Dateline: Week Of March 15, 2012 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
Higher gas costs drove U.S. wholesale prices up last month. But excluding the big jump in gas, inflation was mostly tame. The Labor Department said Thursday that the producer price index rose 0.4 percent in February. Food prices declined to offset some of the increase in energy costs. The so-called "core" index, which excludes food and gas prices, increased 0.2 percent, the smallest gain in three months. An increase in pharmaceutical prices accounted for roughly one-third of the gain. In the past twelve months, wholesale prices have increased 3.3 percent. That's the smallest year-over-year gain since August 2010.
Convicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich entered a federal prison in Colorado on Thursday to begin a 14-year sentence for corruption, the latest chapter in the downfall of a charismatic politician that seemed more like a bizarre reality TV show than a legal battle. Followed by helicopters and television news crews broadcasting his every move, the 55-year-old Democrat pulled up in a black SUV at the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood in suburban Denver just before 1 p.m. after stopping for lunch and taking a break to make a cellphone call.
Economic growth showed signs of becoming more self-sustaining as the number of Americans claiming new jobless benefits fell back to a four-year low last week and manufacturing activity in the Northeast picked up this month. But the impact of higher oil prices was also starting to be seen in data on Thursday. Producer prices racked up their biggest increase in five months in February, while manufacturers in New York state reported a surge in input costs in March.
Three reported tornadoes tore through Southeastern Michigan Thursday, destroying 13 homes and leaving 105 houses significantly damaged, while downing power lines, sparking fires and flooding streets in Dexter, Mich. No reports of serious injuries or fatalities.
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the lead suspect in the Sunday shooting rampage that killed 16 Afghan civilians, has arrived at the U.S. military prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas from Kuwait, the Army said in a statement late Friday. He could be charged in the killings--the worst atrocity committed by an American soldier in the ten year old war in Afghanistan--as early as Saturday. He is being held in a private cell in the military's only maximum security prison.
An estimated 500,000 people crowded Saturday into central Dublin to view the St. Patrick's Day parade, a focal point for Irish celebrations worldwide and the start of the tourist season in debt-battered Ireland.
The first family was putting on its Irish, a blood line that runs through Obama's veins. Obama took his motorcade to the Dubliner Restaurant and Pub on a dazzling Saturday afternoon. He wore no Kelly green but his jacket was pierced with a button that read, "VIP GUEST — Tell 'em Danny sent you." The president waded into a crowd — some in leprechaun hats and others in dyed green hair — at the entrance of the tavern near Washington's landmark Union Station.
Motorcycle-riding gunmen linked to al Qaeda shot and killed an American teacher in the Yemeni city of Taiz on Sunday, and Yemeni officials said government forces killed up to 14 militants in clashes and artillery attacks on their strongholds. The attacks underscore the challenges facing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who took office last month after a year of massive protests against his predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh.
A motorcycle assailant opened fire with two handguns Monday in front of a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse, killing a rabbi, his two young sons and a schoolgirl. One of the same guns was fired in other deadly motorcycle attacks in the area in recent days, officials said. Authorities ordered increased security at schools and synagogues around the country after an attack that drew high-level uproar in Israel and revolted France, where school shootings and deadly attacks on Jews are extremely rare.
Severe weather hammered the Midwest and South from Minnesotato Texas including a tornado that touched down in San Antonio, where at least 50 homes were damaged or destroyed.
Residents across this broad region were bracing for flooding Tuesday after the severe weather brought heavy rain and hail that is anticipated to continue for the next few days. With the storm system slowing significantly, tornadoes are becoming less likely but flash flooding becomes a major concern, forecasters said.
