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Dateline: Week Of March 8, 2010 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts

In The News -

President Barack Obama accused insurance companies of placing profits over people and said Republicans ignored long-festering problems when they held power as he sought to build support Monday for swift passage of legislation stalled in Congress. "How much higher do premiums have to rise before we do something about it?" said Obama, making the first in an expected string of out-of-town trips to pitch his plan to remake the health care system.

A strong, pre-dawn earthquake knocked down stone and mud-brick houses, barns and minarets in eastern Turkey on Monday, killing 51 people in five villages, the government said. The earthquake surprised many residents as they slept, crumpling buildings into piles of rubble. Panicked survivors fled into narrow village streets, some climbing out of windows, as nearly 80 aftershocks measuring up to 5.5 and 5.3 magnitude rattled the region.

Nigeria - Killers didn't spare women and children, or even a 4-day-old baby, from their machetes. On Monday, women wailed in the streets as a dump truck carried dozens of bodies past burned-out homes toward a mass grave. Rubber-gloved workers pulled ever-smaller bodies from the dump truck and tossed them into the mass grave. A crowd began singing a hymn with the refrain, "Jesus said I am the way to heaven." As the grave filled, the grieving crowd sang: "Jesus, show me the way." At least 200 people, most of them Christians, were slaughtered.

A New Hampshire woman certified as the oldest person living in the United States has died. Mary Josephine Ray died Sunday at a Westmoreland nursing home at 114 years and 294 days old. Katherine Ray said Monday that her grandmother remained spry until about two weeks before her death.

California Republican state Sen. Roy Ashburn says he is gay, ending days of speculation that began after his arrest last week for investigation of driving under the influence.Ashburn, who consistently voted against gay rights measures during his 14 years in statewide office, came out in an interview with KERN radio in Bakersfield, the area he represents. Ashburn said he felt compelled to address rumors that he had visited a gay nightclub near Sacramento before his DUI arrest. "I am gay ... those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long," Ashburn told conservative talkshow host Inga Barks.

Job openings rose sharply earlier this year, a sign that employers might be preparing to step up hiring. The number of openings in January rose about 7.6 percent, to 2.7 million, compared with December, the Labor Department said. And the job openings rate climbed to 2.1 percent, the highest in nearly a year. That rate measures available jobs as a percentage of total employment.

For Shame Jihad Jane - She’s a Pennsylvania woman charged with joining a group overseas that sources said planned to kill a Swedish cartoonist whose drawings of the Prophet Muhammed provoked worldwide outrage. A federal indictment unveiled Tuesday alleges that Colleen LaRose, 46, of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, called herself "Jihad Jane" and was also known as Fatima Larose. It says she agreed to kill a Swede on orders from unnamed terrorists and traveled to Europe to carry out the killing. LaRose was charged with four counts, including conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, making false statements to a government official, and attempted identity theft.

The strongest aftershock since Chile's devastating earthquake rocked the South American country just as President Sebastian Pinera was sworn into office.

In his first presidential act, Pinera ordered coastal residents to move to higher ground, while evacuating Congress. The 7.2-magnitude aftershock was stronger than the quake that destroyed the Haitian capital on Jan. 12.

Kansas City's school superintendent said the plan to shutter nearly half the district's schools, while "painful," will move forward quickly so that all the closures will be complete by fall. The school board narrowly approved the plan Wednesday night to close 29 of the district's 61 schools to try to stave off bankruptcy. The closures have angered many parents, students and teachers, but administrators say they had no choice because without them, the district would have been in the red by 2011.

A federal appeals court in San Francisco upheld the use of the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust" on U.S. currency, rejecting arguments on Thursday that the phrases violate the separation of church and state. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected two legal challenges by Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow, who claimed the references to God disrespect his religious beliefs. "The Pledge is constitutional," Judge Carlos Bea wrote for the majority in the 2-1 ruling. "The Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our Republic was founded."

