Dateline: Week Of April 8, 2011 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
Oil surged above $112 per barrel Friday following a drop in the dollar and continued jitters about shipments from the world's major oil suppliers. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil for May delivery jumped $2.49, or 2.3 percent, to settle at $112.79 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude oil set new 30-month highs almost every day this week.
Shoppers emptied store shelves, traffic snarled after stoplights lost power and drivers waited in long lines to buy gasoline in a new wave of anxiety Friday after a magnitude-7.1 aftershock struck disaster-weary northeastern Japan. Nearly a half-million homes were without electricity after the latest tremor, which dealt another setback for those struggling to recover from the earthquake-spawned tsunami that wiped out hundreds of miles of the northeastern coast last month and killed as many as 25,000 people.
Mass protests calling for sweeping changes in Syria's authoritarian regime turned deadly Friday, with the government and protesters both claiming heavy casualties as the country's three-week uprising entered a dangerous new phase. The bloodiest clashes occurred in the restive city of Daraa, where human rights activists and witnesses said Syrian security forces opened fire on tens of thousands of protesters, killing 25 people and wounding hundreds.
A gunman opened fire with a machine gun at a crowded shopping mall outside Amsterdam on Saturday, leaving at least seven people dead and wounding 15 others, officials and witnesses said. The attacker was among the dead after fatally shooting himself at the Ridderhof mall in Alphen aan den Rijn, Mayor Bas Eenhoorn said. The suburb is less than 15 miles (25 kilometers) southwest of Amsterdam
A last-minute budget deal forged amid bluster and tough bargaining averted an embarrassing federal shutdown, cut billions in spending and provided the first major test of the divided government that voters ushered in five months ago. Working late into Friday night, congressional and White House negotiators finally agreed on a plan to pay for government operations through the end of September while trimming $38.5 billion in spending.
In a speech this Wednesday, President Obama will lay out new plans this week to reduce the federal deficit in part by seeking cuts to government programs for seniors and the poor, a top political adviser said Sunday, adding that Americans expect both sides to work together. "You're going to have to look at Medicare and Medicaid and see what kind of savings you can get," Obama adviser David Plouffe said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Ivory Coast's elected president used his troops and French tanks and air power to oust strongman Laurent Gbagbo, ending their four-month standoff on Monday by pulling him from his burning residence. Images of Gbagbo being led into a room in a white undershirt were broadcast on television as proof of his capture even as he refused to sign a statement formally ceding power after losing November's election.
Soaring gas prices are starting to take a toll on American drivers.Across the country, people are pumping less into the tank, reversing what had been a steady increase in demand for fuel. For five weeks in a row, they have bought less gas than they did a year ago.
Drivers bought about 2.4 million fewer gallons for the week of April 1, a 3.6 percent drop from last year, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, which tracks the volume of gas sold at 140,000 service stations nationwide.
An explosion tore through a key subway station in the Belarusian capital of Minsk during evening rush hour Monday killing 11 people and wounding 126. An official said the blast was a terrorist act. President Alexander Lukashenko did not say what caused the explosion at the Oktyabrskaya subway station, but suggested outside forces could be behind it.
The White House said Monday that President Barack Obama regrets his vote as a senator in 2006 against raising the debt limit — a vote he's now pressuring Congress to take.Obama "thinks it was a mistake," presidential spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. "He realizes now that raising the debt ceiling is so important to the health of this economy and the global economy that it is not a vote that, even when you are protesting an administration's policies, you can play around with."
Japan ranked its nuclear crisis at the highest possible severity on an international scale — the same level as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster — even as it insisted Tuesday that radiation leaks are declining at its tsunami-crippled nuclear plant. The higher rating is an open acknowledgement of what was widely understood already: The nuclear accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant is the second-worst in history. It does not signal a worsening of the plant's status in recent days or any new health dangers.
Sporadic gunfire rang out Tuesday after Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara called on all fighters to put down their arms now that the country's longtime strongman has been captured following a months-long deadly power struggle. More than 1 million civilians fled their homes and untold numbers were killed in the more than four-month power struggle between the two rivals. The standoff threatened to re-ignite a civil war in the world's largest cocoa producer, once divided in two by violence nearly a decade ago.
