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Dateline: Week Of March 1, 2010 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts

In The News -

Ice broke through the ceiling of an atrium at the Sony Building in New York City, showering glass over partygoers who scurried to avoid it and leaving 10 with minor injuries, authorities and a witness said. Ice left by last week's storms fell from the 32nd floor of the building on Madison Avenue in Manhattan late Saturday night, shattering two 3- by 5-foot (1- by 1.5-meter)glass panels in the lobby, said Buildings Department spokesman Tony Sclafani.

President Barack Obama has the votes in the House of Representatives to force his flagship reform of US healthcare through without Republican support, House speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday. Pelosi, in an interview with ABC television's "This Week" program, said Democrats would succeed in passing a bill despite concerted Republican efforts to derail Obama's top domestic priority ahead of crucial mid-term elections.

Chile's government scrambled on Monday to provide aid to thousands of homeless in coastal towns devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunamis as 10,000 troops moved into stricken areas to quell looting. The government sharply raised the death toll to 711 from Saturday's 8.8-magnitude quake as harrowing scenes of destruction emerged in isolated towns swamped by the giant waves that were triggered by one of the strongest earthquakes in a century.

Rescuers found signs of life in a quake-toppled building as the world offered aid to victims of a catastrophe that killed more than 700 people. Troops and police cracking down on looters arrested dozens of people for violating a curfew. "We are confronting an emergency without parallel in Chile's history," Bachelet declared Sunday, a day after the magnitude-8.8 quake — one of the biggest in centuries — killed at least 708 people and destroyed or badly damaged 500,000 homes.

A public gym has been transformed into a makeshift morgue here after a surging tsunami devastated Constitucion - a picturesque Chilean coastal town, leaving hundreds of people missing and a fishing boat in the middle of a public square. As many as 350 people are believed to have to have died in Constitucion alone.

Thousands of firefighters and other rescue workers searched house by house Monday along France's devastated Atlantic coast, trying to help those still stranded by a storm that smashed sea walls and killed at least 62 people across western Europe. The storm, called Xynthia, blew into France early Sunday with hurricane-force winds, flooding ports, destroying homes and leaving 1 million households without electricity. It also battered Belgium, Portugal, Spain and parts of Germany and snarled train and air travel throughout the continent.

About 5,200 naked people have embraced each other on the steps of the iconic Sydney Opera House for a photo shoot by photographer Spencer Tunick. Participants in Monday's event by Tunick, who is known for his nude group photos in public spaces, posed for more than an hour in a variety of positions."It was difficult to get the straight people to embrace the gay participants and vice versa," Tunick said. "So I was very happy that that last set up finally got done and everyone came together, united, friendly kiss, a loving kiss in front of this great structure."

Murdered - Thousands of mourners walked the sidewalks of a wide avenue in silence, holding candles and tearfully embracing. Many were at a loss for words over the discovery of a body believed to be that of 17-year-old Chelsea King, five days after the popular, straight-A student from San Diego County disappeared and two days after a registered sex offender was booked on suspicion of rape and murder.

Freak waves that smashed into a Mediterranean cruise ship flooded people's cabins, broke windows in a restaurant and terrified many travelers in an ordeal that claimed two lives, a passenger said Thursday. Claude Cremex, 73, of Marseille, France said he was in his cabin resting because of the rough seas when the walls of water hit the Cypriot-owned Louis Majesty, which was carrying 1,350 passengers and 580 crew members off the coast of northeastern Spain. The ship's owner and operator, Louis Cruise Lines, said the vessel was struck Wednesday by three "abnormally high" waves more than 33 feet (10 meters) high that broke glass windshields in the forward section. Two people died and 14 were slightly hurt, the company said.

Iraq - Blasts across the Baghdad targeting voters killed 20 people Thursday, authorities said, ratcheting up fear in an already tense city as many Iraqis cast early ballots ahead of Sunday's nationwide parliamentary elections. Insurgents have repeatedly threatened to use violence to disrupt the elections, which will help determine who will oversee the country as U.S. forces go home and whether the country can overcome its deep sectarian divides. Two of Thursday's blasts hit voters outside polling stations.

New claims for jobless benefits fell last week in a sign that layoffs may be easing as the economy slowly recovers. The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment insurance fell by 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 469,000. That nearly matches Wall Street analysts' estimates of 470,000.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a recall of a common flavor enhancer that could be contaminated with salmonella bacteria. The product, called hydrolyzed vegetable protein or HVP, is potentially in thousands of food products, including soups, sauces, chilis, stews, hot dogs, gravies, seasoned snack foods, dips and dressings because of the risk of salmonella tainting in the production line. HVP is manufactured by a Las Vegas company.

