Dateline: Week Of May 15, 2012 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
Rebekah Brooks, a close confidante of Rupert Murdoch, was charged on Tuesday with interfering with a police investigation into a phone hacking scandal that has rocked the tycoon's media empire and sent shockwaves through the British political establishment. Brooks, 43, was charged with concealing material from detectives, conspiring to remove boxes of archive records from Murdoch's London headquarters, and hiding documents, computers and other electronic equipment from the police. If found guilty she could face a prison sentence.
Greece Fears - Greece's political leaders meet on Wednesday to form a caretaker government to take it to a second election in just over a month, with its euro membership at stake and its president speaking of "fear that could develop into panic" at its banks. President Karolos Papoulias was forced to call a new vote after failing to cobble together a coalition government. An election on May 6 saw leftist opponents of Greece's EU/IMF bailout deprive the parties that ran the country for generations of a majority. Polls suggest the radical left are poised to win the re-run. Greeks are withdrawing euros from banks, apparently afraid of the prospect of rapid devaluation if the country leaves the European single currency, minutes of Papoulias's negotiations with political leaders showed.
G8 Gathering - U.S. President Barack Obama pledged at a summit on Saturday to work with Europe on a package that balances growth with debt reduction as world leaders try to prevent the worsening euro zone crisis from destabilizing the global economy. At the wooded Camp David retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains, Obama and leaders from other major economic powers are seeking ways to soothe financial markets after worries about Spain's banking problems and the risk of a Greek exit from the euro zone sent world stocks to their lowest levels this year.
President Barack Obama on Saturday called on the U.S. Congress to back his efforts for tough new financial industry oversight, saying a $2 billion trading loss at JPMorgan underscored the need for such regulation. "We've got to finish the job of implementing this reform and putting these rules in place," Obama said in a weekly radio address that accused some on Wall Street of causing the 2007-2009 economic crisis because they "treated our financial system like a casino." In a jab at Republicans who have been critical of banking industry reforms his administration is in the process of implementing, Obama said lawmakers should "stand on the side of reform, not against it."
Passing - Mary Richardson Kennedy - the estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. died on Wednesday. She was 52. "We deeply regret the death of our beloved sister Mary, whose radiant and creative spirit will be sorely missed by those who loved her," Mary Richardson Kennedy's family said in a statement. "Our heart goes out to her children who she loved without reservation. We have no further comment at this time."
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback apologized on Thursday to blacks for segregation in his state in the last century as he marked the anniversary of a ruling that struck down segregation in schools. The Republican governor said Kansas had never really apologized for the "hateful practice" of segregating black people from white inpublic places after the abolition of slavery.
Authorities in Mississippi said early Friday they have arrested a suspect in two fatal highway shootings that happened late at night along desolate stretches. James D. Willie, 28, was being held on charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault and rape and would be formally charged with two counts of capital murder.
Global Markets On Edge Due To Europe - The leaders of eight of the world's biggest economies meet this weekend outside Washington, seeking to keep Europe's debt crisis from spiraling out of control and jeopardizing fledgling recoveries in the U.S. and elsewhere. The turmoil in Greece is draining confidence in the 17 countries that use the euro. Borrowing costs are up for the most indebted governments. Depositors and investors are fleeing banks seen as weak. Unemployment is soaring as recession grips nearly half the eurozone countries. And global markets are on edge.
A strong earthquake shook northeast Italy early Sunday, killing four people, tearing off chunks of church facades and sending panicked residents into the streets. Aftershocks wreaked more havoc in the region, including knocking down a clock tower and injuring a firefighter. The magnitude-6.0 quake struck at 4:04 a.m., with its epicenter about 35 kilometers (22 miles) north of Bologna at a relatively shallow depth of 5 kilometers (3.2 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Pakistan blocked Twitter on Sunday, saying the website had refused to remove posts promoting a Facebook competition involving caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. "The website has been banned by the Ministry of Information Technology and the decision was conveyed to us," said Mohammad Younis Khan, spokesman for Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
A day after the historic Facebook IPO, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerbergupdated his status Saturday to "married." Zuckerberg wed 27-year-old Priscilla Chan, his girlfriend of nearly a decade, according to a guest authorized to speak for the couple. The person spoke only on the condition of anonymity. The couple married at his Palo Alto, Calif. home in front of fewer than 100 stunned guests who thought they would be attending a party to celebrate Chan's graduation from medical school.
