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David Carradine found dead hanged himself in Thailand hotel

David Carradine, star of the 1970s TV series “Kung Fu” whose career roared back to life when he played the assassin-turned-victim in Quentin Tarentino’s “Kill Bill,” was found dead Thursday in Thailand. 72-year-old ‘Kung Fu,’ ‘Kill Bill’ actor reportedly hanged himself. A published report said he committed suicide.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, Michael Turner, confirmed the death of the 72-year-old actor. He said the embassy was informed by Thai authorities that Carradine died either late Wednesday or early Thursday, but he could not provide further details out of consideration for his family.

The Web site of the Thai newspaper The Nation cited unidentified police sources as saying Carradine was found Thursday hanged in his luxury hotel room. It said Carradine was in Bangkok to shoot a movie and had been staying at the hotel since Tuesday.

The newspaper said Carradine could not be contacted after he failed to appear for a meal with the rest of the film crew on Wednesday, and that his body was found by a hotel maid at 10 a.m. Thursday morning. The name of the movie was not immediately available.

It said a preliminary police investigation found that he had hanged himself with a cord used with the room’s curtains. It cited police as saying he had been dead at least 12 hours and there was no sign that he had been assaulted.

A police officer at Bangkok’s Lumpini precinct station would not confirm the identity of the dead man, but said the luxury Swissotel Nai Lert Park hotel had reported that a male guest killed himself there.

source : www.msnbc.msn.com
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Whitney Houston's New Album will be Released on September 2009

NEW YORK – The date for Whitney Houston's comeback has been set. Finally! Sony Records has issued a release date for Whitney Houston’s long-awaited comeback album. The Grammy winner’s still-untitled seventh studio album drops September 1.

Her last album of original material was 2002’s Just Whitney. Arista Records says her long-awaited album will be released Sept. 1. Houston hasn't released a CD in seven years.

So far, there's no word on a title for the album.

The 45-year-old superstar is one of the best-selling artists of all-time, but in recent years, she's been defined more by drug problems, marital woes and erratic behavior than by her Grammy-winning voice.

But lately, Houston has appeared to return to her pop princess form. She wowed the crowd when she performed at her mentor Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party in February.

source : www.yahoo.com
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Obama visits Saudi Arabia and meets with Abdullah, Saudi king

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - President Barack Obama met with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Wednesday, stressing the need for cooperation between the two nations as he began his outreach to the Islamic world.

Opening a mission to write a new chapter on Islam and the West, President Barack Obama consulted Wednesday with the Saudi king "in the place where Islam began," prelude to a high-stakes speech in Egypt meant to ease long-held Muslim grievances against the United States.

The son of a Kenyan Muslim who lived part of his childhood in Muslim-majority Indonesia, Obama planned what aides called a "truth-telling" address on Thursday, aimed directly at the world's 1.5 billion Muslims. Many harbor animosity toward the U.S. over its staunch support for Israel, its terrorist-fighting policies and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many Americans, likewise, formed negative perceptions of the Muslim world after the 9/11 attacks.

In advance, Saudi King Abdullah staged a lavish welcome after Obama's all-night flight to Riyadh.

source : /www.msnbc.msn.com
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Tetris 25th Anniversary is still going strong

John Clemente, shown playing "Tetris" at Barcade in New York City, has been playing the game since he was a kid. "I'd stay up, wait for my parents to go to bed, smuggle my Nintendo into my bedroom, hook it up to my television and play this game until all hours of the morning," said John Clemente, another player at Barcade. "Tetris," he says, was the only game to drive him "to the point of insanity."

NEW YORK (June 3)- With its scratches and sticky brown beer stains, the "Tetris" arcade machine near the back of a Brooklyn bar called Barcade has seen better days. Which makes sense, given that the machine was made in the 1980s.

Even today, though, it's not hard to find 20- and 30-somethings plucking away at its ancient controls, flipping shapes made up of four connected squares and fitting them into orderly patterns as they descend, faster and faster as the game goes on.

Completed by a Soviet programmer in 1984, "Tetris" has come a long way from its square roots. It's played by millions, not just on computers and gaming consoles but now on Facebook and the iPhone as well.

"Tetris" stands out as one of the rare cultural products to come West from the Soviet Union during the Cold War. And the addictive rhythm of its task-by-task race against time was an early sign of our inbox-clearing, Twitter-updating, BlackBerry-thumbing world to come.

“For me, it was just a moment ago,” said Alexey Pajitnov, adding that he was 29 years old when he crafted the computer code for Tetris in June 1984.