The unemployment rate held at 9.7 percent in February as employers shed 36,000 jobs, fewer than expected. The figures suggested the job market is slowly healing but that significant hiring has yet to occur.

General Motors Co. will reinstate more than half the dealerships it targeted to drop from its network. GM executives said Friday that about 600 dealerships out of the 1,100 seeking to stay with GM will receive letters giving them the option to remain with the automaker. GM last year told 2,000 dealerships it would revoke their franchise agreements in October 2010 as part of its restructuring. The company has said it needs to shrink the number of showrooms to keep the remaining ones healthy.

obama news  march 1 2010President Barack Obama is trying to persuade a weary public and wavering Democrats to get behind his frantic, late-stage push on health care, while Republicans dig in and demand starting from scratch after a year's worth of work. "Now, despite all the progress and improvements we've made, Republicans in Congress insist that the only acceptable course on health care is to start over. But you know what? The insurance companies aren't starting over," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday.

Regulators shuttered banks in Florida, Illinois, Maryland and Utah, boosting to 26 the number of bank failures in the U.S. so far this year following the 140 brought down in 2009 by mounting loan defaults and the recession. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over Sun American Bank, based in Boca Raton, Fla., with $535.7 million in assets and $443.5 million in deposits. Also seized were Bank of Illinois of Normal, Ill., with $211.7 million in assets and $198.5 million in deposits; Waterfield Bank in Germantown, Md., with $155.6 million in assets and $156.4 million in deposits; and Centennial Bank in Ogden, Utah, with $215.2 million in assets and $205.1 million in deposits.

Despite bombings, mortar rounds and grenades that claimed at least 36 lives, Iraqis voted Sunday in an election testing the mettle of the country's still-fragile democracy.About 19 million Iraqis were eligible to vote for who will lead the country after U.S. forces pull out, in an election that will determine whether Iraq can overcome the jagged sectarian divisions that have defined it since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Not Surprising – Ford Beats Rival GM - Ford had a good month in February, with sales rising 43.1% to 142,285 last month, higher than expectations of a 30.1% gain. It was the first time since 1998 that Ford's sales topped rival General Motors’ sales.

Sports News - March 1, 2010 –

Linebacker Gary Brackett wanted to finish his NFL career where it all started -- Indianapolis. He's getting his wish. The defensive captain signed a five-year deal hours after he officially became an unrestricted agent. Brackett's new deal is likely to keep the 29-year-old in a Colts uniform the rest of his career.

Olympic Games

Canada survived one of the greatest games in Olympic history to beat the Americans 3-2 in overtime and cap the host country's record gold rush in the Vancouver Games. Crosby -- The Next One, hockey heir to Canada's own Great One, Wayne Gretzky -- won it when he whipped a shot past U.S. goalie Ryan Miller 7:40 into overtime after the U.S. had tied it with 24.4 seconds left in regulation.

Vancouver High - The 2010 U.S. Olympic team put on a performance for the history books. When they gave out the final medals Sunday, the Americans -- for the first time since the 1932 Games in Lake Placid -- stood atop the overall medals table, with 37. That made for an Olympic record, topping the 36 Germany won in 2002 in Salt Lake City. The previous American best: 34, in Salt Lake. The previous American best at a non-domestic Games: 25, in Torino in 2006.

Technology News March 1, 2010 -

iPhone patents   march 2010Apple has filed a lawsuit against Google phone manufacturer HTC, claiming many of the company's popular smartphones infringe on patents related to the iPhone.Apple alleges HTC violates as many as 20 patents, including multi-touch support, screen rotation and “unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image.” "Apple is seeking treble damages for willful infringement, punitive damages, interest, and attorney's fees in addition to a permanent injunction barring HTC from making, using, importing and selling devices that infringe on Apple's patents."

Mayor Bill Benton of Topeka, Kansas, In a formal proclamation Monday, Bunten announced his city will be known as "Google" -- Google, Kansas. Only for a month! "It's just fun. We're having a good time of it," he said of the unofficial name change, which will last through the end of March. "There's a lot of good things that are going on in our city."

