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Dateline: Week Of December 15, 2010 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts

In the News -

Police investigating a possible serial killer have determined that four decomposed bodies found recently along a remote New York beach are all women. The four bodies were systematically dumped, perhaps over a period of 18 months or longer, along a desolate, wind-swept stretch of highway that on sunny summer days transports thousands to the white sands of Jones Beach, police said.

LAS VEGAS — Waving a gun, a motorcycle helmet-wearing bandit ordered wide-eyed gamblers and dealers back from a Bellagio craps table, and quickly stashed at least $1.5 million in casino chips into a bag. As he fled, casino security had a choice: Let the armed robber escape, or get into a dangerous shootout.In the end, the bandit casually jogged out of the posh resort — every step captured by surveillance cameras, and broadcast later around the world. He disappeared into the neon light of the Las Vegas Strip.

India - Firefighters searched a gutted garment factory for more possible victims of a devastating fire that trapped workers and forced some to jump to their deaths. At least 29 fatalities were reported. No more bodies were immediately found, said Nilufar Yasmine, a fire department official.

Consumer prices increased slightly last month as food and energy costs ticked up, but there was little sign of widespread inflation. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.1 percent in November, less than the previous month's rise of 0.2 percent, the Labor Department said Wednesday. In the past year, prices have moved up only 1.1 percent.

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up near a mosque in southeastern Iran on Wednesday, killing at least 39 people, including a newborn baby, at a Shiite mourning ceremony, state media reported. The attack, which also injured 90 people, took place outside the Imam Hussein Mosque in the port city of Chahbahar, near the border with Pakistan, the official IRNA news agency said.

For the second time this year the House voted to dismantle the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, giving the Senate a final shot in the waning days of this Congress at changing a law requiring thousands of uniformed gays to hide their sexual identity. The strong 250-175 House vote Wednesday propels the issue to the Senate, where supporters of repeal say they have the votes but perhaps not the time to get the bill to the floor. It could be the last chance for some time to legislatively end the 1993 law that forbids recruiters from asking about sexual orientation and troops from acknowledging that they are gay.

In a reach across party lines the Senate overwhelmingly passed sweeping legislation Wednesday to prevent a Jan. 1 income tax increase for millions and renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. The 81-19 roll call cleared the way for a suspenseful vote in the House on Thursday, where rebellious liberals announced plans to try and stiffen an estate tax provision they oppose as too generous to the rich.

President Barack Obama told war-weary Americans on Thursday that enough progress was being made in Afghanistan to begin withdrawing U.S. troops in July, even as he faces growing doubts about his war strategy. Obama, under pressure to show results after criticizing his predecessor George W. Bush for neglecting the war, insisted that U.S.-led forces were scoring gains against the Taliban and al Qaeda but warned they were fragile and reversible.

zuckerbert time man of the year    dec 2010 Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been named Time's "Person of the Year" for 2010, joining the ranks of winners that include heads of state and rock stars as the person the magazine believes most influenced events of the past year. At 26, Zuckerberg is the youngest "Person of the Year" since the first one chosen, Charles Lindbergh; he was 25 when he was named in 1927, Time said Wednesday. Zuckerberg beat out Britain's Queen Elizabeth II by just two weeks: She was 26 when she was named in 1952.

The founder of WikiLeaks said Friday he fears that the United States is preparing to indict him, but insisted that the secret-spilling site would continue its work despite what he claims is a dirty tricks campaign. Assange spoke from snowbound Ellingham Hall, a supporter's 10-bedroom country mansion where he is confined on bail as he fights Sweden's attempt to extradite him on allegations of rape and molestation.

President Barack Obama signed into law a huge, holiday-season tax bill extending cuts for all Americans on Friday, saluting a new spirit of political compromise as Republicans applauded and liberals seethed. The benefits range from tax cuts for millionaires and the middle class to longer-term help for the jobless.

The U.N. Security Council met in emergency session Sunday amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and a North Korean warning of a "catastrophe" if South Korea goes ahead with a live-fire drill. Russia called for the meeting, and Moscow wants the U.N.'s most powerful body to adopt a statement calling on North Korea and South Korea "to exercise maximum restraint" and urging immediate diplomatic efforts to reduce tensions.

Pakistan's top spy agency denied Saturday that it helped unmask the CIA's station chief in Islamabad, dismissing speculation it was retaliating for a U.S. lawsuit linking the Pakistani intelligence chief to the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India.