Authorities say one person was killed in the tornadoes that struck parts of Arkansas. Cleburne County Sheriff Marty Moss said Thursday that one person died, but he declined to identify the victim or provide more details. Officials have said that four people were injured in the tornadoes Wednesday night and three of them had major injuries. Moss would not say whether it was one of those four who later died.

harry reid car wife accident march 2010I. Reid's wife, Landra, 69, broke her back and neck in the accident, Reid spokesman Jim Manley said.

Retail sales posted a surprising increase in February as consumers did not let major snowstorms stop them from storming the malls. The advance, the biggest since November, provided hope that the recovery is gaining momentum. The Commerce Department said that retail sales rose 0.3 percent in February, surpassing expectations that sales would decline by 0.2 percent.

President Barack Obama plans to donate the $1.4 million from his Nobel Peace Prize to helping students, veterans' families and survivors of Haiti's earthquake, among others, drawing attention to organizations he said "do extraordinary work." Obama is giving a total of $750,000 to six groups that help kids go to college. Fisher's House, which provides housing for families with loved ones at Veterans Administration hospitals, will receive $250,000, the White House said Thursday. And the Bush-Clinton Haiti Fund, for which two former presidents are raising money to rebuild earthquake-ravaged Haiti, will receive $200,000.

Government Reaches Further Into Your Pocket - Vertex, a company that calculates sales tax for Internet sellers, reports that the average general sales tax rate nationwide reached 8.629% at the end of 2009, the highest since the company started tracking data in 1982. That was up a nickel on a taxable $100 purchase from a year earlier and up nearly 40 cents for the decade.

Actor Corey Haim, 38, was pronounced dead at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Calif., Wednesday morning after an apparent overdose, police said. The Canadian-born Haim found fame in the 1987 when he co-starred in numerous films with actor Corey Feldman, including "The Lost Boys."

Sports News – March 8, 2010 -

Carl Edwards has been placed on three weeks' probation by NASCAR for intentionally wrecking Brad Keselowski’s car during last weekend's race at Atlanta. NASCAR president Mike Helton said Tuesday there are two separate issues: the wreck itself, and the fact that Keselowski's car went airborne.

Sports passing - Willie Davis, a speedy center fielder who collected two World Series rings, three Gold Gloves and was a two-time All-Star during his 14 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers dies. He was 69. "He was beloved by generations of Dodger fans and remains one of the most talented players ever to wear the Dodger uniform. Having spent time with him over the past six years, I know how proud he was to have been a Dodger. He will surely be missed and our sincere thoughts are with his children during this difficult time," Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said in a statement.

merlin olsen dies march 2010Another sports passing - Pro Football Hall of Famer and former television actor Merlin Olsen has died. He was 69. Olsen was an All-American at Utah State and a first-round draft pick of the Los Angles Rams in 1962. He was part of the Rams' "Fearsome Foursome" defensive line, which set an NFL record for the fewest yards allowed during a 14-game season in 1968. Olsen is still the Rams' all-time leader in career tackles with 915. Olsen was later hired as a sports announcer by NBC, then moved on to acting with roles in "Little House on the Prairie" and later his own series, "Father Murphy," which ran from 1981 to 1983. Olsen, who was well-liked by those who knew him, was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year.

Top NASCAR - #1 is Jimmie Johnson followed by Kevin Harvick. Then in order –

Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Mark Martin, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Juan Pablo Montoya, Paul Menard, Scott Speed.

CBS announces that it will provide 3-D coverage of the NCAA Final Four to 100 movie theaters nationwide in a move to bring this new form of sports broadcast to the masses.