More News April 8, 2011 -
Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak was put under detention in his hospital room Wednesday for investigation on accusations of corruption, abuse of power and killings of protesters in a dramatic step Wednesday that brought celebrations from the movement that drove him from office. Mubarak's two sons, Gamal and Alaa, were also detained for questioning and taken to Cairo's Torah prison, where a string of former top regime figures — including the former prime minister, ruling party chief and Mubarak's chief of staff — are already languishing, facing similar investigations on corruptio
A 10-year-old boy escaped through the window of a minivan and swam to shore to get help just as his mother drove the van into New York's Hudson River, killing herself and three other children, police said Wednesday. Lashanda Armstrong, 25, drove the minivan into the river off a boat ramp in the city of Newburgh about 8 p.m. Tuesday, shortly after a domestic incident, police said. The van went into the river just six blocks from where the family lived in Newburgh, about 60 miles north of New York City.
The White House says President Barack Obama is setting a goal of lowering the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years as he wades into the politically volatile debate over the nation's crushing debt. A week after formally announcing his re-election campaign, Obama is set to propose a mix of tax increases already rejected by Republicans, and cuts to safety-net health programs likely to alienate many liberals.
On a bipartisan vote, the House Thursday passed a yearlong government funding measure cutting $38 billion from the budget and closing out sometimes quarrelsome negotiations between the Obama administration and Republicans dominating the House. The measure passed by a 260-167 vote in which 81 Democrats made up for defections from dozens of GOP conservatives, many elected with tea party backing. The Senate was poised to vote later Thursday and the president has said he'll sign it into law.
Libya – Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi shelled a besieged western city Thursday, killing at least 13 people, and new NATO airstrikes shook Tripoli as the U.S. told a meeting the alliance must intensify its mission to isolate the Libyan leader and "bring about his departure." After the explosions in Tripoli, one resident of a western suburb of the capital said anti-aircraft guns returned fire, apparently at NATO warplanes.
Walter Breuning, the world's oldest man, has died. He was 114.
Sports News April 8, 2011 -
Kobe Bryant is being fined $100,000 for using an anti-gay slur aimed at an NBA referee Tuesday night.After Bennie Adam called a technical foul against the L.A. Laker, Bryant uttered "f---ing f---ot," and it was caught on camera. "While I'm fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated," NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement.
Tech News April 8, 2011 -
YouTube Friday began hosting live streams. But don't go looking for how to get your basement version of Wayne's World on the internet just yet: For now, this power is reserved for pre-approved "trusted partners," not for the kitten-on-the-keyboard masses. YouTube isn't saying just how many live casters it will enable from day one but that it intends "to provide thousands of partners with the capability to live stream from their channels in the months ahead." It's clear from the new YouTube Live page that there is more than enough to get the ball rolling with quantity and variety.
Google can have its precious flight data company if it promises to play nice, the Department of Justice said on Friday. The DOJ approved the $700 million takeover deal between Google, the world's largest search company, and ITA, the world's largest airline search software company, provided that Google accept certain restrictions. The search giant would have to continue to license ITA's software to airfare websites "on commercially reasonable terms." Google would also be required to maintain and enhance that software in a manner consistent with ITA's research and development investment over the past several years. The company would also have to put an internal firewall in place to prevent Google from accessing "competitively sensitive information" gathered from ITA's customers. Google also can't enter in exclusive contracts with airlines that would prevent the airlines from providing certain ticketing information to the search company's competitors.
NYTimes.com lead 2011 Webby Awards with 18 nominations. Funny or Die earned 10 nods and Google Creative Lab followed with eight. Other nominees include Justin Bieber and Lisa Kudrow.
Television News April 8, 2011 -
"Today" show has been one of the most stable and successful programs in the history of television over the past 15 years. Now it faces the possibility of a major makeover. Co-host Meredith Vieira, the "newbie" on "Today" with five years in the early-morning anchor chair, is leaning toward leaving when her contract expires in September, according to multiple reports this week. That news was barely digested when an unconfirmed "Entertainment Tonight" story suggested that her partner, Matt Lauer, also may leave when his contract is done in nearly 21 months. Today" averages 5.5 million viewers a day this season, compared with 4.7 million at "Good Morning America" and 2.7 million at "The Early Show," according to the Nielsen Co. ABC has gained in viewers this season, but "Today" just recorded its widest margin of victory in seven years during the first quarter in the demographic it bases ad sales upon.
