The Daily Blog

Jul 29

Amy Winehouse Dead: Singer Found Dead At London Home.

Troubled, Grammy-winning singer Amy Winehouse has been found dead in her North London home,Sky News is reporting. The Daily Mailreports that police have confirmed the passing.

In a statement, theLondon Metropolitan Police said, “Police were called by London Ambulance Service to an address in Camden Square NW1 shortly before 16.05hrs today, Saturday 23 July, following reports of a woman found deceased. On arrival officers found the body of a 27-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene. Enquiries continue into the circumstances of the death. At this early stage it is being treated as unexplained.”

Asuspected drug overdosetook the life of the singer, Nick Buckley of the Sunday Mirror tweeted.

She’s battled drug addiction for years, having mostrecently checked back into rehabilitation in May.

Winehouseentered treatment in late 2007for drug problems, including admitted heroin use.

Earlier in the day, Tim Gatt of Sky Newstweeted a statement from her managersaying that she was canceling upcoming performances, writing, “Amy Winehouse is withdrawing from all scheduled performances. Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best and she will be given as long as it takes for this to happen.”

She performed in asurprise appearance at the iTunes Festival on July 20th.

Jul 28

Norway Attack: Island Survivors On Their 2-Hour Fight For Life.

OSLO, Norway — When the blond man in the police uniform started firing his assault rifle, many of the youths couldn’t believe it was real. It had to be a sick prank. Something this crazy could never happen in quiet, sensible Norway.

Then terror flared in the eyes of friends with a better view: of teens and young adults crumpling to the ground, blood streaming from point-blank bullet wounds. Hundreds turned and ran to every corner of Utoya Island. They opted to cower silently or swim for their lives.

One day after a gunman posing as their protector killed at least 85 campers at a youth retreat for Norway’s ruling Labor Party, survivors and the local boatmen who helped save them recounted their two hours of horror, confusion and fear.

3:30 p.m.:

Three days into their annual summer camp, some 600 Labor Party youth activists from all over Norway hear the first, vague news of a bombing in the capital, Oslo, some 20 miles (30 kilometers) away. Far too distant to see billowing smoke or hear sirens. No way to tell how bad the explosion, just four minutes before, might be.

For some, a main concern is whether the camp will continue, and whether Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will still visit their lake-locked retreat that weekend.

4:30 p.m.:

As footage of destruction and news of deaths confirm the huge scale of the Oslo explosion, Utoya’s campers gather in worried huddles and talk quietly at tentsides, in the cafeteria, at fir-lined coves and the island’s tiny harbor. They touch foreheads while watching news on their smartphones. Those from Oslo call parents and siblings to confirm they’re all right.

"We consoled ourselves that we were safe on an island. No one knew that hell would break out with us too," one Oslo Labor activist, Prableen Kaur, writes on her blog the next day.

5 p.m.:

Amid the coming and going of several small boats, a lone policeman arrives.

The officer – armed, unusually, with two firearms visible on his hip and shoulder – says he’s there to boost security. To ensure they’re safe.

Then, witnesses say, he raises his assault rifle and opens fire with bursts of automatic fire. His hunt of defenseless left-wing political activists has begun.

5:10 p.m.:

At the camp’s food hall, Jorgen Benone is still talking with friends about the Oslo attack as they “hear panic down by the water.”

"We were wondering: What’s happening? Is it some balloons exploding or is somebody kidding?" he says. "Then we started to understand that people actually had been shot. Chaos broke out everywhere, and everyone started to run."

People at the camp report trying to call Norway’s emergency services but are told to keep off the line unless they’re calling about the Oslo bomb.

5:15 p.m.:

Witnesses say the gunman enters a village of tents, the residential heart of the weeklong retreat, and spots desperate individuals hoping he’ll spare them if they run back inside their homes. But the killer is seen working his way tent by tent, shooting many point-blank, one by one.

5:20 p.m.:

Kaur joins a group of panicked, confused campers. They are running from the approaching gunman, his “POLICE” moniker crystal-clear to see from even middle distance.

"My first thought was: Why are the police shooting at us? What the hell?" she writes.

More than a dozen crowd into a dark corner of a camp building, and all lie down on the floor. She cries quietly – then sees her best friend from camp, a boy, through a window.

"I wondered if I should go out and bring him to me. I did not. I saw fear in his eyes," she writes.