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence official who was sentenced to life in prison in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, has died, the Libyan government said on Sunday. He was 60. The bombing of the Dec. 21, 1988 Pan Am flight from New York to London as it flew over Lockerbie, Scotland killed 270 people--259 people on board and 11 people on the ground--making it the world's deadliest act of terror until the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
On Monday(May21), a suicide bomber posing as a member of the Yemen military killed at least 96 people and wounded hundreds more--most if not all soldiers--in a blast in Sanaa, Yemen's capital. The soldiers were rehearsing for a military parade in Sabeen Square near the presidential palace, Yemeni officials said. The bomber, carrying explosives under his uniform, "blew himself up in the middle of an army battalion." According to AFP, as many as 300 wounded soldiers were being treated at seven area hospitals.An al-Qaida source claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the BBC.
Altitude Sickness - Four climbers from Germany, South Korea, China and Canada died returning from the summit of Mount Everest, tour agents and officials said Monday, with one other mountaineer also missing.
Technology News May 15, 2012 -
Professional body piercer Dave Hurban - 21, who works in a tattoo parlor in Newfield, New Jersey, implanted four metal studs in the skin of his wrist and secured his iPod to them magnetically. "I just invented the strapless watch," he said on Monday of his Apple Inc device, set to display a clock. Hurban cheerfully recounted how he mapped out the four corners of the iPod on his arm and then inserted four titanium studs into his skin. Once the incisions healed, he popped on his iPod, which is held in place magnetically.
General Motors Co said on Tuesday it will stop advertising on Facebook, even as the social networking website prepares to go public. While GM gave no specific reason for dropping Facebook ads, a source familiar with the automaker's plans said the company's marketing executives decided Facebook's ads had little impact on consumers. While GM's decision could be an exception in the advertising world, it marked the first highly visible crack in the Facebook strategy, said Brian Wieser, Internet and media analyst at Pivotal Research Group. "This does highlight what we are arguing is the riskiness of the overall Facebook business model," he said. "It is not a sure thing. It sure looks likely that it will be one of the most important ad-supported media properties, but it's not certain because there will be marketers who are challenged to prove the effectiveness of the marketing vehicle."
Facebook Inc increased the size of its initial public offering by almost 25 percent, and could raise as much as $16 billion as strong investor demand for a share of the No.1 social network trumps debate about its long-term potential to make money. Facebook, founded eight years ago by Mark Zuckerberg in a Harvard dorm room, said on Wednesday it will add about 84 million shares to its IPO, floating about 421 million shares in an offering expected to be priced on Thursday. The additional shares will be sold by early investors including PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Accel Partners' James Breyer and investment manager Tiger Global Management, the company said in a filing.
Verizon Wireless is planning to force customers to give up their unlimited data plans when they move to its high-speed wireless service, a top executive for parent company Verizon Communications Inc said on Wednesday. For now, Verizon Wireless customers who move to the company's highest-speed fourth generation (4G) network from its older network can still use the company's unlimited wireless data plan for a flat monthly fee. But that will change after Verizon Wireless launches a new shared data plan offering this summer. Under the new plan, customers will be able to share a monthly data allowance among different devices, unlike current offerings, where they have to sign up for a separate data plan for every device connected to the wireless operator's network.
Coming this fall – mini-iPad – 7 inches.
Hot social network Pinterest just landed a sizable cash infusion: The company raised $100 million in a financing round by e-commerce giant Rakuten. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners and FirstMark Capital also participated in the round.
The latest funding from the Tokyo-based Rakuten values Pinterest at $1.5 billion, according to a source close to the company.
Facebook IPO debuts at just over $42.00 on the market – then drops back to its offering – closing at $38.23 its first day.
Google Antitrust Heating Up On Both Sides of the Atlantic - In a scolding letter sent to Google on Monday, European regulators outlined their "concerns" about Google's business practices, giving the search giant "a matter of weeks" to shape up or pay up.
The European Commission said it had reached preliminary conclusions based on its 18-month . It found four ways in which Google potentially violates anti-monopoly laws in the region. Google links to its own "vertical search services" differently than it does for links to competitors, the letter said. The commission said it is concerned that Google may be giving its own services preferential treatment over rivals' Google faces a in the United States from the Federal Trade Commission.
Beginning To See Signs Of Change – As This Week - Google Chrome routed more Internet traffic than Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which long has held its spot as the most-used Web browser in the world, according to , an Internet monitor. Other Internet Explorer -- which comes pre-installed on many Windows computers and has long been a default -- in the lead. But this is a big sign that – Explorer may be losing its edge.
Yahoo! finalized a deal to sell half of its long-standing 40% stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. The deal is valued at $7.1 billion -- $6.3 billion in cash and $800 million worth of newly minted Alibaba preferred shares. Yahoo!'s press release says the company "intends to return substantially all of the after tax proceeds to shareholders." Yahoo! increased its share buyback program by $5 billion in the same release.
Entertainment News - May 15, 2012 -
ABC’s premiered lower in the ratings this year despite the high-profile addition of Howard Stern as the show’s new judge. Monday’s two-hour returned to 10.3 million viewers and a 3.6 rating, down 16 percent from last year. EW’s Ken Tucker suggested Stern’s performance was almost nice.