NBC is confirming April 28 as the date for Steve Carell's final appearance on "The Office." His farewell episode on the popular comedy will be supersized, the network announced Monday. That night's long good-bye will air from 9 to 9:50 p.m. Eastern time, followed by an extended version of "Parks and Recreation" that concludes at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, NBC said.
A 19-year-old "American Idol" studio audience member claims that she was barred from a front-row seat and told it was because of her weight, an allegation denied by the show's production company. Ashley Kauffman, of Riverside, Calif., had complained to an audience coordinator at last Thursday's show that she was separated from friends who did get front-row seats, according to Manfred Westphal, a spokesman for producer FremantleMedia North America.
David Letterman received the top honor as the recipient of the "Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence" at the inaugural Comedy Awards. The event, which honored the industry's top writers, directors, actors and stand-up comedians, took place in New York last month and was simulcast on Comedy Central, Spike TV, TV Land, VH1 and Nick at Nite on Sunday.
Entertainment News - April 8, 2011 -
Teen YouTube sensation Rebecca Black sings gleefully about the weekend in her Web video hit "Friday," -- and now the 13 year-old has something even more exciting to crow about."Friday" has been viewed online more than Lady Gaga’s's "Born This Way" and Justin Bieber’s "Pray," Visible Measures, a company that tracks performance of Web videos said on Monday. Black's low-budget video, which the California teen made with a boutique record label, has generated nearly 100 million views on YouTube since it was posted online on February 10. But Visible Measures said that including copies of the video, spoofs and other versions available on hundreds of video sites, "Friday" has generated more than 200 million views.
The series finale of The Orpah Winfrey Show is seeking a whopping $1 million for 30-second advertising spots, according to Horizon Media. The steep price tag is nearly unheard of for daytime programs, as the audience is smaller, but buyers will likely pay even more depending on placement within the May 25 show, says Horizon's Brad Adgate.
Sugar Ray Leonard gets the boot off “Dancing With The Stars.”
YouTube's mind-bogglingly popular Annoying Orange web series is set to make the crossover to television.Six half-hour episodes are being developed as a result of a deal between the series' creator, Dane Boedigheimer, and the management/production company The Collective (also responsible for the mainstream crossover of YouTube's Fred).
iCarly gets renewed for a fifth season.
Discovery Communications will launch a new cable channel targeted at upscale males later this year, the company announced Thursday.Dubbed Velocity, the new network will feature programming about sports, cars, travel and adventure. It will replace Discovery's HD Theater and will be broadcast in more than 40 million homes when it launches in late 2011.
'All My Children' and 'One Life to Live' will end their runs in September and January, leaving 'General Hospital' as the lone remaining daytime soap opera on ABC.
More Entertainment News - April 8, 2011 -
Passing - Sidney Lumet, the American film director known for inspiring top-notch performances from actors in a stream of classic films including "12 Angry Men," "Dog Day Afternoon," "Network" and "Fail-Safe," died on Saturday at age 86, the New York Times said. His stepdaughter, Leslie Gimbel, said Lumet died of lymphoma at his home in Manhattan, the newspaper said.
Tina Fey who announced her pregnancy earlier this week, will return to NBC Studio 8H to host Saturday Night Live. She last hosted a year ago and later appeared in the Mother's Day edition of SNL, hosted by Betty White.
Kelly Clarkson will return to American Idol Thursday, Fox announced. The Season 1 winner, 28, will perform "Don't You Wanna Stay" with country singer Jason Aldean on Thursday's results show. Rihanna will also take the stage Thursday.
A mini-Partridge Family reunion was held Saturday in Atlantic City when David Cassidy and Danny Bonaduce played a song onstage together. They say it was only the second time in 40 years they've done so. Bonaduce, a Philadelphia disc jockey, portrayed Cassidy's younger brother on the '70s TV hit, but lip-synched and only pretended to play the bass guitar on the show. On Saturday, after he did a standup comedy routine to open the show at Resorts Casino Hotel, Cassidy got him to play "Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted." Bonaduce learned that song for real when they played it together last October in suburban Philadelphia.
People magazine is naming Jennifer Lopez the World's Most Beautiful Woman.The singer, actress and "American Idol" judge tops the magazine's annual list of "the World's Most Beautiful" in a special double issue.