5:25 p.m.:

Kaur says a burst of gunfire extremely close to the building triggers panic and the entire group leaps out of a far window. Several suffer injuries, including a girl with a broken ankle, but the shooter doesn’t immediately pursue them. She takes new cover behind a low brick wall, telephones her mother on her cell phone, and sends a text to her father.

"Many were there," she writes. "I prayed, prayed, prayed. I hope that God saw me."

5:30 p.m.:

As the gunman picks off lone campers who run from their hiding spots as he draws near, many find themselves at the shoreline with only one apparent escape route – the water.

Kaur says the gunman tries to draw out the hiders near the brick wall, shouting, “I’m from the police!” Campers shout back, “Prove it!” He shoots at those who move. She lies still, on top of the legs of a teenage girl covered in blood.

5:38 p.m.:

Police say an armed SWAT team is deployed from Oslo. They drive rather than take a helicopter, police say – because the chopper would take too long to prepare for flight.

5:45 p.m.:

At another camp site on the mainland shore near Utoya Island, camp owner Brede Johbraaten has been listening to the sound of gunfire – sometimes lone pops, other times staccato bursts – waft across the humid evening air for more than half an hour.

But it’s only now that he discovers the horror unfolding some 800 meters (yards) of frigid water away.

The first survivors, among the strongest and luckiest, have swum the full distance. They aren’t wounded but say many of their campmates are dying in the water behind, some bleeding to death from bullet wounds, others cramping up and drowning.

Johbraaten, 59, and other campers rally several small craft to join a local flotilla converging on the island from several points, including another island to the north. They pluck both flailing swimmers and lifeless bodies from the surface.

"It was hard for some of these youngsters to swim a distance of 800 meters under these conditions," Johbraaten said.

Amid the chaos, the arriving police SWAT team complains that no boats have remained on shore as they’d expected, compounding the delay.

6 p.m.:

Witnesses lying low behind rocks, aware that the “policeman” is really the threat, watch helplessly as four campers run to the officer for help – and are each killed with shots to the head.

6:20 p.m.:

Police say the SWAT team finally reaches the island and fans out, still unaware of how many gunmen they’re trying to find.

Benone has remained behind the same boulder, trying not to move.

"I felt it was best not to sit quietly, not to run in the open because then he could see me. … I thought of all the people I love, and how I just wanted to go home."

6:35 p.m.:

Police say they find the gunman and order him to lay down his weapons. He complies and is arrested.

Around this time, Kaur says she finally plucks up the courage to stand up – and sees that she’s been lying on a lifeless teenage girl: “My guardian angel,” she calls her. She jumps into the water to join a group of campers clinging to a large innertube. A passing rescue boat throws them all life vests but is too full with other rescued campers and can’t collect them too.

7 p.m.:

The private rescue flotilla continues to circle the island in search of survivors. The boats come closer now that the shooting has stopped. Kaur is scooped from the water. But many campers fear leaving their hiding spots.

Benone sees several boats approaching but wonders if these rescuers might be killers, too, and hesitates.

"I didn’t know if I could trust them. I didn’t know who I could trust anymore," he says. "But I started waving and jumped into the water. I was crying, that’s how happy I was. But I was so cold. Ice cold."

Jul 27

Photos And Posted Them On Victims’ Facebook Page.

Joseph Bernard Campbell has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of cyberstalking and unauthorized access to a computer after he stole naked pictures of women and posted the images on their Facebook pages.

The Florida man was charged with hacking into the email accounts of 19 different women, stealing nude or semi-nude photos and then hacking their Facebook pages to post the photos as their profile photo, reports Tampa Bay Online.

The 24-year-old from Largo, Fla., knew many of the women. His plea agreement states it was his intention to “to harass the victims and cause them emotional distress.”

Campbell also posted the photos on porn sitescalled “Pinellas County Sluts” and “Dumpster Sluts,” and in a forum called “Revenge,” The Washington Post reports. Those sites are no longer active.

Campbell admitted he hacked into as many as 500 email accounts and told police he often sent emails to women inviting them to view a greeting card, which tricked them into giving him their passwords, according to Tampa Bay Online.

Part of the plea agreement calls for Campbell to hand over all his computers, the news service said. The charges of cyberstalking and unauthorized access to a computer each carry a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison, along with a $250,000 fine, but it’s likely he’ll receive a lesser sentence.

He is scheduled to enter the plea in court on Aug. 5.

Jul 26

Singer Monica Marries Husband — Again!

So nice, she married him twice!

