The Week Of November 22, 2010
Compiled by Gary West of mrpopculture.com and www.mrpophistory.com
Ireland’s banks will be pruned down, merged or sold as part of a massive EU-IMF bailout taking shape, the government said as a shellshocked nation came to grips with its failure to protect and revive its banks. Crucially, some experts say the rescue may have come too late to save the next weak link, Portugal, from a similar fate. Ireland’s crisis also appears likely to force the early departure of its deeply unpopular government, calling into doubt the credibility of Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s four-year austerity plans.
GREYMOUTH, New Zealand – Hopes waned Monday for the survival of 29 New Zealand coal miners who have been trapped for three days underground, where the presence of explosive gases has prevented a rescue. Family members expressed frustration with the pace of the response as officials acknowledged for the first time it may be too late to save the miners, who have not been heard from since a massive explosion ripped through the Pike River Mine on the country’s South Island on Friday.
Cambodia’s prime minister says more than 300 people have been killed in a stampede in the capital. Thousands of Cambodians were celebrating a water festival on an island in a river in the capital Monday night when the press of the crowd caused some to panic. In the chaos, some tried to flee over a bridge, and many fell over its sides into the water. The area was littered with hundreds of injured. Prime Minister Hun Sen has made several live broadcasts Monday night. In his latest one, he said that 339 people had been killed and 329 injured.
A man already imprisoned for attacking two women was found guilty Monday of murdering Washington intern Chandra Levy back in 2001, bringing legal resolution to a murder mystery that took down a congressman and drew the nation’s rapt attention a decade ago. Ingmar Guandique was convicted of first-degree murder for attacking Levy while she exercised in Washington’s Rock Creek Park in May 2001. Her disappearance made headlines when she was romantically linked to then-Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif. Condit was once a suspect, but police no longer believe he was involved.
North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire Tuesday after the North shelled an island near their disputed sea border, killing at least two South Korean marines, setting dozens of buildings ablaze and sending civilians fleeing for shelter. The clash, which put South Korea’s military on high alert, was one of the rivals’ most dramatic confrontations since the Korean War ended, and one of the few to put civilians at risk, though no nonmilitary deaths were immediately reported. Sixteen South Korean soldiers and three civilians were injured and the extent of casualties on the northern side was unknown.
In a seismic shift on one of the most profound — and profoundly contentious — Roman Catholic teachings, the Vatican said Tuesday that condoms are the lesser of two evils when used to curb the spread of AIDS, even if their use prevents a pregnancy. The position was an acknowledgment that the church’s long-held anti-birth control stance against condoms doesn’t justify putting lives at risk.
Barack Obama performed an annual rite of presidents on Wednesday, pardoning a pair of turkeys on Thanksgiving eve and cracking jokes about the competition that brought them to his famous doorstep.”For the record, let me say that it feels pretty good to stop at least one shellacking this November,” Obama said in the White House Rose Garden, where he was flanked by daughters Malia and Sasha. A “shellacking” is how Obama described the beating Democrats suffered in elections earlier this month; the party lost control of the House and saw its Senate majority trimmed by six seats. The president wished America’s families, including many buffeted by the economic slump, a safe and happy holiday. He also thanked the men and women of the U.S. military for serving “bravely and selflessly” in places far away from home.
North Korea warned Friday that U.S.-South Korean plans for military maneuvers put the peninsula on the brink of war, and appeared to launch its own artillery drills within sight of an island it showered with a deadly barrage this week.The fresh artillery blasts were especially defiant because they came as the U.S. commander in South Korea, Gen. Walter Sharp, toured the South Korean Island to survey damage from Tuesday’s hail of North Korean artillery fire that killed four people.
Bargain shoppers, braving rain or frigid weather, crowded the nation’s stores in the wee hours of the night to get their hands on deals from TVs to toys on Black Friday. Early signs pointed to bigger crowds at many stores including Best Buy, Sears, and Toys R Us for the traditional start to the holiday shopping season. In an encouraging sign for retailers and for the economy, more shoppers appeared to be buying for themselves than last year, when such indulgences were limited. Lengthened hours that pushed some store openings into Thanksgiving also appeared to pay off.
Portugal adopted a raft of debt-reducing austerity measures Friday, which the government claimed would be enough to restore market confidence in its public finances without resorting to a bailout. Portugal adopted a raft of debt-reducing austerity measures Friday, which the government claimed would be enough to restore market confidence in its public finances without resorting to a bailout.
Portugal’s high debt and low growth have alarmed investors, fueling speculation it may be the next European country to need a bailout after Greece and Ireland. Although it does not have a major debt sale until January, analysts say investors will not be reassured until its public finances are shored up by Europe’s emergency fund.
Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at an Afghan police headquarters Saturday, killing 12 officers in an area along the Pakistan border that still sees heavy Taliban attacks even as NATO pours in more troops and resources. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in eastern Paktika province, which has long been a refuge for Islamist extremists from around the world. It is one of the most violent areas of Afghanistan, where NATO and Afghan forces fight daily against the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based Taliban faction closely tied to al-Qaida
A Somali-born teenager plotted “a spectacular show” of terrorism for months, saying he didn’t mind that children would die if he bombed a crowded Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, according to a law-enforcement official and court documents. He never got the chance. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested Friday in downtown Portland after using a cell phone to try to detonate what he thought were explosives in a van, prosecutors said. It turned out to be a dummy bomb put together by FBI agents.
European Union nations agreed to give euro67.5 billion ($89.4 billion) in bailout loans to Ireland on Sunday to help it weather the cost of its massive banking crisis, and sketched out new rules for future emergencies in an effort to restore faith in the euro currency. The rescue deal, approved by finance ministers at an emergency meeting in Brussels, means two of the eurozone’s 16 nations have now come to depend on foreign help and underscores Europe’s struggle to contain its spreading debut crisis. The fear is that with Greece and now Ireland shored up, speculative traders will target the bloc’s other weak fiscal links, particularly Portugal.
WikiLeaks – Hundreds of thousands of State Department documents leaked Sunday revealed a hidden world of backstage international diplomacy, divulging candid comments from world leaders and detailing occasional U.S. pressure tactics aimed at hot spots in Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea. The classified diplomatic cables released by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks and reported on by news organizations in the United States and Europe provided often unflattering assessments of foreign leaders, ranging from U.S. allies such as Germany and Italy to other nations like Libya, Iran and Afghanistan.
Patrols around mosques and other Islamic sites in Portland have been stepped up as Muslim leaders expressed fears of retribution, days after a Somali-American man was accused of trying to blow up a van full of explosives during the city’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The move followed a fire Sunday at the Islamic center in Corvallis, a college town about 75 miles southwest of Portland, where suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud occasionally worshipped, prompting an FBI arson investigation and concern about the potential for more retaliation. Mohamud, 19, was being held on charges of plotting to carry out a terror attack Friday on a crowd of thousands at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon.
President Barack Obama announced a pay freeze for 2 million federal employees Monday and warned the American public that the move is the first of many difficult decisions that must be made to slash the nation’s mounting deficits. “The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government,”Obama said.
A Pentagon study that argues that gay troops could serve openly without hurting the military’s ability to fight is expected to re-ignite debate this month on Capitol Hill over repealing the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Officials familiar with the 10-month study’s results have said a clear majority of respondents don’t care if gays serve openly, with 70 percent predicting that lifting the ban would have positive, mixed or no results. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the findings hadn’t been released.
The State Department severed its computer files from the government’s classified network, officials said Tuesday, as U.S. and world leaders tried to clean up from the embarrassing leak that spilled America’s sensitive documents onto screens around the globe. By temporarily pulling the plug, the U.S. significantly reduced the number of government employees who can read important diplomatic messages. It was an extraordinary hunkering down, prompted by the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of those messages this week by WikiLeaks, the self-styled whistleblower organization.
Facebook has received a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the trademark on the word “face” when used in the context of online chat rooms or bulletin boards. Facebook filed for this trademark in December 2005. The notice of allowance does not mean that Facebook has been granted the trademark just yet, but it’s getting really close. In the next three months, Facebook must pay a fee and file a statement of use, at which time it must prove that it is actively using the mark to provide goods or services, and then get the approval of an attorney
Music news –
Keith Urban is trying to make his fans and his family happy this summer. The multi-platinum country star is hitting the road June 16 on a 44-city arena tour in the U.S. with a schedule that gives him time to be with his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, and their 2-year-old daughter, Sunday Rose. “The thing is with balance, it’s never achieved. It’s just maintained,” Urban said of his family and career demands. “It’s maintained based on Nic’s and my ability to stay present and make the adjustments as we go.”
Sports – Juan Manuel Marquez didn’t waste any time after defending his lightweight title before setting his sights on Round 3 with Manny Pacquiao. Marquez stopped Michael Katsidis in the ninth round Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, winning an all-action battle and certain candidate for Fight of the Year. Moments later, he turned his attention to settling the score with the man considered the best in the world
Entertainment news –
On Wednesday, Disney will be releasing “Tangled,” the studio’s 50th animated film. You might think that this would be cause for celebration, but from recent stories in the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, it appears that Disney Animation is in the midst of a major freak-out/reinvention. The main takeaway from these articles was that Pixar guru (and Disney Animation bigwig) John Lasseter is in the midst of reviving Disney’s slumping non-Pixar animation projects. Oh, and he’s done making movies about fairy tales and princesses. “They may come back later because someone has a fresh take on it,” Lasseter’s Disney Animation co-chief Ed Catmull said. “But have any other musicals or fairy tales lined up.” One reason is because the studio is fearful of alienating young boys, who supposedly won’t see something like last year’s “The Princess and the Frog.” The other reason, frighteningly, is that young girls consider themselves too cool to want to be princesses.