Rick Santorum reached a new high in favorable ratings from Republicans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, numerically outpointing Mitt Romney among party regulars.But both candidates remain underwater more broadly, a sign of the toll of their contentious primary campaign. And then there's the thrice-married Newt Gingrich, resoundingly rejected, in particular, by women: A mere 19 percent of women polled see him favorably, vs. a remarkable 60 percent who see him unfavorably. He's also unpopular among men, by a less garish but still-wide 23-point margin
President Barack Obama reached out to Iran's people on Tuesday in a four-minute video message on the occasion of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, even as he accused the government in Tehran of lowering an "electronic curtain" to shut the country off from outside information and curb internal dissent. "In this season of new beginnings, the people of Iran should know that the United States of America seeks a future of deeper connections between our people—a time when the electronic curtain that divides us is lifted and your voices are heard; a season in which mistrust and fear are overcome by mutual understanding and our common hopes as human beings," Obama said in the video, which the White House released in English, and with Persian and Arabic subtitles.
In the final moments of his life, Trayvon Martin was being hounded by a strange man on a cellphone who ran after him, cornered him and confronted him, according to the teenage girl whose call logs show she was on the phone with the 17-year-old boy in the moments before neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot him dead. Martin's death Feb. 26 has stirred national outrage and protests, partly prompting the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the FBI to open an investigation into the case. Florida State Attorney Norm Wolfinger announced today that he has ordered an "expeditious review" of the investigation conducted by the Sanford police department and that he would be "utilizing the investigative resources of the Seminole County Grand Jury which will be called to session" next month.
A gunman suspected of killing seven people in the name of al Qaeda, including three children at a Jewish school, said on Wednesday he would hand himself over to police to end an hours-long siege in southwestern France.
About 300 police, some in bullet-proof body armor, cordoned off an area surrounding a four-storey house in a leafy suburb of the city of Toulouse where the 24-year-old Muslim man, identified as Mohamed Merah, was holed up on the ground floor.
Mitt Romney wins in the Illinois primary.
U.S. home sales fell in February, but upward revisions to the prior month's pace and the first yearly increase in prices in 15 months suggested the housing market recovery remained on track.The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday existing home sales slipped 0.9 percent to an annual rate of 4.59 million units last month.
Passing - Billionaire Chaleo Yoovidhya, the co-founder of energy drink Red Bull and the second richest man in Thailand, died Saturday at the age of 89, a company spokeswoman said. Chaleo was Thailand's second richest man, with a fortune of $5 billion last year according to business magazine Forbes, having fallen from the top spot on its annual list which he held in 2009.
Free St Patrick’s Day Special Fries – Burger King - This weekend, Burger King is offering free french fries and green sauce to customers who visit any of its locations. The green sauce is called "St. Paddy's Sauce" and has the same consistency of ketchup. "We're especially excited to have teamed up with Heinz, makers of America's Favorite Ketchup, to offer a fun and festive green dipping sauce on the side," said Alex Macedo, senior vice president of North America marketing in a statement.
Passing - John Demjanjuk was convicted of being a low-ranking guard at the Sobibor death camp, but his 35-year fight on three continents to clear his name — a legal battle that had not yet ended when he died Saturday at age 91 — made him one of the best-known faces of Nazi prosecutions.
The conviction of the retired Ohio autoworker in a Munich court in May on 28,060 counts of being an accessory to murder, which was still being appealed, broke new legal ground in Germany as the first time someone was convicted solely on the basis of serving as a camp guard, with no evidence of involvement in a specific killing.
Sports News March 15, 2012 -
Legendary Dodger Baseball Announcer Vin Scully scales back this year. Scully, 84, will still be behind the microphone for more than 100 Dodgers games in Phoenix, San Diego, the Bay Area, Anaheim and, of course, Dodger Stadium. Several years ago, he stopped travelling to games east of Colorado. But now, he is calling it quits in Colorado and will just concentrate on the areas listed above. Scully was to arrive in Phoenix this weekend to call a couple of spring training games, weather permitting.
Five Year - $98 million Deal - Free agent quarterback Peyton Manning will play for the Denver Broncos, the team announced Tuesday. "This is truly a special football environment, and I'm glad to be a part of it," Manning said at a news conference where the Broncos made the announcement. "I haven't had a whole lot of time to breathe. This happened Monday morning," Manning said of his decision to join the Broncos.