Singer Monica and her husband, L.A. Lakers shooting guard Shannon Brown, were married for the second time on Saturday, PEOPLE confirms, and this time around their friends and families were there to help celebrate.

The couple, who have been together since 2010, were secretly married in November, but they decided to profess their love for each other in front of hundreds of guests at L.A.’s 19th century cathedral, Vibiana.

A lavish, purple-and-blue-themed reception followed the ceremony, where Kobe Bryant, Lala Vazquez and Carmelo Anthony were just some of the notable guests.

The happy couple first met last year on the set of the singer’s music video for ‘Love All Over Me,’ and were engaged in October 2010 after just a few months of dating.
Brown revealed the couple’s quiet wedding during a post-game interview in January.

"It’s true," he said. "I really don’t know what else to say about it. It’s true. That’s my wife. I’m her husband. We gonna continue to make positive things happen."

Monica has two sons, Romelo, 3, and Rodney Jr., 6, with ex-boyfriend Rodney “Rocko” Hill, and Brown also has a young son from a previous relationship.

Jul 25

India Train Accident Leaves At Least 31 Dead, 100 Injured.

FATEHPUR, India — Rescuers searched through the wreckage of a packed express  for people trapped inside after it derailed in northern India on Sunday, killing at least 31 and injuring 100 others, officials said.

The Kalka Mail train was on its way to Kalka, in the foothills of the Himalayas, from Howrah, a station near Kolkata in eastern India, when 12 coaches and the engine jumped the tracks at Malwan station, near the town of Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh state, senior railway official A.K. Jain said.

The cause of the derailment was not immediately clear but it appeared that the driver applied the emergency brakes, Jain said.

At least 31 people were killed and rescue workers pulled at least 100 injured passengers out of the wreckage, said Brij Lal, a state police official.

The accident site was a pile of twisted metal. At least one coach flew above the roof of another ahead of it and was dangling precariously, television footage showed. Another coach was thrown away from the rest of the train.

The toll was likely to rise as rescuers made their way through the coaches and used gas cutters to cut through the mangled metal, Lal said. Rescue efforts continued late into the night.

"We’re trying to cut into the coaches and rescue those still trapped inside," Lal said.

A senior railway official, H.C. Joshi, told CNN-IBN news channel that rescuers were struggling to free at least five people pinned under the wreckage of one of the worst-damaged coaches.

Medical personnel rushed to the area, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state.

Army helicopters were ferrying the most seriously injured victims to hospitals and 30 army engineers had joined the rescue efforts, Lal said.

TV stations showed local residents helping injured passengers away from the train, several in makeshift stretchers fashioned out of and breaking the windows of coaches to help those trapped inside.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed “deep sorrow and shock” at the loss of lives. The Railways Ministry announced compensation of 500,000 rupees ($11,000) for the families of those killed in the accident.

The number of passengers on board the Kalka Mail – named for its past use in the postal service – was not known. Express trains normally carry about 1,000 people and travel at speeds of 60-80 miles (100-130 kilometers) per hour.

India’s railroad network is one of the largest in the world and carries about 14 million passengers a day. Accidents are common, with most blamed on poor maintenance and human error.

Jul 24

Chris Brown Lands Role in Steve Harvey Film.

Chris Brown has been tapped to appear in a new romantic comedy.

The film, ‘Think Like a Man,’ is based on comedian-TV personality Steve Harvey's bestselling 2009 self-help book, 'Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,' and follows “four interconnected and diverse friends [who] have their love lives shaken up after the women they are pursuing buy Steve Harvey's book and start taking his advice to heart.”

Though his role is not yet known, the volatile young actor joins a star-studded female ensemble, including Meagan Good, Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union and La La Vasquez, along with seasoned actors Michael Ealy and Jerry Ferrara.

'Think Like a Man' has already begun production in Los Angeles, Calif., and is scheduled for an April 6, 2012 release. The film will be helmed by 'Fantastic Four' director Tim Story and co-executive produced by Harvey.

"Hey @chrisbrown ! Congrats on landing a role in #actlikealady the movie! I’m proud of you man!” Harvey tweeted, in celebration of the news. “I love @chrisbrown because he deserves a 2nd chance as do we all.”

Breezy previously appeared in ‘Stomp the Yard,’ ‘Takers’ and ‘Blood Rogues.’

'DWTS' Champion Hines Ward Busted for DUI.

'Dancing With the Stars' champion and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward was busted for driving under the influence early Saturday morning.

