Dateline: Events/Headlines – Week Of December 22-31, 2012 In News, Pop Culture History, Tech, Celebrity, Sports, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts
In The News
A federal judge has given final approval to BP's settlement with a bulk of businesses and individuals who lost money because of the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP PLC has estimated it will pay $7.8 billion to resolve economic and medical claims from more than 100,000 businesses and individuals hurt by the nation's worst offshore oil spill. The settlement has no cap; the company could end up paying more or less.
Facing a stalemate in "fiscal cliff" talks, President Barack Obama on Friday pressed his Republican foes in Congress to have some eggnog, sing some Christmas carols and come back to work next week ready to pass a scaled-back plan to help middle-class Americans.“Call me a hopeless optimist, but I actually still think we can get it done,” the president said in hastily announced remarks in the White House briefing room.
A gunman set a trap and shot and killed two firefighters responding to an early morning blaze in Webster, N.Y., police officials said. Two other firefighters were in serious condition. "It does appear that it was a trap that was set for first responders, but the cause or reasons we don't have at this time," said Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering as he described the scene where shots were fired at West Webster firefighters when they arrived at 5:35 a.m. to battle the blaze along Lake Road. Webster is about 10 miles east of Rochester. The apparent gunman was found dead at the scene, but it’s unclear if he was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot or if it was from a weapon from police officers who were chasing him.
A "stubborn" fever that kept former President George H.W. Bush in a hospital over Christmas has gotten worse, and doctors have put him on a liquids-only diet, his spokesman said Wednesday. Doctors at Methodist Hospital in Houston have run tests and are treating the fever with Tylenol, but they still haven't nailed down a cause, McGrath said. Doctors also have put Bush on a liquid diet, though McGrath could not say why.
A powerful winter storm system pounded the nation's midsection Wednesday and headed toward the Northeast, where people braced for the high winds and heavy snow that disrupted holiday travel, knocked out power to thousands of homes and were blamed in at least six deaths. Hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed, scores of motorists got stuck on icy roads or slid off into drifts, and blizzard warnings were issued across Indiana and Ohio amid snowy gusts of 30 mph that blanketed roads and windshields, at times causing whiteout conditions.
The ex-con turned sniper who killed twofirefighters wanted to make sure his goodbye note was legible, typing out his desire to "do what I like doing best, killing people" before setting the house where he lived with his sister ablaze, police said. Police Chief Gerald Pickering said Tuesday that the 62-year-old loner, William Spengler, brought plenty of ammunition with him for three weapons including a military-style assault rifle as he set out on a quest to burn down his neighborhood just before sunrise on Christmas Eve.
The average number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits over the past month fell to the lowest level since March 2008, a sign that the job market is healing. The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000 in the week ended Dec. 22. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to a nearly five-year low of 356,750. Still, the Christmas holiday may have distorted the figures. A department spokesman said many stateunemployment offices were closed Monday and Tuesday and could not provide exact data.
A fire that ripped through a home in Oklahoma City before dawn Wednesday(Dec 26) killed a woman and her four children and left one man in critical condition with serious burns, authorities said. Firefighters who arrived about 6:30 a.m. found the bodies of Jeanine Bonnet, 28, and her children inside the two-story, wood-frame home, Fire Department Maj. Tammy McKinney said. They foundBrian Poletto, 39, outside the burning house while a man who rented a room at the home, David Ruppert, managed to escape the flames.
The Obama administration's chief environmental watchdog, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, is stepping down after a nearly four-year tenure marked by high-profile brawls over global warming pollution, the Keystone XL oil pipeline, new controls on coal-fired plants and several other hot-button issues that affect the nation's economy and people's health.
In Queens a woman pushed a man onto the subway tracks, killing him.
Passing - H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the retired general credited with leading U.S.-allied forces to a victory in the first Gulf War, has died at age 78.
President Vladimir Putin signed a bill banning Americans from adopting Russian children, part of a harsh response to a U.S. law targeting Russians deemed to be human rightsviolators. Children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said 52 children who were in the pipeline for U.S. adoption would remain in Russia.
