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Dateline: Week Of January 22, 2010 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts

In The News -

President Barack Obama, ending a tough week, told Americans he would keep fighting to create jobs and reform healthcare. In a speech in Ohio, Obama gave a likely preview of some populist themes of his first State of the Union address next Wednesday. "I'll never stop fighting for you," he told an audience in this former industrial stronghold bordering Lake Erie. Obama was thrown on the defensive this week when the election of a Republican senator from Massachusetts ended the Democrats 60-vote supermajority in the Senate and enabled Republicans to block healthcare legislation.

Gasoline prices have declined every day for a week following a similar slide in crude prices this month. But with the national average at nearly $2.73 a gallon on Friday, pump prices are still more expensive than any day last year. They've ridden a 10-month rally in energy commodities that doubled oil prices to nearly $80 a barrel by the end of last year. Experts say they still expect gas prices to reach $3 a gallon sometime this spring, though it may take longer than originally expected.

roman polanski news january 2010A judge ruled that Roman Polanski must return to the U.S. to be sentenced in a decades-old sex case. Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza said he ruled "in defense of the integrity of the justice system, he needs to surrender." His ruling is likely to be appealed. Attorneys for the 76-year-old director have argued their client should be sentenced in absentia to time already served after pleading guilty in 1978 to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.

Stocks suffered their worst weekly losses Friday since the March 2009 bottom as Wall Street continued to boo President Obama's bank-reform and worried that China might raise interest rates and stall its economic recovery. In addition, Wall Street was startled by news reports that Ben Bernanke might not be reconfirmed as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Increasing numbers of Democrats are lining up against the Fed chairman, The Wall Street Journal reported this afternoon.

President Barack Obama on Saturday sharply criticized a Supreme Court decision easing limits on campaign spending by corporations and labor unions, saying he couldn't "think of anything more devastating to the public interest." He also suggested the ruling could jeopardize his domestic agenda.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will cut about 11,200 jobs at Sam's Club warehouses as it turns over the task of in-store product demonstrations to an outside marketing company. The move is an effort to improve sales at Sam's Club, which has underperformed the company's namesake stores in the U.S. and abroad.

More News - January 22, 2010 -

The U.S. Marine Corps wrapped up nearly seven years in Iraq on Saturday, handing over duties to the Army and signaling the beginning of an accelerated withdrawal of American troops as the U.S. turns its focus away from the waning Iraqi war to a growing one in Afghanistan. In Baghdad, meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden held talks with Iraqi leaders amid rising tensions over plans to ban election candidates because of suspected links to Saddam Hussein's regime.

Iraq's government spokesman says Saddam Hussein's notorious cousin "Chemical Ali" was executed about a week after being sentenced to death for the poison gas attacks that killed more than 5,000 Kurds in 1988. News of the hanging came shortly after three suicide car bombs struck downtown Baghdad. It was not immediately clear whether the attacks were linked the execution of Ali Hassan al-Majid.

Three car bombs exploded near three Baghdad hotels popular with Western journalists, security contractors and businessmen. At least 37 people were killed and more than 104 injured, security officials said. The blasts — coming in a span of about 15 minutes in downtown Baghdad — came shortly before state television announced that Ali Hassan al-Majid had been hanged.

joe bidenDelaware attorney general Beau Biden announced Monday that he will not seek election to the U.S. Senate seat once held by his father, Vice President Joe Biden. The younger Biden told supporters in an e-mail that he will run for re-election as attorney general rather than seek the Senate seat his father held for 36 years.

Sales of previously occupied homes took the largest monthly drop in more than 40 years last month, sinking more dramatically than expected after lawmakers gave buyers additional time to use a tax credit. The report reflects a sharp drop in demand after buyers stopped scrambling to qualify for a tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time homeowners. It had been due to expire on Nov. 30. But Congress extended the deadline until April 30 and expanded it with a new $6,500 credit for existing homeowners who move.

The White House says President Obama will propose a three-year freeze on domestic agency budgets, though the savings would barely make a dent in the budget deficit. It hasn't said whether Obama will proposes tax hikes or cuts to spiraling benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

President Barack Obama said in an interview aired on Tuesday that al Qaeda has been weakened by U.S. actions, and as evidence pointed to a taped message purported to be by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden about a failed Christmas Day airplane bomb plot. "Al Qaeda itself is greatly weakened from where it was back in 2000. Bin Laden sending out a tape trying to take credit for a Nigerian student who engaged in a failed bombing attempt is an indication of how weakened he is because this is not something necessarily directed by him," Obama told ABC's Good Morning America.

