Dateline: Week Of March 8, 2011 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News –
Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi hammered rebels with rocket barrages and airstrikes Tuesday, trying to check their advance out of the opposition-held east of Libya toward the capital Tripoli. At least 26 were wounded, some of them seriously. On another front, government forces were reportedly battering down resistance in the closest rebel-held city to Tripoli, Zawiya. A government official claimed Gadhafi loyalists had recaptured the city, but some residents reported that rebels still held the city's main square amid a heavy barrage of residential areas. The city was sealed off and phone lines have been cut, making it impossible to verify the account.
America's population center is edging away from the Midwest, pulled by Hispanic growth in the Southwest, according to census figures. The historic shift is changing the nation's politics and even the traditional notion of the country's heartland — long the symbol of mainstream American beliefs and culture. The West is now home to the four fastest-growing states — Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Idaho — and has surpassed the Midwest in population, according to 2010 figures. California and Texas added to the southwestern population tilt, making up more than one-fourth of the nation's total gains since 2000.
A suicide bomber struck a funeral attended by anti-Taliban militiamen in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing at least 36 mourners and wounding more than 100 in the deadliest militant attack in the country this year. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility. The blast near the city of Peshawar was not far from the tribally administered regions bordering Afghanistan where militants are at their strongest. The area struck is home to several tribal armies that battle the Pakistani branches of the Taliban with the government's encouragement.
Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi struck an oil pipeline and oil storage facility Wednesday as they pounded rebels with artillery and gunfire in at least two major cities, killing four people, officials said. Gadhafi appeared to be keeping up the momentum he has seized in recent days in his fight against rebels trying to move on the capital, Tripoli, from territory they hold in eastern Libya.
Space shuttle Discovery zoomed back to Earth for the last time Wednesday to wrap up a long flying career. The world's most-traveled spaceship was due to return to Earth — for the last time ever — three minutes before noon. The crew of six fired the braking rockets in late morning, putting Discovery on track for a Florida touchdown. It was Discovery's final fiery ride through the atmosphere. NASA's oldest shuttle has flown 39 missions over nearly 27 years. It's being retired after this voyage
Illinois abolished the death penalty Wednesday (March 9) more than a decade after the state imposed a moratorium on executions out of concern that innocent people could be put to death by a justice system that had wrongly condemned 13 men.Gov. Pat Quinn also commuted the sentences of all 15 inmates remaining on death row. They will now serve life in prison with no hope of parole. State lawmakers voted in January to abandon capital punishment, and Quinn spent two months reflecting on the issue, speaking with prosecutors, crime victims' families, death penalty opponents and religious leaders. He called it the "most difficult decision" he has made as governor.
It could take a week — and the smell could get pretty bad — before crews manage to scoop and vacuum up tons of dead sardines from a Southern California marina. Net-wielding crews in rowboats and firefighting vessels began work Wednesday, hoping to remove the estimated one million fish before they rot and possibly poison remaining sea life in the harbor. The cleanup came after the enormous school of sardines apparently suffocated in the confines of King Harbor, possibly while seeking shelter from a predator or simply becoming lost near a breakwater late Monday.
Oil prices tumbled 3 percent Thursday, as economists warned that the recent surge in fuel prices will eventually hurt the fragile economic recovery. So far fuel prices haven't slowed consumption, but economist Michael Lynch said drivers and businesses may start cutting back, if oil remains above the $100 per barrel level. The jump in oil has already pushed the average price of gasoline up by 46 cents a gallon this year, just as some workers who were laid off during the recession return to a daily commute.
Bulletin – (Friday March11) A massive earthquakes strikes about 80 miles off the Northeast coast of Japan. The magnitude-8.9 offshore quake unleashed a 23-foot (seven-meter) tsunami and was followed for hours by more than 50 aftershocks, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0. A tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes on record slammed Japan's eastern coast Friday, killing hundreds of people as it swept away ships, cars and homes while widespread fires burned out of control. Hours later, the tsunami hit Hawaii but did not cause major damage. Warnings blanketed the Pacific, putting areas on alert as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West coast. In northeastern Japan, the area around a nuclear power plant was evacuated after the reactor's cooling system failed. "The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan," Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker succeeded Friday in taking away nearly all collective bargaining rights from the vast majority of the state's public employees, quietly capping weeks of contentious debate and delivering an epic defeat to the labor movement with a private bill signing. The bill forces state workers to pay more for their pensions and health care benefits, which is estimated to save Wisconsin $30 million to help pay down a $137 million budget shortfall projected by July 1. The higher payments for state workers will take effect over the coming weeks.
