Dateline: Week Of April 1, 2010 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
President Dmitry Medvedev made a surprise visit Thursday to the violence-wracked southern province of Dagestan, telling police and security forces to use tougher, "more cruel" measures to fight the "scum" responsible for terrorist attacks. Russia's security chief said some terror suspects had been detained. Twin suicide bombings in Moscow — which Islamic militants from the North Caucasus claim to have carried out — have refocused attention on the violence t hat for years has been confined to Russia's predominantly Muslim regions. The rush-hour attacks Monday on the Moscow subway killed 39 people and left nearly 90 hospitalized.
The small gang of Somali pirates fired on an approaching ship, hoping their midnight attack would bring them millions in ransom. The ragtag bandits, though, had taken on far more than they could handle: a U.S. warship.
The USS Nicholas, a guided missile frigate, was tracking the pirates when they opened fire early Thursday in Indian Ocean waters, the U.S. military said. The Nicholas, which saw combat in the first Gulf War, returned fire and disabled the skiff.
Facing a public still wary of his massive health care overhaul, President Barack Obama urged Americans not to judge the nearly $1 trillion legislation he signed into law last week until the reforms take hold. During an enthusiastic, campaign-style appearance in Maine's largest city, Obama mocked the pundits and pollsters who say he isn't getting a boost from his yearlong campaign to pass the sweeping health care bill.
President Barack Obama on Friday hailed a new government report showing the most jobs created in nearly three years. "We are beginning to turn the corner," he told employees of a manufacturing plant that received government stimulus money. Steps taken by the government "have broken this slide and are helping us to climb out of this recession," Obama said several hours after the Labor Department reported that businesses added 162,000 jobs to their payrolls in March.
Good Friday - In Rome, meanwhile, pilgrims arrived in St. Peter's Square as the church defends itself against accusations that Pope Benedict XVI played a role in covering up sex abuses cases. In Jerusalem, black-robed nuns filed past metal barriers erected by police as dozens of tourists in matching red baseball hats held up digital cameras. Some pilgrims carried elaborately carved crucifixes, while others had crude crosses made of two planks held together with tape.
The FBI is warning police across the country that an anti-government group's call to remove governors from office could provoke violence. The group called the Guardians of the free Republics wants to "restore America" by peacefully dismantling parts of the government, according to its Web site. It sent letters to governors demanding they leave office or be removed. Investigators do not see threats of violence in the group's message, but fear the broad call for removal of top state officials could lead others to act out violently. At least two states beefed up security in response.
He may be the world's foremost mixed-race leader, but when it came to the official government head count, President Barack Obama gave only one answer to the question about his ethnic background: African-American. The White House confirmed Friday that Obama did not check multiple boxes on his U.S. Census form, or choose the option that allows him to elaborate on his racial heritage. He ticked the box that says "Black, African Am., or Negro."
Earthquake - Roads were torn up, buildings cracked and electricity posts toppled after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake shook cities in northern Mexico and Southern California, but few casualties were reported. Mexican civil protection officials said at least one person died in a collapsed house in Mexicali, Mexico, a border city near the epicenter of Sunday's quake, and about 100 more were injured. Another person was killed in a car accident on a darkened street in Mexicali, which was almost entirely without power.
Trapped minders in China rescued - Rescuers paddled the rafts with their hands in the dark, flooded mine shaft, letting out air so the inflatable vessels could squeeze through tight passages. From deep in the tunnel came the call: "Can you get me out of here?"
Replied a rescuer: "Since we got in, we will definitely be able to take you out of here."And they did, pulling 115 miners to safety, their eighth day trapped in the northern China mine. Emergency teams were trying to reach 38 others still in the Wangjialing mine as of Monday night.
Another mining disaster… West Virginia - A huge underground explosion blamed on methane gas killed 25 miners in the worst U.S. coal mining disaster since 1984, and rescuers on Tuesday began a dangerous and possibly futile attempt to rescue four others still missing. Crews were bulldozing an access road so they could drill 1,000 feet into the earth to release gases and make it safe to try to find the missing miners. They were feared dead after the Monday afternoon blast at a mine with a history of violations for not properly ventilating highly combustible methane.
Toyota Motor Corp. faces a maximum penalty of more than $16 million, a record civil penalty against an automaker, for failing to promptly notify the U.S. government about defective gas pedals among its vehicles.
Toyota has recalled more than 6 million vehicles in the United States and more than 8 million worldwide because of acceleration problems in multiple models and braking shortcomings in the Prius hybrid.
Trouble in Baghdad - At least five bombs ripped through apartment buildings across Baghdad and another struck a market, killing 49 people and wounding more than 160, authorities said. Iraqi officials blamed al-Qaida in Iraq insurgents for the violence — the latest sign the country's fragile security is dissolving in the chaos of the unresolved election.