Entertainment News Mary 8, 2010 -

Brooke Burke has been named the new co-host of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." Host Tom Bergeron announced that Brooke would take over for Samantha on "Good Morning America." She has previously hosted "Rock Star: INXS," "Rock Star: Supernova," TV Land's "She's Got the Look," and E!'s "Wild On." As an actress she has made appearances on "Less than Perfect," "Las Vegas," "The Bernie Mac Show," the new "Melrose Place" and "Monk."

lil wayne sentenced march 2010Rapper Jailed - Lil Wayne gets sentenced to a year in jail in New York City for having a loaded gun on his tour bus in 2007, then was taken away in handcuffs to begin his term immediately. The Grammy Award-winning rapper, born Dwayne Carter, was sentenced in Manhattan after pleading guilty in October to attempted criminal possession of a weapon. He admitted having the loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic gun on his tour bus.

Another rapper jailed - Authorities in Arizona say rapper DMX has been arrested for allegedly violating his probation by using drugs. DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, had served about half of his 18-month supervised probation when he was booked Tuesday night into the downtown Phoenix jail. The rapper was released from jail in May after serving a 90-day sentence for felony convictions including cruelty to animals, theft and two drug counts.

Lindsey Lohan has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit over an ad which allegedly used her name and parodied her life for profit. The "Mean Girls" actress is seeking $100 million in damages and compensation over the commercial for financial firm E-Trade, which depicts a baby girl called Lindsay as a boyfriend stealer and a "milkaholic", reports the New York Post.

Appearing on Monday's “Tonight Show,” Simon Cowell admitted that he still pines for his former "Idol" colleague -- and predicts they'll eventually be reunited. "I talk to her all the time. I miss Paula," Cowell told Leno. "She was great fun and it is a different show without her. But you know, something will happen with me and her at some point."

betty white news march 2010Betty on Saturday Night Live - The latest chapter has Betty White confirming, on the record, that she will in fact be appearing on the NBC late-night series. "Yes," the nearly 90-year-old legend told People magazine Sunday night, while attending the Elton John Oscar bash. This after thousands blogged about her appearance in a Super Bowl commercial – and said they wanted to see her on SNL. Look for her in May.

“Love Never Dies” – the sequel to Lloyd Webber's global hit "Phantom of the Opera" debuts in London "Phantom" is a tale of gothic romance set in the Paris Opera that has been seen by 100 million people around the world since it opened in 1986. It is still playing in London and New York, where it is the longest running show in Broadway history. "Love Never Dies" picks up the story 10 years on, with disfigured genius the Phantom relocated to the bright lights of New York's Coney Island and still besotted with beautiful soprano Christine Daae.

conan obrien on tour march 2010Conan O’Brien has announced a 30-city theater tour. Joining him - sidekick Andy Richter and Conan’s TV band. Conan promises to be "a night of music, comedy, hugging and the occasional awkward silence." The "Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour" begins April 12 in Eugene, Ore., and concludes June 14 in Atlanta. O'Brien is set to appear at Phoenix's Dodge Theatre April 30. The tour will visit theaters in at least 20 states and two Canadian provinces.

Three women who claimed to have slept with Tiger Woods: Jamie Jungers, Jaimee Grubbs and Loredana Jolie, competed on Howard Stern’s “Tiger Woods Mistress Beauty Pageant” on his satellite radio show. Las Vegas cocktail waitress Jamie Jungers won the pageant - plus $75,000 and a diamond ring - with the story of her relationship with the golfer. According to Jamie, the two carried out an 18-month affair, which began when she met him at Lite at the Bellagio. They slept together the first night -- and he didn't use a condom. She offered further lurid details, claiming that the two had rough sex, including hair-pulling, spanking and anal sex.

Pop Superstar Madonna and Iconix Brand Group unveil a joint venture to launch fashion brands globally, starting with a juniors collection to be sold at Macy's department stores this August. The company, MG Icon, will be 50 percent owned by Iconix and 50 percent by the pop songstress and Guy Oseary, her manager, and it will hold a license to use the singer's name for apparel, footwear and other products. A fast-fashion juniors collection, aptly called "Material Girl" after Madonna’s nickname early in her career when she scored hit songs such as "Lucky Star," will be launched in about 200 Macy's stores and online in time for back-to-school shopping in the United States.

