Dateline: Week Of April 1, 2012 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
The United States Sunday welcomed Turkey's decision to reduce its purchases of oil from neighboring Iran by 20 percent. "I was encouraged to hear Turkey's announcement that it will significantly reduce crude oil imports from Iran," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a press conference in Istanbul where she attended a "Friends of Syria" conference.
A Pakistani court on Monday convicted Osama bin Laden's three widows and two of his daughters of illegally entering and living in the country and sentenced them to 45 days in prison, with credit for time served, their lawyer said. The five women have been in detention since last May when U.S. commandos killed the al-Qaida chief at the walled compound in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad where he had been living with his family for six years.
A data breach at a payments processing firm has potentially compromised credit and debit card information from all of the major card brands. Global Payments, a company that processes card transactions, confirmed late Friday that "card data may have been accessed." It says it discovered the intrusion in early March and "promptly" notified others in the industry.
In an election-year pitch to middle-class voters, President Barack Obama is denouncing a House Republican budget plan as a "Trojan horse," warning that it represents "an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country" that would hurt the pocketbooks of working families.Obama, in a speech to newspaper executives, is sharply criticizing a $3.5 trillion budget proposal pushed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., which passed on a near-party-line vote last week and has been embraced by GOP presidential hopefuls. The plan has faced fierce resistance from Democrats, who say it would gut Medicare, slash taxes for the wealthy and lead to deep cuts to crucial programs such as aid to college students and highway and rail projects.
Media executive James Murdoch, under pressure over his role in Britain's tabloid phone hacking scandal, is stepping down as chairman of British Sky Broadcasting, the Sky News channel reported Tuesday. Sky, the news channel of BSkyB, said his resignation would be confirmed later Tuesday after an unscheduled board meeting. It said James Murdoch would remain a board member and would be replaced as chairman by Nicholas Ferguson, the current deputy chairman.
Possibly a dozen tornadoes rumbled across the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area Tuesday, leveling homes and tossing big-rigs around like toy trucks. North Texans scrambled for cover as warning sirens blared throughout the afternoon. "Twelve is a preliminary number," said Steve Fano, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. "We won't know for sure until tomorrow when we can get out and assess the damage." Some injuries, but no confirmed fatalities, were reported. Homes and businesses in at least seven counties were hit hard.
Syrian forces stormed several rebel bastions on Wednesday despite a truce pledge, as Russia predicted the opposition would never defeat President Bashar al-Assad's army even if "armed to the teeth."
A rocket fired from Egypt's Sinai desert hit a southern Israeli resort city early Thursday, police said, raising new concerns about militant activity in the mountainous peninsula.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the Sinai was becoming a "terror zone."
No injuries were reported in the overnight strike against Eilat, a normally tranquil Red Sea vacation spot. Eilat is set to welcome thousands of visitors this weekend for the Passover holiday.
President Obama signed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, banning insider trading on Capitol Hill. "The idea that everybody plays by the same rules is one of our most cherished American values," the president said at the White House signing ceremony. "It's the notion that the powerful shouldn't get to create one set of rules for themselves and another set of rules for everybody else… If we expect that to apply to our biggest corporations and to our most successful citizens, it certainly should apply to our elected officials."
A Navy jet with two aviators aboard crashed Friday into an apartment building in Virginia Beach, according to the Navy and media reports. There were no immediate reports of injuries on the ground. TV footage showed black smoke billowing from near some buildings and local TV stations said the jet hit an apartment building.
Police believe the same attacker or attackers are behind a series of early-morning shootings in which three people were killed and two others were critically wounded within a three-mile span of north Tulsa. Homicide detective Sgt. Dave Walker said investigators don't have the results of forensic tests yet, but police think the early Friday morning shootings are linked because they happened around the same time in the same general area and all five victims were out walking when they were shot.
