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Dateline: Week Of December 15, 2011 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts

In The News -

In a small ceremony in Baghdad today, the U.S. military formally ended its mission in Iraq after nearly nine years of war, 4,487 lives lost and more than 32,000 wounded.On hand for the small ceremony held at the international airport in Baghdad were Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.“This is not the end, but the beginning,” Panetta told a small group of U.S. service members and dignitaries gathered to watch the “casing” of the flag of U.S.-Forces-Iraq, the headquarters command for U.S. troops in Iraq.

Bangladesh police say fishermen have beaten to death 10 suspected pirates who were wounded in a gunfight with security forces. Local police chief Bashir Ahmed says the wounded men were being brought to a police station late Wednesday when hundreds of angry fishermen snatched them from police and beat them to death.He said Thursday that police were far outnumbered by the mob and could not save the suspected pirates.

Passing – Christopher Hitchens, the author, writer and Vanity Fair contributing editor, has died. He was 62.

Another Repbulican Debtate - Newt Gingrich put himself in a difficult position ahead of Thursday night's Fox News debate in Sioux City, Iowa: He sought to adhere to his pledge not to go negative against his Republican presidential opponents while still holding his lead in the Iowa polls

President Obama - December 2012President Obama hit China automobile tire makers with a trade tariff in 2009 and now Beijing has struck back with a potentially more punitive tariff, as much as a 21% tax hike on U.S. car exports bound for China, the world's largest auto market. This week, the Chinese government upped the ante in the Obama-China trade dispute by surprisingly imposing new tariffs on imports of Honda and Cadillac models, Chrysler Jeep Grand Cherokee, the BMW X5 and X3 and Mercedes Benz models made in Michigan, Alabama and South Carolina. China argues that the U.S. provided illegal subsidies to these companies during the economic downturn in 2008 and is selling those vehicles cheaper in China than they are sold for in the U.S.

The Senate has approved a two-month extension of a cut to the Social Security payroll tax and agreed to continue jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. It's a partial victory for President Barack Obama's year-end jobs agenda. It also contains a provision demanded by Republicans to pressure Obama into approving construction of a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline that promises thousands of jobs.

The last convoy of U.S. soldiers pulled out of Iraq on Sunday, ending nearly nine years of war that cost almost 4,500 American and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives and left a country grappling with political uncertainty. The war launched in March 2003 with missiles striking Baghdad to oust President Saddam Hussein closes with a fragile democracy still facing insurgents, sectarian tensions and the challenge of defining its place in an Arab region in turmoil.

North Koreans poured into the streets on Monday to mourn the death of leader Kim Jong-il and state media hailed his untested son as the "Great Successor" of the reclusive state whose atomic weapons ambitions are a major threat to the region. Earlier, a tearful North Korean television announcer, dressed in black and her voice quavering, said the 69-year old ruler died on Saturday of "physical and mental over-work" on a train on his way to give "field guidance" -- advice dispensed by the "Dear Leader" on trips to factories, farms and the military.

Iraqi authorities issued an arrest warrant forSunni Muslim Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi on Monday for suspected ties to assassinations and bombings, a decision likely to fuel sectarian tensions after the U.S. troop withdrawal.

Fierce winds and snow that caused fatal road accidents and shuttered highways in five states, crawled deeper into the Great Plains early Tuesday, with forecasters warning that pre-holiday travel would be difficult if not impossible across the region. Hotels were filling up quickly along major roadways from eastern New Mexico to Kansas, and nearly 100 rescue calls came in from motorists in the Texas Panhandle as blizzard conditions forced closed part of Interstate 40, a major east-west route, Monday night.

About 10 inches of snow had fallen in western Kansas before dawn Tuesday and several more inches along with strong wind gusts were expected, National Weather Service meteorologist Marc Russell said.

A small plane heading for Georgia crashed Tuesday on a major New York-area highway, spiraling out of control, breaking up and hitting a wooded median and scattering wreckage across the road. All five people aboard were killed, but no one on the ground was injured. Federal investigators said the pilot had discussed icing with controllers just before the plane went down but were unsure what role, if any, icing played in the crash.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino declared on Tuesday a state of national calamity after flash floods and land slides caused by a typhoon swept through a southern region late last week, killing about 1,000 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless. The national disaster agency said 957 were killed and 49 were missing, with most of the casualties in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in the Mindanao region.

Technology News December 15, 2011 -

AT&T Inc. said Monday that it is ending its $39 billion bid to buy T-Mobile USA after facing fierce government objections. The cellphone giant said that the actions of the U.S. government to block the deal do not change the challenges of the wireless phone industry, which it says requires more airwaves, known as spectrum, to expand.

Entertainment News December 15, 2011 -

Authorities say "Lean on Me" actor Jermaine "Huggy" Hopkins has been arrested in Phoenix for trying to buy 200 pounds (91 kilograms) of marijuana from an undercover officer. Sheriff's detectives say the 38-year-old Hopkins was taken into custody Tuesday. Phoenix TV stationKSAZ reports that detectives found 200 pounds of marijuana in his SUV and $100,000 cash. Authorities later searched an Avondale apartment listed in Hopkins' name. They say they found another 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of marijuana.

howard stern americas got talent december 2011Satellite radio personality Howard Stern joins “America’s Got Talent” as a judge. Howard finally landed a spot as TV show talent judge as he was once considered for “American Idol.”

