Compiled By Gary West of mrpopculture.com
A Complete Look At The News, Pop Culture, Entertainment and More – From The Week Of May 8-14, 2011
In The News –
More Memphis residents were being told Sunday to flee their homes for higher ground as the Mississippi’s crest edged toward the city, threatening to bring more flooding to parts of an area already soaked. Officials were going door-to-door, warning about 240 people to get out before the river reaches its expected peak Tuesday. In all, residents in more than 1,300 homes have been told to go, and some 370 people were staying in shelters.
Gunfire and shelling rattled a city in central Syria on Sunday and killed a 12-year-old boy, as President Bashar Assad’s autocratic regime expanded its military crackdown on a seven-week uprising by sending tanks and reinforcements to key areas, activists said. Activists said authorities also arrested a 10-year-old boy, apparently to punish his parents, and filed charges against a leading opposition figure who is suffering from cancer.
Animal Kingdom, who was 20-1 on the morning line, won the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. Shackleford kept a commanding lead throughout the race, but Animal Kingdom, ridden by John Velazquez and trained by H. Motion, overtook his competitors on the homestretch to win the 137th Kentucky Derby. Velazquez, who was initially set to ride Uncle Mo before the horse was scratched, replaced jockey Robby Albarado after an injury. Shackleford only placed fourth.
Al-Qaida’s front group in Iraq reaffirmed its support Monday for the terror network’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, a week after U.S. commandos killed Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaida has not yet announced a successor and there is some uncertainty about whether al-Zawahri will indeed take over for bin Laden. In a statement posted on an insurgent website Monday, the Islamic State of Iraq also taunted President Barack Obama as “the rat in the black house” and said he should remain fearful of bin Laden’s promise to threaten the United States.
Newt Gingrich is running for president. The former House speaker disclosed his bid on Twitter and Facebook on Monday and urged followers to tune into Fox News on Wednesday. “I will be on to talk about my run for president of the United States,” Gingrich wrote after spending a year or more publicly laying the groundwork for a GOP presidential candidacy. “I have been humbled by all the encouragement you have given me to run.”
The nation’s first full face transplant recipient said the first thing his young daughter told him when she saw him after the operation was “Daddy, you’re so handsome.” Dallas Wiens, sporting a goatee and dark sunglasses, joined surgeons Monday at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in his first public appearance since the 15-hour procedure in March. “It feels natural,” said the 25-year-old Fort Worth, Texas, man, who received a new nose, lips, skin, muscle and nerves from an anonymous donor. The operation was paid for by the U.S. military, which hopes to use findings from the procedure to help soldiers with severe facial wounds.
Geological monitoring services say a magnitude 7.1 earthquake has hit in the South Pacific off the French territory of New Caledonia. No injuries or damage were immediately reported. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says there was no threat of a widespread tsunami based on historical earthquake and tsunami data.
President Barack Obama’s approval rating has hit its highest point in two years — 60 percent — and more than half of Americans now say he deserves to be re-elected, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll taken after U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. In worrisome signs for Republicans, the president’s standing improved not just on foreign policy but also on the economy, and independent Americans — a key voting bloc in the November 2012 presidential election — caused the overall uptick in support by sliding back to Obama after fleeing for much of the past two years.
The number of people applying for unemployment benefits plummeted last week, reversing nearly all the sharp rise reported the previous week. The number of laid-off workers seeking benefits dropped 44,000 to a seasonally adjusted 434,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That is the steepest weekly fall since February 2010.
Authorities say former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst Kordell Stewart has been charged with driving with a suspended license and speeding. Fulton County sheriff’s spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan said Stewart was booked into jail in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta Wednesday and freed on $3,000 bond about four hours later. Stewart is scheduled to appear in court July 12. It wasn’t immediately known whether he has an attorney.
A pair of Taliban suicide bombers attacked paramilitary police recruits eagerly heading home for a break after months of training, killing 80 people Friday in the first act of retaliation for the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden. In claiming responsibility, the al-Qaida linked militant group cited anger at Pakistan’s military for failing to stop the American incursion on their soil. The blasts in the northwest were a reminder of the savagery of Islamist insurgents in Pakistan. Tensions also have risen between the U.S. and Islamabad over allegations that some elements of Pakistani security forces had been harboring bin Laden, who died in a May 2 raid in Abbottabad, a garrison town about three hours’ drive from the scene of the bombing.