Passing - Jean Harris, the school headmistress who spent 12 years in prison for the 1980 killing of her longtime lover, "Scarsdale Diet" doctor Herman Tarnower, in a case that rallied feminists and inspired television movies, has died. She was 89.
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday to jump into “fiscal cliff” talks in hopes of breaking an impasse that threatens Americans with sharply higher income taxes come January 1. In a brief speech on the Senate floor, McConnell complained that Democrats had not yet placed a counter-offer to a new Republican proposal, delivered at 7 pm on Saturday, “despite the obvious time crunch.”
Pakistani militants, who have escalated attacks in recent weeks, killed at least 41 people in two separate incidents, officials said on Sunday, challenging assertions that military offensives have broken the back of hardline Islamist groups.The United States has long pressured nuclear-armed ally Pakistan to crack down harder on both homegrown militants groups such as the Taliban and others which are based on its soil and attack Western forces in Afghanistan.
A tour bus careened through a guardrail on an icy Oregon highway and several hundred feet down an embankment Sunday, killing five people and injuring about 20 others, authorities said. The charter bus carrying about 40 people lost control around 10:30 a.m. on the snow- and ice-covered lanes of Interstate 84 in eastern Oregon, according to the Oregon State Police.
Medical news – December 22, 2012
The Food and Drug Administration approved a Johnson & Johnson tuberculosis drug that is the first new medicine to fight the deadly infection in more than four decades. The agency approved J&J's pill, Sirturo, for use with older drugs to fight a hard-to-treat strain of tuberculosis that has not responded to other medications.
Fascinating Facts – December 22, 2012
A one-of-a-kind skateboard auction combining popular skaters and world-renowned singers recently concluded, and the results were record-breaking. An autographed board ridden by Jamie Thomas and also signed by Bob Dylan sold for $38,425, believed to be the highest price ever paid for a single skateboard deck. The board was also adorned with the handwritten lyrics to Dylan's famous song "Blowin' In The Wind"
Fascinating Business news – December 22, 2012
Oil prices fell Monday(Dec 24), just eight days before the U.S. arrives at the "fiscal cliff" deadline without a budget agreement in place. If no deal is reached by Jan. 1, steep tax increases and government spending cuts will automatically take effect that will jar the U.S. economy and potentially throw it into recession, economists have warned.Benchmark oil for February delivery fell 10 cents to $88.56 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.47 Friday to finish at $88.66 per barrel in New York, the contract's lowest point in three weeks. It dropped to $87.96 per barrel at one point Friday.
Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it has reached a settlement worth more than $1 billion in a case involving unintended acceleration problems in its vehicles. The company said the deal will resolve hundreds of lawsuits from Toyota owners who said the value of their cars and trucks plummeted after a series of recalls stemming from claims that Toyota vehicles accelerated unintentionally.
Health/Medical news - December 22, 2012
Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc said the U.S. health regulator approved its drug as an alternative treatment for patients who have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol. The drug, Juxtapid, would carry a boxed warning -- the strongest label warning -- and will be available only through a restricted program due to risk of liver damage.
Technology news – December 22, 2012
Families across the United States will have to rely on other sources of entertainment after Netflix's video streaming service was hit by a Christmas Eve outage. The company based in Los Gatos, Calif., apologized in a company tweet for the outage Monday night. The company says on its Twitter page that the outage was caused by "some of Amazon's cloud infrastructure." Netflix says it was working with Amazon engineers to restore the outage, which acompany spokesman told the Wall Street Journal stretched "across the Americas."
Facebook's Instagram photo sharing service has been hit with what appears to be the first civil lawsuit to result from changed service terms that prompted howls of protest last week. In announcing revised terms of service last week, Instagram spurred suspicions that it would sell user photos without compensation. It also announced a mandatory arbitration clause, forcing users to waive their rights to participate in a class action lawsuit except under very limited circumstance.