The Obama administration unveiled a new policy on Tuesday restricting U.S. use of nuclear weapons but sent a stern message to nuclear-defiant Iran and North Korea that they remain potential targets. Kicking off a hectic week for President Barack Obama's nuclear agenda, his aides rolled out a strategy review that renounced U.S. development of new atomic weapons and could herald further cuts in America's stockpile.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7 rattled the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Wednesday, shaking buildings, causing blackouts and prompting a tsunami warning that sent people rushing to higher ground. There were no immediate reports of injuries or widespread damage.
A mob of angry protesters on Wednesday beat up Kyrgyzstan's interior minister, who died shortly afterward, an opposition member said. Opposition activist Shamil Murat told The Associated Press that he saw the dead body of Minister Moldomusa Kongatiyev in a government building in the western town of Talas.
North Korea sentenced a Boston man to eight years of hard labor and ordered him to pay a $700,000 fine for crossing into the communist country illegally earlier this year, state media reported Wednesday. Aijalon Mahli Gomes, 30, was the fourth American detained by North Korea for illegal entry in less than a year. Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were held for five months before their release last August, and activist Robert Park was expelled some 40 days after crossing into the country last Christmas.
President Barack Obama's advisers plan to remove terms such as "Islamic radicalism" from a document outlining national security strategy and will use the new version to emphasize that the U.S. does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terrorism, counterterrorism officials say. The change would be a significant shift in the National Security Strategy, a document that previously outlined the Bush Doctrine of preventive war. It currently states, "The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century."
Business news - April 1, 2010 -
General Motors Co., steadily returning to health after its near-collapse in 2009, said Wednesday it plans to pay off its government loans by June — five years ahead of schedule — and could report a profit as early as this year. GM said it lost $3.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009 on revenues of $32.3 billion. But things are on the upswing. Sales and production have increased and GM has gained U.S. market share since the start of the year. The automaker will try to maintain that momentum while facing a stiff challenge from a revitalized Ford Motor Co.
Starbucks has a new kind of store – It’s Roy Street Coffee & Tea by Starbucks Corp and it’s the result of Chief Executive Howard Schultz directing his store designers to break the mold and build a neighborhood coffee house from scratch. The cafe is located in Seattle's eclectic Capitol Hill section, home to a vibrant gay community, grunge rockers, hipsters and mansion dwellers. It and the similarly edgy 15th Avenue Coffee & Tea, also in Starbucks' hometown, have been dubbed "idea incubators" by the now mass-market coffee chain and operate in one of the most competitive cafe scenes in the country.
Setting an airline trend? - Spirit Airlines will charge as much as $45 each way for a carry-on bag, adding a fee that bigger airlines have yet to try. The charge will apply to bags in the overhead bin. Personal items that fit under the seat will still be free. The new charge is $45 if paid at the gate, and $30 if paid in advance and begins Aug. 1. Spirit says a new fare reduction means most customers won't really pay more to fly. It says having fewer carry-on bags will help empty the plane faster. Spirit also charges to check luggage.
Sports News - April 1, 2010 -
Tennis icon Martina Navratilova is battling breast cancer. Navratilova told Access Hollywood Wednesday morning that she caught the cancer early and her prognosis is excellent. "I had a routine mammogram in January, then a month later, they said, 'No, we need a biopsy,' the next day -boom! February 24 was my 9/11," Navratilova told Access.
Tiger Woods walked onto the first tee Monday to awkward silence from about 500 fans who gradually warmed up to him as he began a practice round at the Masters with Fred Couples. "Welcome back, Tiger," came the occasional shout from the gallery. With stubble trying to form a goatee, Woods turned to acknowledge the fans with a nod and a smile — something he rarely did before a sex scandal made him the source of so much ridicule. It was his first time playing before a gallery since Nov. 15 at the Australian Masters and its sellout crowd in Melbourne, when Woods came from behind on the final day to win for the 82nd time in his career.
Technology News - April 1, 2010 -
While much of the iPad rhetoric centers around it jumpstarting the nascent tablet market, the iPad is already having a wide-ranging effect on businesses before it has even been officially released. Already, many major media companies are changing the very way they build Web sites to accommodate Apple's tablet. The iPad presents a problem for many media-centric sites because it does not display Adobe Flash, a platform that runs much of the animations and interactive elements on sites, not to mention being the platform for nearly three-quarters of the video on the Web.
Smartphones – What’s the real story? - A ChangeWave report indicates 30% of respondents said they would prefer to have a phone running Google's Android operating system — a five-fold increase from six months ago and up 9 points since December. Only 29% preferred Apple's iPhone OS X, up 1 point from December, and 13% wanted Research in Motion's BlackBerry OS, down 5 points. Demand for Microsoft's Windows Mobile and Palm's) Web OS remain in single digits.
