Dateline: Week Of January 1, 2010 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
The top U.S. general in Iraq says the country's delay in holding elections will not keep American combat forces from leaving as scheduled by the end of August. Gen. Ray Odierno said Saturday in an interview with The Associated Press that he expects the U.S. to have about 100,000 troops in the country during the March 7 elections. About 60 days after the vote, he will assess whether the country is on stable footing and then begin moving troops out.
A manhunt ended with the arrest of a Florida man accused of the carefully planned slayings of four relatives at a Thanksgiving dinner. Paul Merhige, 35, was arrested without a struggle at a motel in the Florida Keys, Jupiter Police Sgt. Scott Pascarella said. Pascarella credited the TV show "America's Most Wanted" for the tip that led to Merhige's capture on Long Key. Merhige has been the subject of a massive manhunt that included billboards and flyers with his image and a $100,000 reward for information leading to his capture. He is accused of gunning down his twin sisters, a 79-year-old aunt and 6-year-old cousin on Thanksgiving Day at a family gathering in Jupiter.
Bitter cold hits the mid-West and East – all the way down to Florida. Subfreezing temperatures across the South have Florida farmers worried that strawberry, tomato and other crops could be destroyed, with temperatures in even usually balmy Miami only in the 50s. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed an executive order that gives the state's Division of Emergency Management and other agencies the authority to provide growers with assistance. Throughout central and south Florida, farmers are trying to salvage millions of dollars worth of citrus and vegetable crops, spraying them in protective layers of ice and covering them in plastic.
Dubai opened the world's tallest skyscraper Monday, and in a surprise move renamed the gleaming glass-and-metal tower Burj Khalifa in a nod to the leader of neighboring Abu Dhabi — the oil-rich sheikdom that came to its rescue during the financial meltdown. A multimedia presentation witnessed by Dubai's ruler and thousands of onlookers at the base of the tower said the building was 2717 feet tall.
Two suspected U.S. drone missile strikes killed at least 12 people in an area of Pakistan's volatile northwest teeming with militants suspected in a recent suicide attack that killed seven CIA employees in Afghanistan, intelligence officials said.
The lawless North Waziristan tribal area hit is home to several militant groups that stage cross-border attacks against coalition troops, including the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network. Counting the latest strikes, suspected U.S. drones have attacked North Waziristan four times since the CIA bombing a week ago, killing at least 20 people.
Yemeni forces surrounded a suspected al Qaeda regional leader in a house near the capital after earlier arresting three militants wounded in a raid, security sources said, as the country cracked down on militancy. Yemeni authorities this week launched an operation to root out al Qaeda militants who they said were behind imminent militant threats that forced Western embassies to close.
White House Peed at Peta - The fur is flying over a new ad campaign by an animal rights group the White House says is using first lady Michelle Obama's image without her permission. The president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Ingrid Newkirk, said her organization wouldn't have sought Mrs. Obama's consent for the anti-fur ad because it knows that she can't make such an endorsement. PETA included the first lady in its Washington ad campaign based on White House confirmation that she does not wear fur.
The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment insurance rose less than expected last week and a measure of underlying trends hit a nearly 16-month low, underscoring the improving labor market tone. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose only 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 434,000 in the week ended January 2, the Labor Department said on Thursday, after declining for two consecutive weeks.
A disgruntled employee armed with an assault rifle and a handgun walked into a St. Louis manufacturing plant and opened fire, killing two people and wounding at least five others before apparently taking his own life, police and media reports said. The shooting at ABB Power occurred around 6:30 a.m. during a shift change, and 40 to 50 people were likely in the plant at the time, police Capt. Sam Dotson said. As shots began to ring out, employees scurried to find safety, authorities said.
A man was taken into custody and later hospitalized for a mental evaluation after he took off his clothes and began a jog a few blocks from the White House. The man was seen taking off his clothes Wednesday evening around 5 p.m. He left the clothes near the northeast corner of the Ellipse, the green space south of the White House.
Sports News - January 1, 2010 -
ESPN is launching a new network in 3D.
It will debut on June 11 with the World Cup match between South Africa and Mexico. ESPN3D marries great content with new technology to enhance the fan's viewing experience and puts ESPN at the forefront of the next big advance for TV viewing," ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer said in a statement. ESPN 3D plans to show at least 85 live sports events in the first year. ESPN is committed to the new network until June 2011, after which it will "assess the viability of this, as we (do) with all our businesses," Sean Bratches, an ESPN executive vice president for sales and marketing, told USA Today.