Marvell Technology has been ordered to pay $1.2 billion for infringing on patents held by Carnegie Mellon University. The patents at the center of the case deal with technology that allows data to be read more accurately on high-speed hard disk drives. The jury found that Marvell used patented technology in billions of its products without the consent of Carnegie Mellon. The school accused Marvell of using its patented technology in at least nine of the company’s inventions.
A picture that Zuckerberg's sister posted on her personal Facebook profile was seen by a marketing director, who then posted the picture to Twitter and her more than 40,000 followers Wednesday. That didn't sit well with Zuckerberg's sister, Randi, who tweeted at Callie Schweitzer that the picture was meant for friends only and that posting the private picture on Twitter was "way uncool." Schweitzer replied by saying the picture popped up on her Facebook news feed. The picture shows four people standing around a kitchen staring at their phones with their mouths open while Mark Zuckerberg is in the background.
Facebook Inc's Instagram lost almost a quarter of its daily users a week after it rolled out and then withdrew policy changes that incensed users who feared the photo-sharing service would use their pictures without compensation. Instagram, which Facebook bought for $715 million this year, saw the number of daily active users who accessed the service via Facebook bottom out at 12.4 million as of Friday, versus a peak of 16.4 million last week, according to data compiled by online tracker AppData. The popular app, which allows people to add filters and effects to photos and share them over the Internet or smartphones, experienced the drop over the brief, often-volatile holiday period. Other popular apps also saw slippage in usage, and some were more pronounced. Yelp, for instance, saw daily active users -- again via Facebook -- slide to a weekly low of half a million on Thursday, from a high of 820,000 one week ago.
A Chinese court has fined Apple Inc 1 million yuan ($160,400) for hosting third-party applications on its App Store that were selling pirated electronic books, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday. Apple is to pay compensation to eight Chinese writers and two companies for violating their copyrights, the Beijing No.2 Intermediate People's Court ruled on Thursday, Xinhua said.
Sports news – December 22, 2012
The NHL canceled the schedule through Jan. 14… as the strike continues.
A grand jury in Texas has formally indicted Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brenton one count of intoxication manslaughter. Brent is charged in connection with a Dec. 8 crash that killed his friend and Cowboys practice squadmember Jerry Brown. He is out of jail on $100,000 bond.
The Nets fired coach Avery Johnson on Thursday after a 14-14 start with a payroll of more than $80 million in the franchise’s much-anticipated first season in Brooklyn.
NFL Firings - National Football League as the Philadelphia Eagles' Andy Reid, Buffalo Bills' Chan Gailey and Cleveland Browns' Pat Shurmur were all fired on what has become known as Black Monday. The unemployment ranks swelled even further later on Monday with the Chicago Bears' Lovie Smith,Kansas City Chiefs' Romeo Crennel, San Diego Chargers' Norv Turner and Arizona Cardinals' Ken Whisenhunt also getting the axe to bring the total to seven teams with head coaching vacancies.
Entertainment news – December 22, 2012
Ashton Kutcher filed court papers Friday to end his seven-year marriage to actress Demi Moore. The actor's divorce petition cites irreconcilable differences and does not list a date that the couple separated. Moore announced last year that she was ending her marriage to the actor 15 years her junior, but she never filed a petition…
Passing - Charles Durning, the two-time Oscar nominee who was dubbed the king of the character actors for his skill in playing everything from a Nazi colonel to the pope, died Monday at his home in New York City. He was 89.
Marry - Oscar-winner Kate Winslet has taken another trip down the aisle, this time tying the knot with Ned Rock'nRoll, the nephew of British tycoon Richard Branson.
Television news – December 22, 2012
Passing - Jack Klugman, the three-time Emmy Award-winning actor best known for his portrayals of slovenly sportswriter Oscar Madison on TV's “The Odd Couple” and the title role of the murder-solving medical examiner on “Quincy, M.E.,” died Monday at his home in Woodland Hills. He was 90.
Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition calling for British CNN host Piers Morgan to be deported from the U.S. over his gun control views. Morgan has taken an aggressive stand for tighter U.S. gun laws in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting. Last week, he called a gun advocate appearing on his "Piers Morgan Tonight" show an "unbelievably stupid man." Now, gun rights activists are fighting back.
