special forces stormed a gas plant Thursday (January 17th) where Islamist militants were holding hostages from at least 10 countries, including the
six people were killed, from
countries and mounted the assault on its own on the second day of the hostage drama, saying it was forced to act because the militants were being stubborn and wanted safe passage with the hostages. The group the claimed responsibility, called Katibat Moulathamine, meaning the Masked Brigade, said the attack was in revenge for
ATTORNEY: U.S. SOLDIER CHARGED WITH KILLING 16 AFGHAN CIVILIANS HAD PTSD: The attorney for a 39-year-old U.S. soldier charged with killing 16 civilians, most of them women and children, near his Army post in Afghanistan said yesterday (January 17th) that he'd been diagnosed before his deployment as suffering from post-traumatic stress
disorder and a brain injury. Military prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Robert Bales, a decorated veteran of four combat tours in
military justice experts as saying that the PTSD diagnosis would likely not be much help in an insanity defense, but could make it more difficult for prosecutors to get the death penalty. The disclosure came after a hearing in which defense lawyers told a military judge they were preparing a possible mental health defense for Bales.
WHAT'S IN STORE FOR THE INAUGURATION CEREMONIES: The ceremonies for President Obama's second inauguration will be held on Monday (January 21st), with
his swearing-in at the west front of the U.S. Capitol, followed by the inaugural parade and inaugural balls in the evening. But Obama's official swearing-in will actually take place on Sunday, January 20th, at , the day and time mandated by the Constitution. Whenever the 20th falls on a Sunday, the inaugural ceremonies are held the next day because courts and other public institutions are closed. So Obama will take the oath of office officially in a small, private event in the White House Blue Room. The next day, Monday, will be the ceremonial swearing-in.
Monday's ceremony will begin at , with Vice President Joe Biden first sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Obama then sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, after which he'll give his inaugural address. The ceremony's other events will
include an invocation by assassinated civil rights figure Medgar Evers' widow, Myrlie Evers-Williams, as well as performances by James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce. After lunch, the Obamas and Bidens will participate in and view the inaugural parade. Finally, the
inaugural balls will be held in the evening. Although Obama had 10 of them in 2009, there will only be two this year amid the still-struggling economy. One will be the Commander In Chief's Ball for members of the armed forces, and the other is called simply The Inaugural Ball, open to the public through a limited number of tickets.
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AURORA MASSACRE THEATER RE-OPENS: The Aurora, Colorado, theater where 12 people were killed and dozens injured last July in a shooting rampage re-opened last night (January 17th) with a somber remembrance ceremony attended by survivors and victims' family members, public officials, first responders and religious leaders, followed by a private screening of the new fantsy film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, in the theater where the massacre took place. However, several victims' families boycotted the event, calling it a callous public relations ploy. They contend that theater owner Cinemark didn't ask them what they believed should happen to the theater, and say they were e-mailed an invitation to the re-opening just two days after they had to get through their first Christmas without their
loved ones. Speaking at the ceremony, Governor John Hickenlooper said, "We certainly recognize all the different paths that people take to mourn, the different paths that people take to recover from unimaginable, incomprehensible loss. Some wanted thsi theater to
re-open. Some didn't. Certainly both answers are correct." Cinemark renamed the theater, formerly the Century 16 and now called the Century Aurora, and did some $1 million in renovations, including turning the theater where the massacre took place into a large, X-D digital theater.
ADVICE COLUMNIST '
Phillips, known to millions of readers across the country as advice columnist "Dear Abby,"
died on Wednesday (January 16th) after battling Alzheimer's disease for years. She was 94. After co-writing her column with her daughter, Jeanne, starting in the mid-1990s, Phillips retired in 2002, and Jeanne took over the writing on her own after that. Phillips was a 37-year-old stay-at-home mom in 1956 when she read the advice column in the San Francisco Chronicle and contacted the editors to tell them she could do a better job. Her son, Eddie, told
answers and had [them] back the same day. That knocked them off their feet." She began writing an advice column under the name "Abigail Van Buren," launching a career that lasted more than four decades and eventually led to the column being syndicated in more than 1,200 newspapers. Phillips' twin sister, Eppie Lederer, got into the act as well, becoming advice columnist "Ann Landers." Lederer died in 2002.
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CAMERA PRODUCES 3-D IMAGES OF FALLING SNOWFLAKES: Researchers at the
in ways that I did not imagine prior to starting this project. The range of possibilities is immense."