Scandal-tainted designer John Galiano has been fired from his own fashion label just weeks after an anti-Semitic outburst cost him his top job at Dior, Women's Wear Daily (WWD) reported on Friday. The British designer was ousted from the "John Galiano" fashion label, which is 92-percent-owned by Dior, six weeks after a video surfaced of him hurling anti-Semitic insults at a couple in a Paris bar, the fashion trade journal reported.
Female rapper Nicki Minaj will join Britney Spears on her North American tour this summer, promoters said on Tuesday, ending weeks of speculation about the line-up. Minaj, 26, one of the hottest young American artists since her 2010 "Pink Friday" album debut, will join Spears on her "Femme Fatale" tour starting in June, Live Nation said. California electro pop band Jessie and the Toy Boys, and rising Australian twin sisters Nervo, will also support Spears on the tour to promote her No.1 album released in March.
Top Music Albums This Week - April 8, 2011 -
Female Fatale (debuts #1) – Britney Spears
F.A.M.E. – Chris Brown
Rolling Papers – Wiz Khalifa
Songs for Japan – Various artists
I Remember Me – Jennifer Hudson
The King of Limbs – Radiohead
Hello Fear – Kirk Franklin
Something Big – Mary Mary
Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons
Doggumentary – Snoop Dogg
Loud – Rihanna
Greatest Hits… So Far!!! – P!nk
Never Say Never: The Remixes – Justin Bieber
Laser – Lupe Fiasco
Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
Pink Friday – Nicki Minaj
Doo-Wops & Hooligans – Bruno Mars
Angles – The Strokes
Late Nights & Early Mornings – Marsha Ambrosius
Sucker Punch Soundtrack
Grey’s Anatomy – The Music Event
My Kinda Party – Jason Aldean
Top Movies - April 8, 2011 -
Hanna (1st week - $12.3 million)
Arthur (1st week - $12.2 million)
Soul Surfer (1st week $10.6 million)
Your Highness (1st week $9.4 million)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules
The Lincoln Lawyer
TV Guide/Listing - April 22, 2011 -
Monday Night This Week:
CBS: 'How I Met Your Mother'
ABC: 'Dancing With the Stars'
FOX: 'House' (150th episode)
PBS: 'Antiques Roadshow'
HGTV: 'Property Virgins'
ABC Family: 'Secret Life of the American Teenager'
USA: 'WWE Tough Enough'
CBS: 'Mike & Molly'
NBC: 'Law & Order: Los Angeles'
FOX: 'The Chicago Code'
TLC: 'Cake Boss'
ABC Family: 'Make It or Break It'
SyFy: 'Being Human'
LOGO: 'RuPaul's Drag Race'
CBS: 'Hawaii Five-0'
TLC: 'Kate Plus 8'
MTV: 'The Hard Times of RJ Berger'
Bravo: 'Bethenny Ever After'
History: 'Pawn Stars' (two episodes)
SyFy: 'Stargate Universe'
Showtime: 'Nurse Jackie'
MTV: 'Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory'
Showtime: 'United States of Tara'
Late-Night Talk Shows
TBS: 'Conan': Chris O'Donnel, PJ Harvey
Comedy Central: 'The Daily Show': Foo Fighters
E!: 'Chelsea Lately': TBA
BET: 'The Mo'Nique Show': Toya, Richard Reid, Michael Blackson
Comedy Central: 'The Colbert Report': 'MythBusters'' Jamie Huneman and Adam Savage
CBS: 'The Late Show with David Letterman': Alec Baldwin, Wiz Kahlifa
NBC: 'The Tonight Show': Jamie Foxx, Jesse Heiman, k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang
ABC: 'Jimmy Kimmel Live': David Arquette, Mike Birbiglia, Asking Alexandria
PBS: 'Charlie Rose': Orascom Telecom CEO Naguib Sawiris, Abdullah Abdullah, former Foreign Minister of Afghanistan
TBS: 'Lopez Tonight': Russell Brand, Leslie Mann, Mana
BET: 'The Wendy Williams Show': Toni, Traci, Towanda, Trina, Tamar, Evelyn Braxton, Jamie Oliver
CBS: 'The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson': Isabella Rossellini, Casey Wilson