Dateline: Week Of November 1, 2011 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
Markets plunged Tuesday on fears that Europe's plan to save the euro was unraveling after Greece's leader unexpectedly called a referendum on the country's latest rescue package. Markets are worried Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou wouldn't be able to pull off a victory -- assuming that his government holds together.
The federal government sued one of the nation's largest privately held mortgage brokers on Tuesday, saying its decade-long fraudulent lending practices cost thegovernment hundreds of millions of dollars and forced thousands of American homeowners to lose their homes. The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan sought unspecified damages and civil penalties and named as defendants Houston-based Allied Home Mortgage Corp., founder Jim Hodge and Jeanne Stell, the company's executive vice president and director of compliance.
Bank of America has dropped its planned $5 monthly debit card fee, in a complete reversal of its announcement late September that attracted a maelstrom of customer anger. "We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee," David Darnell, co-chief operating officer, said in a statement today. "Our customers' voices are most important to us. As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plans to do so."
Syms Corp. and its affiliate, Filene’s Basement, filed for bankruptcy protection today and announced plans to liquidate, citing increased competition in the off-price retail industry. The stores, which are perennial favorites of bargain brides and frugal fashionistas, received no bids to be taken over. Both chains plan to capitalize on the upcoming holiday shopping rush to liquidate their inventories, said Gary Binkoski, interim chief financial officer, according to the court documents. In total, 25 Syms locations and 21 Filene’s Basement stores will close, which is anticipated to be sometime in January after liquidation.
Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain struggled to overcome the storm of controversy from sexual harassment accusations on Thursday as the threat of a damaging written statement by one of his accusers and shifting explanations by a top aide left his efforts and even his candidacy in doubt.
Republicans in the Senate Thursday dealt President Barack Obama the third in a string of defeats on his stimulus-style jobs agenda, blocking a $60 billion measure for building and repairing infrastructure like roads and rail lines. Supporters of the failed measure said it would have created tens of thousands of construction jobs and lifted the still-struggling economy. But Republicans unanimously opposed it for its tax surcharge on the wealthy and spending totals they said were too high.
The U.S. jobs crisis may be easing slightly on the strength of a fourth straight month of modest hiring and a dip in the unemployment rate. Hiring slowed a bit in October. But the government said job growth was much stronger in August and September than first thought. Average hourly earnings rose last month. And the unemployment rate ticked down to 9 percent from 9.1 percent, because more people said they found work last month. It was the first drop in the rate since July. Still, the report suggests that President Barack Obama will likely face voters with the highest unemployment rate of any post-war president. The Labor Department said the economy added 80,000 jobs in October. It was the fewest in four months and below September's revised total of 158,000. The government revised August and September's data to show 102,000 more jobs added.
Shares of daily deals site Groupon began trading at $28 per share, 40% above its initial offering price in the public debut of its stock Friday. Groupon had priced its initial public offering at $20 a share late Thursday, the last step on a rocky journey to its debut. Under the ticker GRPN, Groupon began trading Friday at about 10:45 a.m. ET on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The company debuted with a valuation of around $13 billion.
5.6 quake in Oklahoma - The magnitude 5.6 earthquake and its aftershocks still had residents rattled Sunday. No injuries were reported, and aside from a buckled highway and the collapse of a tower on the St. Gregory's University administration building, neither was any major damage. But the weekend earthquakes were among the strongest yet in a state that has seen a dramatic, unexplained increase in seismic activity.
Technology News November 1, 2011
Apple has acknowledged a problem with battery life on the iPhone 4S and other devices running its new operating system. The company says a software update coming "in a few weeks" will address the problem. The company previously had not publicly acknowledged battery life complaints on the phone, which surfaced soon after it was released October 14 and continued to grow in the weeks since.
New Gmail is now rolling out to all users. The changes, officially announced in a blog post Tuesday, allow Gmail users much more control over the look of the service. You can drag sidebars around to your preferred size and width, choose from a wider selection of high-resolution background pictures, and decide whether you want lots of email on your screen or more white space between mails. (Your choice of email density is between "Comfortable," "Cozy" and "Compact.") Heavy Gmail users will also be pleased to learn that there's a new search function -- that is, you can now access Advanced Search by clicking on the search bar. Conversations have been condensed, and profile pictures added.
Barnes & Noble will launch a new member of the family of tablets and e-readers, the Nook Tablet, on November 16 for $249, according to leaked presentation slides published by Engadget. Furthermore, the company plans to reduce the price of Nook Color from $249 to $199, while the Nook Simple Touch's price will drop from $139 to $99.
Sports News November 1, 2011 -
Two Penn State University officials have stepped down amidst allegations that they covered up a child sex abuse scandal involving former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and school administrator Gary Schultz announced that they were both stepping down from their positions after an executive session of Penn State's Board of Trustees on Sunday. Their decision follows the arrest Saturday of Sandusky on charges of sexually abusing eight boys in a program he started for at-risk kids.
An arrest warrant was issued for Terrell Owens(notes) after he failed to show up for a court date regarding child support payments. Diana Bianchini, a spokeswoman for Owens, said Saturday the free-agent wide receiver tried to reschedule an Oct. 24 hearing in Contra Costa County Court because he had set up a televised workout in the hopes of hooking on with an NFL club. No teams attended the workout.
