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Dateline: Week Of November 22, 2011 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts

In The News -

A swelling crowd of tens of thousands filled Cairo'sTahrir Square Tuesday, answering the call for a million people to turn out and intensify pressure on Egypt's military leaders to hand over power to a civilian government. The ruling military councilheld crisis talks with political parties across the spectrum to try to defuse growing cries for a "second revolution."

The U.S. economy grew more slowly over the summer than the government had earlier estimated because businesses cut back more sharply on restocking of shelves. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that the economy expanded at an annual rate of 2 percent in the July-September quarter, lower than an initial 2.5 percent estimate made last month.The government also said after-tax incomes fell by the largest amount in two years, reflecting high unemployment and lower pay raises.

Students have again put up tents near the site where University of California, Davis police used pepper spray on seated protesters in a conflict that has sparked outrage and calls for the school chancellor's resignation. The encampment was again erected Monday, hours after the campus police chief was put on administrative leave and the chancellor was shouted down at a demonstration while trying to apologize for the incident that happened at a protest held Friday in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Two officers also were placed on administrative leave after the students were sprayed.

The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service is raising rates for its more profitable express mail and priority mailshipping next year, part of its efforts to stave off bankruptcy. The new prices, which take effect Jan. 22, include the introduction of a new flat rate of $39.95 for overnight express mail boxes weighing up to 70 pounds that are sent domestically; the flat rate for express letters is being increased separately to $18.95. Previously, prices for the overnight service were $13.25 or higher based on package weight and distance.

Egyptian police clashed with anti-government protesters for a fifth day in central Cairo Wednesday as a rights group raised the overall death toll from the ongoing unrest to at least 38. The United Nations strongly condemned what it called the use of excessive force by security forces. The clashes resumed despite a promise by Egypt's military ruler to speed up a presidential election to the first half of next year, a concession swiftly rejected by tens of thousands of protesters inTahrir Square. The military previously floated late next year or early 2013 as the likely date for the vote, the last step in the process of transferring power to a civilian government.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed Wednesday to step down after a long-running uprising to oust him from 33 years in power. Saleh, seated beside Saudi King Abdullah in the Saudi capital Riyadh, signed a U.S.-backed deal hammered out by his country's powerful Gulf Arab neighbors to transfer his power within 30 days to his vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. That will be followed by early presidential elections within 90 days.

Netflix stock's free fall accelerated Tuesday as the shares reached a 20-month low amid intensifying concerns about the video subscription service's ability to overcome public relations problems and competitive pressures. The latest in a wave of share sell-offs followed Netflix Inc.'s decision to raise $400 million from investors by issuing debt and selling 2.86 million shares of its slumping stock. That served as a reminder that Netflix hasn't been bringing in as much money as management anticipated from a price increase that triggered mass cancellations and damaged the company's once-sterling brand.

Arizona is taking on immigration once again, with state lawmakers collecting donations from the public to put fencing along every inch of the state's porous Mexican border in a first-of-its-kind effort. The idea came from state Sen. Steve Smith, a Republican who says that people from across the nation have donated about $255,000 to the project since July, when the state launched a fundraising website that urges visitors to "show the world the resolve and the can-do spirit of the American people."

A nuclear-powered rover as big as a compact car is set to begin a nine-month journey to Mars this weekend to learn if the planet is or ever was suitable for life. The launch of NASA's $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory aboard an unmanned United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket is set for 10:02 a.m. EST (1502 GMT) on Saturday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, located just south of the Kennedy Space Center. The mission is the first since NASA's 1970s-era Viking program to directly tackle the age-old question of whether there is life in the universe beyond Earth.

Egypt's military ruler warned of "extremely grave"consequences if the turbulent nation does not pull through its current crisis and urged voters to turn out for landmarkparliamentary elections starting Monday. Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi claimed "foreign hands" were behind the latest wave of unrest, an assertion similar to those made by Hosni Mubarak in his final days in power before he was ousted in a popular uprising in February. Tantawi was Mubarak's defense minister for 20 years.

At least 10 people were hurt in a Black Friday scuffle at a Los Angeles-Porter Ranch Wal-Mart when a shopper started pepper spraying the crowd. Authorities said the incident happened shortly after doors opened at 10 p.m. Thursday. The woman allegedly blasted pepper spray into the crowd when she realized that she wasn't going to get to an Xbox because there were too many people in front of her. After spraying the crowd, the woman was able to get to an Xbox, purchase it and leave the store. Police are still looking for the woman. At least 10 to 15 people were treated for minor injuries.

More News November 22, 2011

Afghan troops who came under fire while operating near the Pakistan border called in the NATOairstrikes that allegedly killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at two posts along the frontier, Afghan officials said Sunday. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said it's unclear who attacked the Afghan troops before dawn Saturday, but that the soldiers were fired upon from the direction of the Pakistani border posts that were hit in the strikes. The border area where the soldiers were operating contains a mix of Pakistani forces and Islamist militants.