Technology News March 15, 2012 -
Apple-mania gripped Asia on Friday as the company's latest iPad went on sale, drawing hordes of die-hard fans to shops selling the highly anticipated tablet. Gadget fans lined up in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore so they could be among the first to get their hands on the device. The third version of Apple's iPad also went on sale in Australia and it will be available in the U.S. and five other countries beginning at 8 a.m. local time, with 25 other countries getting it a week later. The new model comes with a faster processor and a much sharper screen. It also boasts an improved camera, similar to that of the latest iPhone.
It's estimated that the original iPad sold about 300,000 units over the opening weekend, and a million in the first month. The iPad 2 sold out in most locations upon launch, making it even more popular than its predecessor. Business analysts estimate that Apple sold 1,000,000 iPad 2s on its launch weekend, and even more third-generation iPad units the last few days.
Radio News March 15, 2012 -
Rush Limbaugh's opponents are starting a radio campaign against him Thursday, seizing upon the radio star's attack of a Georgetown law student as a "slut" to make a long-term effort aimed at weakening his business. The liberal Media Matters for America is using a past campaign against Glenn Beck as a template. In Limbaugh, however, they're going after bigger game. He's already fighting back and the group's stance has provoked concerns that an effort to silence someone for objectionable talk is in itself objectionable. Media Matters is spending at least $100,000 for two advertisements that will run in eight cities.
Music News March 15, 2012 -
The much-vaunted Rolling Stones anniversary tour has been delayed amidst concern over the health of guitarist Keith Richards. It had been believed the band would launch a money-spinning world tour to mark their 50th anniversary this year. That has now been put back to next year amidst concerns that Richards – who suffered a brain hemorrhage after falling out of a tree in 2006 - can no longer undertake such a grueling travelling involved in a globe-trotting jaunt.
Entertainment News March 15, 2012 -
Comedian Leo Anthony Gallagher has been released from Minnesota's St. Marys Hospital following a mild heart attack, his manager said. The 64-year-old prop comic collapsed during a show at the Whiskey Bone Roadhouse last week.
Director and legendary actor Clint Eastwood has signed on to let the cameras shoot his home life, debuting May 20. The E! Network, the cable channel formerly known at Entertainment Television, has ordered 10 episodes of Mrs. Eastwood & Co., a series that will follow the lives of Clint Eastwood's wife Dina and two daughters, 18-year-old Francesca and 15-year-old Morgan in Los Angeles and Carmel, California, it was announced on March 13.
New Orleans police have issued an arrest warrant for actor Russell Brand on a charge of simple criminal damage to property valued at $700. Brand is in New Orleans to film an untitled movie. Police spokeswoman Remi Braden on Thursday could not immediately release details of what happened Monday. The charges stem from a confrontation with a photographer who was trying to take Brand's photo from a car.
HBO Cancels “Luck.” This - an abrupt end to the Dustin Hoffman-starring drama, following news that three horses had died during production. The series also starred vet Nick Nolte.
George Clooney and his father were arrested Friday during a protest outside the Sudanese Embassy, and the actor said he has asked President Barack Obama to engage China on stopping a humanitarian crisis in northern Africa. The protesters accuse Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir of provoking a humanitarian crisis and blocking food and aid from entering the Nuba Mountains in the county's border region with South Sudan. Clooney, his father, Nick Clooney, and others were arrested after being warned three times not to cross a police line outside the embassy. Those taken into custody included NAACP President Ben Jealous, Martin Luther King III, and actor and comedian Dick Gregory.
Rosie O'Donnell's daily talk program "The Rosie Show" was canceled by Oprah Winfrey's OWN network on Friday, after failing to lure a large number of viewers in five months on the air at the fledgling network.