AT&T announced that it would no longer sponsor Tiger Woods. AT&T joins Accenture in dropping Woods, who is taking a break from golf to focus on his marriage after his admitted infidelity. AT&T hasn't used Woods's image much in advertising, but the company's logo did appear on his golf bag. Woods has also been the host of the AT&T National PGA Tour event since its beginning in 2007. Since Woods is breaking from golf, he will not host the 2010 event, but AT&T's sponsorship of the event will continue.
Technology News - January 1, 2010 -
It's official: Google Inc. will sell its own mobile phone in an effort to protect its online advertising empire as people increasingly surf the Web on handsets instead of personal computers. The phone announced Tuesday had been widely anticipated since Google handed out the device, called the Nexus One, to its own employees three weeks ago. Consumers will be able to buy the Nexus One for $179 if they commit to a two-year service contract with T-Mobile USA. The phone is going on sale Tuesday online. Google also will offer versions of the Nexus One that will give people the option of selecting the wireless networks of other major carriers. That's a departure from the way most mobile phones have been sold in the U.S.
In what is traditionally a high-volume download week thanks to shiny new MP3 players under the tree and download cards stuffed in stockings, a digital sales mark has fallen by the wayside. Rookie pop singer Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" shifted 610,000 digital tracks for the week ending December 27, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's the highest weekly sum by a female artist since tracking began in 2003, and the second-best overall after Flo Rida's "Right Round" sold 636,000 this past February. Coincidentally, Ke$ha was an uncredited singer on the track. TiK ToK" eclipsed the female mark set by Lady Gaga with "Just Dance" exactly a year ago.
3D being pushed to consumers - as part of this year's Consumer Electronics Show. "Major consumer technology companies are attracted to 3-D because it offers a 'gee whiz' escape pod from the downward price spiral of flat-panel televisions and Blu-ray players," said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for The NPD Group research firm. "Some have even positioned it as the third revolution in TV, after color and high-definition." Two cable networks, ESPN and Discovery, said this week they plan to launch 3-D networks. ESPN's is expected to begin in June, with a minimum of 85 live events in the first year. Discovery, which is teaming with Sony and Imax for its 3-D network, which could start by the end of this year. Programming will include natural history, space, science and technology.
Entertainment News - January 1, 2010 -
Hanes (underwear) drops its Charlie Sheen ads. This because of his recent domestic problems and subsequent arrest.
Fox not being dropped - News Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc. have agreed on a new contract that will allow Fox stations to continue being carried on Time Warner systems in roughly 13 million homes. The agreement averted a blackout that had many college football fans fearing they would have to scramble to see their favorite games. Fittingly, the announcement came just before kickoff of the Sugar Bowl between the Florida Gators and Cincinnati Bearcats.
Regis Philbin, who has been on the disabled list since his Dec. 1 hip operation, makes his return to "Live! With Regis and Kelly" this week (Monday).
Carson Daly begins hosting mornings on KAMP (AMP 97.1) Los Angeles.
A producer for the reality show “The Bachelor” gets fired for giving one of the show's female contestants a rose of his own – that he had an affair with one of the contestants.
Interesting – Divers – attention: You can get a Star Trek wetsuit! Just go to the website and order – in your favorite colors including Spock blue and Scotty Red. WOW!
Radio news – “The Donny Osmond Show.” Donny Osmond will host a new lifestyle-driven music radio show for radio syndication network Citadel Media. The program will air weekdays from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and will launch nationally on January 18 with 60 stations.
Singer Carrie Underwood will make her acting debut in CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother.”
Mariah Carey is seen giving a drunken/loopy speech at the Palm Springs Film Festival – and later blamed it on champagne.
Kate Perry and Russell Brand are now engaged.
Former “Seinfeld" funnyman Jason Alexander is the latest star to step onto the scales for Jenny Craig -- he's set to shed weight as the diet firm's latest spokesperson. The actor, who played tubby George Costanza in the hit sitcom, follows in the footsteps of Valerie Bertinelli, Phylicia Rashad and Kirstie Alley as the firm's new face and body.
People’s Choice Awards held this week… Host (for the fourth time) was Queen Latifah. "The Twilight Saga," "True Blood" and "The Vampire Diaries" all sucked up trophies at the 36th annual People's Choice Awards. "Twilight" won four trophies, including favorite movie, franchise and on-screen team trio of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, and, who also picked up the breakout male actor award. The undead HBO fable "True Blood" and the soapy supernatural CW series "The Vampire Diaries" were respectively selected as favorite TV obsession and favorite new TV drama. Other winners in categories spanning movies, TV and music included "Inglourious Basterds" as favorite independent movie and as favorite pop and breakout music artist.