Pajitnov made a computer program that he came to call Tetris, which basically involves a player manipulating variously shaped blocks dropping along a screen with the goal of getting them to mesh into rows without gaps.

Blue Planet Software’s chief executive, Henk Rogers, was at a major Consumer Electronics Show in 1988 when he spied Tetris. He was scouring the event for video games for the Japanese market.

“My job was to find many games, but I kept coming back to Tetris,” Rogers said. “I realized I was hooked on it. It totally mesmerized me.”

Rogers arranged to publish versions of Tetris for computer games. Early in 1989, he and Minoru Arakawa of Nintendo went to Moscow to license the rights to the video game. Nintendo saw Tetris as an ideal fit for its Game Boy handheld devices.

Since Pajitnov’s game was considered Russian property, licensing was negotiated with government officials.

“At that time, Russia was a little behind,” Arakawa recalled. “We brought computers, printers and lawyers with us so we could type the draft, change it and have a final copy to sign. It took a few days.”

Tetris became a computer game hit and has stayed that way, commanding about 10 percent of the market, according to Rogers.
“Tetris is so popular because it transcends culture,” Rogers said. “There is no violence, no ideology; the player creates order out of chaos.”

Rogers and Pajitnov kicked off a Tetris 25th anniversary celebration on Tuesday at the opening of a premier E3 video game industry gathering in Los Angeles.

“It’s awesome when you look at the industry and everyone spending millions on graphics and music and more, and here we are with Tetris just kicking ass,” Rogers said. “It is an enviable position.”

Blue Planet is working on international Tetris Games along the lines of an Olympics.

“We are looking to turn Tetris into a spectator sport,” Rogers said.

Pajitnov now divides his time between homes in Moscow and Seattle.

He and Rogers, through Blue Planet, license Tetris rights to game makers such as Nintendo and Electronic Arts. “Tetris is the best-selling mobile phone game of all time, showing continued growth year after year all around the world,” said Adam Sussman, vice president of worldwide publishing for EA Mobile. “Tetris has had a significant impact on the entire video game industry.”

More than a million Tetris games are reportedly played daily at a tetrisfriends.com Web site launched in March.

source : thejakartaglobe.com & msnbc.msn.com
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Sexy Angelina Jolie bumps Oprah as Hot Forbes Celebrity 2009

LOS ANGELES, California - Media maven Oprah Winfrey earned 10 times more than Angelina Jolie last year, but the actress bumped the talk show host from the hot spot on Forbes' 2009 Celebrity 100 list just released by the business magazine.

Sexy Angelina Jolie has ousted Oprah Winfrey from the No. 1 spot on Forbes' 2009
Jolie's fame, evidenced by magazine covers and TV, radio, newspaper and Web stories, outweighed Winfrey's, giving her the edge as "the most powerful celebrity in the world" based on Forbes' formula, Forbes Senior Editor Matthew Miller said.

Winfrey, who was at the top for two years straight, grossed $275 million last year, compared with Jolie's $27 million, Miller said.

"We try and measure a celebrity's power, and we look at two metrics to do that," Miller said. "We look at money, and we look at fame."

A world tour, which helped Madonna pull in $110 million, and a bumper crop of tabloid gossip pushed the Material Girl into the third spot, up from her 21st ranking on last year's list.

Beyonce Knowles held steady in fourth, same as last year, with $87 million in income from her multiplatform empire, Miller said. Forbes leveraged the singer-actresses fame by placing her on this week's cover.

A bad knee kept Tiger Woods off the PGA tour over the past year and lowered him to the fifth spot on the Forbes list. The golfer, still the highest-paid athlete in the world, was second last year.

Bruce Springsteen
's tour landed the Boss in sixth, while director Steven Spielberg's latest Indiana Jones movie helped him to seventh place.

Actress Jennifer Aniston and her ex-husband, Brad Pitt, were eighth and ninth, respectively, on the strength of successful movies and tabloid headlines.

Basketballer Kobe Bryant's endorsements and popularity, boosted by his play on the U.S. Olympic team, jumped to the 10th spot.

Miller said Forbes' has spent a great amount of time compiling the list for the past decade because "celebrities play an ever increasing role in everyone's lives, whether we like it or not."

"Celebrities are brands, and they are marketing to us and there's stuff we consume off of them, from movies to albums to concerts to books to speaking tours to everything in between, and we sort of all buy into it," he said.

The income figures used are gross numbers and do not take into account what goes to agents, managers, taxes and expenses, Miller said.

"It can be very expensive to be a celebrity," he said. "What they're taking home to their personal checking accounts is far less than their gross earnings."

