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

In The News –

Racing the debt clock, Congress is working on dual tracks while President Barack Obama appeals to the public in hopes of influencing a deal that talks have failed to produce so far. "We have to ask everyone to play their part because we are all part of the same country," Obama said Saturday, pushing a combination of spending cuts and tax increases that has met stiff resistance from Republicans. "We are all in this together." In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said the wealthiest must "pay their fair share." He invoked budget deals negotiated by GOP President Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill, and Democratic President Bill Clinton and Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich.

A 10-mile stretch of one of the nation's busiest freeways has turned into a virtual ghost road. Ramps to the normally clogged Interstate 405 began shutting down Friday evening before the entire roadway was closed at midnight, setting the stage for a 53-hour construction project that will test whether this car-dependent city can change its driving habits for a weekend. For weeks, authorities have urged residents to avoid getting in their car, lest they trigger what's been hyped as "Carmageddon."

murdoch accepts resignations  july 15 2011Rupert Murdoch accepted the resignations of The Wall Street Journal's publisher and the chief of his British operations on Friday as the once-defiant media mogul struggled to control an escalating phone hacking scandal, offering apologies to the public and the family of a murdered schoolgirl. The scandal has knocked billions off the value of Murdoch's News Corp., scuttled his ambitions to take control of a lucrative satellite TV company, withered his political power in Britain — and is threatening to destabilize his globe-spanning empire. The controversy claimed its first Murdoch executive in the United States as Les Hinton, chief executive of the Murdoch-owned Dow Jones & Co. and publisher of the Wall Street Journal, announced he was resigning with immediate effect.

Several sources familiar with the situation said Brooks, 43, was being questioned as part of an investigation into allegations of illegal voicemail interception and police bribery at the News of the World tabloid she once edited. Rebekah Brooks, the former head of Rupert Murdoch's UK newspaper business, was arrested on Sunday in the latest twist of a phone-hacking scandal that has tainted British police and politicians and shaken the tycoon's global media empire.

The military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy is back in place for the time being, with one major caveat: the government is not allowed to investigate, penalize or discharge anyone who is openly gay. A San Francisco federal appeals court ordered the military to temporarily continue the controversial policy in an order late Friday, the court's response to a request from the Obama administration. The order is the latest twist in the legal limbo gay service members have found themselves in as the policy is fought in the courts simultaneous to its slow dismantling by the federal government, which expects to do away with it by later this year.

The 25-year-old woman, whose acquittal shocked and enraged many around the country who had been following the case for months, left an Orlando area jail at 12:14 a.m., swiftly boarded an SUV and rode out of public view. Casey Anthony walked out of jail a free woman under heavy guard early Sunday, facing shouts of "baby killer" from a heckling crowd less than two weeks after she was found not guilty of murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

"Richard Cordray has spent his career advocating for middle class families, from his tenure as Ohio's Attorney General, to his most recent role as heading up the enforcement division at the CFPB and looking out for ordinary people in our financial system," Obama said in a statement. An event at the White House is planned for Monday where Obama will discuss his pick. President Barack Obama said on Sunday he planned to nominate formerOhio attorney general Richard Cordray to head the new U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Britain's top police chief resigned and the former head of Rupert Murdoch's UK newspaper business was arrested Sunday over a phone-hacking scandal that has rocked pillars of the establishment. Paul Stephenson, London's police commissioner, quit in the face of allegations that police officers had accepted money from Murdoch's News of the World paper and not done enough to investigate phone-hacking charges.

The event that many feared would be the "Carmageddon" of epic traffic jams cruised calmly toward a finish Sunday, with bridge work on the Los Angeles roadway completed ahead of schedule and officials reopening a 10-mile (16-kilometer) stretch of one of the busiest U.S. freeways. Drivers honked their horns and waved from car windows as traffic started moving on Interstate 405 just after noon, for the first time since being shut down at midnight Friday to allow for the partial demolition of a bridge. There were no major problems since the freeway was closed, despite warnings.

More News - July 15, 2011 -

Police say Sean Hoare, the whistleblower reporter who alleged widespread hacking at the News of the World, has been found dead. Police said Hoare's death at his home in England was not considered to be suspicious, according to Britain's Press Association news agency. Hoare was quoted by The New York Times as saying that phone-hacking was widely used and even encouraged at the News of the World tabloid under then-editor Andy Coulson. Coulson — who most recently served as Prime Minister David Cameron's communications chief, was arrested as part of the widening investigation into phone hacking and police corruption.

A protester splattered Rupert Murdoch with white foam on Tuesday(July19), interrupting a dramatic hearing in which the media baron told British lawmakers he was not responsible for a phone hacking scandal that has rocked his global empire. Murdoch appeared by turns vague, truculent, sharp and concise as he spoke alongside his son and deputy, James, calling the parliamentary inquisition "the most humble day of my career" but refusing to take personal blame for the crisis that has swept from a tabloid newspaper through the top levels of Britain's police and even to the prime minister's office.