Music sales for 2009 were up 2.1% - Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks the nation's album sales, says Swift's "Fearless" sold 3.2 million copies last year. It was released in late 2008. Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" sold 3.1 million copies — and it only came out in late November.Michael Jackson’s "Number Ones" was No. 3 with 2.3 million sold. "The Fame" by Lady Gaga was No. 4 with 2.2 million copies and Andrea Bocelli’s "My Christmas" also sold about 2.2 million copies to come in at No. 5. Jackson was the year's top-selling artist, selling 8.2 million records to Swift's 4.6 million.Music sales overall were up 2.1 percent from 2008, but album sales continued their decline, down 12.7 percent.
Top Music Albums This Week –
I Dreamed a Dream – Susan Boyle
The Element of Freedom – Alicia Keys
The Fame – Lada Gaga
Fearless – Taylor Swift
Stronger With Each Tear – Mary J. Blige
Alvin and the Chipmunks soundtrack
The Fame Monster – Lady Gaga
The E.N.D. – Black Eyed Peas
My World – Justin Bieber
We Are Young Money – Young Money
Ocean Eyes – Owl City
Glee: Season One
Rated R – Rihanna
Relapse – Eminem
Glee: The Music Vol. 1
Battle Studies –John Mayer
Sex Therapy: The Session – Robin Thicke
Michael Jackson’s This Is It
The Blueprint 3 – Jay-Z
Nine – Soundtrack
The Foundation – Zac Brown Band
Only By The Night – Kings of Leon
Kiss and Tell – Selena Gomez & The Scene
Lady Antebellum – Lady Antebellum
TV listings/TV Guide - January 1, 2010 -
At 8, ABC has the season premiere of The Bachelor, followed by Conveyor Belt of Love.
NBC has a new two-hour Heroes at 8, then a new Jay Leno Show.
FOX has the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at 8, Boise State vs. Texas Christian.
PBS has a new Antiques Roadshow at 8.
ABC Family has the season premiere of Secret Life of the American Teenager at 8, then the season premiere of Make It or Break It.
Food Network has a new Good Eats at 8.
TLC has a new Little People, Big World at 8.
Also at 8: Spike has a new TNA Wrestling.
At 9, USA has a new Monday Night RAW.
TLC has a new Cake Boss at 9.
E! has a new Bank of Hollywood at 9.
There's a new Unwrapped on Food Network at 9.
At 10, TNT has a new Men of a Certain Age.
A&E has a new Hoarders at 10.
Bravo has a new Chef Academy at 10.
Tuesday Night TV Schedule - January 1, 2010 -
TV Land's week-long Home Improvement marathon continues all night.
At 7:30, FOX has FedEx Orange Bowl, Georgia Tech. vs. Iowa.
At 8, ABC has a new Scrubs, followed by a new Better Off Ted, another new Scrubs, another new Better Off Ted, and a new episode of The Forgotten.
CBS has a new NCIS at 8, then new episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles and The Good Wife.
NBC has the two-hour season premiere of The Biggest Loser at 8, followed by a new Jay Leno Show.
PBS has a new Nova at 8.
BBC America has a new Britain's Top Missing Modelat 8, then a new Last Restaurant Standing.
At 9, ESPN has a new Homecoming with Rick Reilly.
Discovery has a new Dirty Jobs at 9.
At 10, Food Network has a new Chopped.
A&E has two new episodes of Paranormal State at 10.
Bravo has a new Tabatha's Salon Takeover at 10.
Also at 10: Syfy has a new ECW.
Top Movies - January 1, 2010 -
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
The Blind Side
Up in the Air
Did You Hear About the Morgans
The Princess and the Frog
Movie News - January 1, 2010 -
Avatar closed the weekend at the top of the box office yet again, raking in an estimated $68.3 million domestically. This brings the Fox sci-fi film to a 17-day total of $352.1 million in the United States and Canada and pushes its worldwide take to $1.02 billion. Avatar now ranks No.4 among the top global grossing movies behind Cameron's previous film Titanic ($1.84 billion), Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($1.12 billion) and Gore Verbinski's Pirates of the Caribbean:” Dean Man’s Chest ($1.07 billion).
Following Avatar's success, there are already expectations of a sequel, despite studio insiders' claims there have been no discussions as of yet.Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes took the No. 2 spot with about $38.4 million during the weekend, while family-friendly Alvin and the Chipmunks came in third with $36.6 million. Rounding out the top 5 were It's Complicated and The Blind Side, which earned $18.7 million and $12.7 million, respectively..