An Ethiopian Airlines plane carrying 90 people caught fire and crashed into the Mediterranean shortly after takeoff Monday from Beirut, setting off a frantic search as rain lashed the coast and debris washed ashore. At least 34 bodies have been recovered. The cause of the crash was not immediately known. Lebanon has been slammed by bad weather since Sunday night, with thunder, lightning and pouring rain.

Daniel Kerrigan, who rushed to his sobbing daughter Nancy and carried her into the locker room after an attack at a skating competition nearly derailed her Olympic dreams, died after what authorities said was a violent struggle with his son in their family home. Mark Kerrigan, 45, pleaded not guilty to assaulting his 70-year-old father at the home in the Boston suburb of Stoneham where he had been living with his parents. He did not speak at his arraignment but at one point put his head in his hands and wept.

State of the Union - Declaring that “I do not accept second place for the United States of America,” President Barack Obama compared the economic crisis to the greatest challenges of the nation’s past Wednesday night, saying “history’s call” demanded a years-long freeze on huge chunks of popular government spending programs. In his first State of the Union address, Obama bluntly compared the recession to great challenges of the past like the Civil War and the bloody struggle for civil rights in the 1960s. While there has been progress, it has stalled, he said, telling lawmakers in the House chamber and millions of Americans at home that “the devastation remains.”

The U.S. economy grew at a faster-than-expected 5.7 percent pace in the fourth quarter, the quickest in more than six years, as businesses made less-aggressive cuts to inventories and stepped up spending. The robust performance closed out a year in which the economy contracted 2.4 percent, the biggest decline since 1946.

Honda Motor Co. said it would recall a total of 646,000 units of its Fit/Jazz and City models, including 140,000 in the United States, because of a faulty window switch, after a child died when fire broke out in a car last year. The announcement came as investors, suppliers and consumers weighed the impact of an unprecedented halt in U.S. production by Toyota, the world's No. 1 automaker.

China moved swiftly to suspend military exchanges with the United States after Washington's announcement of arms sales to Taiwan, widening rifts in their far-reaching relationship. The Defense Ministry, in a strongly-worded statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency, condemned the proposed U.S. sale of weapons to self-ruled and democratic Taiwan, which China considers an illegitimate breakaway province.

Winning $30 million in the Florida Lottery should have been the best thing that ever happened to Abraham Shakespeare. But with his newfound wealth came a string of bad choices and hangers-on who constantly hit him up for money. Nine months ago, he vanished. Friends and family hoped he was on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean. On Friday, detectives confirmed that a body buried under a concrete slab in a rural backyard was his.

john edwards splits from wife january 2010Politician John Edwards and his wife of 32 years, Elizabeth Edwards, have legally separated. It's unknown when the couple filed for legal separation but John, 56, is no longer living at their Chapel Hill, N.C. Under North Carolina law, they must be legally separated for a year before divorcing.

Technology News - January 22, 2010 -

At an Apple press event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announces the iPad. The new mobile device is a half-inch thin and weighs 1.5 pounds. It's powered with a 1GHz Apple A4 chip and comes with 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. The new device plays movies, music, TV shows, and acts as an e-reader. It will cost $499 for the 16GB version.

Entertainment News - January 22, 2010

Dies - Jean Simmons, whose ethereal screen presence and starring roles with Hollywood's top actors made her a mid-century film icon, has died at age 80. The actress, who sang with Marlon Brando in "Guys and Dolls," costarred with Gregory Peck and played Ophelia to Laurence Olivier's Hamlet, died Friday at her home in Santa Monica, her agent Judy Page told the Los Angeles Times. She had lung cancer.

Passing – Soap opera actor James Mitchell (89). Mitchell joined the cast of “All My Children" in 1979, creating the role of Palmer Cortlandt, the wealthy patriarch of one of Pine Valley's most popular families. His final appearance was on Jan. 5, on the show's 40th anniversary episode.

clooney hope for now telethon january 2010“Hope For Haiti Now” telethon” - was shown on all the major networks and streamed live on many Web sites, was quickly put together by George Clooney and MTV Networks, along with the help of others, to raise millions of dollars for the Caribbean country. The list of participating celebrities rivaled any top awards show: Justin Timberlake, Brad Pitt, former President Clinton, Muhammad Ali, Beyonce, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Halle Berry, and many more. Luminaries like Steve Speilberg worked the phone banks, talking to donors.

Organizers say Rod Stewart, Leona Lewis and Michael Buble, have agreed to sing on a charity single for victims of the earthquake in Haiti.The London Sun newspaper is helping put together the single and says it will be a cover of R.E.M.'s 1993 ballad "Everybody Hurts."

Also - Coldplay, the Arctic Monkeys and Blur's Damon Albarn are donating items to be sold at a charity auction beginning Friday to raise funds for Haiti earthquake victims, auction organizers said. The items on sale will include an offer from Albarn to record a specially written piece of music, the white electric guitar Fender Stratocaster played by Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner in the band's first video, and Coldplay singer Chris Martin’s signed Viva La Vida tour jacket.