Bank of America said on Tuesday that it lost $9.1 billion in the second quarter, due to its record-breaking settlement over subprime mortgage claims stemming from the financial crisis. Its earnings amounted to a swing into a loss of 90 cents a share, in line with analysts' forecasts after the bank set aside $14 billion last month to compensate angry investors for their losses on dodgymortgage-backed securities. Without the mortgage settlement and other exceptional items, the bank would have posted a profit of $3.7 billion, or 33 cents per share, Bank of America said in its quarterly earnings report.

At least five Amish farmers were killed on Tuesday in upstate New Yorkwhen a car trying to overtake a slow-moving tractor collided head-on with their van in what police described as a horrific crash. Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike told Reuters the crash occurred when a car heading southbound in a no-passing zone tried to overtake a tractor that had spray equipment attached to it. The car then collided with the oncoming van. "It was a horrific accident," Spike said of the crash, which took place in Benton, New York, about 60 miles southeast of Rochester. "The vehicle collided with the van and the crash caused the van to hit the tractor. The van was hit so hard it actually was embedded underneath the tractor trapping all the passengers in the van," he added.

American Airlines on Wednesday split a giant order for 460 single-aisle jets worth up to $40 billion between Boeing Co and its European rival Airbus , which scrambled to win any of the narrowbody deal. The record-large order placed by the AMR Corp unit gives Airbus a stronger foothold in U.S. markets. The deal also rapidly refreshes American Airlines' aging fleet with more fuel-efficient planes to better compete with U.S. rivals.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a new budget Wednesday, ending the nation's longest state government shutdown in the past decade. Dayton's signature came just hours after lawmakers gave their own approval to the deal after meeting in special session that started Tuesday afternoon and lasted until early Wednesday morning. All sides formalized an agreement that Dayton struck with leading Republicans late last week.

President Barack Obama summoned top Democratic lawmakers back to the White House Wednesday to resume negotiations on averting a potentially crippling government default, as attention focused on a new bipartisan budget plan emerging in the Senate. The White House also indicated Obama would be willing to sign a short-term debt limit increase — something he's opposed — if it's merely a stop-gap measure to allow time for a broader plan to get into place, something that likely couldn't be finished by the Aug. 2 deadline to increase the government's borrowing limit.

Standard & Poor's reiterated on Thursday it sees a real risk that future U.S. government deficits may meaningfully miss discussed targets and that there is a 50-50 chancethe U.S. AAA credit rating could be cut within three months, perhaps as soon as August. The deficit reduction debate is coming up against an August 2 deadline when the $14.3 trillion limit on America's borrowing capacity is exhausted, putting in jeopardy payments on U.S. Treasury debt as well as paychecks for federal employees and soldiers.

The space shuttle Atlantis returned from NASA's final shuttle mission on Thursday, ending a 30-year era that opened the space frontier, exposed its dangers and established a toehold for future endeavors beyond Earth.

Tech News July 15, 2011 -

Google's Facebook competitor Google+ grew to 10 million users in just two weeks, the company announced Thursday.

That's only a bit more than 1% of Facebook's 750 million global users, but it still represents staggering growth for Google's infant social network, which isn't yet open to the public. The site remains in a "limited" trial phase. Google+ represents a part of the new CEO's grand vision for the 13-year old company. Despite Google's position as the worldwide leader in search, CEO Larry Page has opted to treat the company as a startup, increasing hiring and starting several new initiatives. "Today, I see more opportunities for Google than ever before; we're just at the beginning of what we want to do," Page said. "We're only at 1% of what's possible. Google's just getting started." Accordingly, Google continued its hiring spree in the second quarter, upping its headcount by nearly 9%, or 2,500 employees -- including 450 from the acquisition of flight data company ITA . The company also has spent freely, putting more than $900 million into its infrastructure during the quarter, including expanding its massive data centers. The company says it expects to continue to make "significant" capital expenditures going forward.

Google announced Wednesday it will be slowly shuttering Google Labs, its experimental site for projects that aren't quite products.That news prompted fear and news reports that popular "experimental" features in Gmail and other products would also be killed.

Microsoft on Thursday reported that sales of Xbox 360 and Kinect soared 30% in the past quarter, as the video game system maintained its position as the top console for the twelfth month in a row.

Sports News July 15, 2011 -

Former Philadelphia Eagles running back Reno Mahe (MAY'-hee) surrendered to authorities this week to face a criminal theft charge in Utah. Mahe and four others are charged in Utah's 3rd District Court with stealing more than $15,000 in gasoline in 2010 from a construction company in a Salt Lake City suburb, according to court documents.