A small credit ratings agency downgraded the United States' credit rating for a second time, arguing the country was no closer to solving its runaway debt problem. In a move that could foreshadow decisions from larger agencies, Egan-Jones downgraded the US to AA from AA+. The company on Thursday cited "the lack of any tangible progress on addressing the problems and the continued rise in debt to GDP."
Fascinating Facts April 1, 2012 –
The group behind the "Kony 2012? internet video that broke records by getting more than 100 million views in less than a week - and subsequently received heavy criticism - is planning to release a sequel this week. According to a blog posting by California-based Invisible Children, "Kony 2012 Part 2? will be released Tuesday and will include an update about the "Cover the Night" nationwide awareness-raising event scheduled for April 20. The 30-minute "Kony 2012? film about brutal African warlord Joseph Kony calls for viewers to turn up the pressure on politicians to support military efforts to capture Kony by the end of this year. Its success immediately drew a backlash from critics who said it oversimplified the issue to the point of being misleading. But the film and social media campaign also has some high-profile defenders, including the head of the International Criminal Court, who praised the effort this weekend.
One World Trade Center, now up to the 100th floor, and Four World Trade Center, overlook the ongoing construction of the site, Sunday, April 1, 2012 in New York. The unfinished One World Trade Center is one of the city's tallest structures. If construction continues at its current pace, it will pass the Empire State Building this spring. Four WTC will top out at 72 floors.
Titanic Museum Opens In England - Curators of the new maritime museum opening in Southampton hope to tell the story of the shattered city that the infamous ship left behind. The SeaCity Museum explores the lives of Southampton's working class crew, and the impact that their tragedy had on the city's families. The museum also explores the legend that grew up around the doomed vessel, with examples from the press, film, and literature. Curators are due to give a preview of the 15 million pound ($24 million) museum later Tuesday. SeaCity opens to the public next week.
New Disney Cruise Ship Emphasizes Unique Gaming - Disney launches its newest ship, the , out of Port Canaveral, Florida, this week. On the sister ship to the , Walt Disney Imagineers have created interactive experiences that can't be played anywhere else -- including Disney theme parks."Because technology has become more progressive in the home, it challenges us as Imagineers to design experiences for guests that they can't do at home," said Bob Zalk, a senior show producer for Walt Disney Imagineering. "With the Magic Play Floor, you take a piece of video wall technology, put it on the floor, and you make it an interactive experience that's very physical in nature." The Magic Play Floor, which is available on both the Dream and the Fantasy, is made up of 32 high-definition displays that push 14 million pixels, which isn't something that's going to be replicated on an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.
A Burger King commercial featuring Mary J.Blige singing about chicken has been pulled. But the fast-food chain is blaming music licensing issues for the decision — not criticism of the ad. The spot debuted this week. In it, Blige sings soulfully about chicken snack wraps. But as the video went viral, some in the black community criticized the ad as stereotypical. The black women-oriented websiteMadame Noire likened it to "buffoonery."
Passing - - Jim Marshall, dubbed the "Lord of Loud" for his pioneering work on guitar amplifiers used by some of the greatest names in rock music, has died aged 88.
The Japanese fishing vessel Ryou-Un Maru burns after the US Coast Guard fired on the drifting vessel off the coast of Alaska. The Coast Guard sunk the "ghost ship" with bursts of heavy gunfire when it drifted into Alaskan waters more than a year after being set adrift by a devastating tsunami.
Passing – Thomas Kinkade (54) – famed painter – of natural causes.
Sports News April 1, 2012 —
The Kentucky Wildcats beat the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 Monday night to win the NCAA men's basketball championship in New Orleans. Despite a late surge that brought the Jayhawks within six points, the Wildcats dominated the game, leading by double digits during much of the second half. The championship game pitted Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis, recently named Associate Press college basketball player of the year, with Kansas junior Thomas Robinson, this season's lone unanimous AP All-American pick.
Riot police used pepper spray in small amounts for crowd control as thousands of rowdy fans swarmed into the streets near the University of Kentucky campus, overturning cars and lighting couches ablaze after a victory over cross-state rival Louisville in a Final Four matchup. Lexington City spokeswoman Susan Straub said police made fewer than 10 arrests, and a few injuries were reported after the celebrations turned rowdy in the streets after the Wildcats' 69-61 win in New Orleans.