Apple Inc. began selling its much-anticipated iPad on Saturday, drawing eager customers intent on being among the first owners of a tablet-style device that the company is hoping to convince more people they actually need. Some of these initial iPad buyers were drawn by the ability to read electronic books, watch video and run a myriad of useful or fun applications, including Scrabble.
Apple says it sold more than 300,000 iPads on the first day of sales, including pre-ordered deliveries, deliveries to channel partners and sales at Apple retail stores. Apple also said that iPad users downloaded more than 1 million apps from its App Store and over 250,000 e-books from its iBookstore on the first day. Apple's estimate was for the first day only, ending at midnight Saturday. It feels great to have the iPad launched into the world -- it's going to be a game changer," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. He said "iPad users, on average, downloaded more than three apps and close to one book within hours of unpacking their new iPad."
Users who rushed to snap up Apple's iPad are complaining within days of the slate computer's highly anticipated release that they're having trouble connecting it to the Internet. On Apple's technical support Web site, there were 11 pages of comments Tuesday morning on a post saying Wi-Fi connections were weak or kept cutting out. "Add me to the list with problems! I'm very disappointed that there's no solution either," one user wrote. "Does anyone think this can be fixed with an update, or should I just get a refund while there's time?"
Google acquires this interesting company - Episodic, a new video-hosting startup. On Friday afternoon, Episodic’s co-founders announced that Google had bought the company and will fold its employees into the GooglePlex in San Bruno. This clearly seems to be another milestone in Google's campaign to beef up YouTube's capabilities; Episodic specializes in streamlining certain aspects of video hosting, including managing the ads inserted into clips, credit-card administration for on-demand video watching, and instant analytics that let film producers gauge what's popular and what's not in real time.
The mother of a 16-year-old boy said she shut him out of his Facebook account after reading he had driven home at 95 mph one night because he was mad at a girl. His response: a harassment complaint at the local courthouse. "If I'm found guilty on this it is going to be open season" on parents, Denise New, the mother, said Wednesday. New, of Arkadelphia, Ark., said many of her son's postings didn't reflect well on him, so after he failed to log off Facebook one day last month, she posted her own items on his account and changed his password to keep him from using it again.
Entertainment News April 1, 2010 -
Janet Jackson guests with Oprah Winfrey and talks about her late brother- "One thing that sticks in my head is his laughter," Janet told Oprah, recalling fondly her late brother, who passed away last June at the age of 50 of acute Propofol intoxication. "And, the last time I saw him, which was two days before my birthday (which was on May 16), at my parents' surprise party, I was being silly, like I always did when we were kids... and he kept looking at me and just cracking up." Appearing on Friday's "Oprah," she was promoting her "Why Did I Get Married Too."
Actress and singer Jennifer Hudson took on a new role as a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers after slimming down since she gave birth more than seven months ago. The 28-year-old Hudson, who has appeared in a handful of movies since winning the best supporting actress Oscar for her debut film role in 2006's "Dreamgirls", says she dropped the weight in order to encourage a healthier lifestyle for her new son, David Jr. "No one recognizes me any more," she said on television show "Good Morning America.". "After I had the baby, I made up my mind that I wanted to go in a different direction and find a better lifestyle.
Passing - John Forsythe, the actor who made his fortune as TV's affable "Bachelor Father" and the scheming oil tycoon in "Dynasty," has died. He was 92. Publicist Harlan Boll says Forsythe died late Thursday from complications of pneumonia, following a yearlong battle with cancer in Santa Ynez. Despite his distinguished work in theater and films, Forsythe's greatest fame arose from his role of Blake Carrington in the 1981-89 primetime soap opera "Dynasty."
After seven seasons, CBS's hit sitcom "Two and a Half Men" will be down one man after the April 9 taping, sources told PEOPLE. The reason? "Charlie's just done," said a set source. "And he's quietly telling his friends he's not coming back." Although sources say the network hoped the star would sign a new contract for an eighth season, Sheen recently turned down the offer. "He wants to move on," said a friend of the actor, whose contract is fulfilled after he tapes this season's 22nd episode. "Leaving is 100 percent his idea."
Illness has led to a brief postponement of Whitney Houston’s European tour. The singer had been due to kick it off in Paris on Tuesday. But a statement released Monday by her representative says an upper respiratory infection is forcing Houston to bow out of that show on doctors' orders. The statement says Houston "deeply regrets having been forced to postpone the show." The tour will start in Manchester, England, on Thursday. She plans to make up the Paris date.
He’s back on Idol - Adam Lambert feels "honored" to be returning to the show that made him famous just one season ago. Lambert will mentor the Top 8 contestants on April 13. He tweeted, "Even though I'm just at the start of my recording career, I hope to lend some insight as one who's been thru the 'Idol' adventure. Excited!!!" Previous mentors this season include Miley Cyrus and Usher.