Japan has won the Women’s World Cup, stunning the United States 3-1 in a penalty shootout Sunday night after coming from behind twice in a 2-2 tie. Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath all failed to convert for the Americans, who squandered dozens of chances throughout the game and blew a lead just six minutes from winning their third World Cup title. “This is obviously going to hurt for a while,” said Abby Wambach, whose only hole in her glittering career is the World Cup title.

Update: The SUV crash from last Thursday that saw a car service hired by Los Angeles Laker Lamar Odom crash into a motorcyclist in downtown New York City… Odom wasn't driving, but it was his hired truck that crashed into a motorcyclist, which then crashed into a 15-year old boy.It turns out that the boy, a pedestrian, has died from the injuries sustained in the crash.

Football Afterall - The clubs approved an agreement that was negotiated with the players this afternoon," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday at a news conference. "In addition to approving that agreement, we also approved a supplemental revenue sharing system for the next 10 years. With this ratification, and the ratification of the NFLPA board, we will be prepared to open the training facilities beginning this Saturday. We will then be prepared to start the new league year next Wednesday, subject to the full membership of the players ratifying the agreement and re-certifying as a union." Goodell also said that the 2011 Hall of Fame game, which was to feature the Bears and Rams on Aug. 7, has been canceled due to complications brought about by time constraints. The first actual preseason games would begin Aug. 11.

Entertainment News July 15, 2011 -

New Taylor Swift Perfume - The country-singing star, 21, has partnered with Elizabeth Arden to create her first perfume for women, Wonderstruck."I wrote the lyric, 'I'm wonderstruck, blushing all the way home,' for the song 'Enchanted' about the first time you meet someone," Swift said in a release. "A fragrance can help shape someone's first impression and memory of you. It's exciting to think that Wonderstruck will play a role in creating some of those memories."

rihanna tops gaga tweets   july 2011Sorry, Lady Gaga, but Rihanna, has just passed you by. At least on the Facebook charts. The "Rude Boy" singer has overtaken the "Judas" chanteuse to become the most popular female star on the social media site, according to Famecount.com. Barbados-born singer Rihanna has amassed 40,622,133 "likes" for her Facebook page, edging out Gaga, who lags with 40,580,102 "likes."

With three failed marriages between them, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony finally seemed to find true love together when they married seven years ago. They had twin children, went on tour together, did a movie together and even planned a music-based reality show they were working on together. But on Friday, the pair announced they were no longer together. "We have decided to end our marriage. This was a very difficult decision," the couple said in a statement by Lopez's publicist. "We have come to amicable conclusion on all matters. It is a painful time for all involved and we appreciate the respect of our privacy at this time."

Changes his mind about Twitter - Jerry Seinfeld is now a member of the Twitterati, sending his first two tweets out this Friday. The famous comedian and actor has chosen @SeinTime as his new Twitter handle. His first tweet reads, "Greetings Tweetarians! I have just landed on your Planet. This could be my last Tweet." He followed that up with, "Second Tweet! Am I done yet?" Seinfeld apparently changed his mind about Twitter in recent weeks. In May, he stated that tweeting didn’t interest him.. Perhaps his wife, @JessSeinfeld, helped change his mind.

Comic Con Coming – More than 130,000 fans are getting ready for this Friday’s Comic-Con are the Hollywood studios and networks hoping to capture their attention. San Diego's annual pop-culture festival draws passionate (and often costumed) consumers of movies, TV shows, video games, collectibles and comic books. It's a crowd that's quick to tweet or blog about their favorite things, and Hollywood covets that fandom and their Internet reach. Sony will showcase seven upcoming films at the four-day convention. Paramount is bringing Steven Spielberg to his first Comic-Con. Twentieth Century Fox is ballyhooing its film slate, including "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." Universal is holding its world premiere of "Cowboys & Aliens" at Comic-Con. Small-screen offerings include Showtime's "Dexter" and "Shameless," Fox's "Glee," "Family Guy" and "The Simpsons," HBO's "True Blood" and "Game of Thrones," and dozens of other popular shows distributed by ABC, NBC, MTV and Warner Bros. Television. Then there are scores of video games, graphic novels and, yep, comic books that will make their debut or reconnect with their audiences at Comic-Con.

Bette Midler Has A Beef With Lady Gaga - The beef is about a wheelchair-bound mermaid character that Gaga unveiled at a concert in Sydney last week. It turns out that Midler had performed in an almost identical getup for millions of fans three decades ago, while playing her alter-ego character named Delores DeLago. This weekend Midler fired off a series of critical tweets to the pop star, saying, "I've been doing the mermaid in a wheelchair since 1980. You can keep the meat dress." In case you're wondering, Gaga was "born this way" in 1986.

sheen to launch anger management   july 2011Charlie Sheen aims to launch another hit sitcom - this time, on his own terms. The tempestuous star is planning to return to series television in the aptly titled "Anger Management," based on the 2003 film of the same name

Rapper Ja Rule (Jeffrey Atkins) has been sentenced by a New Jersey court to more than two years in federal prison for failing to file tax income returns. He also was ordered to pay $1.1 million in unpaid taxes."I in no way attempted to deceive the government or do anything illegal," the rapper said prior to sentencing. "I was a young man who made a lot of money — I'm getting a little choked up — I didn't know how to deal with these finances, and I didn't have people to guide me, so I made mistakes."