Frank McCourt agreed Tuesday to sell the Dodgers, abruptly surrendering the team after fighting to retain it over two years and in two courts. McCourt and Major League Baseball have agreed to seek approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for an auction of the Dodgers. The sale is expected to include the team, Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots, a package bought by McCourt for $421 million in 2004 and likely to sell for two to three times as much now. The league hopes a new Dodgers owner can be in place by opening day. The new owner would be the third since Peter O'Malley sold the team to News Corp. in 1998. The Dodgers had remained in the O'Malley family since its patriarch, Walter, moved the team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958.
Business News November 1, 2011 –
- MasterCard Inc reported sharply higher third-quarter profit on Wednesday, easily beating Wall Street estimates on double-digit increases in volumes. The company's chief executive also said on a conference call with analysts that consumers were still spending despite economic uncertainty, though growth comparisons will start to get harder from this month.
Entertainment News - November 1, 2011 -
Michael Jackson’s Doctor Guilty - it took a jury nearly 10 hours to find Dr. Conrad Murray guilty Monday of involuntary manslaughter for giving an overdose of a powerful anesthetic, causing the singer's death in June 2009.
La Toya Jackson, the singer's sister, gasped when the verdict was read. Murray faces up to four years in prison at his sentencing later this month.
OHH NOH!! - Kim Kardashian’s decision to file for divorce from Kris Humphries, her husband of 72 days, sent E!, the network that churns out her and her family’s many reality TV shows, into panic mode. “Everyone knew it wasn’t a storybook marriage and it wasn’t going to last that long, but I don’t think anyone thought they’d split up so soon,” a source said.
Jerry Seinfeld will join Kelly Ripa after Regis Philbin's departure. Jerry Seinfeld’s coming back to TV, though not in the format you might have expected. The comedian will temporarily fill Regis Philbin’s shoes on “Live! with Kelly” following Philbin’s Nov. 18 departure. Seinfeld will join Kelly Ripa for three shows airing Nov. 21-23.
Bieber Bombshell - A Los Angeles police commander says his department could investigate an alleged sexual tryst between an underage Justin Bieber and a now 20-year-old woman because it violates California's statutory rape law. Cmdr. Andrew Smith said Thursday that no report has been taken about the October 2010 incident at Staples Center. However, police could look into the matter after various media outlets reported Mariah Yeater filed a paternity suit earlier this week against Bieber. Yeater had just turned 19 when she says she and Bieber, then 16, had a sexual encounter after one of his concerts. Bieber's camp denies he is the father of her baby boy, born in July.
The lead guitarist for the heavy metal band GWAR has been found dead on their tour bus.Manager Jack Flanagan and record label Metal Blade say Cory Smoot was found early Thursday before crossing into Canada following a show in Minneapolis.
Chuck D - Universal Music Group is now facing a fresh lawsuit that alleges the underpaying of royalties on digital downloads. Today, Chuck D of Public Enemy stepped up to bring his own class action against the major record label.The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco federal court and alleges that UMG routinely miscalculates the royalties owed to artists for digital downloads, such as MP3s and ringtones, by treating them as "sales" of physical records rather than "licenses." Chuck D's complaint follows on the heels of a federal judge's decision on Tuesday to move forward on a similar consolidated class action brought by Rob Zombie and the estate of Rick James.
Passing - — Andy Rooney so dreaded the day he had to end his signature "60 Minutes" commentaries about life's large and small absurdities that he kept going until he was 92 years old. Even then, he said he wasn't retiring. Writers never retire. But his life after the end of "A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney" was short: He died Friday night, according to CBS, only a month after delivering his 1,097th and final televised commentary. Rooney had gone to the hospital for an undisclosed surgery, but major complications developed and he never recovered. "Andy always said he wanted to work until the day he died, and he managed to do it, save the last few weeks in the hospital," said his "60 Minutes" colleague, correspondent Steve Kroft.
Justin Bieber plans to put an end to a woman's claim that the 17-year-old singer is the father of her child. A source confirmed that Bieber has made arrangements to take a DNA test when he returns from Europe in response to the paternity suit filed in San Diego Superior Court by Mariah Yeater last week.
Ted Williams – The famed (once homeless tv/radio announcer) is now working on a new project, working as the official voice of NECN in Boston.
Top Pop Hits - November 8, 2011 -
Someone Like You – Adele
We Found Love – Rihanna fea. Calvin Harris
Sexy And I Know It – LMFAO
Moves Like Jagger – Maroon5 fea. Christina Aguilera
Stereo Hearts – Gym Class Heroes fea. Adam Levine
Without You- David Guetta fea. Usher
Party RockAnthem – LMFAO fea. lauren Bennett & GoonRock
Mr. Know It All – Kelly Clarkson
You Make Me Feel… Cobra Starship fea. Sabi
Good Feeling - Flo Rida
Headlines – Drake
5 O’Clock – T-Pain fea. Wiz Khalifa & Li,ly Allen
You and I – Lady Gaga
In The Dark – Dev
Super Bass- Nicki Minaj
Ni**as in Paris – Jay Z Kanye West
It Girl – Jason Derulo
Give Me Everything – Pitbull fea. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer
Princess of China – Coldplay fea. Rihanna
Fly – Nicki Minaj fea. Rihanna
It Will Rain- Bruno Mars
She Will – Lil Wayne fea. Drake
God Gave Me You – Blake Shelon
Make Me Proud – Drak fea. Nicki Minaj
Lighters – Bad Meets Evil fea. Bruno Mars
Top Movies November 1, 2011 –
Puss in Boots
Tower Heist (1st week $25 million)
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (1st week $13 million)
Paranormal Activity 3
The Rum Diary
The Ides of March