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

In the News -

New York police say the maid who accuses the head of the International Monetary Fund of sexually assaulting her in his luxury hotel room picked the Frenchman out of a lineup. Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested Saturday and was to be arraigned later Sunday. He has been among the most popular potential candidates to challenge French President Nicolas Sarkozy in elections next year, and his arrest could throw his Socialist party into disarray.Sofitel hotel spokewoman Stacy Royal says the maid has worked there for three years and has been a satisfactory employee. Royal says the company is cooperating with police but will have no further comment on the case.

Evangelist Billy Graham was released on Sunday from a North Carolina hospital where he had been treated for pneumonia, the hospital said. Graham, 92, returned to his home in Montreat, North Carolina, after a five-day stay at Mission Hospital in nearby Asheville, North Carolina. Doctors said his response to treatment was "excellent" but that his recovery would be slow. "We expect continuing recuperation at home with very gradual recovery, returning to normal activities over several weeks. I'm delighted that he has come back this fast," Dr. Lucian Rice said in a statement released by the hospital.

Deputies warned people Sunday to get out as Mississippi River water gushing from a floodgate for the first time in four decades crept ever closer to communities in Louisiana Cajun country, slowly filling a river basin like a giant bathtub. Most residents heeded the warnings and headed for higher ground, even in places where there hasn't been so much as a trickle, hopeful that the flooding engineered to protect New Orleans and Baton Rouge would be merciful to their way of life.

Mobilized by calls on Facebook, thousands of Arab protesters marched on Israel's borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on Sunday in an unprecedented wave of demonstrations, sparking clashes that left at least 15 people dead in an annual Palestinian mourning ritual marking the anniversary of Israel's birth.

The U.S. and Pakistan agreed Monday(May16) to work together in any future actions against "high value targets" in Pakistan, even as U.S. Sen. John Kerry defended Washington's decision not to tell Islamabad in advance about the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The pledge, which was made in a joint statement, could help mollify Pakistani officials and citizens, who were enraged that one of the country's most important allies would conduct a unilateral operation on its soil. But details of the promised cooperation were unclear.

Endeavour blasted off on NASA's next-to-last shuttle flight, thundering through clouds into orbit Monday morning as the mission commander's wounded wife, Gabrielle Giffords, watched along with an exhilarated crowd estimated in the hundreds of thousands. "Good stuff, good stuff," Giffords was quoted as saying by her chief of staff as Endeavour took flight for the final time. Husband Mark Kelly, the shuttle's skipper, had red tulips presented to her afterward. She wore his wedding ring on a silver chain while he carried hers with him. NASA is winding down its 30-year-old shuttle program before embarking on something new.

Undeterred by real or fake bombs, Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday began the first visit by a British monarch to the Republic of Ireland, a four-day trip to highlight strong Anglo-Irish relations and the success of Northern Ireland peacemaking. Resplendent in a cloak of emerald green and a dress of St. Patrick's blue, the 85-year-old queen stepped out from a bombproof, bulletproof Range Rover outside the official residence of Irish President Mary McAleese. Irish Army artillery units fired a 21-gun salute as a military brass band played "God Save the Queen."

Mississippi River Flooding - The Coast Guard said it closed the Mississippi River at the port in Natchez, Miss., because barge traffic could increase pressure on the levees. Heavy flooding from Mississippi tributaries has displaced more than 4,000 in the state, about half of them upstream from Natchez in the Vicksburg area.The closure is the latest high-stakes decision made to protect homes and businesses that sit behind levees and floodwalls along the river. To take pressure off levees surrounding heavily populated New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the Army Corps of Engineers opened the key Morganza Spillway, choosing to flood more rural areas with fewer homes. Another spillway near New Orleans was opened earlier, but it doesn't threaten homes. Most residents in the path of the Morganza's floodwaters have heeded the call to leave their homes. Bernadine Turner, who lives in a mandatory evacuation zone near Krotz Springs, La., spent a third day Monday moving her things out. Water from the Morganza opening was not expected to reach the town about 40 miles west of Baton Rouge for several days, but most residents were taking no chances.

Hundreds of protesters, angered by an overnight NATO raid that they believed killed four civilians, clashed on Wednesday with security forces on the streets of a northern Afghan city. Twelve people died in the fighting, government officials said. There was also deadly violence in the east on Wednesday. A suicide bomber crashed a car into a police bus, killing 14 people and wounding 16, said Zemeri Bashary, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry. Most of the casualties were police officers, he said.

bashar alssad U.S. sanctions -  May 2011The United States slapped sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad and six senior Syrian officials for human rights abuses over their brutal crackdown on anti-government protests, for the first time personally penalizing the Syrian leader for actions of his security forces.

The White House announced the sanctions Wednesday, a day before President Barack Obama delivers a major speech on the uprisings throughout the Arab world. The speech is expected to include prominent mentions of Syria.

