey Williams
California Girls – Kate Perry fea. Snoop Dogg
Alejandro – Lady Gaga
Bilionaire – Travie McCoy fea. Bruno Mars
Break Your Heart – Taio Cruz fea. Ludacris
Your Love Is My Drug – Ke$ha
Not Afraid – Eminem
Find Your Love – Drake
Rock That Body – The Black Eyed Peas
Hey, Soul Sister - Train
Nothin’ On You – B.o.B. fea. Bruno Mars
Cooler Than Me – Mike Posner
Bulletproof – La Roux
Young Forever – Jay-Z + Mr. Hudson
Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
Rude Boy – Rihanna
My First Kiss – 3OH!3 fea. Ke$ha
In My Head – Jason Derulo
Breakeven – The Script
Ridin’ Solo – Jason Derulo
Undo It – Carrie Underwood
Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready) – Alicia Keys
Can’t Be Tamed – Miley Cyrus
Your Love – Nicki Minaj
All I Do Is Win – DJ Khaled fea. T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg & Rick Ross
The House That Built Me – Miranda Lambert
Haven’t Met You Yet – Michael Buble
Top Video Games June 15, 2010 –
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
Red Dead Redemption (X360) (PS3)
UFC Undisputed 2010 (X360) (PS3)
New Super Mario Bros. (Wii)
Alpha Protocal (X360)
Wii Sports Resort
Wii Fit Plus
Alpha Protocol (PS3)
Top Movies - June 15, 2010 –
Toy Story 3 (1st week - $109 million 4028 screens)
The Karate Kid
Get Him to the Greek
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Iron Man 2