A Georgia man who posted a video of himself on the Internet holding a sign that said “Elton John” must die" has been arrested for making terroristic threats. Neal Horsley, 65, was arrested in Carrollton, about 50 miles west of Atlanta, said Atlanta Police Sgt. In the video posted Feb. 28 on YouTube, Horsley held the sign in front of a building where he said John has a condo. John's publicist, Fran Curtis, confirmed that John has an Atlanta apartment but declined further comment.

jerry seinfeld marrage ref news march 2010 Thursday - You don't see much of Jerry Seinfeld on his own new NBC show, "The Marriage Ref," which he lets someone else host. But the 55-year-old comedian co-hosted “Live” with Kelly Rippa. Guest was Donald Trump.

Leno Ratings - The Nielsen Co. says Jay Leno averaged 5.6 million viewers last week, his first back at NBC's "The Tonight Show” following his ill-fated prime time show. Letterman had 3.7 million at CBS. Leno took advantage of curiosity over his return and a strong lineup of guests, including Olympic stars and Sarah Palin. It was a half-million more than he averaged his last season at "Tonight." But the second week finds the late-night contenders at a close race - with Leno averaging 4.3 million viewers and Letterman at 4 million.

Passing - Peter Graves, best known for his portrayal of Jim Phelps, leader of a gang of special agents who battled evil conspirators in the long-running television series "Mission Impossible," has died. Graves died of an apparent heart attack outside his Los Angeles home, about a week shy of his 84th birthday, publicist Sandy Brokaw said. He had just returned from brunch with his wife and kids and collapsed before he made it into the house, Brokaw said. One of his daughters administered CPR but was unable to revive him. Graves' family doctor visited the house and believed he had a heart attack, Brokaw said.

TV listings/TV Guide - March 8, 2010 -

Thursday night

At 8, CBS has a new 'Survivor,' followed by new episodes of 'CSI' and 'The Mentalist.'

NBC has a new 'Community' at 8, then new episodes of 'Parks and Recreation,' 'The Office,' '30 Rock,' and 'The Marriage Ref.'

FOX has new episodes of 'American Idol' and 'Kitchen Nightmares.'

History Channel has a new 'Modern Marvels' at 8, followed by a new 'Food Tech.'

At 9, ABC has a new 'Grey's Anatomy.'

There's a new 'Real Housewives of Orange County' at 9, then a new 'Real Housewives of New York City.'

At 10, Lifetime has a new 'Project Runway.'

FX has a new 'Archer' at 10.

Comedy Central has a new 'Important Things with Demetri Martin' at 10, followed by a new 'Sarah Silverman Program.'

Food Network has a new 'Ace of Cakes' at 10.

Also at 10: Current has a new 'InfoMania,' followed by a new 'Rotten Tomatoes Show.'

Top Pop Hits - Week Of March 8, 2010 -

Break Your Heart – Taio Cruz fea. Ludacris

Rude Boy – Rihanna

Bedrock – Young Money fea. Lloyd

Imma Me – The Black Eyed Peas

Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

Hey, Soul Sister – Train

Tic Tok – Ke$ha

In My Head – Jason DeRulo

ludcacris music march 2010How Low – Ludacris

Sey Aah – Trey Songz fea. Fabolous

Telephone – Lady Gaga fea. Beyonce

Baby – Justin Bieber fea. Ludacris

Carry Out – Timbaland fea. Justin Timberlake

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

According To You – Orianthi

Sexy Chick – Dave Guetta fea. Akon

Breakeven – The Script

Live Like We’re Dying – Kris Allen

All The Right Moves – OneRepublic

Never Let You Go – Justin Bieber

Tie Me Down – New Boyz fea. Ray J.

Replay – Iyaz

Top Movies - March 8, 2010 -

Alice In Wonderland

Green Zone

She’s Out of My League

Remember Me

Shutter Island

Our Family Wedding


Brooklyn’s Finest

Cop Out

The Crazies

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