The latest in a series of powerful storm systems is bearing down on California, pelting mountain areas with heavy rain, snow and high winds, prompting evacuations and leaving thousands without power. Virtually the entire state has been affected by the storms.

An explosive device was found Tuesday under a subway-car seat in Rome and bomb-disposal experts were examining whether it was an attempted Christmas season terror attack, officials said. The ANSA news agency said the device was in a package that had wires, pipes and explosive powder.

There have been growing concerns in Europe about holiday season attacks following a suicide bombing in Sweden and official fears of an assault on a European city modeled on the deadly shooting spree in Mumbai, India.

Moon eclipse - The 3 1/2 hour celestial spectacle was visible from North and Central America where skies were clear. Portions of Europe and Asia only caught part of the show.

Secrets about Apple Inc.'s iPhone were among insider trading tips that led to the arrests Thursday of three employees at public companies and a sales executive at a California expert-networking firm, authorities said as they boosted to six the number of arrests in a wide-ranging Wall Street insider trading probe.

Steve Jobs action figures that got so much press last month has sold online for $2,500. The SJ Action Figure, you may recall, was hand-painted doll that sold for $99 until Apple) complained to M.I.C Gadget -- its Chinese manufacturer -- that the toy constituted an unauthorized use of a person's name or likeness and threatened to sue under California Civil Code Section 3344. Only 300 were made.

Nielsen Study - In the U.S., 33% of young mobile users have smartphones. Italy had the highest smartphone penetration among youth (47%), and India had the lowest (10%). One surprise: Most young U.S. smartphone users (55%) are female. In every other country studied, most young smartphone users are male.

The Obama administration on Thursday unveiled a proposed new framework for protecting consumers' privacy online. The plan centers around a "Privacy Bill of Rights" that would encourage better transparency about data collection online, according to the Commerce Department's report on its policy recommendations. It would promote "informed consent" for consumers through simple notices that clearly state what personal information will be collected and what will be done with it.

New York Gov. David Paterson contradicted his staff, the Yankees and common sense when he falsely claimed he always intended to pay for five tickets to the first game of the 2009 World Series at Yankee Stadium, a state commission said in assessing him a $62,125 fine.

In a report from The Environmental Working Group indicats that millions of Americans are regularly drinking hexavalent chromium, made famous in the film "Erin Brockovich" as a carcinogen, through their tap water. The group tested water from 35 U.S. cities and found that samples from 31 cities contained hexavalent chromium. The highest concentrations were found in Norman, Okla.; Honolulu; and Riverside, Calif. The substance had been a widely used industrial chemical for decades and has evidently leached into the groundwater in many areas.

Federal regulators adopted new rules Tuesday to keep the companies that control the Internet's pipelines from restricting what their customers do online or blocking competing services, including online calling applications and Web video. The vote by the Federal Communications Commission was 3-2 and quickly came under attack from the commission's two Republicans, who said the rules would discourage investments in broadband. Prominent Republicans in Congress vowed to work to overturn them.

Republican-leaning states will gain at least a half dozen House seats thanks to the 2010 census, which found the nation's population growing more slowly than in past decades but still shifting to the South and West. The Census Bureau announced Tuesday that the nation's population on April 1 was 308,745,538, up from 281.4 million a decade ago. The growth rate for the past decade was 9.7 percent, the lowest since the Great Depression. The nation’s population grew by 13.2 percent from 1990 to 2000. Michigan was the only state to lose population during the past decade. Nevada, with a 35 percent increase, was the fastest-growing state.

The State Department is ordering most of its personnel to leave Ivory Coast because of what officials are calling a deteriorating political and security situation and growing anti-Western sentiment. A disputed presidential election has led to deadly violence in Ivory Coast and threats of international sanctions if President Laurent Gbagbo refuses to relinquish power.

Sports News December 15, 2010 –

The Yankees Wanted Him – But the Phillies Got Him Instead! The The Philadelphia Phillies agreed to terms late Monday night with Cliff Lee, the prized left-hander who pitched for them in the 2009 World Series, according to a baseball executive told of the deal. The executive was granted anonymity so he could speak freely about a contract that was not completed. The contract is believed to be for five years and $120 million (or $24 million a year) with a vesting option for a sixth year based on innings pitched. The baseball executive said the Yankees initially offered Lee six years for $138 million (or $23 million a year), then extended the offer to seven years at $148 million.

