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

In The News -

Senate Republicans intend to block action on virtually all Democratic-backed legislation unrelated to tax cuts and government spending in the current postelection session of Congress, officials said Tuesday, adding that the leadership has quietly collected signatures on a letter pledging to carry out the strategy.

hilary clinton should resign dec 2010Hillary Clinton, Julian Assange said, "should resign." Speaking over Skype from an undisclosed location on Tuesday, the WikiLeaks founder was replying to a question by TIME managing editor Richard Stengel over the diplomatic-cable dump that Assange’s organization loosed on the world this past weekend. Stengel had said the U.S. Secretary of State was looking like "the fall guy" in the ensuing controversy, and had asked whether her firing or resignation was an outcome that Assange wanted. "I don't think it would make much of a difference either way," Assange said. "But she should resign if it can be shown that she was responsible for ordering U.S. diplomatic figures to engage in espionage in the United Nations, in violation of the international covenants to which the U.S. has signed up. Yes, she should resign over that."

The co-chairmen of President Obama's fiscal commission have agreed to a bold plan to slash federal deficits and put America's fiscal house in order. The problem is they're not sure if the rest of the bipartisan commission – let alone Congress – will sign on. Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson.

In Senate hearings Thursday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen shot back at Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for implying that Mullen is not in charge of troops and is thus not qualified to say that the military should end its ban on openly gay service.

Celebration, Disney's master-planned, picture-perfect central Florida community, has never reported a homicide in its 14-year existence — until this week. Residents of the town five miles south of Walt Disney World woke up Tuesday to the sight of yellow crime-scene tape wrapped around a condo near the Christmas-decorated downtown, where Bing Crosby croons from speakers hidden in the foliage. A 58-year-old neighbor who lived alone with his Chihuahua had been slain over the long Thanksgiving weekend, Osceola County sheriff's deputies said.

In a surprising setback, the nation's unemployment rate climbed to 9.8 percent in November, a seven-month high, as hiring slowed across the economy. Employers added only 39,000 jobs last month, a sharp decline from the 172,000 created in October, the Labor Department reported Friday. The weakness was widespread. Retailers, factories, construction companies, financial firms and the government all cut jobs last month.

obama afghanistan dec 2010BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – President Barack Obama slipped unannounced into dangerous Afghanistan on Friday, one year after widening an ever deadlier war and just days before a pivotal review about the 9-year-plus conflict. Plans for a face-to-face meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai were scrapped at the last minute.

European aircraft dumped tons of water over flames raging through tall trees in northern Israel as firefighters struggled for a second day Friday to contain the country's worst-ever forest fire, which has killed 41 people and displaced thousands. Authorities raised the possibility of arson, saying several small fires that broke out in the same general area but were quickly contained appeared to have been deliberately set.

Wikileaks struggled to stay online Friday as corporations and governments moved to cut its access to the Internet, a potentially crippling blow for an organization dedicated to releasing secret information via the web. Legal pressure increased on the site’s founder, Julian Assange, who appeared to move closer to arrest in a sex-crime case after Swedish authorities refiled a European arrest warrant in response to procedural objections from British officials that tied up the case for more than a day.

The online payment service provider PayPal has cut off the account used by WikiLeaks to collect donations, serving another blow to the organization just as it was struggling to keep its website accessible after an American company stopped directing traffic to it. PayPal said in a blog posting that the move was prompted by a violation of its policy, "which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity."

The 121-story Shanghai Tower is more than China's next record-setting building: It's an economic lifeline for the elite club of skyscraper builders. Financial gloom has derailed plans for new towers in Chicago, Moscow, Dubai and other cities. But in China, work on the 2,074-foot (632-meter) Shanghai Tower, due to be completed in 2014, and dozens of other tall buildings is rushing ahead, powered by a buoyant economy and providing a steady stream of work to architects and engineers.

Iran claimed Sunday it could now use domestically mined uranium to produce nuclear fuel, giving the country complete control over a process the West suspects is geared toward producing weapons.Tehran made the claim a day before a new round of nuclear talks with world powers that want to rein in IRan's uranium enrichment — a process that can be used either to make fuel for nuclear energy or nuclear weapons.