A computer glitch corrupted the State Department’s annual worldwide lottery for U.S. immigrant visas and the results will be scratched, the Obama administration said Friday, disappointing tens of thousands of would-be immigrants who were notified this year that they had won a chance to come and live legally in the United States.Nearly 15 million people had entered the 2012 lottery hoping to win one of 50,000 U.S. immigrant visas available under a wild-card program that gives entrants who otherwise would have little hope of getting a coveted U.S. visa.
An 18-year-old college student died from a bullet to his chest as he chased three teens who robbed him and his girlfriend when he was buying a computer advertised on Craigslist for $600, a prosecutor said Friday.
Details of the killing emerged at an arraignment for three 17-year-old males who were charged as adults with murder, robbery and shooting at an occupied vehicle.Superior Court Judge Joseph Brannigan entered not guilty pleas on their behalf and set bail at $5 million each — $3 million higher than the amount sought by prosecutors.
A worker at Japan’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant died on Saturday, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co said, bringing the death toll at the complex to three since a massive earthquake and tsunami in March. Despite the prolonged nuclear crisis, Prime Minister Naoto Kan is set to announce at a G8 summit in France that Japan will keep using nuclear power, the Yomiuri newspaper said.
Tiger Woods withdrew after nine holes at The Players Championship on Thursday because of leg injuries that sent him limping off the course toward a future that is murkier than ever. Woods shot a 42 on the front nine, walking some 20 yards behind his playing partners, holding his club for support and limping more noticeably with each hole.
Harmon Killebrew announced Friday that he no longer plans to fight his esophageal cancer and has settled in for the final days of his life, saddening friends and fans of the 74-year-old Hall of Fame slugger. In a statement released jointly by the Minnesota Twins and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Killebrew said “it is with profound sadness” that he will no longer receive treatment for the “awful disease.” He said the cancer has been deemed incurable by his doctors and he will enter hospice care
Terribly tragic news in the hockey world tonight as New York Rangers forward Derek Boogard has passed away at the age of 28. Boogaard was found dead inside his apartment in Minneapolis by family members. No cause of death is known at the moment, but an autopsy will be performed.
Tech News –
Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday that it has agreed to buy the popular Internet telephone service Skype SA for $8.5 billion in the biggest deal in the software maker’s 36-year history. Buying Skype gives Microsoft access to a user base of about 170 million people who log in to Skype every month, using the Internet and Skype usernames as a complement to the traditional phone network and its phone numbers. Microsoft said it will marry Skype’s functions to its Xbox game console, Outlook email program and Windows smartphones. All of these platforms already have other options for Internet calling, but the addition of Skype users would expand their reach, making them more useful.
New York City will launch a new national emergency alert system by the end of the year that will send messages to cellphones during disasters.Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the announcement Tuesday at a news conference overlooking the World Trade Center site. He says the new technology will give the public clear and accurate information about imminent safety threats. The mayor says it will be geographically targeted and send messages to all cellphone users.
A new craze sweeping the Internet known as “planking” claimed a life in Australia Sunday and police fear the tragedy may not be the last. Planking involves someone lying flat on their stomach with their arms against their bodies in unusual and sometimes dangerous situations, with photographs of their exploits shared through social media sites. It has gone viral in recent weeks with Facebook page Planking Australia boasting over 55,000 fans and hundreds of photos of people lying on train tracks, escalators, fire hydrants, motorbikes and other objects. Police last week warned “plankers” of the dangers and their fears have been realised with the death of a man in Brisbane who plummeted from a seventh-storey balcony and died at the scene.