Those fine folks at Apple are now offering an app that causes your text messages to disappear. If Tiger Woods had this last year he’d still be married and shaving with Gillette. Ironically, the app is called TigerText. It allows users to set a time limit on how long their text messages remain. This can be anywhere from days to sixty seconds. (Ken Levine)

More than 100 people, many of them dressed in black, are expected to gather around a coffin Thursday to say goodbye to an old friend. The deceased? Internet Explorer 6. The aging Web browser, survived by its descendants Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8, is being eulogized at a tongue-in-cheek "funeral" hosted by Aten Design Group, a design firm in Denver, Colorado. Google Docs and Google Sites discontinued support for the browser Monday, and YouTube will follow suit March 13.

Entertainment News March 1, 2010 -

Long Island - Millions of cable subscribers faced the prospect of Oscar night without the Academy Awards broadcast Sunday after ABC's parent company switched off its WABC-TV signal to Cablevision customers and the two companies blasted each other for failing to reach a deal in a dispute over fees. In dueling statements dispatched early Sunday, the two companies traded blame for the stalemate ahead of one of the most-watched nights of television. "Cablevision has once again betrayed its subscribers," said Charissa Gilmore, a spokeswoman for the Walt Disne Co. and ABC Television Group, in a statement. "Cablevision pocketed almost $8 billion last year, and now customers aren't getting what they pay for ... again."

britney spears back to blonde   march 2010Britney Spears is back to being a blonde. The 28-year-old singer - who went brunette in December - showed off lighter locks over the weekend after popping by West Hollywood salon Nine Zero One Friday.

Vivica A. Fox will join hosts Carrie Ann Inaba and Chris Harrison and fashion expert Lawrence Zarian on the red carpet during TV Guide Network's live telecast at the Academy Awards. Fox, an actress, producer and lover of fashion, will share her take on the night's festivities, nominees, and, of course, the glamorous styles.

Lindsey Vonn Cast - After winning two medals at the Vancouver Winter Games, the alpine skier has landed a role on her favorite TV show, Law & Order. Vonn, who's been described as obsessed with the NBC series, received the good news during an interview with Bob Costas. After looking back at her Olympics performance, which included several injuries, a gold medal in women's downhill and a bronze medal in super-G, Costas told Vonn she has been cast.

jay leno is back tonight     march 2010 “Tonight” Reverts Back To Jay Leno - He returned Monday night with renewed purpose. "It's good to be home," he told his NBC "Tonight Show" audience. Leno is reclaiming his old job just nine months after giving it up to Conan O’Brien, and only 19 days after NBC pulled the plug on Leno's own prime-time misadventure.

Like the pair of jeans it depicts, a billboard poster in downtown Newark is coming down. The ad for Akoo jeans shows a woman kneeling in front of a man and facing the camera. The man's jeans are unbuckled, and the woman appears to be pulling them off. The billboard, which hovers over a busy intersection, sparked criticism after a local columnist questioned its taste.

General Motors Co is recalling 1.3 million compact cars in North America to address a power steering problem that has been linked to 14 crashes and one injury, the company said on Tuesday. U.S. safety regulators opened an investigation on Jan. 27 into approximately 905,000 Cobalt models in the United States after receiving more than 1,100 complaints of power steering failures.

Music passing - Tom "T-Bone" Wolk, who played bass for nearly 30 years with Daryl Hall and John Oates and also recorded with Elvis Costello and Billy Joel, died of an apparent heart attack. Wolk was to have performed with Hall and Oates yesterday as part of the one-year anniversary show for NBC's "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon." The musician played bass on Kurtis Blow's early rap classic "These Are the Breaks" and between 1986 and 1992, served as the bassist for the "Saturday Night Live" house band, where he became familiar for his omnipresent black top hat. Wolk also collaborated and recorded with Carly Simon, Rosanne Cash, Bette Midler, Cyndi Lauper, Jewel and Shawn Colvin throughout his career.

Another music passing - Lolly Vegas, a co-founder of the band Redbone and who wrote their biggest hit “Come and Get Your Love”, died of cancer March 4 in Reseda, California. He passed away at home in his sleep at the the age of 70.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces that "Hurt Locker" producer Nicolas Chartier will not be allowed to attend the March 7 awards show because of an e-mail that has been deemed in violation of the Academy's campaigning standards. "Chartier had recently disseminated an e-mail to certain Academy voters and other film industry figures in which he solicited votes for his own picture and disparaged one of the other contending films," the Academy said in a statement Tuesday evening.

howard sten jay leno remark     march 2010Howard Stern, appearing on CBS’ “The Early Show,” called Jay Leno a "lapdog" and a "thief" who steals bits from him and David Letterman. "Jay Leno pushed Johnny Carson out of The Tonight Show.” Stern toned down the uncensored commentary for CBS, framing his loathing for Leno another way: "Just the mere mention of Jay Leno's name makes me want to vomit." Leno, he said, is "the kind of showbiz animal that will not let go." Stern said Leno should have walked when NBC decided to move him to 10 p.m. -- the way Letterman did when the network picked Leno to take over "Tonight" instead of him. "Jay should've dusted himself off and gone to another network and beat [Conan]."