A young Russian woman working for a British lawmaker is facing deportation after security services detained her on suspicion of espionage, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday. The paper reported that Katia Zatuliveter, 25, secretly worked for the Russian intelligence as a "sleeper" agent. She had been working for Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock who sits on parliament's defense select committee which examines defense policy but has no access to secret material. Hancock, who is also an MP for Porstmouth in southern England where there is a large naval base, denied his research assistant had done anything wrong. "She is not a Russian spy. I know nothing about espionage, but she has been subjected to a deportation order," Hancock said in a statement. He said she would appeal moves to deport her.

In a disclosure of some of the most sensitive information revealed yet by WikiLeaks, the website has released a secret cable listing sites worldwide that the U.S. considers critical to its national security. The locations cited in the diplomatic cable from U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton range from undersea communications lines to suppliers of food, medicine and manufacturing materials.

A British judge sent Julian Assange to jail on Tuesday, denying bail to the WikiLeaks founder after Assange vowed to fight efforts to be extradited to Sweden in a sex-crimes investigation. Despite Assange's legal troubles, a WikiLeaks spokesman insisted the flow of secret U.S. diplomatic cables would not be affected. He also downplayed efforts to constrict the group's finances after both Visa and MasterCard cut off key funding methods Tuesday.

With fellow Democrats balking, President Barack Obama declared Tuesday that a compromise with Republicans on tax cuts was necessary to help the economy and protect recession-weary Americans. He passionately defended his record against Democrats who complain he's breaking campaign promises. "Take a tally. Look at what I promised during the campaign. There's not a single thing that I haven't done or tried to do," the president said. He staunchly defended his decision to deal with the GOP in order to extend about-to-expire tax cuts for all Americans.

Passing - Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, died Tuesday after a six-year fight with cancer, her family said. She was 61.

Technology News - December 1, 2010 -

facebook news dec 1, 2010 Facebook users the world over are changing their profile pictures to cartoons from their youth as part of a trend a U.S. Web site says began in mid-November. Know Your Meme, a Web site base in New York, said the trend began in Greece and Cyprus in mid-November and eventually spread globally, ABC News reported Friday. The Site said the meme -- a recurring Internet fad -- eventually took on the meaning of fighting child abuse, similar to previous awareness campaigns involving women posting their bra colors to raise awareness for breast cancer.

Sports News - December 1, 2010 -

Passing - Don Meredith, Don Meredith who died at age 72. Meredith became a pop culture icon as an original cast member of a show —Monday Night Football — that debuted in 1970 with a daring premise: Sports might actually work in primetime if it was wrapped in show biz.

Entertainment News - December 1, 2010 -

Elaine Kaufman, the well-known owner of legendary New York City restaurant Elaine's, has died. She was 81 years old. Kaufman, who had been in failing health, died at 12:20 p.m. at Lenox Hill Hospital, a spokeswoman for the restaurant told the paper. She died from complications tied to emphysema.

reese witherspoon walk of fame dec 1 2010Actress Reese Witherspoon, accompanied by her two children Ava and Deacon plus her canine co-star from 'Legally Blonde,' gets her Walk of Fame star on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. (Dec.2)

Television News December 1, 2010 –

“America’s Next Top Model” " contestant Ann Ward — who made headlines earlier this year when a judge showed he could fit both his hands around her tiny waist — was crowned winner of the CW show Wednesday.

Texas Ranger - On Thursday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry presents Chuck Norris - the actor and executive director of "Walker, Texas Ranger" with a designation as an honorary member of the famed law enforcement group.

Dave Price, the soon-to-be-ousted weatherman on CBS' "Early Show," called the network's decision this week to overhaul the third-place breakfastcast "jolting." While Price says he understands that TV news is very much a results-oriented business, he was nevertheless caught off guard when CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus informed him that a new "Early Show" team would be in place by January 3. "Was I surprised? Yeah. I had just come back from a seven-day trip from Alaska for a week-long sweeps piece," he said. "But I don't know many people who lose their job who aren't surprised by it. So I don't think that's extraordinary. But yeah, it's jolting."