The holiday shopping season got off to a strong start on Black Friday, with retail sales up 7 percent over last year, according to the most recent survey. Now stores just have to keep buyers coming back without the promise of door-buster savings. Buyers spent $11.4 billion at retail stores and malls, up nearly $1 billion from last year, according to a Saturday report from ShopperTrak. It was the largest amount ever spent on the day that marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, and the biggest year-over-year increase since 2007. Chicago-based ShopperTrak gathers data from 25,000 outlets across the U.S., including individual stores and shopping centers.

The discovery of two new bodies in shallow graves could bring to three the death toll from a Craigslist ad that police say lured victims into a lethal robbery scheme in Ohio. One of the bodies was identified today as Timothy Kern, 47, ofMassillon, Ohio, who answered a Craigslist ad. Kern has not been seen in over a week, according to FBI spokeswoman Vicki Anderson. The Summit County Medical Examiner's office announced Saturday that Kern died from gunshot wounds to the head, according to the AP. An online posting advertising a job working on an Ohio cattle farm is being eyed as a common link in the deaths. The ad has already been implicated in the death of one man and the injury of another

European leaders rushed Monday to stop a rampaging debt crisis that threatened to shatter their 12-year-old experiment in a common currency and devastate the world economy as a result. One proposal gaining prominence would have countries cede some control over their budgets to a central European authority. In a measure of how rapidly the peril has grown, that idea would have been unthinkable even three months ago.

Shoppers seem to be just as enthusiastic about shopping on their computers and smartphones on Cyber Monday as they were about finding deals over the weekend. Online sales on Cyber Monday, which was started in 2005 by a retail trade group to encourage Americans to shop online on the Monday after Thanksgiving, were up mid-afternoon by 15 percent from a year ago, according to data from IBM Benchmark. Meanwhile, sales from mobile devices were up 7.4 percent. The group did not give dollar amounts.

American Airlines and its parent company are filing for bankruptcy protection as they try to cut costs and unload massive debt built up by years of high fuel prices and labor struggles. There will no impact on travelers for now. The nation's third-largest airline also said Tuesday that CEO Gerard Arpey had stepped down and was replaced by company president Thomas W. Horton. AMR Corp. has continued to lose money while other U.S. airlines returned to profitability in the last two years.

joe biden timeline trivia  november 2012Vice President Joe Biden arrived on a surprise visit to Iraq late Tuesday in a trip designed to chart a new relationship between the two countries after all American forces have left the country in just over a month. After nearly nine years of war, the U.S. now must navigate a future without American troops in Iraq. Iraq's vast oil resources, the massive U.S. Embassy presence here and Iraq's strategic location in the Middle East — next to Iran — ensure American interest will remain high in Iraq even after the troops are gone.

More than 1,400 police officers, some in riot gear, cleared the Occupy Los Angeles camp early Wednesday, driving protesters from a park around City Hall and arresting more than 200 who defied orders to leave. Similar raids in Philadelphia led to 50 arrests, but the scene in both cities was relatively peaceful. Police in Los Angeles and Philadelphia moved in on Occupy Wall Street encampments under darkness in an effort to clear out some of the longest-lasting protest sites since crackdowns ended similar occupations across the country.

Major central banks around the globe took coordinated action Wednesday to ease the strains on the world's financial system, saying they would make it easier for banks to get dollars if they need them. Stock markets and the euro rose sharply on the move. The European Central Bank, U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the central banks of Canada, Japan and Switzerland are all taking part.

Burger King Corp, the second largest hamburger chain, has changed its french fry recipe for the first time since 1998 as competition from upstarts and traditional fast-food rivals mounts. Burger King said it made the new fries thicker, reduced sodium and added a coating that makes them crisper and keeps them hotter longer. The fries, now a bit wider in diameter than a No. 2 pencil, will be available in its more than 7,000 North American Burger King restaurants by December 5. Prices remain the same. "We're always trying to have the best menu possible. French friesare a big seller for us and we want to make sure we're always improving," said Leo Leon, vice president of innovation.

Technology News November 22, 2011 -

Google Inc has abandoned an ambitious project to make renewable energy cheaper than coal, the latest target of Chief Executive Larry Page's moves to focus the Internet giant on fewer efforts. Google said on Tuesday that it was pulling the plug on seven projects, including Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal as well as a Wikipedia-like online encyclopedia service known as Knol. The plans, which Google announced on its corporate blog, represent the third so-called "spring cleaning" announcement that Google has made since Google co-founder Page took the reins in April.

In a sign that its merger prospects are dimming, AT&T said Thursday that it will take a $4 billion accounting charge this quarter to cover part of the break-up fee it will owe, if its bid to acquire T-Mobile fails to gain regulatory approval. The move comes two days after the Federal Communications Commission took the unusual step of recommending that AT&T's proposed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile go to an administrative hearing. The maneuver, a sign of opposition to the deal, makes the FCC the second regulator to object.