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ARMSTRONG ADMITS DOPING: After years of vehement denials and ruthless attack and legal action agaisnt those who accused him, Lance Armstrong finally came clean last night (January 17th), admitting in an interivew with Oprah Winfrey that he'd doped throughout his cycling career, including when he won all seven Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005 that have since been stripped from him. In the interview -- the second part of which will air tonight on Winfrey's OWN network -- Armstrong acknowledged being the ringleader of an elaborate doping scheme for his U.S. Postal Service team, and said he didn't feel at the time that he
was doing anything wrong or that he was cheating, implying that most of his rivals at the time were doping too. However, Armstrong didn't give too many details, and didn't want to name anyone who helped him dope or rivals who he believed been doping. He also insisted that he'd stopped doping in 2005, and that when he returned from retirement and raced in the 2009 and 2010 Tour de Frances, which he didn't win, he was clean. Critics piont out, however, that
there's a lot of evidence that he was still doping then.
At the very start of the interview, in a series of "Yes" or "No" questions from Winfrey, Armstrong admitted to using the blood-booster EPO, to blood doping and using transfusions, to using testosterone, cortisone and human growth hormone, and to doping in all his Tour wins. However, he insisted that he never forced anyone on his team to dope if they didn't want to, and didn't fire any one who refused to. Armstrong admitted being, qutoe, "flawed" and a bully against those who accused him, many of them onetime friends and associates, calling his actiosn "inexcusable" and saying he knows there are those who will never forgive him. He also told Winfrey he regrets coming back from retirement, saying there was a much better chance he would never have gotten caught if he hadn't.
One thing Armstrong didn't have a clear answer for is why he's comig clean now.
However, there have been reports that he wants to be able to compete in triathlons, which he was doing after retiring from cycling in 2011, and can no longer do after a lifetime ban from competitive sports was imposed on him last year after a damning report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. If he totally comes clean about his doping and provides information on the anti-doping scheme, he might be able to get his ban reduced to eight years, at which time
he'd be 49.
USADA head Travis Tygart, who relentlessly pursued the case against Armstrong, said
his confession was just a start.
acknowledged that his cycling career was built on a powerful combination of doping and deceit. His admission that he doped throughout his career is a small step in the right direction. But if he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes, he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping activities."
TE'O TWICE MENTIONED GIRLFRIEND AFTER SUPPOSED HOAX DISCOVERY: Questions continue to swirl around Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and his dead online girlfriend who turned out to have never existed, with the Associated Press reporting yesterday (January 17th) that he twice spoke about her after supposely finding out in early December that the woman he said he'd been with for three years never existed. AP found that the Heisman Trophy runner-up talked about Lennay Kekua on December 8th, and again in an interview published on December 10th, even though Notre Dame said that he learned on
December 6th that the online girlfriend never existed and it was a hoax. In the December 8th interview, he said, "I mean, I don't like cancer at all. I lost both my grandparents and my girlfriend to cancer." That fuels speculation by many that Te'o wasn't the victim of a hoax, but someone involved in perpetrating it. According to the story, which garnered Te'o widespread
publicity and sympathy, Kekua died of leukemia in September on the same day as his grandmother. In another revelation yesterday, Sports Illustrated posted a previously unpublished transcript of a September interview in which Te'o mentioned meeting Kekua for the first time after a game in
DJOKOVIC ADVANCES AT AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Top-ranked Novak Djokovic advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open on Friday (January 18th) win a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win over Radek Stepanek, extending his winning streak at the Australian tournament to 17 matches. Djokovic is hoping to become the first man in the Open era to win three consecutive Australian titles. Other winners included Angieszka Radwanska, Li Na, and on the men's side, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
Gontier elaborated on what went wrong for him after playing in Three Days Grace for two
decades: "You know, the music really wasn't coming from the heart. I can say that on the record Transit Of Venus, there's maybe one or two songs that actually do come from my heart, but a lot of songs have been written just for radio and for fans, you know, to relate to. Quite a bit of it just adds up to the fakeness of the whole industry and how you're writing hits for other people and not yourself -- and that's really what the band was, has been all about."