May 21 - Some shut themselves inside to pray for mercy as they waited for the world's end. Others met for tearful last lunches with their children, and prepared to leave behind homes and pets as they were swept up to heaven. And across the globe, followers of a California preacher's long-publicized message that Judgment Day would arrive Saturday turned to the Bible, the book they believe predicts the beginning of Earth's destruction on May 21. The doomsday message has been sent far and wide via broadcasts and web sites by Harold Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer who has built a multi-million-dollar nonprofit ministry based on his apocalyptic prediction. After spending months traveling the country to put up Judgment Day billboards and hand out Bible tracts, Camping follower Michael Garcia planned to spend Friday evening with his family at home in Alameda, near the Christian media empire's Oakland headquarters.

Sports News May 15, 2011 –

Passing - Harmon Killebrew, the affable, big-swinging Hall of Famer whose tape-measure home runs made him the cornerstone of the Minnesota Twins, died Tuesday at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., after battling esophageal cancer. He was 74. The Twins said Killebrew passed away peacefully with his wife, Nita, and their family at his side. He announced his diagnosis just six months ago and last week Killebrew said doctors had deemed the "awful disease" incurable.

Passing - Macho Man" Randy Savage, a professional wrestler who became a fan favorite thanks to his outlandish outfits and trademark catchphrase, dies in a car wreck. The 58-year-old Savage reportedly suffered a heart attack while driving his 2009 Jeep Wrangler in Tampa, Fla., and careened across lanes of oncoming traffic before colliding head-on with a tree. He died later at a local hospital. Savage's wife Lynn, who was riding in the passenger seat, escaped with only minor injuries.

Technology News - May 15, 2011 -

Google has shut down its Google News Archives digitization program, which aimed to make the world’s newspaper archives accessible and searchable online. The archives of several hundred newspapers will continue to be available at news.google but is “no longer accepting new microfilm or digital files for processing,” a Google spokesperson confirmed in an email to Mashable. According to the Boton Phoenix, Google emailed its contributing partners Thursday to notify them that the initiative was coming to a close so that the company could redirect resources to “newer projects that help the industry, such as Google One Pass, a platform that enables publishers to sell content and subscriptions directly from their own sites.” Although Google will no longer process any more papers, publishers can continue to add material to their individual archives via sitemaps. They are also welcome to pursue alternative partnerships to get the content Google has scanned for them online elsewhere.

Apple has signed a cloud-music licensing agreement with EMI Music and is close to completing deals with two other music labels, according to a report by tech news site CNET, citing multiple music industry sources. Such a product would throw Apple into direct competition with Amazon and Google, both of which recently launched cloud-based music streaming services of their own. Such services store songs on Web servers, where they are accessible from any device with an Internet connection, instead of on a user's hard drive. Apple signed a similar licensing deal with Warner Music last month. Its negotiations with Sony Music Group and Universal Music Group, the remaining of the four major labels, could be wrapped up as early as next week, CNET reports.

As further proof of how digital media dominate today's entertainment, Amazon announced Thursday that its customers now buy more e-books for its Kindle device than all print books -- hardcover and paperback -- combined. Nielsen compares usage patterns of nearly 12,000 U.S. owners of tablets, eReaders or smartphones.

The key findings, as Nielson sees it: 70% of tablet owners and 68% of smartphone owners said they use their devices while watching television, compared with 35% of eReader owners. 61% percent of eReader owners use their device in bed, compared with 57% of tablet owners and 51% of smartphone owners.

Playboy Enterprises on Thursday announced a subscription service that provides online access to every page of every issue, giving readers everywhere the chance to catch up with those, um, fiction excerpts, interviews and investigative articles. The service, called iPlayboy, contains every last photo image, news story, interview, work of fiction, advertisement and nude centerfold published in monthly magazines over the span of 57 years, according to a statement released by the Chicago-based Playboy Enterprises. More than 130,000 pages of content have been rendered viewable, readable and searchable online and optimized for electronic tablets including the Apple iPad, according to the statement.

Entertainment News - May 15, 2011 -

A former Playboy Playmate whose mummified body was found in her dilapidated Beverly Hills home last month, died of heart failure, the Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday. Yvette Vickers, a B-movie actress who was named Playboy's Miss July in 1959, was found dead at her home on April 27 after evidently being undiscovered for up to a year.

miranda lambert gets married   may 2011It's official: Miranda Lambert is a married woman! The 27-year-old "House That Built Me" singer wed longtime love Blake Shelton late Saturday evening at Texas' Don Strange Ranch.

Las Vegas marks the end of an era this week as one of the US gambling mecca's last original "Rat Pack" casino-hotels, the Sahara, finally closes its doors. Opened in 1952, the Sahara hosted everyone from Elvis Presley and Jerry Lewis to Frank Sinatra and the Beatles in the 1950s and 60s, and their photos still decorate the walls above the reception. But in recent decades Vegas saw an explosion of mega-sized casino resorts which left the "small" Sahara struggling to fill its 1,700 rooms at the end of the famous Strip. The death knell was sounded in March, when its owners since 2007, SBE Entertainment, announced that the casino-hotel complex with its more than 1,050 staff was no longer a viable business.