Entertainment News - December 15, 2010 -

Passing - Director, writer and producer Blake Edwards, who made more than 40 films including the classic "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and the "Pink Panther" comedies, has died from complications of pneumonia at age 88. A spokesman for his wife, Julie Andrews, said Edwards died Wednesday night at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, with Andrews and immediate family members by his side.

Vince and wife Kyla Weber welcomed daughter Locklyn Kyla Vaughn into their family on Saturday in Chicago, a rep for the "Wedding Crashers" star has confirmed.

While the top two searches of the year went to the oil spill debacle in the Gulf of miley most searched 2010    dec Mexico and the World Cup in South Africa, Miley Cyrus earned the honors of the Year's Most Searched Person on Yahoo! Miley was a fixture on the cyber scene this past year, with the ending of her long-running Disney show, "Hannah Montana," her on-again off-again relationship with now ex-boyfriend Liam Hemsworth, her provocative dance moves in an Adam Shankman video, her parents' highly-publicized split and the most recent video leak of her holding a bong smoking what was reported to be the herb Salvia. Following Miley on the list of most searched celebrities was reality queen,Kim Kardashian. The "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" star was quite busy in 2010, earning her a spot at the top of The Daily Beast’s "Highest Paid Reality TV Stars" list. On Yahoo!'s Most Searched list, she was #4 overall.

At 88-years-old, actress Betty White had a year that would have been remarkable at any age. For her influence on entertainment and culture in 2010, AP members voted her Entertainer of the Year.

Music news -Singer-songwriter Neil Diamond the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year, he announced on his website. "Any club that has Chuck Berry and Little Richard and The Everly Brothers is a club that I want to be a part of," the 69-year-old "Sweet Caroline" singer said in a statement. "I think it's great. I'm happy that they recognized me and my work." Artists are eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first single or album, although Diamond began recording in the 1960s.

garth brooks news   dec 2010Garth Brook’s offer to perform a benefit concert for Tennessee flood victims has become nine sold-out concerts beginning on Thursday night, and the music star said he was overwhelmed by the response. Brooks, the all-time best-selling star in country music, will raise at least $4 million for the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for the nine concerts over six days. Merchandise sales could raise another $1 million. Brooks announced in October that he would do one show in Nashville to benefit the foundation. When tickets went on sale November 3, he sold out nine shows in four hours.

Troubled rapper DMX was sentenced to one year in prison by an Arizona judge on Thursday after admitting he violated his probation by drinking alcohol, court officials said. The rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was on probation for attempted aggravated assault and using a fake name to avoid paying a $7,500 hospital bill.Arizona Superior Court Commissioner Christine Mulleneaux said DMX would receive credit for 113 days already served in prison while he awaiting trial.

It's a sad day for Parisian "little monsters" after Lady Gaga's concert in Paris has been canceled due to complications arising from a severe storm. The princess of pop took to Twitter early Sunday morning to vent her frustration, Tweeting, "All 28 of my trucks for the Monsterball [tour] were detained by the French government going on over 26 hrs, 2 of my employees were arrested trying to get into Paris so we could perform.

kanye west mtv man year    2010Kanye West has been named MTV's Man of the Year. The rapper won the honor for his "compelling" comeback story after starting the year as a villain, thanks to his infamous mic-swipe from Taylor Swift, and ending it as a "hero." After a self-imposed hiatus, West started his comeback in May, releasing "Power." Two months later, he joined Twitter, unleashing infinitely entertaining stream of consciousness in 140-character bursts. By the fall, he wowed fans with his performances on the MTV VIdeo Music Awards and Saturday Night Live; directed a short film, Runaway; released his album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; made amends with George W.Bush - but in a tiff with Matt Lauer.

Shania Twain and Nestle business executive Frederic Thiebaud are engaged. He’s her ex-best friend’s former husband!

Television News - December 15, 2010 -

king last cnn show    dece 2010Larry King's Last CNN SHow - More than 2.2 million tuned in to watch King's final CNN show on Thursday night. That may not sound like a huge number, but it was up more than 100% compared to the previous night. King even beat Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity, the perennial 9 p.m. cable news, for total tune-in. Hannity was watched by 2.1 million. But Hannity did beat King among news' target demographic of 25-54 year olds (543,000 vs. 530,000).

Passing - Steve Landesberg – best known as Detective Sgt. Arthur Dietrich on the long-running 1970s cop comedy “Barney Miller.” He was 65.