Radio news –
Satellite radio users can expect to pay more. Sirius XM President/CEO Mel Karmazin has confirmed that the company plans to raise subscription rates once a three-year cap imposed by the FCC as a condition of merger approval expires. He told analysts in a conference call explaining first-quarter financial results that the increase would be “more than inflation” and compensate the company for investing in content. Karmazin said Sirius XM hasn’t decided how much the increase would be or when it would begin. It’s been lobbying the FCC to let the cap on the basic subscription price of $12.95 a month expire when the three years is up this July, saying it faces a much more crowded competitive media landscape now than in 2008 when Sirius and XM combined.
Entertainment news –
Whitney Houston is back in rehab. A representative for the superstar singer confirmed Monday that Houston is undergoing treatment. Kristen Foster says Houston is in an out-patient program for drug and alcohol treatment. She says it is a voluntary measure and part of Houston’s “long-standing” recovery process. The 47-year-old, one of the most successful singers in pop music history, has battled problems with drug addiction for years. But in 2009, as she released a comeback album, she declared herself healthy and clean.
The Oprah Winfrey Network announced Friday that Discovery executive Peter Liguori will replace Christina Norman as CEO. News of Norman’s ousting arrives less than five months after OWN’s debut. The channel since then has averaged a small 283,000 viewers in prime time. Winfrey admitted that the network was “not where I want it to be.” In making Friday’s announcement, the network said the shakeup is the result of “a transition from a launch phase to a more long-term focus on business and creative strategy, development and execution.”
Soccer star David Beckham was at the wheel of a Cadillac that struck another vehicle on a Los Angeles-area freeway, but he was not injured or cited in the collision, police said on Saturday. Beckham was driving on Friday on the 405 Freeway in Torrance, about 20 miles (32 km) from downtown Los Angeles, when he struck a stalled Mitsubishi, the California Highway Patrol said. The owner of the Mitsubishi, a 40 year-old Los Angeles man, complained of pain and was taken to a hospital, police said.
Justin Bieber has agreed to record a public service announcement on cyberbullying in order to resolve criminal charges filed against his manager and a record executive after a frenzy at a New York mall. The case stemmed from an incident in 2009, when thousands of unruly girls turned up at a Long Island clothing store to see the teen pop star sign autographs. Police hadn’t been expecting the crowd, and ordered the event cancelled.
Def Jam Records executive James Roppo was arrested after police said he refused to help disperse the crowd. Months later, police also pressed child endangerment charges against Bieber’s manager, Scott Braun.
After 25 years of marriage, California’s power couple has announced their separation.It was a shock to the outside world Monday night when Arnold Schwarzengegger and Maria Shriver and announced their separation after 34 years together, 25 of them as husband and wife.
Sarah Ferguson tells Oprah Winfrey it was “difficult” not to be invited to last month’s royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.The Duchess of York says in an interview scheduled to air Wednesday on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that she instead went to Thailand. Ferguson says she wanted to be with her daughters, who attended the wedding with their father and Ferguson’s former husband, Prince Andrew.
Multiplatinum singer Whitney Houston has entered an out-patient treatment program. “Whitney voluntarily entered the program to support her long-standing recovery process” said a press release.
Paula Joins X-Factor – TV’s most favorite dysfunctional duo, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul will reunite on the U.S. launch of Fox’s ‘The X Factor’ this fall. LA Reid and Cheryl Cole will join them at the judges table. All four attended the first judges taping on Sunday.
Justin Bieber vomited during his Monday night performance in Manila! The 17-year-old pop star tweeted before his show: “Sick as a dog… but the show must go on. got called a trooper!” He had to go backstage mid-set and vomit, but finished the 90-minute performance.
Lady Gaga is turning to an unusual method to cultivate her fan base: The pop icon is releasing songs from her new album on a section of the popular online game “FarmVille” before they can be heard anywhere else. The singer, known for her outrageous styles and hits such as “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance,” will allow singles from “Born This Way” (due out May 23) to be heard within a specially-created farm, called “GagaVille,” in the game. Players will have to complete tasks to hear one exclusive new track per day streamed online from May 17 to 19. Starting on May 20, players will be also able to unlock additional songs that aren’t exclusive.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smity will appear on the final episode of Oprah’s talk show – which is scheduled for May 25.