Atlanta police say the rapper Slim Dunkin was gunned down Friday evening in amusic studio as he was preparing to record a video. Police Maj. Keith Meadows said the rapper, whose real name is Mario Hamilton, was fatally shot in the chest after getting into an argument with another individual. He was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Slim Dunkin had appeared on a number of songs with the rapper Waka Flocka Flame. The website Mtv.com reported that the Brick Squad Monopoly rapper was on a solo track and had recently released a 20-track mix tape that featured Gucci Mane, Roscoe Dash and Pastor Troy.

"At Last" and "Tell Mama" blues singer Etta James, whose health has been fading in recent years, is now terminally ill, and her live-in doctor is asking for prayers. Dr. Elaine James, who isn't related to the 73-year-old entertainer, tells the Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper that the singer's chronic leukemia was declared incurable two weeks ago.

The Beach Boys Will Re-Unite in 2012 - The members of the group will join forces for a new album and a 50th anniversary tour, the band announced on its Friday. The effort reunites original band leader and chief songwriter Brian Wilson with fellow members Al Jardine, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and David Marks. Several songs have already been recorded for the new album, including a new version of the group's 1968 hit, "Do It Again." The 50-date tour will begin in April at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Other dates and cities have yet to be announced.

Britney Spears Engaged - Britney Spears accepts Jason Trawick's marriage proposal and the 30-year-old pop superstar can hardly contain her excitement.The couple plans to celebrate their engagement -- and Trawick's 40th birthday -- Friday evening at Planet Hollywood and Chateau nightclub in Las Vegas.

lindsay lohan nude picture hefner factsHugh Hefner says he pushed Lindsay Lohan to shoot her Playboy pictorial in the buff. "It was essentially mama and the folks around her that kept pushing for less nudity," Hefner told E! News. "I said, 'We're doing a nude pictorial here. We're going to do it in a very classy way and we're going to do it in a way in which it will not be forgotten.'" Ellen DeGeneres is putting down roots where Brad Pitt once laid his head. The daytime host finalized a deal to purchase Brad's Malibu, Calif., home for $12 million on Friday.

Chaz Bono and his fiancée Jennifer Elia have split and canceled their engagement. Bono's rep Howard Bragman confirmed to ET that the engagement is off and Chaz and Jennifer are "no longer a couple." "They leave this relationship with great love, respect and affection toward one another. No further amplification will be forthcoming and they ask that you respect their privacy at this time," Bragman said in a statement.

bon jovi twitter not-dead december 2011Social Media Hoax Said Jon Bon Jovi Had Died… Jon Bon Jovi wants duped fans to know he's not dead, and he has posted a photo proving it. False reports of the New Jersey-born musician's death spread online after a fake news release surfaced on social media sites.

Top Video Games December 11, 2011 -

Mari Kart 7 3DS

Just Dance 3 Wii

Kinect Adventures! X360

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 X360

Super Mario 3D Land 3DS

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Ps3

Mario Kart Wii

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sward Wii

Wii Sports Resort

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim X360

Top Movies December 11, 2011 -

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (1st week $39.6 million)

Alivn and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked! (1st week $23.2 million)

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (1st week $13.3 million)

New Year’s Eve

The sitter

The Twilight saga: Breaking dawn – part 1


Arthur Christmas

The Muppets

Young Adult

The Descendants

Top Pop Music December 15, 2011 -

Sexy And I Know it – LMFAO

We Found Love – Rihanna fea. Calvin Harris

It Will Rain – Bruno Mars

Good Feeling – Flo Rida

The One That Got Away – Katy Perry

Ni**as In Paris – Jay Z Kanye West

Someone Like You – Adele

Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 fea. Christina Aguilera

Without You – David Guetta fea. usher

5 O’Clock – T-Pain fea. Wiz Khalifa & Lily Allen

We Are Young – Glee Cast


Stereo Hearts – Gym Class Heroes fea. Adam Levine

Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO

Dance (A$$) – Big Sean fea. Nicki Minaj

Work Out – J. Cole

Headlines – Drake

Red Solo Cup – Toby Keith

You Make Me Feel... Cobra Starship fea. Sabi

Mr. Know It All – Kelly Clarkson

Pumped up Kicks – Foster The People

Young, Wild & Free – Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa fea. Bruno Mars

Set Fire To The Rain – Adele

You Da One – Rihanna

Not Over You – Gavin DeGraw

I Don’t Want This Night to End – Luke Bryan

Top TV Shows/listings/TV Guide - December 15, 2011 -


NFL Football: N.Y. Giants vs. Dallas



Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick



Two and a Half Men



60 Minutes



The Big Bang Theory



Football Night in America



The Mentalist



2 Broke Girls






Person of Interest



Mike & Molly



Criminal Minds



NCIS: Los Angeles



Modern Family



Amazing Race 19



Survivor: South Pacific



The Good Wife



How I Met Your Mother



CSI: Crime Scene Investigation



Hawaii Five-0


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