The list, which has been "put through our special sauce of earnings and fame," is used as a barometer of who has the real power in Hollywood, Miller said.

"When you look at the components of fame and earnings, you can get a good vibe as to who's important this year and who's not," he said.

"Angelina Jolie is, by far, the most famous celebrity on the planet," he said. "There's not a day that goes by where she's not on the cover of a tabloid magazine or a regular magazine. There's not day that goes by when people are not talking about her philanthropy or her relationship with Brad Pitt or her movies or her children. All of that lends to a more popular, more robust and, frankly, more valuable brand."

Miller estimated that the Sexy Jolie was on about 20 to 30 times more magazine covers last year than Winfrey.

It's normal for celebs to fall down or off the list for a year if they are between projects, he said.

One newcomer to the list of top 100 celebrities is Barack Obama, debuting at 49. Obama is the first sitting head of state to appear in Forbes' Hot Celebrity 100 rankings.
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RIM (Research in Motion) warns a security vulnerability

BOSTON/WASHINGTON (June 3) - BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd has issued a security patch for the popular device, whose users include U.S. President Barack Obama, warning that it is vulnerable to attacks by hackers.

Research in Motion issued the security warning last week in a bulletin on its web site, but officials could not be reached to comment on details of the patch.

If the patch is not applied, security experts said, there is a risk that hackers could exploit the vulnerability, though they have not done so yet.

Such problems are not unique to Research in Motion. Technology companies constantly battle to stay ahead of increasingly sophisticated hackers. Every time a vulnerability is identified, there is potential for hackers to exploit it.

"It is a serious problem. You need to read the advisory and implement a fix before the hackers try to take control," said Graham Cluley, a senior researcher with anti-virus software marker Sophos.

When companies publicize security flaws, criminals rush to exploit them because it can take weeks or months for users learn of such problems and protect against them.

Businesses often hold off on installing patches so they can test them to make sure that the new software is compatible with other programs in their network. Sometimes a patch can cause other types of software to malfunction.

The newly disclosed vulnerability could allow hackers to take control of servers running BlackBerry systems by sending emails with tainted attachments in Adobe Systems Inc's PDF format, according to computer security researchers.

If the device's user opens one of those attachments, it would seek to install malicious software on the server at the data center that runs a company's BlackBerry network. Hackers could then covertly use that server to send spam or steal corporate data.

"All kinds of nastiness could occur," Cluley said.

A spokesman for Symantec Corp, the world's biggest maker of security software, said the cost of such an attack would be greater than the value of the BlackBerry since it would hit the far bigger corporate network itself.

Research in Motion issued patches to resolve similar problems in January.

The Canadian company pays close attention to such issues because it prides itself in security, counting intelligence agencies and top executives at the world's largest corporations among its customers.

Research in Motion suggests that businesses block their users from opening attachments until they install the patch.

source : reuters.com
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Missing Airbus A330, Air France debris found, explosion unlikely

French military personnel walk from a AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) aircraft at the Dakar French air base, June 3, 2009, after returning from search mission to locate an Air France plane that went missing on Sunday night.

FERNANDO DE NORONHA, Brazil (June 3) - Search crews flying over the Atlantic found debris from a crashed Air France jet spread over more than 55 miles of ocean on Wednesday, reinforcing the possibility it broke up in the air.

Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said the existence of large fuel stains in the water likely ruled out an explosion, undercutting speculation about a bomb attack.

"The existence of oil stains could exclude the possibility of a fire or explosion," he said at a news conference in Brasilia. "If we have oil stains, it means it wasn't burned."

Experts said extreme turbulence or decompression during stormy weather may have caused the Airbus A330, which took off from Rio de Janeiro bound for Paris on Sunday night, to splinter over the ocean with 228 people on board.

Two Brazilian navy ships arrived in the crash area, about 685 miles northeast of Brazil's coast, but had not yet retrieved any debris by nightfall. French officials said they may never discover why the plane went down as the flight data and voice recorders may be lost at the bottom of the ocean.

Air force pilots searching the area have reported no signs of survivors. Officials said recovering bodies may be extremely difficult.

"As well as bodies sinking, you also have problems along the coast of Pernambuco (state) that you know about," Jobim said in reference to sharks. He added bodies could take several days to float to the surface.

Newly spotted traces of the plane included a 12-mile (20-km) fuel stain and various objects spread across a 3-mile (5-km) area, including one metallic object 23 feet in diameter.