Actress Lindsay Lohan was sentenced on Wednesday to four months in jail after changing her plea and effectively admitting stealing a $2,500 gold necklace from a Los Angeles store. But Lohan, who was not in court on Wednesday, will likely serve just 16-17 days of her sentence — most likely under house arrest, officials said. “I am glad to be able to put this past me and move on with my life and my career,” Lohan said in a statement. “I support the judge’s decision and hold myself accountable for being in this situation.” Lohan’s lawyer entered a no contest plea on behalf of the actress to a reduced misdemeanor theft charge
Heather Mills, Paul McCartney’sex-wife, has left a hospital after receiving treatment for a shoulder injury she sustained during a skiing accident in Austria, an official said Thursday. Mills crashed on the Moelltaler glacier Wednesday and was flown by helicopter to a hospital in the southern city of Lienz where she was diagnosed with a fractured right shoulder blade, hospital spokesman Alfred Fast said.
The 38-year-old TV sports anchor for NBC’s Chicago outlet was found dead on Thursday of unknown causes, the second time in the past decade the station’s sports anchor has died suddenly. Employees at an Atlanta hotel discovered Daryl Hawks in his room Thursday morning, and he was pronounced dead at a hospital. He was in Atlanta to cover a Chicago Bulls-Atlanta Hawks NBA playoff game.
Mary Tyler Moore has a benign tumor from her brain. The procedure will remove a meningioma, a benign tumor on the lining tissue of the brain.
Rocker James Durbin is voted off “American Idol.” With Durbin, 22, now out of the competition, Idol hopefuls Lauren Alaina, 16, Scotty McCreery, 17, and Haley Reinhart,, 20, will compete for a place in the finale during the May 18 episode.
Ashton Kutcher will replace Charlie Sheen on “Two And A Half Men.” Charlie Sheen says the show will tank with him in the lead.
Katy Couric will leave CBS Evening News on Thursday. She’ll be replaced by Scott Pelley on the CBS Evening News. The anchor, whose contract expires June 4, announced her exit date on Friday’s broadcast, adding that she will look back at “some of the amazing stories we’ve covered over the past five years” on her last day.
Jazz vocalist Etta James has been hospitalized with a blood infection.
The three-time Grammy winning singer of “At Last” was admitted to a hospital in Riverside, Calif., earlier this week with a urinary tract infection and sepsis.James, 73, has struggled with obesity and underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2003.
Saturday Night Live this week – Ed Helms hosted for the first time, welcoming old Daily Show co-stars Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert, among other surprise guests. Carell and Colbert, who voiced the SNL cartoon “The Ambiguously Gay Duo” in the ’90s, helped bring the popular sketch to life for the first time. However this time, Carell and Colbert played two of the villains — along with Helms — while superheroes Ace and Gary were portrayed by Jon Hamm and Jimmy Fallon.
At the movies –
Thor (1st week $65.7 million)
Jumping the Broom (1st week $15.2 million)
Something Borrowed (1st week $13.9 million)
Water For Elephants
Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
Top albums this week
21 – Adele
Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes
Love? – Jennifer Lopez
Musiqinthemagiq – Musiq Soulchild
In Your Dreams – Stevie Nicks
The Ultimate Collection – Sade
This Is Gonna Hurt – Sixx: A.M.
Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
Wasting Light – Foo Fighters
My Kinda Party – Jason Aldean
Paper Airplane – Alison Krauss & Union Staton
Doo-Wops & Hooligans – Bruno Mars
Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
Lemonade Mouth – Soundtrack
So Beautiful Or So What – Paul Simon
F.A.M.E. – Chris Brown
Femme Fatale – Britney Spears
Hello Fear – Kirk Franklin
Greatest Hits… So Far!!! P!nk
19 – Adele
Rolling Papers – Wiz Khalifa
Glee, The Music Presents: The Warblers
Top TV –
||Dancing With the Stars
||American Idol” (Thursday)
||American Idol” (Wednesday)
||Dancing With the Stars Results
||NCIS: Los Angeles
||The Good Wife
||Survivor: Redemption Island
||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
||The Big Bang Theory
||Body of Proof