During a tour of BBC Scotland's Pacific Quay headquarters, Prince Charles actually presents Reporting Scotland's lunchtime weather forecast!
Lesbian Ellen Degeneres recently bought Brad Pitt's compound in Malibu, Calif., meant that another celebrity would surely swoop in and scoop up the comedian's own palace, which hit the market in October. Sure enough, the stars aligned in such a way that Ryan Seacrest has bought the Beverly Hills, Calif., estate, which Degeneres shares with her wife, Portia de Rossi. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the American Idol host paid close to the property's $49M ask—a staggering price, for sure, but not even close to the $60M the couple originally wanted.
Passing – Disco Music Legend Donna Summer (63) of cancer. "The Queen of Disco," the 63-year-old was in Florida at the time of her death. Born LaDonna Adrian Gaines, the 5-time Grammy award winner rose to fame in the '70s with hits like "Hot Stuff," "Bad Girls" and "Love to Love You Baby."
"American Idol" down to two..."American Idol" finalist Joshua Ledet has left the building. The 20-year-old vocal powerhouse from Westlake, La., was revealed Thursday to have received the fewest viewer votes on the Fox talent contest, leaving bluesy 21-year-old crooner Phillip Phillips of Leesburg, Ga., and sassy 16-year-old budding diva Jessica Sanchez of San Diego to compete for the show's record deal grand prize on next week's finale.
"Idol" host Ryan Seacrest said 90 million viewer votes were cast this week.
Taylor Swift continues to get more and more generous. She’s now donating a whopping $4 million to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to build the Taylor Swift Education center, a 7,500 square feet-plus building that will open in 2014.
While arriving to the premiere of "Men in Black 3" in Moscow on Friday, Co-Star Will Smith slapped a reporter who, first, hugged him and then tried to kiss him. In the footage of the incident, the "MiB" star is smiling on the red carpet and allows the reporter to hug him, before the young reporter - who is reportedly Ukrainian - tries to kiss Will on the face. The star then pushes the reporter away and backhand slaps him on the cheek.
Billboard Music Awards - Held at theMGM Grand - May 20...
Top Artist: Adele
Top New Artist: Wiz Khalifa
Top Male Artist: Lil Wayne
Top Female Artist:Adel
Mick Jagger delivered four amazing performances when he hosted Saturday Night Live on May 19. He teamed up with Arcade Fire to give a high energy rendition of the Rolling Stones hit, ‘The Last Time,” and got political with a blues tune, “Tea Party,” he wrote about the upcoming presidential election and performed with Jeff Beck. And h jammed out with the Foo Fighters. Some say his heartfelt performance of the classic, “She’s A Rainbow,” with Arcade Fire that really stole the show, as it marked SNL favorite Kristen Wiig‘s final appearance as a regular cast member.
Passing - Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb, who with brothers Barry and Maurice helped define the disco era with their falsetto harmonies and funky beats on hits like "Stayin' Alive" and "Jive Talkin'", has died after a long fight with cancer. He was 62. The singer had colon and liver cancer and, despite brief improvements in his health in recent months, passed away.
Top Pop Music May 15, 2012 –
Payphone – Maroon 5 fea. Wiz Khalifa
Somebody that I Used To Know – Gotye fea. Kimbra
We Are Young – fun. Fea. Janelle Monae
Wild Ones – Flo Rida fea. Sia
Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
Starships – Nicki Minaj
What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction
Drive By – Train
Boyfriend – Justin Bieber
Glad You Came – the Wanted
Feel So Close – Calvin Harris
Part of Me – Katy Perry
Stronger – Kelly Clarkson
Rumour Has It – Adele
The Motto – Drake fea. Lil Wayne
Take Care – Drake fea. Rihanna
Dance Again – Jennifer Lopez fea. Pitbull
Brokenhearted – Karmin
Springsteen – Eric Church
Where Have You Been – Rihanna
Climax – Usher
Back In Time – Pitbull
Drunk on You – Luke Bryan
Scream – Usher
Birthday Cake – Rihanna fea. Chris Brown
Lights – Ellie Goulding
Top Video Games - May 15, 2012 -
Prototype 2 (X360)
MLB 12: The Show (PS3)
Sniper Elite V2 (X360)
Zumba Fitness 2 (Wii)
Just Dance 3 (Wii)
Kinect Adventures! (X360)
Prototype 2 (PS3)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (X360)
Top Movies - May 15, 2012 -
Marvel’s The Avengers
Battleship (1st week $25.3 million)
The Dictator (1st week $17.4 million)
What To Expect When You’re Expecting
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The Hunger Games
Think Like A Man
The Lucky One
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
The Five=Year Engagement