Jerry Lewis Turns 86. The comedian and filmmaker flew in to New York from Las Vegas for an hours-long celebration Friday night.It started with an onstage interview at Manhattan's 92nd Street Y, then continued in midtown at the Friars Club, where hundreds gathered to sing happy birthday to Lewis, who added his trademark goofy voice. Wearing a dark blazer and bright red shirt, Lewis sat at a corner table in the club's Frank Sinatra room, with Richard Belzer and Robert Klein among those at his table. His meal included a slice of birthday cake, a three-tiered production decorated with movie stills, a microphone and miniatures of the performer.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called on President Obama to apologize for comments made by actor Robert De Niro at a fundraiser supporting the president. "What De Niro said last night was inexcusable and the president should apologize for him. It was at an Obama fundraiser, it is exactly wrong," Gingrich said, referring to a joke made by De Niro about the potential Republican first ladies. De Niro told a crowd of about 90 people that it was "too soon" for a white first lady. The comment was made Monday night at a reception in New York City that was hosted by De Niro and his wife, and attended by First Lady Michelle Obama.
R.Kelly Continues “Trapped.” - Sylvester, Twan and Pimp Lucius — R. Kelly is delivering more chapters of "Trapped in the Closet." The outrageous musical series started off as five videos for the R&B singer's dramatic cliffhanger songs in 2007. It quickly became a cult classic, and he added more chapters, put the accompanying videos on a DVD and also teamed up with IFC to premiere the series. It grew to 22 chapters. For the next chapters, Kelly is teaming up with IFC again. He said in a statement Wednesday: "The Alien is back and It has brought friends along." "When I first began experiencing the unknown journey of writing 'Trapped in the Closet,' I knew after the first chapter that I had tapped into something that was not of this earth," he said. "'Trapped in the Closet' fans put on your seatbelts 'cause 'Trapped in the Closet' is coming to take you away."
Kohl’s Stores Go American Idol - Kohl's has partnered with AI to create the exclusive apparel line, Authentic Collection, which will be sold in stores from April through June to coincide with season 11. "For over a decade American Idol has seamlessly woven fashion and music together to transform lives and create music icons," David Luner, executive vice president of Idol's production company FremantleMedia Enterprises, said in a statement.
A grand jury has indicted an Atlanta rapper accused of killing a fellow entertainer known as Slim Dunkin in a recording studio fight last December, prosecutors said on Wednesday. Vinson Hardimon, also known as Young Vito, was indicted on Tuesday on charges of murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, according to the Fulton County District Attorney's Office. Dunkin, whose real name was Mario Hamilton, was in a recording booth on December 16, and Hardimon was waiting for his turn to record, the district attorney's office statement said.
Top Video Games March 15, 2012 -
X360/PS3 – Mass Effect
PS3 – street Fighter X Tekken
PC – Mass Effect 3
X360 Street Fighter X Tekken
PS3 – MLB 12: The Show
X360 Call of duty: Modern Warfare 3
Wii – Just Dance 3
X360 – Major League Baseball 2K12
Wii – Zumba Fitness
Top Pop Hits March 15, 2012 –
We Are Young – fun. Fea. Janelle Monae
Stronger – Kelly Clarkson
Glad You Came – The Wanted
Set Fire To The Rain – Adele
Somebody that I Used To Know – Gotye fea. Kimbra
Take Care – Drake fea. Rihanna
Turn Me On – David Guetta fea. Nicki Minaj
Young, Wild & Free – Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa fea. Bruno Mars
Part of Me – Katy Perry
Starships – Nicki Minaj
International Love – Pitbull fea. Chris Brown
We Found Love – Rihanna fea. Calvin Harris
Wild Ones – Flo Rida fea.Sia
Rack City – Tyga
Good Feeing – Flo Rida
Domino – Jessie J
Ass Back Home – Gym Class Heroes fea. Neon Hitch
The Motto – Drake fea. Lil Wayne
It Will Rain – Bruno Mars
Sexy And I Know It – LMFAO
Drive By – Train
Feel So Close – Calvin Harris
Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
Ni**as In Paris – Jay Z Kanye West
Not Over You – Gavin DeGraw
Top Movies March 15, 2012 -
21 Jump Street – (1st week $36.3 million)
Dr. Seuss’ the Lorax
Act of Valor
A Thousand Words
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 3D
Casa de Mi Padre (1st week $2.3 million)
This Means War