Week Of February 15, 2012 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
The National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo., says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 off the Oregon coast caused no reported damage and only a smattering of reports from people who felt it as a weak jolt. The shallow quake was recorded at 7:31 p.m. PST Tuesday more than 150 miles west of southern Oregon. It did not generate a tsunami.
Iran trumpeted advances in nuclear technology on Wednesday, citing new uranium enrichment centrifuges and domestically made reactor fuel, in a move abetting a drift towards confrontation with the West over its disputed atomic ambitions.
Trapped inmates screamed from their cells as a fire swept through a Honduran prison, killing at least 300 inmates, authorities said Wednesday. Lucy Marder, chief of forensic medicine for the prosecutor's office, said early Wednesday some 356 people on the prison roster are unaccounted for among 852 prisoners.
General Motors earned its biggest profit ever in 2011, but signs are emerging that its momentum could slow. Strong sales in the U.S. and China helped the carmaker turn a profit of $7.6 billion, beating its old record of $6.7 billion in 1997 during the pickup and SUV boom.
The number of people seeking unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell to the lowest point in almost four years last week, the latest signal that the job market is steadily improving. Weekly applications for unemployment benefits dropped 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the fourth drop in five weeks and the fewest number of claims since March 2008 — six months before Lehman Brothers collapsed and only a few months into the Great Recession.
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent is dead after gunfire at the agency's offices in a California federal building. In the incident at the Glenn M. Anderson Federal Building in Long Beach, Calif., an ICE agent allegedly opened fire on two colleagues, leaving one wounded with multiple gunshots, another unharmed, and the initial shooter dead. Earlier, multiple published reports citing the Long Beach Police described a second agent dead and the third wounded, but those reports were mistaken, ICE said. The incident began as an unspecified dispute between a supervisor and a subordinate.
The House of Representatives passed an energy bill on Thursday that would wrest control of a permit for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline away from President Barack Obama, who has put the project on hold. The bill, part of a broader House Republican effort to fund highways and infrastructure projects, would also expand offshore oil drilling and open up parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.
Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid died on Thursday in Syria of an apparent asthma attack, the newspaper reported. Shadid, 43, was on a reporting assignment in eastern Syria when he died, according to an obituary posted on the Times web site. It said Shadid was carried across the border into Turkey by Times photographer Tyler Hicks.
Syrian security forces fired on a huge protest against President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Saturday, soon after a Chinese envoy had appealed for a halt to 11 months of violence, opposition activists said. The shooting took place at the funerals of three youths killed on Friday in an anti-Assad protest that was one of the biggest in the capital since a nationwide uprising started. "They started firing at the crowd right after the burial," said a witness, speaking to Reuters in Amman by telephone. People tried to flee and seek shelter in alleyways, he said.
A local sheriff resigned as a co-chair of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's campaign in Arizona on Saturday after he was accused of threatening a former male lover with deportation to Mexico if he talked about their relationship. In an embarrassing incident for Romney's struggling campaign, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu denied that he or his lawyer made the deportation threat but stepped down from helping the former Massachusetts governor in the border state.
Iran has stopped selling crude to British and French companies, the oil ministry said on Sunday, in a retaliatory measure against fresh EU sanctions on the Islamic state's lifeblood, oil. "Exporting crude to British and French companies has been stopped ... we will sell our oil to new customers," spokesman Alireza Nikzad was quoted as saying by the ministry of petroleum website.
Several thousand Greeks demonstrated on Sunday against punishing austerity measures to reduce the country's debt, on the eve of make-or-break talks in Brussels on a 130-billion-euro ($171 billion) bailout to avert bankruptcy. Greece hopes euro zone finance ministers will sign off on Monday on the rescue package funded by the European Union and International Monetary Fund, Greece's second bailout since 2010.
Oil prices jumped to a nine-month high above $105 a barrel on Monday after Iran said it halted crude exports to Britain and France in an escalation of a dispute over the Middle Eastern country's nuclear program. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark March crude was up $1.91 to $105.15 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier in the day, it rose to $105.21, the highest since May. The contract rose 93 cents to settle at $103.24 per barrel in New York on Friday.
Troops on the U.S.' largest base in Afghanistan have inadvertently burned Qurans and other religious materials, triggering angry protests and fears of even larger demonstrations as news of the burning spreads. The books were mistakenly thrown out with the trash at Bagram Air Field north of Kabul and were on a burn pile Monday night before Afghan laborers intervened around 11:00 p.m., according to NATOand Afghan officials.
Mars, the candy maker, plans to shrink its candy bars come next year. A regular Snickers bar will be slimmed down about 11%. Incredibly, Mars is pitching this as a health thing: It wants to keep all its candy bars at no more than 250 calories. (So much for the king-size versions.) No mention of Mars’ rising costs: While cocoa prices have come down about 25% from nosebleed levels in the last six months... sugar prices are up 50% in the last two years.