Shoppers snapped up new cars, clothing and electronics in February, pushing retail sales up for the eighth straight month. Retail sales rose 1 percent last month, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Part of the gain reflected higher prices for gasoline. Still, excluding sales at gas stations, retail sales rose a solid 0.9 percent
A tour bus returning from a casino at daybreak scraped along an interstate guard rail, tipped on its side and slammed into a pole that sheared it nearly end to end, leaving a jumble of bodies and twisted metal along Interstate 95. Fourteen passengers were killed. The bus had just reached the outskirts of New York City on a journey from the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut when the crash happened. The driver told police he lost control trying to avoid a swerving tractor-trailer. As many as 20 passengers were treated at area hospitals. Seven were in critical condition, according to police. Several were in surgery later in the day. The crash happened at 5:35 a.m., with some of the 31 passengers still asleep. The bus scraped along the guard rail for 300 feet, toppled and crashed into the support pole for a highway sign indicating the exit for the Hutchinson Parkway.
Tokyo's usually bustling central districts were deserted on Saturday after the country's worst earthquake and a tsunami devastated the north of the country, and the few in bars and restaurants were glued to television coverage of the disaster. An explosion at a nuclear power plant near the earthquake zone and news of a radiation leak caused the most worry, but thousands also swamped the Internet to tell loved ones they were safe after phone lines went down. At least 1,700 people were killed or missing, media said, and thousands of homes were flattened as a huge deluge of sea water swept inland in the north of Japan after the quake, engulfing roads, farmland and villages.
The world moved a step closer to a decision on imposing a no-fly zone over Libya but Moammar Gadhafi was swiftly advancing Saturday on the poorly equipped and loosely organized rebels who have seized much of the country. Gadhafi's forces pushed the front line miles deeper into rebel territory and violence erupted at the front door of the opposition stronghold in eastern Libya, where an Al-Jazeera cameraman slain in an ambush became the first journalist killed in the nearly monthlong conflict. In Cairo, the Arab League asked the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone to protect the rebels, increasing pressure on the U.S. and other Western powers to take action that most have expressed deep reservations about.
The estimated death toll from Japan's disasters climbed past 10,000 Sunday as authorities raced to combat the threat of multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns and hundreds of thousands of people struggled to find food and water. The prime minister said it was the nation's worst crisis since World War II.
Nuclear plant operators worked frantically to try to keep temperatures down in several reactors crippled by the earthquake and tsunami, wrecking at least two by dumping sea water into them in last-ditch efforts to avoid meltdowns. Officials warned of a second explosion but said it would not pose a health threat.
Moammar Gadhafi's forces swept rebel fighters out of a key oil town and into the desert Sunday with searing waves of artillery fire and airstrikes, extending their rapid advance on the poorly equipped and loosely organized fighters. The United States, meanwhile, was sending its top diplomat to make contact with Gadhafi opponents in Paris, as it and other world powers considered trying to ground his air force with a no-fly zone that carries many of its own risks.
Passing - Owsley "Bear" Stanley, a 1960s counterculture icon and prolific LSD producer who worked with The Grateful Dead, has died. He was 76. Stanley died Saturday after a car he was driving swerved off a highway and hit trees down an embanked near Mareeba in Queensland, Australia.His wife, Sheila, was treated for minor injuries from the crash. One of the pioneers of California's drug culture, Stanley produced an estimated pound of pure LSD, or roughly 5 million "trips" of normal potency of the hallucinogenic drug in the mid-1960s while at the University of California at Berkeley.
Technology News - March 8, 2011 -
Crisis mappers wasted no time responding: In under 2.5 hours Google launched its person finder app, which was also used when New Zealand's 6.3 quake struck last month, and a local developer in Tokyo, Shu Sigashi, a member of the OpenStreetMap Foundation in Japan, quickly put up a localized Ushahidi crisis platform. Crisis mapping's reach only goes as far as it is utilized, so the key now is getting the word out that online tools are available to help report the missing. Google's person finder app is already rapidly increasing in usage. Within a couple hours 2,000 reports had been logged. If you type in the name, "Yoshi," in Google's app, results come up that indicate whether people with that name have been reported as alive or missing.