While on Australian flight Regional Express ZL319 Friday, a passenger’s iPhone 4 (not the iPhone 4S, which is Apple’s latest model) suddenly started “emitting a significant amount of dense smoke, accompanied by a red glow,”according to an airline statement.The plane, which was flying from Lismore to Sydney, was in the midst of landing when the incident occured. “In accordance with company standard safety procedures, the flight attendant carried out recovery actions immediately, and the red glow was extinguished successfully,” according to Regional Express’ statement.

Sports News November 22, 2011 -

The NBA lock-out is over and the boys will begin to play pro-basketball later in December.

Wayne Weaver has sold the Jacksonville Jaguars to Shahid Khan, a Pakistan-born entrepreneur and head of Illinois-based Flex-N-Gate Corp, for $760 million. People familiar with the matter say Kahn used $350 million of debt to finance the deal.

Entertainment News November 22, 2011 -

Legendary musician Jimi Hendrix was named the greatest guitar player in history on Wednesday by Rolling Stone magazine in a list compiled by a panel of music experts and topguitar players. "Jimi Hendrix exploded our idea of what rock music could be: He manipulated the guitar, the whammy bar, the studio and the stage," said Grammy-winning guitarist Tom Morello in the magazine, citing Hendrix's "Purple Haze" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" as key tracks.

gaga thanksgiving tvA Very Gaga Thanksgiving" proved plenty bounteous for ABC. Though it failed to grab the ratings crown for the night, the holiday special presided over by the "Alejandro" chanteuse provided a significant boost for the network Thursday night, generating a four-year Thanksgiving best in the timeslot and handily beating last year's Turkey Day music offering, "Beyonce's I Am World Tour." "A Very Gaga Thanksgiving," airing from 9:30 p.m. to 11, averaged a 1.6/3 in the adults 18-49 demographic, a 23 percent improvement over the concert special delivered by her former collaborator Beyonce on the network last season.

conrad murray sentencedConrad Murray, the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson, was sentenced to four years imprisonment, the maximum punishment the judge could deliver. The sentencing came nearly three weeks after a jury found Murray guilty of administering Jackson with a fatal dose of the powerful sedative Propofol on June 25, 2009. "Some may feel that this was a medical malpractice case. It wasn't. And this jury found that Conrad Murray, with criminal negligence, caused the death of Michael Jackson," Judge Michael Pastor said before revealing the sentence. "The fact is, Michael Jackson died because of the actions of, and the failures to perform legal duties on the part of, Conrad Murray." The judge also admonished Murray for his "horrific violation of trust" in treating Jackson. The defense was seeking a sentence that included probation but no jail time, but given the severity of the crime and the world-famous victim, the judge sided with the prosecution in delivering Murray his punishment. In addition to the sentence, Murray was also ordered to pay Jackson's children a restitution estimated to be in the amount of $100 million, a sum that combines the cost of Michael's funeral arrangements, plus the lost wages and earnings the singer didn't collect because he died before his This Is It concerts began. The exact restitution, however, will be decided on a later court date.

Passing – Comedian Patrice O’Neal. He was 41.

Top Music Albums November 22, 2011 –

Take Care – Drake

Christmas – Michael Buble

Concerto: One Night In Central Park – Andrea Bocelli

21 – Adele

Glee: The Music: The Christmas Album

NOW 40

Under the Mistletoe – Justin Bieber

The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn

Mylo Xyloto – Coldplay

Someone To Watch Over Me – Susan Boyle

Camp – Childish Gambino

Cities 97 Sampler – Live From Studio C

Clear As Day – Scotty McCreery

Ceremonials – Florence + The Machine

Heavenly Christmas – Jackie Evancho

Own The Night – Lady Antebellum

Savage Night – Webbie

Formula: Vol. 1 – Romeo Santos

Ambition – Wale

Four the Record – Miranda Lambert


Stronger- Kelly Clarkson

Wicked Game – II Divo

Sinatra: Best of the Best – Frank Sinatra

Tha Carter IV – Lil Wayne

Blue Slide Park – Mac Miller

Tailgates & Tanlines – Luke Bryan

Duets II – Tony Bennett

Open Invitation - Tyrese

Top Movies November 22, 2011

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Down Part 1

The Muppets (1stweek $41 million)

Happy Feet Two

Arthur Christmas (1st week $16 million)

Hugo (1st week $15 million)

Jack and Jill

Immortals

Puss in Boots

The descendants

Tower Heist

J. Edgar

Top TV Shows/listings/tv guide - November 22, 2011

1.

NFL Football: Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants

NBC

2.

NCIS

CBS

3.

Dancing With the Stars

ABC

4.

Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick

NBC

5.

NCIS: Los Angeles

CBS

6.

Dancing With the Stars Results

ABC

7.

The Big Bang Theory

CBS

8.

Two and a Half Men

CBS

9.

60 Minutes

CBS

10.

Modern Family

ABC

11.

Criminal Minds

CBS

12.

Blue Bloods

CBS

13.

20/20" (Monday)

ABC

14.

The Mentalist

CBS

15.

Mike & Molly

CBS

16.

American Music Awards

ABC

17.

2 Broke Girls

CBS

18.

Hawaii Five-0

CBS

19.

Person of Interest

CBS

20.

Survivor: South Pacific

CBS

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