Christmas Eve – Rome – Pope Benedict XVI ushers in Christmas at midnight mass, saying that the image of the baby Jesus born in a manger should remind everyone of the plight of poor, abused and neglected children.
Iraq – Four U.S. troops die during insurgent attacks…In Samawah – nine are dead after clashes with police…The execution of Saddam Hussein will come within 30 days – so says an appeals court… Saddam Hussein is put to death by hanging. He declined to wear a hood. His last utterance was the word, “Muqtada.”… After the execution – 78 die in area unrest.
Disarmament talks with defiant North Korea take a recess without any progress.
Just back from Iraq – Defense Secretary Robert Gates meets with President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and others at Camp David. Looks like he’ll recommend more troops in the area.
No isolation – Shiites in Iraq say they want extremists in the national government, that the country should govern itself with the help of anti-U.S. firebrand Muqtada Sadr.
The U.N Security Council votes to impose sanctions on Iran – to curtail their nuclear program.
At least 260 people are killed when a gasoline pipeline ruptured by thieves, exploded into an inferno as neighborhood residents scavenged the spurting fuel.
New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi resigns and pleads guilty to a felony for using a state employee as his wife’s chauffeur.
Mogadishu – Somalia’s beleaguered capital – falls to Ethiopian and Somalian government troops.
In Durham, NC – the DA abruptly dropped rape charges against three Duke University lacrosse players. They still face kidnapping and sexual offensive charges.
Indonesia rushed tents, food and other emergency aid to flood-ravaged parts of Sumatra and the U.N. pledged $2 million to help survivors.
Nevada Gov.-elect Jim Gibbons will not be prosecuted on allegations that he assaulted a cocktail waitress in a parking garage three weeks before the election.
Passing – Gerald R. Ford – the 38th president of the United States. He was 93. Memorials will be observed in Palm Desert, continue in Washington and continue to Grand Rapids where he’ll be buried.
Microsoft Windows Vista – the newest operating system – and one the company says is the most secure ever – has a flaw that might let hackers gain full control of vulnerable computers. Microsoft says though – that a hacker must already have access to the vulnerable computer in order to execute an attack.
Bad trend – It’s called “Ghost Riding the Whip” where a driver gets out of his car and dances around and on top of the vehicle – while its moving. Ghost rider is of course, the absence of a driver and “the whip” is urban hip-hop speak for “your car.” It was introduced to the mainstream by rapper E-40 with his “Tell Me When To Go” video and lyrics (how to lyrics that is). If you YouTube ghost riding – you get all kinds of videos.
The stock market closed out a great year – its best since 2003 as the Dow gained 16% for the year. The Nasdaq was up 9.5% as were other important indexes.
Long game – The NY Knicks outlast the Detroit Pistons in three overtimes. Final – 151-145. The Knicks’ Richard Hamilton had a career-high of 51 points.
Radio news –
Danny Bonaduce is set to join Adam Corolla on his morning West Coast radio show.
Entertainment news –
The American Film Institute (AFI) proclaims Clint Eastwood a national treasure. Also – AFI called the emergence of YouTube as “the awakening of an age when the audience is both producer and distributor.”
Since she debuted on “The View” in September, Rosie O’Donnell has stirred the pot. She accused Kelly Ripa of homophobia and said that Oprah and Gayle King were typical of gay relationships – among others. But the show’s ratings are up – about 3.3 million per show – up 13%.
But wait – this week – Rosie blasts Donald Trump about the near-firing of Miss USA – Tara Connor, because of her underage drinking. O’Donnell said the twice-divorced Trump had no right to be a “moral compass” for Connor. Trump fired back saying such things as: “She (O’Donnell) is a very, very unattractive woman who really is a bully.”
Head to head – Both Carson Daly and Ryan Seacrest will be back for their second New Year’s specials (duels). Both cite Dick Clark as a huge influence – but Daly says he has his own producing ideas.
Relaunching – Britney Spears will usher in the New Year in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace. She’ll be toasting from a $100,000 bottle of Champagne. Is this her comeback?
New Year’s – Jessica Alba, Hilary and Haylie Duff will co-host the DKNY Jeans party at the Setal Hotel in Miami.
Spotted – Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were in Panama City – spotted at a souvenir shop.
An AP-AOL poll places Oprah Winfrey as the best celebrity role model for 2006. The worst was Britney Spears. Second worst – Paris Hilton.
Music news –
James Brown’s lawyer says the late soul singer and his partner were not legally married and that she was locked out of his South Carolina home for estate legal reasons. Brown’s partner, backup singer Tomi Rae Hynie – was already married to a Texas man in 2001 when she married Brown, making the marriage null.
Irish rocker Bono will receive an honorary knighthood from the British ambassador to Ireland, David Reddaway – on New Year’s Day.
Michael Jackson sues his former accountants claiming they withdrew $2.5 million a year from his bank accounts and did not pay his bills.
Police are called to the Paul McCartney estate where his estranged wife, Heather, reported the theft of oil paintings. They were valued at almost $20 million and included a Renoir and a Picasso.
Television news –
Passing – Frank Stanton – pioneering TV executive and a major force behind the success of CBS in its early TV years. He was 98.
TBS presents “Funniest Commercials of the Year” with Kevin Nealon.
Christmas Day – Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa return to host the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade. Look for performances by Beyonce, Andrea Bocelli and cast members from “High School Musical.”
On “Saturday Night Live” – Jack Black hosts with musical guest Neil Young. The following Saturday – Matthew Fox with musical guest Tenacious D.
“The Knights of Prosperity” debuts this week on ABC – and the plot centers on a group of guys robbing Mick Jagger – to burglarize Jagger’s fictional $52 million Central Park West apartment.
New Year’s Eve television -
ABC – “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rock Eve 2007” – into “Rockin New Year’s Eve 2007.” With Dick and Ryan Seacrest. Performers include Christina Aguilera, Fergie, Natasha Bedingfield, Meat Loaf, Rihanna, Rascal Flatts and KT Tunstall.
NBC – New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly. Featured – Panic! at the Disco and more!
Fox – New Year’s Eve ’06. Featured – Daughtrey and Toni Braxton.
MTV – MTV Goes Gold: New Year’s Eve 2007.
At the movies –
Night at the Museum
The Pursuit of Happyness
The Good Shepherd
We Are Marshall