For the first time, Dancing With The Stars topped ratings American Idol, according to weekly Nielsen numbers. Come to think about it – it’s the first time a show – any show – has topped Idol in a while. For the week of March 29, ABC's Dancing's Monday installmentpulled in nearly 23 million viewers, making it the week's most-watched show. Although Idol's viewership slipped (21.8 million Tuesday and 20.5 million Wednesday), the show performed better than Dancing among the coveted 18-to-49 demographic. Dancing's historic peak likely can be attributed to the strength of this season's cast and the relative weakness of Idol's batch of singers. Pam Anderson, Buzz Aldrin and the continued obsession with Kate Gosselin is undoubtedly a better draw than the underwhelming group Idol has assembled.
Actors Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy ended their five-year relationship by announcing the split on their Twitter pages. The announcement surprised Hollywood insiders as the low-profile couple appeared to have a durable union, and Carrey passionately advocated a link between vaccines and autism, a neurological disease suffered by McCarthy's 7-year-old son.
A rap music smackdown looms in a federal courtroom between oft-troubled impresario Marion "Suge" Knight and controversial star Kanye West over a shooting at a star-studded Miami Beach party. Knight, founder of Death Row Records and promoter of some of rap's biggest acts, was shot in the right leg in August 2005 by a still-unknown assailant at the ultra-trendy Shore Club. West was hosting the party before the MTV Video Music Awards held that year in Miami. No one has ever been arrested, and like many other shootings in the rap world, police found few witnesses although the club was packed with partygoers, including celebrities Jessica Alba, Eddie Murphy, The Black Eyed Peas and Paris Hilton. At least six shots were fired, police said.
Top Pop Hits - April 1, 2010
Nothin’ On You – B.o.B. fea. Bruno Mars
Rude Boy – Rihanna
Telephone – Lady Gaga fea. Beyonce
Hey, Soul Sister – Train
Break Your Heart – Taio Cruz fea. Ludacris
Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
BedRock – Young Money fea. Lloyd
Baby – Justin Bieber fea. Ludacris
TiK Tok – Ke$ha
In My Head – Jason Derulo
Imma Be – The Black Eyed Peas
Say Aah – Trey Songz fea. Fabolous
Carry Out – Timbaland fea. Justin Timberlake
Breakeven – The Script
Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
All the Right Moves – OneRepublic
Blah Blah Blah – Ke$ha fea. 3OH!3
According To You – Orianthi
Whataya Want From Me – Adam Lambert
How Low – Ludacris
My Chick Bad – Ludacris fea. Nicki Manaj
Live Like We’re Dying – Kris Allen
When I Look At You – Miley Cyrus
Over – Drake
Say Something – Timbaland fea. Drake
Young Forever – Jay-Z + Mrs. Hudson
TV listings/TV Ratings - April 1, 2010
Monday night TV
At 8. ABC presents 'Dancing With the Stars,' followed by a new episode of 'Castle' at 10.
CBS has a rerun 'The Big Bang Theory' at 8, then a new episode of 'Rules of Engagement.' At 9, Duke and Butler battle it out in the NCAA Championship.
The CW has new episodes of 'Life Unexpected' at 8 and 'Gossip Girl' at 9.
FOX has a two-hour episode of '24.'
NBC goes with new episodes of 'Chuck' and 'Trauma' at 8 and 9 with a repeat of 'Law & Order' at 10.
The Weather Channel has two new episodes of 'Storm Stories' starting at 8.
A new episode of '10 Things I Hate About You' airs at 8 on ABC Family, followed by the movie 'Step Up.'
'Intervention' returns with a new episode at 9 on A&E, followed at 10 by the new series 'Runaway Squad.'
USA offers up another episode of 'WWE Monday Night Raw' at 9.
ESPN2 has the Giants vs. Astros at 7, followed by the Twins vs. Angels at 10.
FX has a new 'Damages' at 10.
A new 'Saving Grace' hits the airwaves at 10 on TNT.
TLC has new episodes of 'Little People, Big World' at 8 and 8:30 on TLC, followed by 'Ultimate Cake Off' at 9.
TBS offers two new episodes of 'Tyler Perry's House of Pain' at 10 and 10:30.
Cartoon Network airs the official premiere of 'Adventure Time with Finn and Jake' at 8.
'Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood' begins its fifth season (yes, I'm amazed as well) at 10 on OXYGEN.
At 8, TCM presents the classic 'Giant,' starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean.
Top Movies - April 1, 2010 –
Clash of the Titans (first week - $61.4 million in business)
Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too? (first week – $30.150 million in business)
How To Train Your Dragon
The Last Song
Alice in Wonderland
Hot Tub Time Machine
The Bounty Hunter
Diary of a Wimpy Kind
She’s Out Of My League