The Air France plane sent no mayday signals before crashing, only automatic messages showing electrical faults and a loss of pressure shortly after it entered stormy weather.

'DESTRUCTION WAS TOTAL'

"I continue to think violent turbulence caused structural damage to the plane," said Jose Carlos Pereira, former head of Brazil's airport authority Infraero.

"Its fall was localized but destruction was total," Pereira told Reuters.

Aviation trade publications focused on warnings in recent months issued by U.S. and European regulators about electronic systems on A330s and A340s that could throw planes into sharp dives. The directives covered ADIRUs -- air data inertial reference units -- that feed crucial information to the cockpit to help fly planes.

With officials struggling to explain how a modern aircraft could have crashed in stormy weather that is routine on the transatlantic route, there was speculation a bomb could have caused the worst crash in Air France's 75-year history.

The airline said on Wednesday it had received an anonymous telephone warning that a bomb was on a flight leaving Buenos Aires on May 27, four days before the crash. A spokesman said the plane was checked, no bomb was found and the aircraft left an hour and a half late. He added that such alerts were relatively common.

source : reuters.com
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Hed to head Statistics: Lakers vs. Magic

It’s not the climactic season-ending matchup that many observers had hoped for -- in which LeBron James would have faced Kobe Bryant with the NBA title and individual supremacy at stake -- but the 2009 NBA finals showdown between the Magic and Lakers still offers plenty of intrigue nonetheless. Here is a look at five keys to victory for Orlando -- making its first appearance in the finals since 1994-95 -- and the Lakers, looking to win their first title since 2002.

Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant vs. Courtney Lee- This is Kobe Bryant's biggest series of his entire career. If he wins, he adds to his legacy quite a bit and will go down, at least for a while, as one of the top 10 players to ever step foot on a basketball court. On the contrary, if he loses he will still have that shadow of never winning a championship as the teams best player looming over him. Kobe will undoubtedly put up huge numbers this series and will probably be the most determined player on the court. Lee is definitely mismatched taking on Bryant in every capacity. Lee is might be one of those rookies who disappears once they get to the finals. Yes, he's been good throughout these playoffs, but he hasn't been matched up with a guy like Kobe yet and has not been on this big of a stage yet. I really think Lee will disappear in this series. EDGE: Lakers

Center: Andrew Bynum vs. Dwight Howard- Bynum was supposed to be the missing link from last year's Lakers team that fell short. I just don't see it. He hasn't been very good in the playoffs and I'm sorry (not really) to say Laker's fans, that I don't think he will ever be that all-star center you'd hoped he would be. He's also going to have to play against the nightmare that is Dwight Howard. Howard has been everything the Magic had hoped in the playoffs. He had a masterpiece of a game in game 6 against the Cavs, posting a 40-14. The Lakers have to hope Howard gets in foul trouble or Bynum or Gasol, whoever is guarding Howard, is in for a long series. EDGE: Magic

Coach - If you got points for looking like a porno star, then Stan “Ron Jeremy” Van Gundy would win hands down. The fact is Phil Jackson is the best in the business and he will have the Lakers ready and prepared.Lakers get have a huge coaching edge.

Prediction: I've doubted the Magic the whole course of the playoffs, and have desperately rooted against the Lakers the whole playoffs. Kobe needs this championship on his resume if he wants to be in that elite class of players when his career is over. On the other hand, Dwight Howard can put himself in an extremely good position with a championship so early in his career, joining big men such as Kareem Abdul- Jabbar to win a title as the best player on their team at such a young age (Kareem also had Oscar Robertson). A win would be huge for both of these superstars. The real question is if the Howard's supporting cast can match that of Kobe's. The Magic took the season series 2-0 so that tells you that they match up well against them. Remember, the Magic also took the season series from the Cavs.I really want to pick the Magic but I have to pick the Lakers in 5. Kobe is better than Dwight and Gasol and the Magic really have no answer for him. They got away with it against LeBron, but the Cavs didn't have secondary scorers like Gasol and Odom. The games will be close but the Magic will be laid to rest fairly quickly.

Game 1: Lakers by 4
Game 2: Lakers by 9
Game 3: Magic by 6
Game 4: Lakers by 3
Game 5: Lakers by 13

There's what I think of the NBA Finals. Sad to say it, but it looks like the Lakers and Kobe will capture their fourth title of the decade. I'd really like to see Howard and Magic win and Kobe walk off the court like LeBron. Wouldn't that be awesome? Please Orlando, let me be wrong (like I have been so many times before). Please beat the HATED Lakers. Sweep them! I just don't see it happening. Yet another anticlimactic finals.

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