The much-touted “Sing Off” finale finale didn't exactly reach fortissimo, but it helped NBC win the night with its 2.7 ratings among 18-to-49-year-olds. The two-hour show averaged 8 million-plus viewers, but was down 18 percent in the demo from the previous Monday. The premiere of Perfect Couples, which followed it at 10/9c, attracted just a 1.9 in 18-49.

Top Movies December 15, 2010 -

TRON: Legacy (1st week $44.026 million)

Yogi Bear (1st week $16.411 million)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Fighter

Tangled

The Tourist

Black Swan

How Do You Know (1st week $7.484 million)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – part 1

Unstoppable

Burlesque

Due Date

Love & Other Drugs

Top Pop Hits December 15, 2010 –

Firework – Katy Perry

Raise Your Glass – P!nk

Grenade – Bruno Mars

We R Who We R – Ke$ha

Only Girl (in the World) – Rihanna

The Time (Dirty Bit) - The Black Eyed Peas

Just Tthe Way Your Are – Bruno Mars

Bottoms Up – Trey Songz fea. Nicki Minaj

nelly news music    dec 2010Just a Dream – Nelly

Like a G6 – Far East Movement fea. Cataracs & Dev

Black and Yello – Wiz Khalifa

Dynamite Taio Cruz

Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You) – Enrique Iglesias fea. Ludacris & DJ Frank E

No Hands – Waka Flocka Flame fea. Roscoe & Wal

That’s All She Wrote – T.J. fea. Eminem

Stereo Love – Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina

Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

Please Don’t Go – Mike Posner

Animal - Neon Trees

F**k You ( Forget You) – Cee Lo Green

Secrets – One Republic

Coming Home – Diddy – Dirty Money fea. Skylar Grey

Top Video Games December 15, 2010 -

Wii Sports

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (PC)

Wii Sports Resort

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Kinect Adventures (X360)

Call of Duty: Black Ops (X360, PS3)

Just Dance Wii

Mario Kart DS

Donkey Kong Country Returns Wii

TV listings/TV Guide - December 15, 2010 -

NFL Football: Philadelphia at Dallas NBC

2.

Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick

NBC

3.

60 Minutes

CBS

4.

Criminal Minds

CBS

5.

Two and a Half Men

CBS

6.

The Mentalist

CBS

7.

Barbara Walters Special

ABC

8.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

CBS

9.

Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People

ABC

10.

Survivor: Nicaragua

CBS

11.

Amazing Race 17

CBS

12.

The Big Bang Theory

CBS

13.

Football Night in America

NBC

14.

NCIS

CBS

15.

Desperate Housewives

ABC

16.

Undercover Boss

CBS

17.

Modern Family

ABC

18.

Glee

FOX

19.

Mike & Molly

CBS

20.

The Defenders

CBS

Wednesday Night TV (Dec. 15, 2010)

8:00 to 9:00
CBS: 'Survivor: Nicaragua'
FOX: 'Human Target'
NBC: 'The Sing-Off' -- (120 minutes)
PBS: 'Christmas With the Mormon Tabernacle Choir' -- Featuring guests Natalie Cole and David McCullough
ABC Family: 'Disney Prep & Landing'
DIY: 'Cool Tools' -- Two episodes
G4: 'American Ninja Warrior'
NatGeo: 'Lockdown'
TLC: 'My Skin is Killing Me'
VH1: 'Let's Spend the Night Together: Confessions of Rock's Greatest Groupies'

The rest of the schedule and the late night talk shows after the jump.

9:00 to 10:00
CBS: 'Criminal Minds'
FOX: 'Hell's Kitchen'**
PBS: 'Paris: The Luminous Years' -- (120 minutes)
A&E: 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' -- 9:30 start
BBC America: 'I'd Do Anything' -- (120 minutes)
CNBC: 'Behind the Counter: The Untold Story of Franchising'
Discovery: 'MythBusters'
DisneyXD: 'Naruto: Shippuden'
DIY: '10 Grand in Your Hand'
G4: 'American Ninja Warrior'
History: 'Third Reich: The Fall' -- (120 minutes)
ID: 'The Will: Family Secrets Revealed'
NatGeo: 'Border Wars'
Science Channel: 'Oddities'
TLC: 'Untold Stories of the E.R.'
Travel: 'Man v. Food: Carnivore Chronicles'
Showtime: 'Inside the NFL'
USA: 'Psych'