Washington police are investigating whether NBC's David Gregory broke the law by holding up what appeared to be a 30-round gun magazine on Sunday's Meet the Press after the network apparently got conflicting opinions about whether it would be legal for him to do so. It is illegal in the district to possess a "large capacity ammunition feeding device."
Martha Raddatz, widely praised for her moderation of the vice presidential debate in October, has been given an expanded role as ABC News' chief global affairs correspondent. Jonathan Karl, meanwhile, will become the network's new chief White House correspondent, filling the void left by Jake Tapper's exit to CNN.
Gerry Anderson, puppetry pioneer and British creator of the sci-fi hit "Thunderbirds" TV show, has died. He was 83. He said the TV show was perhaps his father's proudest achievement — along with the cross-generational appeal of his body of work, which also included TV shows “Supercar,” Fireball XL5,” " Stingray" and "Space: 1999," among others.
Big Pop Culture News To Finish Up The New Year - Kim Kardashian is having Kanye West's baby.
Music news – December 22, 2012
LeAnn Rimes and "The X Factor's" Carly Rose Sonenclar weren't quite in sync when they performed "How Do I Live Without You" on last Wednesday night's show and it immediately sparked some controversy. The performance from LeAnn, 28, and Carly, 13, prompted headlines like, "LeAnn Rimes: Drunk on The X Factor?!" from The Hollywood Gossip.
Passing - Lee Dorman, the bassist for psychedelic rock band Iron Butterfly, has died at age 70. Orange County sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Krause says Dorman was found dead in a vehicle Friday morning. A coroner's investigation is under way, but foul play is not suspected.
Two British newspapers say Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has married his fiancee Sally Humphreys at a ceremony at London's Dorchester Hotel. The Sun and the Daily Mirror carried photographs of the 65-year-old rocker with a pale boutonniere and a dark blue suit, and his 34-year-old bride in a traditional white gown and a clutch of matching white flowers.
Nas may be rethinking the title of his most recent album, Life Is Good. The rapper, born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, is being sued for $10 million by a concert promoter who claims he was kidnapped because the hip hop star failed to show up for a gig in Angola.
Passing - Ray Collins, the guitarist who helped found the Mothers of Invention with Frank Zappa, died on Monday after being admitted to the hospital a week earlier for cardiac arrest.
Janet Jackson is engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Qatari billionaire Wissam Al Mana.
With Tate Stevens winning the X Factor - it looks like Britney Spears will not be asked back for next season’s “X-Factor.”
New Years Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest – Set to perform – Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepson, Neon Trees, Pitbull, OneRepublic, Karmin, Brandy and Flo Rida.
Fox New Year - "American Idol" season 11 victor Phillip Phillips, who was announced as a performer earlier this month, will no longer take the stage alongside Lifehouse and Carmen Electra on Dec. 31. Instead, the recently-crowned "The X Factor" winner Tate Stevens will perform.
Billboard Social – Top Artists this week:
Top Music Albums – December 22, 2012
Trouble Man Heavy Is The Head – T.I.
Red – Taylor Swift
Unorthodox Jukebox – Bruno Mars
Christmas – Michael Buble
Take Me Home – One Direction
Merry Christmas Baby – Rod Stewart
The World From The Side Of The Moon – Phillip Phillips
12-12-12 – Concert For Sandy
Babel – Mumford & Sons
On This Winter’s Night – Lady Antebellum
Girl On Fire – Alicia Keys
Tornado – Little Big Town
The Truth About Love- P!nk
Cheers, It’s Christmas – Blake Shelton
Night Train – Jason Aldean
21 – Adele
Unapologetic – Rihanna
Celebration Day Led Zeppelin
Up All Night – One Direction
Blow Away – Carrie Underwood
Top Movies – December 22, 2012
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (1st week $84.4 million)
Rise of the Guardians
Life of Pi
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part Two
Playing For Keeps
Silver Linings Playbook