The Walt Disney Co named Ben Sherwood the president of ABC News on Friday, tapping a broadcast news veteran and former "Good Morning America" producer to run the network's global news operation. Some industry sources had suspected Disney and ABC News might choose an unconventional candidate from outside broadcast news to succeed to David Westin, who resigned as head of ABC News in September after 13 years.

Music News - December 1, 2010 -

wi.i.am for oprahWill.i.am is singing out in movie theaters for Orpah Winfrey’s's new cable venture. Starting Friday, a song written by the Black Eyed Peas member will be heard as part of nationwide theater advertising for the OWN channel. The song, titled "Own It," is part of the new channel's marketing campaign and will be the theme song for a talent show on OWN. The song "Own It" also is a bonus track on the newly released Black Eyed Peas album, "The Beginning." Winfrey's cable network will launch on Jan. 1. Its full name is OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. A joint venture of Winfrey's Harpo Inc. and Discovery Communications Inc., it will replace the Discovery Health channel.

Britney Spears Is Ticked-Off - Star Magazine, Radar Online, Jason Alexander and the rest of you liars, yawl can kiss my lily white southern Louisiana ass!" the singer, 29, tweeted this week. The biting statement comes on the heels of a Star report that alleges Spears reached out to ex Jason Alexander after Trawick, 38, allegedly "beat her." The singer's reps strongly deny the tabloid's claims that the abuse allegations are "laughable" and "utterly false."

Aretha Franklin said she is recovering after undergoing a "highly successful" surgery for an undisclosed ailment."God is still in control," Franklin said in a statement. "I had superb doctors and nurses whom were blessed by all the prayers of the city and the country. God bless you all for your prayers.”

Top Pop Hits December 1, 2010 -

Raise Your Glass – Pink

Only Girl (In the World) – Rihanna

Firework – Katy Perry

Just the Way Your Are – Bruno Mars

We R Who We R – Ke$ha

What’s My Name? – Rihanna fea. Drake

Just A Dram – Nelly

The Time (Dirty Bit) – The Black Eyed Peas

Like A G6 – Far East Movememt fea. Cataracs & Dev

Grenade – Bruno Mars

The Time (Dirty Bit) – The Black Eyed Peas

Bottoms Up – Trey Songz fea. Nick Minaj

Dynamite – Taio Cruz

DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love – Usher fea. Pitbull

Animal – Neon Trees

Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

F**K You (Forget You) – Cee Lo Green

Please Don’t Go – Mike Posner

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

I Like It – Enrique Iglesias fea. Pitbull

Black and Yellow – Wiz Khalifa

No Hands – Waka Flocka Falme fea. Roscoe Dash

Whip My Hair – Willow

If I Die Young – The Band Perry

TV listings/TV guide - December 1, 2010 -

Hip Saturday night TV

Primetime College Football Games
Versus: Washington at Washington State -- 7:00 start
ESPN: 'ACC Football Championship' -- 7:45 start for Florida State vs. Virginia Tech
ABC: 'Big 12 Football Championship' -- 8:00 start for Nebraska vs. Oklahoma
ESPN2: Connecticut at South Florida -- 8:00 start

8:00 to 9:00
FOX: 'Cops'
Univision: 'Sabado Gigante' -- (180 minutes)
CNN: 'Losing Lennon'
Discovery: 'FBI's 10 Most Wanted'
Hallmark: 'Farewell Mr. Kringle' -- (120 minutes) Christine Taylor stars as a jaded journalist who's intent in discrediting a local Santa
HGTV: 'Celebrity Holiday Homes'
Nick: 'Big Time Rush'
Style: 'How Do I Look?'