Actor Billy Murray ran the bases, slid into home base - then tossed the first ball at Wrigley Field. This, as baseball gets underway this week.
Technology News April 1, 2012 -
Google and Apple continue to dominate the smartphone market in the US. More than seven out of ten smartphone owners in the country own a device that runs on Google’s Android operating system or Apple’s iOS operating system. Research firm comScore reports that Android has grown to reach more than half of the installed smartphone user base (50.1 percent) for the first time in history, up 3.2 points from November 2011.
A U.S. appeals court has revived lawsuits by Viacom Inc, the English Premier League, and various film studios and television networks accusing Google Inc of allowing copyrighted videos on its YouTube service without permission. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday reversed a June 2010 lower court decision in favor of YouTube, which had been considered a landmark in setting guidelines for how websites could use content uploaded by users.
Twitter is cracking down on spammers. The company on Thursday filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco against five of its most aggressive spam enablers. Twitter is starting to take its spam problem -- a longtime annoyance -- more seriously. In January, the company acquired Internet security company Dasient, a deal aimed at bringing in new technology to fight off spammers. Twitter said on its blog that its engineers have recently launched new anti-spam measures "to more aggressively suspend a new type of @ mention spam." The company is also using its t.co link shortener as a defense: It tracks what's tweeted and tries to shut down links to malware or malicious content.
Entertainment News April 1, 2012 –
That '70s Show" actress Lisa Robin Kelly was arrested on Saturday on felony charges of corporal injury on a spouse and released on $50,000 bail. Kelly, 42, played Laurie, the sister of Topher Grace's Eric and occasional love interest of Ashton Kutcher's Kelso, on the Fox sitcom.
Tribune Broadcasting television stations in 19 markets across the country were pulled from DirecTV at midnight Saturday because of a dispute over retransmission fees. Tribune is seeking retransmission compensation from DirecTV to carry 23 local stations -- including KTLA in Los Angeles and WPIX in New York -- and WGN America, Tribune's national network. Seeking to pressure DirecTV, Tribune set up a website for viewers to complain to the satellite TV company, and listed upcoming baseball games that fans will miss if no agreement is reached.
Bruce Willis and his wife, Emma Heming Willis, welcomed their first child into the world yesterday in Los Angeles after three years of marriage, according to Willis' rep.The couple have named their 9-pound-1-ounce daughter Mabel Ray Willis and are "overjoyed" about their newborn baby girl.
Ashton Kutcher will play Steve Jobs, the late, visionary founder of Apple, in Jobs, a new independent biopic to be directed by Joshua Michael Stern, Variety reported Sunday.
Justin Bieber April Fool’s Prank - Justin had gotten covered with slime at the Nickelodian Kids' Choice Awards the day before, tweeted that he had to shave off his hair because the green goo wouldn't wash out. The pop star also tricked his Twitter followers by teasing them with the release of a second teaser for his "Boyfriend" music video. But instead of seeing the Biebs smolder, fans were treated to a video clip featuring screaming; a still from "The Exorcist;" and a photo of Justin wearing a bald cap on the Jimmy Kimmel show.
Katie Couric and Sarah Palin Sub-Hosting Competing Morning Shows - If you're a Couric fan who misses those bygone mornings on the "Today" show, then click to "Good Morning America," where Couric, now an ABC star, is subbing all week for co-host Robin Roberts. Welcoming the former Alaska governor to Studio 1A is the "Today" show's brashest counter-move after "GMA," the scrappy ratings runner-up, announced Couric's fill-in role last week.
Alec Baldwin is planning a trip down the aisle with his 28-year-oldgirlfriend! A rep for the actor, who turns 54 on Tuesday, confirmed that the "30 Rock" star has popped the question to girlfriend Hilaria Thomas.