Speaking of Leno’s show - Appearing on the “Tonight” show – Sarah Palin poked fun at some of her favorite things including herself. Palin said the White House health care plan reminds her of acrobatic flips done by snowboard champion Shaun White. And she joked that it's so cold in Alaska it's "5 degrees below Congress' approval rating." Palin told Leno's audience she planned to speak at a gun-rights convention: "Be there or else," she warned them. She said Alaska is different from California. In Los Angeles, "when people have a frozen look on their face, I find out it's Botox." And she's happy she's not vice president. "I would not know what to do with all that free time," she quipped.

Actor Burt Reynolds has undergone quintuple bypass surgery. The veteran actor had the heart surgery last week and is now out of the hospital and recovering at home with 24-hour nursing care. Last fall, after an apparent accident at his home, Reynolds, 74, entered a treatment program for his addiction to painkillers.

drew pinksy stalkerPolice say they have arrested a man suspected of stalking television and radio therapist Dr. Drew Pinsky and his family. Pasadena police say they arrested 33-year-old Charles Pearson on Wednesday after Pinsky notified them of threats received by him and his family. Jail records show Pearson is being held on $150,000 bail.

TV listings/TV Guide - March 1, 2010 -

Wednesday

At 8, CBS has a new 'Old Christine,' followed by new episodes of 'Gary Unmarried,' 'Criminal Minds,' and 'CSI: NY.'

NBC has a new 'Mercy' at 8, then a new, two-hour 'Law & Order: SVU.'

FOX has a new, two-hour 'American Idol' at 8.

PBS has a new 'Faces of America.'

At 8:30, ABC has a new episode of 'The Middle,' followed by new episodes of 'Modern Family' and 'Cougar Town,' then 'The Oprah Winfrey Oscar Special.'

At 9, Syfy has the two-hour season premiere 'Ghost Hunters.'

History Channel has a new 'MonsterQuest' at 9.

At 9:30, Food Network has a new 'Throwdown with Bobby Flay,' followed by a new 'Dinner: Impossible.'

At 10, USA has a new 'Psych.'

FX has the series finale of 'Nip/Tuck' at 10.

Bravo has a new 'Shear Genius' at 10.

MTV has a new 'Real World' at 10.

Showtime has a new 'Inside NASCAR' at 10.

Also at 10: TV Land has the season finale of 'High School Reunion.'

At 10:30, Comedy Central has a new 'Tosh.0.'

Television News - March 1, 2010 -

meredith vieria news    March 2010“Today” co-host Meredith Vieira has signed a new deal with NBC that keeps her in the co-anchor seat alongside Matt Lauer until the end of 2011.
The fact that Vieira re-upped with 'Today' isn't surprising (she has settled in quite nicely over there), though it is a little surprising that she only signed on for one more year. I don't know what type of contract Lauer has with the show.

NBC removes Conan O’Brien Messages on Leno Board - . The Conan fans not only posted messages about Conan (that they wanted Jay "to see"), they also posted pictures of Conan like the one on the right (both bearded and clean-shaven versions). I'm going to side with NBC here. Hey, you're bound to see that stuff online and there's a history of people doing things like this to get their point across, but it's their forum and they can do whatever they want with it, especially if it's overrun with messages and photos from fans of someone who doesn't even have a show on the network anymore. Of course, this doesn't excuse NBC from the other "let's delete Conan" stuff they pulled, including taking down all of his 'Tonight Show' clips from the site and the dumping of Conan Collectibles from the NBC online store.

Grieving singer Marie Osmond is preparing to return to the spotlight in Las Vegas- just one day after she lays her tragic son to rest. Osmond was left devastated when her 18-year-old adopted son Michael Blosil was found dead outside his Los Angeles apartment building in an apparent suicide last month. She and her brother Donny subsequently called off a string of concert dates as part of their Donny & Marie in Las Vegas‎ residency to be with family after the tragedy.