The 2nd incarnation of the iPad -- the gadget that's become practically synonymous with tablet computing -- goes on sale Friday. The first iPad debuted less than a year ago in April and surprised some analysts by becoming a runaway hit. The company sold 14.8 million iPads worldwide in the first nine months the device was available. Analysts forecast Apple will sell about 30 million tablets this year. The iPad 2 will be faster, lighter and include a gyroscope, a feature that will enhance gaming options. It will have front and rear-facing cameras designed for video chatting. Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the new tablet at the beginning of the month. "It's an all-new design," he said, adding the new iPad will be "dramatically faster" than its predecessor. Like the popular iPhone, the iPad 2 will include a gyroscope, a feature that will enhance gaming options. Changes to the processor that powers the device could also dramatically propel the iPad as a game-playing device. Jobs said the new iPad will have the same price structure as the current one -- ranging from $499 to $829.
Facebook announced two new safety features Thursday in conjunction with a White House summit on bullying. A new reporting tool will let Facebook users, including teens and younger users, to privately report troubling content not just to the site itself but to parents, teachers and others in their support system. And an improved Safety Center, due out in the next few weeks, will provide educational videos, articles and other content created by bullying experts to help adults address the problem.
Radio News March 8, 2011 -
NPR chief executive Vivian Schiller resigned Wednesday, just one day after conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe released a video showing an NPR executive slamming Republicans and the Tea party movement during a hidden-camera sting operation. "The Board accepted Vivian's resignation with understanding, genuine regret and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years," said Dave Edwards, chairman of NPR's Board of Directors, in a statement. Joyce Slocum, the network's senior vice president of legal affairs and general counsel, will be appointed interim CEO.
Entertainment News - March 8, 2011 -
Lady Gaga’s's deal to sell a special edition of her upcoming album at Target is now out of range. A representative for the singer said Wednesday the two sides "came to a mutual decision to end their overall exclusive partnership a few weeks ago." Last month, it was announced that Target would be selling a deluxe edition of the album, to be released May 23, with bonus content. But gay advocates were concerned about the partnership, citing Target's donations to a political candidate who was against gay marriage. Gaga told Billboard that her relationship with the retail giant was tied to their "reform," supporting the gay community and making up for past "mistakes."
British rock star Eric Clapton raised $2.15 million at a New York auction of 75 guitars and 55 amplifiers on Wednesday, more than triple the pre-sale expectations, auctioneers Bonhams said on Thursday.The proceeds from the sale at which every lot found a buyer will go to the 65-year-old guitar legend's Crossroads Center drug and alcohol treatment facility in the Caribbean. The auction total without the buyer's premium was around $1.8 million, and the sale also included instruments donated by Clapton's musician friends Jeff Beck, J.J. Cale and Joe Bonamassa. Among the top lots was a 1948 Gibson L-5P, which had been expected to fetch $20-30,000 but raised $82,960. A 2005 Zemaitis S22BP 3S, estimated at $12-18,000, sold for $75,640. The top amp of the sale was a pair of 1997 Fender Twin Amps, estimated at $9-12,000, which sold for $42,700.
Footage of Lindsay Lohan trying on a necklace that a jewelry store later reported stolen is scheduled to be aired Tuesday. "Entertainment Tonight" promoted the video during a segment on Monday's show. Lohan is seen smiling as she enters the Venice jewelry store Kamofie & Co. The store reported that Lohan took a $2,500 necklace without permission, and prosecutors have charged her with felony grand theft. The video's release comes days before the "Mean Girls" star returns to court. On Thursday, her attorney is scheduled to tell a judge whether the actress will fight the case or take a plea bargain that carries a guaranteed jail sentence.
Popular sitcoms All That, Clarissa Explains It All, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Rugrats, Rocketpower, Salute Your Shorts, The Amanda Show and Kenan & Kel will be added to a block of programming on TeenNick called "The '90s Are All That!" Nickelodeon announced on Thursday. "There is an entire generation of young people who literally grew up on these great 1990s series," TeenNick General Manager Keith Dawkins said. "TeenNick ... is the perfect place to reconnect these shows to their original fans and introduce them to younger viewers for the very first time."