10:00 to 11:00
CBS: 'The Defenders'
A&E: 'Storage Wars' -- Two episodes
Bio: 'Biography' -- Former husband to Sandra Bullock, Jesse James
Bravo: 'Top Chef: All-Stars'
Cooking Channel: 'Bitchin' Kitchen'
DIY: 'Holiday Wrap-Up' and 'Disaster House'
E!: 'E! Investigates' -- The real-life military wives
G4: 'American Ninja Warrior'
HBO: '24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic'
ID: 'Hookers: Saved on the Strip'
MTV: 'Challenge: Cutthroat'**
NatGeo: 'Wild Justice'
NatGeo WILD: 'Python vs. Gator'
Spike: '1000 Ways to Die' and 'MANswers'
TBS: 'Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns' -- Two episodes
TLC: 'The Boy With Bloody Tears'
Travel: 'Pasta Paradise'
truTV: 'Full Throttle Saloon'
USA: 'Psych'


11:00
'Charlie Rose' (PBS): TBA, though the cast and director of 'Blue Valentine' may appear since they were pushed back last night due to a tribute to the late Richard Holbrooke
'Watch What Happens: Live' (Bravo): Phaedra Parks and Atlanta housewife Apollo Nida
'The Mo'Nique Show' (BET): Shante Broadus; Aldis Hodge; Anjela Johnson; Anoop Desai, LPA
'The Daily Show' (Comedy Central): Paul Rudd
'Chelsea Lately' (E!): Ciara
'Conan' (TBS): Amy Adams; Roger Waters; performance by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes

11:30
'Late Show With David Letterman' (CBS): Matt Damon; performance by Florence & the Machine
'The Tonight Show' (NBC): Jason Segel; 'Top Gear' hosts Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust and Rutledge Wood
'The Colbert Report' (Comedy Central): Laird Hamilton

Midnight
'Jimmy Kimmel Live' (ABC): Jeff Bridges; performance by Diddy
'Tavis Smiley' (PBS): Kevin Spacey; Amy Adams
'Lopez Tonight' (TBS): Mila Kunis; Dr. Drew Pinsky; Chrisette Michele

12:30
'The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson' (CBS): Seth Green; magician Jamy Ian Swiss; performance by Ruth Gerson
'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' (NBC): Paul Rudd; Jon Lovitz; performance by Aloe Blacc

1:30
'Last Call With Carson Daly' (NBC): Adam Carolla; actor Casey Pieretti; performance by School of Seven Bells

Saturday Night TV (Dec 18, 2010)

8:00 to 9:00
ABC: 'I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown!'
FOX: 'Cops'
Disney Channel: 'Fish Hooks' -- 8:30 start
Univision: 'Sabado Gigante' -- (180 minutes)
CNN: 'A Soldier's Story'
Discovery: 'Ten Commandments of the Mafia'
Food Network: 'A McConaughey and Fieri Feast'
Hallmark Channel: 'Battle of the Bulbs' -- (120 minutes) Daniel Stern and Matt Fewer star as feuding neighbors who compete in the annual Christmas lighting contest
HGTV: 'Color Splash'
History: 'The Naturalized' -- (120 minutes)
Style: 'How Do I Look?'**

9:00 to 10:00
FOX: 'America's Most Wanted'
NBC: 'WWE Tribute to the Troops'
Bio: 'Celebrity Ghost Stories'
CNBC: 'The Suze Orman Show'
Discovery: 'I (Almost) Got Away With It'
Disney Channel: 'Fish Hooks' -- Two episodes
DIY: 'Renovation Realities'
ESPN: 'New Orleans Bowl' -- Ohio vs. Troy
Food Network: 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives'
Style: 'Lucky's 10 Biggest Obsessions Ever'
We: 'Downsized'

10:00 to 11:00
Animal Planet: 'Pit Bulls and Parolees'
BBC America: 'The Graham Norton Show' -- Barry Manilow; Katherine Jenkins; KT Tunstall
CNBC: 'Til Debt Do Us Part'
Cooking Channel: 'Two Fat Ladies' -- Two episodes
Discovery: 'I Shouldn't Be Alive'
HBO: 'Ricky Gervais: Out of England 2 - The Stand-Up Special'
MSNBC: 'Lockup: Raw'
Style: 'The Dish Salutes 2010's Craziest Moments'
We: 'Downsized'**

'Saturday Night Live' -- Host Jeff Bridges with musical guests Eminem and Lil Wayne

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