Sports News February 15, 2012 -
Ron Jaworski is out at "Monday Night Football." ESPN announced Wednesday that the analyst would be removed from the network's signature broadcast beginning in August. Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will operate as a two-man booth. Jaworski will remain at the network and appear on various programs, including "Countdown" and "Matchup." The longtime ESPN analyst had been in the MNF booth since 2007, replacing Joe Theismann after one season. He was supposed to add a respected football voice to a broadcast that included Tony Kornheiser. He dutifully played that role for two years until Jon Gruden was brought in as Kornheiser's replacement. It was all downhill from there.
Passing – Baseball’s Gary Carter. The star catcher, whose single for the New York Mets in the 1986 World Series touched off one of the most improbable rallies in baseball, died Thursday. He was 57. Carter was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last May, two weeks after finishing his second season as coach at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said Carter died at a hospice in the West Palm Beach, Fla., area.
NASCAR Scare At Daytona - The danger, safety and skill of NASCAR racing was on full display Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. Three major wrecks, Jeff Gordon on his roof, nobody hurt, Kyle Busch in victory lane after pulling off not one but two miraculous saves to win the Bud Shootout by a nose.
NY Knicks Jeremy Lin in the Spotlight - After one more starry performance Sunday, New York Knicks phenomenon Jeremy Lin delivered a plea to the media in Taiwan where his grandmother and family live: Back off. Lin, an Asian-American raised in Northern California and educated at Harvard, has become an international star since the New York Knicks inserted him into the lineup two weeks ago. He had 28 points, 14 assists, five steals and seven turnovers in the Knicks’ 104-97 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. Lin also said he had no hard feelings over a corporate NBA partner website using an apparent ethnic slur in a headline early Saturday. He said he accepted the apology, and believed that there was no ill intent.
Technology News February 15, 2012 -
"Slingo," a leader in online games for 17 years, is making its way to Facebook with a redesigned version of the popular bingo/slot-machine game. The game's creators are partnering with Zynga, maker of such popular social games as "Farmville," "Cityville" and "Words With Friends," to produce Zynga Slingo. Its gameplay is similar to the original "," with some updated social features to make it interactive on .
LightSquared's plan to become a fifth major nationwide wireless carrier hit a major snag this week, after government regulators said they would continue to bar the company from launching its network. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration said late Tuesday that LightSquared's network could interfere with GPS signals, despite LightSquared's proposed engineering solutions. That interference has the potential to be extremely dangerous: In addition to powering consumer navigation devices, GPS is used by the military and the aviation industry to guide airplanes and missiles.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation may soon be forced to shut down a number of key Domain Name System (DNS) servers, which would cut Internet access for millions of Web users around the world,reports BetaBeat. The DNS servers were installed by the FBI last year, in an effort to stop the spread of a piece of malware known as DNSCharger Trojan. But the court order that allowed the set up of the replacement servers expires on March 8.
In November of last year, authorities arrested six men in Estonia for the creation and spread of DNSCharger, which reconfigures infected computers’ Internet settings, and re-routes users to websites that contain malware, or other illegal sites. DNSCharger also blocks access to websites that might offer solutions for how to rid the computer of its worm, and often comes bundled with other types of malicious software.
Nearly two years after tech blogs screamed "Antennagate!" over problems with the iPhone 4's reception, owners will be getting a little pocket change for their troubles.
Apple over the weekend settled a class-action lawsuit filed about the issue, promising to pay $15 or give a free case to everyone in the United States who bought one of the wildly popular phones. Released in June 2010, the slimmer reworking of Apple's smartphone became a huge seller. But soon after it went on sale, some owners began complaining that their phone frequently dropped voice calls.
Taking a cue from Twitter, Facebook will be rolling out "verified accounts" for its most popular users -- presumably hoping to encourage the Lady Gagas of the world to get active on the site. Starting Thursday, the site began testing a system that lets people with a large number of subscribers submit a government ID to prove they really are who they say they are. "This update makes it even easier for subscribers to find and keep up with journalists, celebrities and other public figures they want to connect to," a Facebook spokesman said in an e-mail.
Radio News –
A Los Angeles talk radio team has been suspended for 10 days for referring to the late Whitney Houston as a “crack ho.” John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, known as John and Ken on KFI in Los Angeles, apologized for the comments, and said they accepted the suspension. During an on-air discussion in the wake of Houston's death last Saturday, Kobylt said, "At some point you’re just sick of it all, and so is everybody else in the industry. All her friends and hangers-on; everybody who knew had to deal with her.
After suffering from mild kidney failure earlier this year, Nick Cannon revealed on Wednesday that he was hospitalized for a second time last week. As a result, the 31-year-old entertainer announced on Friday that he is stepping down from his morning radio show on New York's 92.3 NOW.