She’ll Be On Exteme Makeover: Home Edition – First Lady Michelle shoots an episode Thursday in Fayetteville, N.C., where she got her hands dirty by helping with an addition to a community resource center for female veterans. She specifically will work on a new greenhouse and children's play area for the center. The episode is expected to air in October.

Paris Hilton recently sat down with "Good Morning America" correspondent Dan Harris, but the interview quickly turned sour when the newsman pressed Ms. Hilton regarding what some may perceive as a waning public interest in the 30-year-old socialite's antics. Do you worry at times that the people who have followed in your footsteps – like Kim Kardashian - are overshadowing you?" Harris asked Hilton, in the interview which aired on "GMA" on Wednesday morning. "No, not at all," Paris answered. "Do you ever worry about your moment having passed?" Harris continued, referencing the low ratings for her new Oxygen reality series, "The World According to Paris." Paris didn't utter a word in response to Harris' question, then looked at her publicist who was positioned off-camera, got up from her chair and walked out of the frame. The heiress eventually returned to complete the interview -- after what Harris described as a "long heated conversation with Hilton and her publicist" -- and admitted that her voice drastically drops when she's not on camera.

r.kelly emergency surgery   july 2011R. Kelly is resting in a Chicago hospital following emergency throat surgery, the singer's rep told the Associated Press on Wednesday.The "I Believe I Can Fly" singer's publicist said that doctors had to drain an abcess on one of Kelly's tonsils on Tuesday. The 44-year-old star (full name: Robert Sylvester Kelly) will be "laid up indefinitely" at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital.The Grammy winner had recently complained of throat pain; following a throat exam, he was rushed to the hospital.

Lindsay Lohan Thursday added financial woes to four years of legal problems when she was slapped with a $1 million assault lawsuit and a court heard she was having problems paying for private counseling. Lohan, 25, whose Hollywood career has been derailed since 2007 by drug and alcohol problems and repeated trips to jail, was ordered to undergo psychological counseling earlier this year as part of her sentence for stealing a gold necklace in January.


Top Movies July 15, 2011:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – part 2 (1st week $168.5 million)


Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Horrible Bosses

Zookeeper

Cars 2

Winnie The Pooh (1st week $8 million)

Bad Teacher

Larry Crowne

Super 8

Midnight In Paris

Bridesmaids

Top Pop Hits July 15, 2011 –

Give Me Everything – Pitbull fea. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer

Party RockAnthem – LMFAO fea. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

Rolling In the Deep – Adele

Super Bass – Nicki Minaj

Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) – Katy Perry

The Edge Of Glory - Lady Gaga

Good Life – OneRepublic

How To Love – Lil Wayne

Tonight Tonight – Hot Chelle Rae

E.T. – Katy Perry fea. Kanye West

I’m On One – DJ Kahled fea. Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne

Dirt Road Anthem – Jason Aldean

bruno mars hits music music   july 2011The Lazy Song – Bruno Mars

Just Can’t Get Enough – The Black Eyed Peas

The Show Goes On – Lupe Fiasco

Don’t Wanna Go Home – Jason Derulo

I Wanna Go – Britney Spears

Honey Bee – Blake Shelton

Motivation – Kelly Rowland fea. Lil Wayne

On The Floor – Jennifer Lopez fea. Pitbull

Just A Kiss – Lady Antebellum

Knee Deep – Zac Brown Band fea. Jimmy Buffett

Best Thing I Never Had – Beyonce

If I Die Young – The Band Perry

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

1.

America's Got Talent" (Tuesday

NBC

2.

Primetime Special Edition

ABC

3.

America's Got Talent" (Wednesday)

NBC

4.

America's Got Talent" (Tuesday

NBC

5.

NCIS

CBS

6.

Macy's 4th of July Fireworks

NBC

7.

60 Minutes

CBS

8.

Big Brother 13" (Thursday)

CBS

9.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

CBS

10.

Big Brother 13" (Sunday)

CBS

11.

NCIS: Los Angeles

CBS

12.

Wipeout" (Thursday)

ABC

13.

Blue Bloods

CBS

14.

The Big Bang Theory

CBS

15.

The Mentalist

CBS

16.

Boston Pops Fireworks

CBS

17.

So You Think You Can Dance" (Wednesday)

FOX

18.

Flashpoint

CBS

19.

CSI: NY

CBS

20.

Criminal Minds

CBS

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