SINGER SAYS DISTURBED IS ‘NOT DEAD, JUST SLEEPING’: Disturbed frontman David Draiman is just starting to promote his new industrial music act Device, but also has some
reassuring words for fans of his main group, which has been on hiatus since the fall of 2011. Speaking with Artisan News, Draiman said, "The beast certainly is not dead -- it's just sleeping for a little while." He added, "We're all on great terms and we continue to have a very, very huge mutual respect and admiration for another; we check in on each other's families."
Draiman also reiterated that Disturbed's current open-ended break was not the result of
tension within the band, saying, "This was not a hiatus that was brought about by bad blood, this was not a hiatus that was brought about by any sort of legality or for me to decide to start a family or any of the rest of the nonsense that gets thrown out there. All the rest of the guys have families and we've been touring on the road with them the entire damn time. So one has nothing to do with the other."
OZZY OSBOURNE INJURED IN HOUSE
On Thursday's edition of the CBS morning program The Talk, which she co-hosts, Sharon explained, "At five o' clock (in the morning), I heard a noise like metal had fallen . . . A few minutes later, my eyes are stinging and my throat's closing up. (I thought), 'Something's weird smelling in here.' Then my dog started to bark. I go downstairs and the whole living room (was on fire)."
FILTER SIGNS NEW DEAL: Filter has signed a new recording deal with Wind-Up Records, home of bands like Creed and Evanescence. The Cleveland-based act's sixth studio album, tentatively titled Gurney And The Burning Books, is slated to arrive in May with a single going to radio in March. The Richard Patrick-led band, whose hits include "Hey Man, Nice Shot," "Welcome To The Fold" and "Take A Picture," last released an album in 2010 called The
Trouble With Angels. (Loudwire)
JEREMY RENNER WILL BE A FATHER: The Avengers actor Jeremy Renner is expecting a baby with his ex-girlfriend Jess Macallan. The star was overheard breaking the news to Eva Longoria at the Golden Globes.
EMMA ROBERTS INTRODUCED HER BOYFRIEND TO AUNT JULIA: Emma Roberts reportedly ran into Julia Roberts at the Help Haiti Home Gala in
UMA THURMAN REVEALS WHY HER DAUGHTER
Thurman explained to Jimmy Fallon her reason for giving her new daughter Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence five names. The Playing For Keeps star explained that she and husband Arpad Busson couldn't compromise on a moniker so they chose all of their options.
PRISON OFFERS LOVE TOURS FOR VALENTINE'S DAY: A former prison in
encourage couples to show up. (UPI)
reporters that the vibrator has a stainless steel core which will make it very difficult for the robber to remove the gold plating. She also said he forgot to take the device's charger, adding, "I really don't know what he'll do. I'll leave it up to his imagination." (AP)
YOUR FACEBOOK STATUS UPDATES
Facebook status updates were one-and-a-half times more memorable than sentences
from books, and two-and-a-half times more memorable than faces. Researchers say
that Facebook posts may be more memorable because they are written in a way
that very closely resembles how people talk, as opposed to sentences from
books, which are more carefully composed. One researcher said, "These
kinds of gaps in [memory] performance are on a scale similar to the difference
between amnesiacs and people with healthy memory." (Mashable)
1) The Phony Phone Message. Find the number for your nearest zoo. Give your
colleague a message to call and ask to speak with Mrs. C Lyon.
2) Suspect Signature. Change a colleague's email signature to read "Lots of love and hugs, [Their Name]."
3) Noise Pollution. Hide a wireless doorbell in your colleague's office/cubicle/desk. Keep ringing it.
4) New Folder. Make your colleague a new folder on his or her desktop. Label it for maximum embarrassment. "My Nudey Pics" works well.
5) The Coin Trick. Stick a coin to the floor in a busy area of your workplace. See how many people bend down to pick it up.
6) Remote Control. Get a wireless mouse with a tiny
colleague's computer. Give the mouse a wiggle every now and then.
7) Heavy Handset. Find some double-sided sticky tape. Tape your colleague's phone handset down to the base. Dial his number and watch as the entire phone lifts up when he answers.
8) Wrong Number. Collaborate with colleagues to phone your victim repeatedly asking for "Bill." At the end of the day, get someone to call pretending to be Bill asking if there are any messages for him.
9) Sticky Pens.Super glue your colleague's pens to her desk. It's simple, but very effective.
10) Bieber Fever.Finally, why not "decorate" a colleague's office/cubicle/desk with images of The Bieb? They'll secretly love it.