Goodbye Nip/Tuck as the series ends its run. 100 episodes in all!

taylor swift news   march 1Country’s Taylor Swift has warned ex-boyfriend Joe Jonas to expect more songs about their failed romance -- because the heartbreak has provided her with "albums" full of material. The "You Belong With Me" hitmaker, 20, dated the Jonas Brothers singer for several months in 2008 -- but she was left devastated when he dumped her in a 27-second phone call. Swift poured out her emotions in her song "Forever & Always" and went on national TV in the U.S. in November that year to publicly chastise her ex -- but she insists she's not quite done targeting Jonas just yet.

The band OK Go is more famous for their videos than their songs or music sales. When these guys put out a video, you can be sure it'll make your jaw drop at least once or twice. "How did they do that," is a typical reaction. Check out OK Go’s "this too shall pass" and "ok go new video." Why? They do the videos once! Are these guys crazy??

The Pussycat Dolls has finally broken up, as Kimberly Wyatt told Great Britain's The Daily Mirror. “The girls and I have just finished our huge world tour and are taking a break from the band and doing our own thing. We’re all concentrating on our own projects and deciding what the future will hold." No one in the group got along with lead Nicole Scheringer!

Into The Knight - The government wants want over $6 mil from former rap mogul Suge Knight. According to court docs, a tax lien originally filed in 2003 -- against Suge's 1996 tax return -- was re-filed again in January to the tune of $6,578,696.31.

Sparklehorse singer-songwriter Mark Linkous has committed suicide, according to the star's family The U.S. musician, who is thought to have been in his 40s, died on Saturday. No details about Linkous' death have been released, but his relatives have issued a statement claiming he took his own life.

Brad Paisley is recovering after he tripped on stage and took a tumble during a concert in South Carolina.Spokeswoman Darlene Bieber said in a news release that the country star was singing his encore finale – "Alcohol" – when he fell Saturday night, but he got back up and finished his show. He was checked out at a Charleston hospital and released early Sunday morning.Paisley was left with only some bad bruises, but he wrote on his Twitter page that he "hit hard. And I mean freaking hard."

After months of being photographed smooching and holding hands, Miley Cyrus confirms that she and her Last Song costar Liam Hemsworth are an item (and are dating too).

2010 Academy Awards. The best picture has done only $12.7 million in business as of this week – fascinating!

Best Picture – Hurt Locker
Best Director – Kathryn Bigelow (Hurt Locker)
Best Actress in a Lead Role – Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
jeff bridges academy award   2010Best Actor in a Lead Role – Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Mo’Nique (Precious)

Sandra Bullock won her first Oscar on Sunday night for her heartfelt performance in "The Blind Side" - and the actress gave an emotional speech to match. "Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down?" the humble star began, then addressing the four actresses also nominated for Best Actress.

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's "Alice in Wonderland" earned a whopping $116.3 million in its opening weekend — a record for a 3-D film. The surprisingly huge total easily surpassed all other films in release and gave Walt Disney Studios an even bigger opening than that of the hugely popular 3-D film "Avatar." It also marked the biggest opening weekend for a non-sequel.

Top Albums March 1, 2010 –

American VI: Ain’t No Grave – Johnny Cash

Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

Soldier of Love – Sade

The E.N.D. – Black Eyed Peas

Rebirth – Lil Wayne

The Fame – Lady Gaga

Animal – Ke$ha

Fearless – Taylor Swift

I Dreamed a Dream – Susan Boyle

The Addiction – Alkaline Trio

The Element of Freedom – Alicia Keys

The Fame Monster – Lady Gaga

Another Round – Jaheim

Rated R – Rihanna

The Foundation – Zac Brown Band

My World – Jason Bieber

Haywire – Josh Brown

Mary J. Blige  music    march 2010Stronger With Each Tear – Mary J. Blige

Tonight – Toby Mac

Play On – Carrie Underwood

No Hay Imposible – Chayanne

Alvin & The Chipmunks soundtrack

Crazy Love – Michael Buble

Crazy Heart soundtrack

Ready – Trey Songz

Lady Antebellum (self titled)

The Bridge – Melanie Fiona

Top Movies - March 1, 2010 –

Alice In Wonderland (first week - $116 mil)

Shutter Island

Cop Out

The Crazies

Avatar

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Dear John

The Wolfman

Valentine’s Day

Tooth Fairy

Crazy Heart

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