9:00 to 10:00
FOX: 'America's Most Wanted'
Bio: 'Celebrity Ghost Stories'
CNBC: 'The Suze Ormon Show'
Discovery: 'I (Almost) Got Away With It'
DIY: 'Renovation Realities'
Nick: 'A Very School Gyrls Holla-Day'
Spike: 'Ultimate Fighter'** -- (180 minutes)
TLC: 'Invasion of the Christmas Lights 2'
We: 'Downsized'

10:00 to 11:00
CBS: '48 Hours Mystery'
Animal Planet: 'Pit Bulls & Parolees'
BBC America: 'The Graham Norton Show' -- Bette Midler; Stephen Fry; David Haye
CNN: 'John Lennon: Living in America'
CNBC: 'Til Debt Do Us Part' -- Two episodes
Discovery: 'Get Out Alive'*
ID: 'For the Love of Money'
MSNBC: 'Lockup: Raw'
Style: 'The Dish'
We: 'The Locator'

Saturday Night Live -- Robert De Niro hosts with musical guest Diddy Dirty Money

Tuesday Night TV - December 1, 2010 -

8:00 to 9:00
ABC: 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'
CW: 'One Tree Hill'
FOX: 'Glee'
NBC: 'Minute to Win It'*
Bravo: 'Inside the Actors Studio' -- James Franco
NatGeo: 'Eyewitness'

9:00 to 10:00
ABC: 'No Ordinary Family'
CW: 'Life Unexpected'
FOX: 'Raising Hope' and 'Running Wilde'
NBC: 'The Biggest Loser' -- (120 minutes)
A&E: 'Billy the Exterminator'
BBC America: 'Ramsay's Best Restaurant'*
Bravo: 'The Millionaire Matchmaker'
Cartoon Network: 'Tower Prep'
Cooking Channel: 'United Tastes of America' -- 9:30 start
Current: 'Long Way Round'
Discovery: 'Dirty Jobs'
DIY: 'Kitchen Impossible' and 'I Hate My Kitchen'
Food Network: 'Cupcake Wars'*
HBO: 'In Treatment'** -- Two episodes
HGTV: 'Real Estate Intervention'
NatGeo WILD: 'Leopard Queen'
Science Channel: 'Meteorite Men'
SyFy: 'Eureka'
TVOne: 'K-Ci & JoJo...Come Clean'
Travel: 'Mysteries at the Museum'

10:00 to 11:00
ABC: 'Detroit 1-8-7'
A&E: 'Strange Days With Bob Saget' -- Two episodes
BET: 'Being Terry Kennedy' -- 10:30 start
Discovery: 'Auction Kings'
Discovery Health: 'Heaven Help Her'
HGTV: 'House Hunters International'
ID: 'I (Almost) Got Away With It'
MTV: '16 and Pregnant'
Oxygen: 'Running Russel Simmons'**
Science Channel: 'Mantracker'
Spike: 'Auction Hunters'
SyFy: 'Warehouse 13'
Sundance: 'Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys'* -- Two episodes
TBS: 'Glory Daze'
TLC: 'The Little Couple'

11:00 to Midnight
A&E: 'Strange Days With Bob Saget' -- Two episodes

'Charlie Rose' (PBS): Author Nicole Krauss; Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
'The Mo'Nique Show' (BET): Brian White; Dr. Michelle Callahan; Tank
'The Daily Show' (Comedy Central): Seth Green
'Chelsea Lately' (E!): Lucy Liu
'Conan' (TBS): Rainn Wilson; performance by Christina Perri

'Late Show With David Letterman' (CBS): Johnny Depp; performance by Ra Ra Riot
'The Tonight Show' (NBC): Helen Mirren; Aaron Eckhart; performance by Keith Urban
'The Colbert Report' (Comedy Central): Julie Nixon Eisenhower and David Eisenhower

'Jimmy Kimmel Live' (ABC): Dan Aykroyd; Brian Austin Green; performance by Brad
'Tavis Smiley' (PBS): Author Noah Feldman; singer Keri Hilson
'Lopez Tonight' (TBS): Bob Saget; NeNe Leakes; Keri Hilson

'The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson' (CBS): Carrie Fisher; author Dennis Lehane
'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' (NBC): Michael C. Hall; Busy Philipps

'Last Call With Carson Daly' (NBC): Chef Bobby Flay; performance by Matt & Kim

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