Spice Girls Musical - Producer Judy Craymer says her company will create and produce a new stage musical based on the songs of the girl-power group whose recordings have sold more than 75 million copies. The show is tentatively titled, "Viva Forever." No production timetable was announced Thursday. Craymer will produce "Viva Forever" with "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller.

conan o'brien last tonight show january 2010On his final "Tonight" show, Conan O’Brien said walking away instead of accepting a demotion is the hardest thing he's ever had to do. Despite the rancor that led to his $45 million buyout, the red-haired comic urged fans not to be cynical and said their support made a sad situation "joyous and inspirational." He thanked his viewers and even thanked NBC for more than 20 years of employment but not before getting in a few final jabs during an earlier monologue. O'Brien will be replaced March 1 by the man he took over for seven months ago — Jay Leno. In the interim, reruns will fill the slot, followed by Winter Olympics programming next month.

Oprah Winfrey said she is set to interview Jay Leno, and her production company said an offer has been made to Conan O'Brien to appear. Winfrey said on her talk show Friday that she was going to Los Angeles for a "one-on-one" interview with Leno to air on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Thursday. O'Brien's appearance has not yet been confirmed, Harpo Productions said.

A pilot by late Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry has been picked up — nearly 40 years after it was originally conceived. Roddenberry's son, Rod Roddenberry, will team with Ron Howard’s's Imagine Entertainment to develop The Questor Tapes, a Gene Roddenberry sci-fi pilot from the early 1970s that was never ordered to series.

Passing – Actor Pernell Roberts (81) – best-known for portraying Adam Cartwright in “Bonanza” and the starring role in “Trapper John, M.D.”

Passing – Author J.D. Salinger (91) (Catcher in the Rye).

kanye west news january 2010Charges against Kanye West stemming from a Sept. 2008 altercation between the rapper and two photographers have been dropped. West's lawyer, Blair Berk, presented proof Friday showing that West, 32, had completed 50 hours of community service with the Red Cross. Both West and his manager, Don Crowley, were charged with vandalism, battery and grand theft after destroying two photographers' camera equipment at LAX International Airport.

Authorities say Lindsay Lohan's father has been arrested again. Police on New York's Long Island say Michael Lohan was arrested Thursday morning and charged with criminal contempt. Police did not provide further details.

will smith news january 2010“We Are The World” is being recorded – this time for Haiti. Look for – The new recording tol feature Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, Will Smith, Jason Mraz, Sheryl Crow and Mya. Crash writer-director Paul Haggis is also reported to be filming the recording session, which is set for next Monday. Quincy Jones produces.

Star Trek video game debuts!

ABC cancels “Ugly Betty.”

Samantha Harris – co-host of “Dancing with the Stars” is leaving the show.

The final Conan O’Brien episode netted 10.3 million viewers and a 4.4 rating in the adults 18-to-49 demo. Featuring Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, and others, O'Brien's last appearance even beat his widely publicized 11:35 debut in June, which attracted 9.2 million viewers and a 3.8 demo rating.

Top Pop Hits - January 22, 2010 –

Bad Romance – Lady Gaga

Tick Tok – Ke$ha

Empire of the State – Jay-Z and Alicia Keys

david guetta music news january 2010Sexy Chick – Dave Guetta fea. Akon

Bedrock – Young Money fea. Lloyd

Hard – Rihanna fea. Jeezy

Hey, Soul Sister – Train

How Low – Ludacris

Blah Blah Blah – Ke$sha fea. 3Oh!3

Fireflies – Owl City

I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas

Replay – Iyaz

Watcha Say – Jason DeRulo

Do You Remember – Jay Sean fea. Sean Paul and Lil Jon

Imma Be – Black Eyed Peas

Down – Jay Sean fea. Lil Wayne

Two is Better Than One – Boys Like Girls fea. Taylor Swift

Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

Telephone – Lady Gaga fea. Beyonce

Say Aah – Trey Songz fea. Fabolous

According to You – Orianthi

Forever – Drake fea. Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Eminem

Live Like We’re Dying – Kris Allen

3 – Britney Spears

Top TV Ratings - January 22, 2010 -

NFC Championship: Minnesota vs. New Orleans



American Idol" (Wednesday)



American Idol" (Tuesday)



NFC Championship Post-Game Show



Two and a Half Men



The Big Bang Theory



Criminal Minds



The Mentalist



CSI: Crime Scene Investigation









CSI: Miami



Grey's Anatomy



NCIS: Los Angeles









The Bachelor



Human Target



How I Met Your Mother



Biggest Loser 9


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