Entertainment News February 15, 2012 -
The sketch-comedy series "Key & Peele" has earned a second season from Comedy Central two weeks after its premiere, the network said Tuesday. The 10-episode second season will debut in the fall. The series, which is created by and stars "MADtv" veterans Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, drew 2.1 million total viewers on its January 31 premiere. That's Comedy Central's best launch since the 2009 debut of "The Jeff Dunham Show." The "Key & Peele" premiere performed particularly well in the men 18-34 and men 18-24 demographics, earning a 2.6 and 3.3 in the demos respectively and earning the top spot in its timeslot in those demos.
Police say R&B singer-songwriter Robin Thicke has been arrested on a minor drug charge in New York City. The 34-year-old is the son of Alan Thicke, who played patriarch Jason Seaver on the long-running ABC sitcom "Growing Pains." He was arrested early Friday afternoon in Manhattan near Madison Square Park. Police say he was pulled over and they saw a joint inside his black SUV. He was given a desk appearance ticket and released.
Family, friends and fans began to gather to mourn Whitney Houston at her funeral on Saturday, a week after the sudden death of the singer whose spectacular voice and best-selling albums made her one of biggest pop stars of her era. Houston, who died in a Beverly Hills hotel room last week, recorded stirring love songs and vibrant, dance tunes during a 30-year career that peaked with her 1992 signature hit "I Will Always Love You." Guests began arriving to honor her at an invitation-only funeral service in a modest neighborhood in her native Newark, New Jersey.
More Whitney Funeral - godmother Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder will perform at the late pop singer's funeral this Saturday in Newark, N.J.Houston's longtime mentor, Clive Davis, will speak at the private service, and longtime family friend, gospel singer Marvin Winans, will deliver the eulogy. Alicia Keys, Tyler Perry, Rickey Minor,CeCe Winans and Houston's aunt, Dionne Warwick, will also take part, publicist Kristen Foster told the news agency.
N.J. governor Chris Christie plans tribute to Whitney Houston.
February 2012 - Some Winners At The Annual Image Awards:
Winners of the 43rd annual NAACP Image Awards, presented Friday in Los Angeles:
Motion Picture: "The Help"
Actor in a motion picture: Laz Alonso, "Jumping the Broom"
Actress in a motion picture: Viola Davis, "The Help"
Supporting actor in a motion picture: Mike Epps, "Jumping the Broom"
Supporting actress in a motion picture: Octavia Spencer, "The Help"
Independent motion picture: "Pariah"
Foreign motion picture: "In the Land of Blood and Honey"
Documentary, theatrical or television: "Sing Your Song"
Comedy series: "Tyler Perry's House of Payne"
Actor in a comedy series: Malcolm-Jamal Warner, "Reed Between the Lines"
Actress in a comedy series: Tracee Ellis Ross, "Reed Between the Lines"
Supporting actor in a comedy series: Nick Cannon, "Up All Night"
Supporting actress in a comedy series: Keshia Knight Pulliam, "Tyler Perry's House of Payne"
Drama series: "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
Actor in a drama series: LL Cool J, "NCIS: Los Angeles"
Top Pop Hits February 15, 2012 –
Set Fire To The Rain – Adele
Stronger – Kelly Clarkson
We Are Youn – fun. Fea. Janelle Monae
Sexy And I Know It – LMFAO
Good Feeling – Flo Rida
I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
We Found Love – Rihanna fea. Calvin Harris
Rack City – Tyga
Give Me All Your Luvin’ Madonna fea. Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.
Turn Me On – David Guetta fea. Nicki Minaj
It Will Rain – Bruno Mars
Young, Wild & Free – Snoop Dogg &Wiz Khalifa fea. Bruno Mars
Someone Like You – Adele
Domino – Jessie J.
Ass Back Home – Gym Class Heroes fea. Neon Hitch
Rolling In The Deep – Adele
International Love – Pitbull fea. Chris Brown
The Motto – Drake fea. Lil Wayne
N**as In Paris – Jay Z Kanye West
Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO fea. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock
The One The Got Away – Katy Perry
Take Care – Drake fea. Rihana
Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 fea. Christina Aguilera
Not Over You – Gavin DeGraw
Glad You Came – The Wanted
Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye fea. Kimbra
Top Movies February 15, 2012 -
Ghost Rider: Sprit of Vengeance 3D (1st week $22 million)
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 3D
This Means War
Star Wars Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace
The Woman in Black
The Secret World of Arrietty
Top TV Shows/TV Guide February 15, 2012 -
1.Grammy AwardsCBS2.NCISCBS3.American Idol" (Wednesday)FOX4.American Idol" (Thursday)FOX5.The VoiceNBC6.NCIS: Los AngelesCBS7.The Big Bang TheoryCBS8.Person of InterestCBS9.The MentalistCBS10.60 MinutesCBS11.Criminal MindsCBS12.Two and a Half MenCBS13.Modern FamilyABC14.UnforgettableCBS15.Blue BloodsCBS16.2 Broke GirlsCBS17.SmashNBC18.Mike & MollyCBS19.CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationCBS20.RobCBS