Viewers got a first glimpse of Whitney Houston's upcoming film Monday when NBC's "Today" show premiered a trailer for the much-awaited release, and a fuller clip debuted onYahoo! Movies. A remake of the 1976 original, "Sparkle" stars Houston as the mother of three girls who form a singing group and struggle with fame and drug addiction. The trailer displayed the daughters, including "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks, in performance. Houston is prominent throughout, at one point singing the classic gospel song "His Eye Is on the Sparrow."
The Beach Boys will sing the national anthem at the Los Angeles Dodgers home opening game next week as part of a season-long deal, the baseball club said Tuesday.The Dodgers tie-in comes as the iconic Californian band prepares to start a 50th anniversary reunion tour later this month, which will include dates in Japan in August.
Fired broadcaster Keith Olbermann is suing his former employer Current TV for tens of millions of dollars. Olbermann, who came to Current from MSNBC less than a year ago, was fired late last week via a rather humiliating open letter from company honchos Al Gore and Joel Hyatt. Olbermann's replacement: Eliot Spitzer.
Music news – Academy Of Country Music Awards 2012- Winners:
Entertainer of the year: Taylor Swift
Top male vocalist: Blake Shelton
Top female vocalist: Miranda Lambert
Top vocal group: Lady Antebellum
Top vocal duo: Thompson Square
Top new artist: Scotty McCreery
Album of the year: “Four the Record,” Miranda Lambert
Single record of the year: “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson
Song of the year: “Crazy Girl,” Eli Young Band
Video of the year: “Red Solo Cup,” Toby Keith
Vocal event of the year: “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson
Highlight – Actor Ashton Kutcher made his “country” signing debut on the awards show – seen on CBS-TV.
Top Hit Music April 1, 2012 -
Glad You Came – The Wanted
Stronger – Kelly Clarkson
Somebody That I Used ToKnow – Goyte fea. Kimbra
Starships – Nicki Minaj
We Are Young – fun. Fea. Janelle Monae
Set Fire To The Rain – Adele
Part Of Katy – Perry
Wild One – Flo Rida Fea. Sia
Turn Me On – David Guetta fea. Nicki Minaj
Take Care – Drake fea. Rihanna
Drive By – Train
One Makes You Beautiful – One Direction
We Found Love – Rihanna fea. CalvinHarris
Young, Wild & Free – Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa fea. Bruno Mars
Ass Back Home – Gym Class Heroes fea. Neon Hitch
Feel So Close – Calvin
The Motto – Drake fea. Lil Wayen
Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepson
Eyes Open – Taylor Swift
Good Feeling – Flo Rida
Rack City – Tyga
Domino – Jessie J
International Love – Pitbull fea. Chris Brown
Top Video Games April 1, 2012 –
X360/PS3Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon
X360/Mass Effect 3 Kid Icarus: Uprising
Wii – Just Dance 3
X360/Call of Duty: Modern Warfare3
PS3/Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Wii/ Mario Party 9
Top Movies –
The Hunger Games
Wrath of the Titans (1st week $33.5 million)
Mirror Mirror (1st week $18.5 million)
21 Jump Street
Dr Seuss’ The Lorax
SalonFishing in the Yemen
Act of Valor
A Thousand Words
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 3D
Top TV Shows April 1, 2012 –
1.NCISCBS 2.Dancing With the StarsABC 3.American Idol" (Wednesday)FOX 4.NCIS: Los AngelesCBS 5.American Idol" (Thursday)FOX 6.Criminal MindsCBS 7.The VoiceNBC 8.TouchFOX 9.CastleABC 10.Two and a Half MenCBS 11.CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationCBS 12.UnforgettableCBS 13.60 MinutesCBS 14.NCAA Basketball Tournament: Ohio St. vs SyracuseCBS 15.Survivor: One WorldCBS 16.The Good WifeCBS 17.Mike & MollyCBS 18.2 Broke GirlsCBS 19.Amazing Race 20CBS 20.Hawaii Five-0CBS