Passing - Actress Mary Murphy has died at 80. She was discovered in a coffee shop and landed a role as the small-town wholesome girl opposite Marlon Brando in "The Wild One."Daughter Stephanie Specht tells the Los Angeles Times that Murphy died May 4 of heart disease at her Beverly Hills home.

Passing - Los Angeles rapper M-Bone, a member of the group Cali Swag District, was killed in what appeared to be a drive-by shooting, police and celebrity news sites said on Monday(May16.) Police said a man was shot while outside a liquor store in the Inglewood area on Los Angeles on Sunday night and pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Website TMZ.com identified him as rapper M-Bone, whose real name is Montae Talbert.M-Bone was a member of hip-hop group Cali Swag District who found success with the 2010 single dance hit "Teach Me How to Dougie".

jerry lewis out at mdaAfter 45 years of hosting the Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day telethon, Jgerry Lewis says goodbye. The 85-year-old comedian said in a statement, that it was time for a "new telethon era. Lewis will make his final appearance during the six-hour event on Sept. 4; he'll perform his song "You'll Never Walk Alone."

What A Putz – The marital split of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and broadcast journalist Maria Shriver took a shocking new twist Tuesday with a Los Angeles Times report that the couple separated after Shriver was informed that her husband and a longtime female member of their household staff had a child together more than a decade ago. According to the Times, the 25-year marriage went south earlier this year, when Shriver moved out of the couple's Brentwood mansion after Schwarzenegger confirmed the paternity. The employee had retired in January after 20 years with the family, says the paper.
In a statement to the newspaper, Schwarzenegger, 63, said Monday: "After leaving the governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago. I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry." (People)

Arnold’s son, Patrick (17) Patrick is putting his family first. On Tuesday he tweeted: "Some days you feel like sh*t, some days you want to quit and just be normal for a bit, yet I love my family till death do us apart. #family" Later in the week, he changed his Twitter last name to Shriver. Yea, right!

After a dramatic semifinals round, "Dancing with the Stars" has named its final three.Sadly, for early Season 12 frontrunners Ralph Macchio and professional partner Karina Sminoff, they will not be part of that group.

lady gaga news trends photo - may 15, 2011Flamboyant pop singer Lady Gaga ousted U.S. media mogul Oprah Winfrey to top this year's Forbes celebrity power list released on Wednesday. Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, moved up four positions from last year to claim the top spot in Forbes' annual "The Celebrity 100" 2011 list that measures power by entertainment-related earnings, media visibility and social media popularity. Forbes rated the American singer-songwriter No. 1, estimating her earnings in the past 12 months as $90 million, but also noting her 32 million Facebook fans and 10 million Twitter followers.

Jeff Conaway, who rose to fame thanks to his roles in Grease and the TV series Taxi, is in critical condition following an apparent overdose. According to family members, Conaway is being treated at Encino Hospital Medical Center with pneumonia; he is currently unconscious. The actor, 60, is no stranger to substance abuse problems. He began using drugs in the mid-1980s, and in 2008, he appeared on VH1's Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, where he sought treatment for addictions to cocaine, painkillers and alcohol.

Musician Pete Doherty was jailed for six months on Friday after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine, the Press Association reported. The 32-year-old was arrested in January last year by police investigating the suspected overdose death of heiress Robyn Whitehead. The controversial Babyshambles singer has been jailed twice before and has repeatedly admitted possession of banned substances.

Bieber - He already launched a nail polish line and a unisex fragrance, "My World," and now teen pop sensation Justin Bieber, 17, is coming out with his first-ever women's perfume."Let's be real, the way a girl smells is very important to a guy," Bieber said.. "I have such a deep connection with my fans, so creating a fragrance that I personally love is another way I can bring them closer to my world." The fragrance, which is called "Someday," is described as a "fruity gourmand" and is scheduled to hit department and specialty stores in June. And to make hordes of teenage girls swoon even more, the Biebs is donating all proceeds of the $35 scent to charity.

Don't expect a speedy return to the silver screen for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Days after his shocking split with Maria Shriver and the news of his alleged love-child going public. “At the request of Arnold Schwarzenegger we asked Creative Artists Agency to inform all his motion picture projects currently underway or being negotiated to stop planning until further notice," his lawyer said..

Top Movies - May 15, 2011 -

Thor

Bridesmaids (1st week $24.4 million)

Fast Five

Priest (1st week $14.5 million)

Rio

Jumping the Broom

Something Borrowed

Water For Elephants

Tyler Pery’s Madea’s Big Happy Family

Soul Surfer

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil

Top Video Games May 15, 2011 -

Portal 2 (X360)

Mortal Kombat (PS3 X360)

Pokemon Black/White Version (DS)

Just Dance 2 (Wii)

Wii Sports

Zumba Fitness (Wii)

Portal 2 (PS2)

Wii Sports Resort

SOCOM 4: US Navy SEALS (PS3)

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