Charlie Sheen has countersued Capri Anderson, claiming that the adult-film actress tried to extort him for $1 million after their encounter in a New York hotel room. “This case involves a shakedown and extortion of the internationally known actor and celebrity Charlie Sheen … by an opportunist pornographic film star and publicity-hungry scam artist,” the lawsuit states.
Angelina Jolie is filming her directorial debut, a controversial love story between a Muslim woman and a Serbian man, in two different languages: English and the Eastern European dialect many of her actors speak. “We actually shot a full version in their native language and we shot a full version in English. We shot two complete films,” Jolie tells local outlet Vasarnapi Hirek). “I was only able to do it because the actors were so fluent in English so they were willing to work hard and do the scenes in two languages.”
George Lopez and his wife of 17 years are making their breakup official with her filing for divorce. Ann Serrano Lopez filed her petition, citing irreconcilable difference, on Tuesday in Los Angeles.The pair announced their breakup in September and said they would remain partners in a charitable foundation. They have a 14-year-old daughter, and Ann Lopez is seeking physical custody.
John Travolta and Kelly Preston will have a new guest at their Thanksgiving table. A publicist says the couple welcomed a baby boy Tuesday in Florida. They named their new son Benjamin.
An actor who once had a small part on “Ugly Betty” was charged Tuesday with stabbing his mother to death with a 3-foot sword in her home after a fight, police said. Officers responding to a call of a family dispute found 55-year-old Yannick Brea kneeling in the bathroom of her Brooklyn apartment at about 2:20 a.m. She had cuts to her head and was pronounced dead at the scene. “In a bedroom was her son … with a 3-foot sword,” Kelly said. The son, Michael Brea, 31, was arrested on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon. He was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at Kings County Hospital, and police didn’t know if he had an attorney. No phone number was listed at the address provided by police.
An Arizona judge on Wednesday denied bail for rapper DMX. keeping him jailed on charges that he violated probation by using drugs, court officials said. The 39 year-old rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was arrested Thursday for probation violations that included using cocaine and Oxycontin, failing to submit to drug testing and counseling, and driving with a suspended license.
Actress Jennifer Grey won television’s “Dancing With the Stars” contest on Tuesday, while Bristol Palin, whose survival on the show sparked nationwide controversy, finished in third place. Grey, 50, who co-starred with the late Patrick Swayze in the 1987 movie “Dirty Dancing”, was named champion at the end of a two-hour broadcast and a record number of public votes. Kyle Massey, 19, a former child star on the Disney Channel show “That’s So Raven,” was runner-up and Bristol Palin – third.
Passing – Leslie Nielsen, who traded in his dramatic persona for inspired bumbling as a hapless doctor in “Airplane!” and the accident-prone detective Frank Drebin in “The Naked Gun” comedies, died on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 84.
Radio news – The radio giant Clear Channel Communications signs Ryan Seacrest to a new three-year contract worth an estimated $60 million, nearly double the value of his expiring deal with that company. Clear Channel will get more hours of his syndicated “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” show and develop a record label and concert series with him. But Robert W. Pittman, the company’s chairman of media and entertainment platforms, said the hefty raise was more reflective of Mr. Seacrest’s standing with consumers as someone who has his finger on what is cool. “He has emerged as somebody who you believe is searching through everything out there and telling you what is the very best about popular culture at that moment,” Mr. Pittman said. “He’s trusted.” In addition to his three top-rated radio shows for Clear Channel, Mr. Seacrest, 35, hosts “American Idol” for Fox, appears on a daily entertainment news program on E! and runs a television production company that is responsible for cable hits like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
More On Doctor Laura’s Move To Satellite Radio – One of the first subjects Laura Schlessinger will tackle in depth on her new Sirius XM Radio talk show in the new year is the one that nearly derailed her. In confirming the exclusive arrangement to bring her talk show to satellite radio beginning Jan, 3, Schlessinger said Monday she intends to introduce roundtable discussions. Within the first three weeks one topic will be race relations and free speech. “Racism, bigotry and hate,” Schlessinger told the Hollywood Reporter, “what they really are, instead of the politically-inspired efforts to eliminate dissenting opinions or state facts.” The “politically correct version is what happened to me,” she said, referencing the controversy that erupted during the summer when she used the “n-word” several times during her show “The Dr, Laura Program” to illustrate her point that the term “racist” is overused. That incident led liberal activists to call for her dismissal and to encourage advertisers to yank their support. Schlessinger responded in August by announcing she’d end her syndicated show on regular terrestrial radio at year’s end.