Citing "irreconcilable differences,” Tony Danza has filed for divorce from Tracy, his wife of 24 years. The Who's the Boss star, 60, and Tracy have two daughters: Katherine, 24, and Emily, 17.
Charlie Sheen says his dismissal from "Two and a Half Man" was "unconscionable." The 45-year-old actor lashed out at his former CBS and Warner Bros. Television bosses on his live Internet show, "Sheen's Korner," on Tuesday, the day after Warner Bros. said his services on "Two and a Half Men" had been terminated. At the beginning of his prepared remarks, which lasted about 10 minutes, Sheen added that he believes that Monday's decision was also illegal.
Charlie Sheen is suing Warner Bros. Television and the executive producer of 'Two and a Half Men' for $100 million. The lawsuit filed Thursday alleges production was halted on the CBS sitcom to punish Sheen.
The criminal cases of Hollywood star Mel Gibson and his former girlfriend ended on Friday when a judge sentenced him to probation for hitting her and prosecutors declined to charge her with blackmail. Gibson, 55, pleaded no contest to a charge of domestic violence against Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his baby daughter. He received three years' probation, was ordered to spend one year in counseling, perform 16 hours of community service and pay fines and court costs. The stoic Gibson, dressed in a dark suit and open-collared shirt during a brief proceeding in a Los Angeles courtroom, received no jail time as part of his plea, which is the equivalent of admitting guilt under California law.
Charlie Sheen is hitting the road and taking his antics to the stage! The former "Two and a Half Men" star announced plans for “Charlie Sheen LIVE: My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not An Option Show." The tour kicks off in Detroit on April 2 and continues in Chicago on April 3. Just two dates have been announced so far and tickets are scheduled to go on sale on Saturday. "I'm going on the road. LIVE. Will there be surprises? Will there be guests? Will there be mayhem? Will you ask questions? Will you laugh? Will you scream? Will you know the truth? WILL THERE BE MORE?!?!," a description of the show reads on Ticketmaster's website. "This IS where you will hear the REAL story from the Warlock. Bring it. I dare you to keep up with me."
Richard Hatch - The first Survivor winner, who is currently appearing on Celebrity Apprentice, was supposed to re-file his 2000 and 2001 taxes to pay what he owed, but failed to do so. Hatch will serve a nine-month sentence. "As far as I can tell, you've made no effort to put any money into the government's coffers," U.S. District Court Judge William Smith said. Hatch previously spent three years in prison after failing to pay taxes on the $1 million he won on Survivor. He was released in 2009.
Charlie Sheen says tickets are gone for his pair of live appearances next month. The outspoken actor has tweeted: "Fastball; Detroit/Chicago sold out in minutes... Thanks to Sheen's Cadre..!" No details about the show have been disclosed, but it's being billed as "Charlie Sheen Live: My Violent Torpedo of Truth." Sheen spokesman Larry Solters confirmed Sunday the April 2 and 3 appearances are sold out. Sheen announced the show last week to his more than 2 million Twitter followers, calling it "the REAL story."
Comic Gilbert Gottfried will no longer be the voice of the Aflac duck -- effective immediately. The insurance company fired Gottfried, 56, on Monday after he made a slew of jokes via Twitter about the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Music News March 8, 2011 -
British singer and drummer Phil Collins has used his personal website to announce his retirement in a bid to clarify recent speculation over his career. In a post titled "Breaking News," the London-born multiple Grammy award winner said he wanted to explain his reasons "for calling it a day" in response to articles claiming he was quitting the music business. "Many of the articles printed over the last few months have ended up painting a picture of me that is more than a little distorted," Collins, 60, explained in the message posted Monday. He said he is stopping music so he can be a full time father to his two young sons "on a daily basis" – not because of bad reviews, bad press or because he doesn't "feel loved."
Former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr, who played on the band's first two influential albums and was one of the last people to see singer Layne Staley alive, has been found dead in a Salt Lake City home. Starr, who was 44, was arrested earlier this month in Salt Lake City and found to be in possession of six Xanax pills and six Opana painkillers.
Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Darlene Love and Tom Waits were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Dr. John and Leon Russell. Diamond, 70, is well known for his song "Sweet Caroline," inspired by Caroline Kennedy and now used as the Boston Red Sox anthem. Cooper (real name: Vincent Furnier) is known for his band's hard rock hits "Eighteen" and "School's Out."
American Idol" judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler will give this year's crop of contestants a few pointers when they take to the stage to perform later this season. The "On The Floor" singer and Steven - with his band Aerosmith - will perform on the hit FOX series. "I thought it was a big secret. I guess the cat's out of the bag!" Steven told Access on Monday night at PaleyFest 2011.
Top Music Albums March 8, 2011 -
21 – Adele
Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons
Late Nights & Early Mornings – Marsha Ambrosius
Never Say Never: The Remixes – Justin Bieber
My World 2.0 – Justin Bieber
Going Out In Style – Dropkick Murphys
Doo-Wops & Hooligans – Bruno Mars
Greatest Hits… So Far!!! – P!nk
Loud – Rihanna
Town Line – Aaron Lewis
Recovery – Eminem
Pink Friday – Nicki Minaj
Blessed – Lucinda Williams
Hundred More Years – Francesca Battistelli
Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
Speak Now – Taylor Swift
Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
Burlesque – soundtrack
Lungs – Florence + The Machine
Spring Break 3 – Luke Bryan
You Get What You Give – Zac Brown Band
Love Letter – R. Kelly
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West
Top Movies March 8, 2011 –
Battle: Los Angeles (1st week $35.5 million)
Red Riding Hood (1st week $14 million)
The Adjustment Bureau
Mars Needs Moms ((1st week $6.9 million)
Just Go With It
Gnomeo & Juliet
The King’s Speech
TV Listing/TV Guide - March 8, 2011 -
Hip Wednesday night TV
Cartoon Network: 'Sym-Bionic Titan'
NBC: 'Minute to Win It'
FOX: 'American Idol'
The CW: 'America's Next Top Model'
G4: 'Campus PD'
Nicktoons: 'Dragon Ball Z Kai'
Food Network: 'Throwdown With Bobby Flay'
The CW: 'Shedding for the Wedding'
TBS: 'Are We There Yet?' (two episodes)
A&E: 'Dog the Bounty Hunter'
Syfy: 'Ghost Hunters'
History Channel: 'Underwater Universe' (two episodes)
TruTV: 'Operation Repo'
Disney XD: 'Naruto: Shippuden'
Current: 'Hooked on Danger' (two episodes)
Showtime: 'Inside NASCAR'
ABC: 'Mr. Sunshine'
Discovery: 'Sons of Guns'
ABC: 'Off the Map'
CBS: 'Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior'
Bravo: 'Top Chef'
Syfy: 'Face Off'
MTV: 'The Real World' (season premiere)
TV Land: 'Hot in Cleveland'
TLC: 'Hoarding: Buried Alive'
Spike: '1,000 Ways to Die'
TV Land: 'Retired at 35'
Spike: 'Charlie Sheen's Winningest Moments'
Late-Night Talk Shows
PBS: 'Charlie Rose': TBA
TBS: 'Conan': Pee-Wee Herman, Shane Mauss and Edmund Morris
Comedy Central: 'The Daily Show': Aaron Eckhart
E!: 'Chelsea Lately': Nick de Vos
BET: 'The Mo'Nique Show': Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Candic Kumai and Aloe Blacc
Comedy Central: 'The Colbert Report': David Brooks
ABC: 'Nightline': TBA
CBS: 'The Late Show With David Letterman': Snooki, Judah Friedlander and Bryan Ferry (repeat)
NBC: 'The Tonight Show': Michael Douglas, Julie Scardina and the Randy Rogers Band (repeat)
ABC: 'Jimmy Kimmel Live: Jamie Foxx and Sarah Shahi (repeat)
PBS: 'Tavis Smiley': David Brooks and Lupe Fiasco
TBS: 'Lopez Tonight': Jerry O'Connell, Curtis Stone and Lupe Fiasco
CBS: 'The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson': Trace Adkins and Windell Middlebrooks
NBC: 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon': Adam Sandler, Aziz Ansari and Mike Gordon (repeat)
NBC: 'Last Call With Carson Daly': Diplo, Laurie Ann Gibson and Alberta Cross (repeat)