At the movies this week –
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
Love & Other Drugs
The Next Three Days
For Colored Girls
Top albums this week –
The Gift – Susan Boyle
Loud – Rihanna
O Holy Night – Jackie Evancho
Born Free – Kid Rock
Illuminations – Josh Groban
Nothing Like This – Rascal Flatts
Get Closer – Keith Urban
Glee: The Christmas Album
5.0 – Nelly
My Kinda Party – Jason Aldean
What Separates Me From You – A Day To Remember
Greatest Hits So Far!!! – P!nk
The Incredible Machine – Sugarland
The Promise – Bruce Springsteen
Greatest Hits – Bon Jovi
And If Our God Is For Us… Chris Tomlin
Glory In The Highest – Chris Tomlin
Live It Up – Lee DeWyze
Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
Recovery – Eminem
Merry Christmas II You – Mariah Carey
A Merry Little Christmas – Lady Antebellum
Hip Monday Night Television (TV Squad)
8:00 to 9:00
ABC: ‘Skating With the Stars’ — (120 minutes)
NBC: ‘Chuck’ — Linda Hamilton and Timothy Dalton return
BET: ‘Food For Thought: Conversations With T.I.’
Cartoon Network: ‘Adventure Time,’ ‘Regular Show’ and ‘Robotomy’
DisneyXD: ‘Pair of Kings’ and ‘Zeke and Luther’
ESPN: ‘Monday Night Football’ — 8:30 start for the 49ers at the Arizona Cardinals
MTV: ‘Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood’ — A look at Hollywood during World War II.
NatGeo WILD: ‘Africa’s Great Rift’
Style: ‘Giuliana & Bill’
TLC: ‘Little People, Big World’ — Two ‘Ask the Roloffs’ segments
The rest of the schedule and the late night talk shows after the jump.
9:00 to 10:00
CW: ‘Gossip Girl’
FOX: ‘Lie to Me’
NBC: ‘The Event’
Discovery: ‘American Chopper; Senior vs. Junior: A Family Divided’
Discovery Health: ‘Dr. G.: Medical Examiner’
Food Network: ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’
Lifetime Movie Network: ‘Unanswered Prayers’ — (120 minutes) Garth Brooks executive produced this film about a happily married man who encounters a life-altering decision when his high school crush returns to town
HBO: ‘In Treatment’ — Two episodes
ID: ‘Hardcover Mysteries’
NatGeo: ‘Restrepo: Afghan Outpost’ — (120 minutes)
NatGeo WILD: ‘Africa’s Great Rift’
TLC: ‘Cake Boss’**
USA: ‘WWE Monday Night RAW’ — (120 minutes)
VH1: ‘My Big Friggin’ Wedding’
10:00 to 11:00
ABC: ‘CMA Country Christmas’
Discovery: ‘Brew Masters’
E!: ‘The Soup Presents’
Logo: ‘The A-List: New York’**
MTV: ‘The Buried Life’** — Two episodes
NatGeo WILD: ‘Africa’s Great Rift’
TLC: ‘Fabulous Cakes’
truTV: ‘Southern Fried Stings’
‘Charlie Rose’ (PBS): TBA
‘The Mo’Nique Show’ (BET): Tamara Tunie; Page Kennedy; Eric Benet
‘The Daily Show’ (Comedy Central): Judah Friedlander of ’30 Rock’
‘Chelsea Lately’ (E!): TBA
‘Conan’ (TBS): George Lopez; Chris Colfer; performance by Kid Cudi
‘Late Show With David Letterman’ (CBS): Steve Martin; Emily Deschanel; performance by Steve Martin and the Punch Brothers (repeat)
‘The Tonight Show’ (NBC): Bill Cosby; actor Atticus Shaffer
‘The Colbert Report’ (Comedy Central): Columnist Dan Savage
‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ (ABC): Ben Affleck; author David Sedaris; performance by Nicki Minaj
‘Tavis Smiley’ (PBS): The Isley Brothers’ Ron Isley
‘Lopez Tonight’ (TBS): Zachary Levi; performance by 3OH!3
‘The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson’ (CBS): Michael Sheen; musician Michael Franti
‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’ (NBC): Lewis Black; performance by Elvis Costello (repeat)
‘Last Call With Carson Daly’ (NBC): Morgan Spurlock; Buff Monster; performance by Kate Nash