According to TMZ, Ward was arrested in Dekalb County, Georgia — not too far from his home in Sandy Springs. He was held on $1,000 bond, which he paid, and has since been released. No other details were immediately available.

Ward competed on the most recent season of ‘DWTS’ along with Kendra Wilkinson, Kirstie Alley and Ralph Macchio.

The finale came down to Ward and Alley, with Ward taking home the trophy with dance pro Kym Johnson.
"When I started in this competition, I never thought I’d be in the finals," Ward said after his victory. "I owe it all to Kym. She’s been an amazing teacher. I also want to thank all the fans."

Japan Earthquake: Powerful Quake Strikes Off Northeastern Coast.

A powerful earthquake struck off Japan’s northeastern coast on Sunday. Tsunami advisories were issued following the Japan earthquake, Tokyo Breaking News reported. The alert was later lifted.

According to Reuters, Fukushima nuclear plant workers evacuated to higher ground following the earthquake, with no immediate reports of injuries or damage. Tokyo Electric Power said that there did not appear to be any further damage at the nuclear plant.

In March, Japan’s earthquake and tsunami devastated the country, and wreaked havoc at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The Associated Press reports:

The quake hit at 9:57 local time (0057 GMT), and a warning of a tsunami was issued for most of the northeastern coastline. The epicenter of the quake was in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan’s main island, Honshu, at a depth of about 20 miles (30 kilometers).

Japanese officials predicted the quake could generate tsunami of up to 20 inches (50 centimeters), but the initial waves were only about 4 inches (10 centimeters). The tsunami warning was lifted after the forecast arrival time of the waves

passed in most areas without any tsunami being recorded.

Japan’s Meteorological agency at first estimated the strength of the quake at 7.1, but later revised that to 7.3. It also revised the depth estimate from 10 to 30 kilometers.

Zetas And Other Gang Fighting In Mexico Results In At Least 40 Deaths In 24-Hour Period.

MEXICO CITY — Fighting among the Zetas gang and other vicious drug cartels led to the deaths of more than 40 people whose bodies were found in three Mexican cities over a 24-hour span, a government official said Saturday.

At least 20 people were killed and five injured when gunmen opened fire in a bar late Friday in the northern city of Monterrey, where the gang is fighting its former ally, the Gulf Cartel, said federal security spokesman Alejandro Poire.

Eleven bodies shot with high-powered rifles were found earlier Friday, piled near a water well on the outskirts of Mexico City, where the gang is fighting the Knights Templar, Poire said. That is an offshoot of the La Familia gang that has terrorized its home state of Michoacan.

Poire said an additional 10 people were found dead early Saturday in various parts of the northern city of Torreon, where the Zetas are fighting the Sinaloa cartel headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

"The violence is a product of this criminal rivalry … surrounding the intent to control illegal activities in a community, and not the only the earnings that come with it, but also with transporting drugs to the United States," Poire said in a news conference.

Poire provided no more details on the killings in Torreon in the border state of Coahuila.

Coahuila state officials said the 10 bodies in Torreon had been mutilated and left in a sports-utility vehicle. Seven of the victims were men and three were women, and all had been killed several days earlier, said Fernando Olivas, a state prosecutor’s representative in Torreon.

In Monterrey, 16 people died at the Sabino Gordo bar in the worst mass killing in memory in the northern industrial city, where violence has spiked since the Gulf and Zetas broke their alliance early last year. Four others died later at the hospital, said Jorge Domene, security spokesman for the state of Nuevo Leon, where Monterrey is located.

Domene said at a news conference that six people were wounded, two of them critically.

At least two men emerged from their vehicles and opened fire on the bar with AK-47s and AR-15s, Domene said. Several of the victims were employees of the bar, which has led police to conclude that employees were targeted, he said.

Cocaine was being sold at the bar and ziplock bags of drugs were found at the crime scene, Domene said.

Other downtown businesses closed earlier than usual after news of the massacre broke.

Outside Mexico City, police investigating the mass killing in the working class suburb of Valle de Chalco found one man alive along with 11 bodies and was taken to a hospital, said Antonio Ortega, a spokesman for the Mexico State police.

He said some of the bodies were blindfolded and had their hands tied. Poire said one woman was found seriously injured.

State officials said police found another body nearby a few hours later but could not confirm it was related to the mass attack.

Ortega said he didn’t know if the victims were shot at the scene or were dumped there.

The capital region has been largely spared the widespread drug violence that grips parts of Mexico.

But some poorer areas of the sprawling metropolis of 20 million people have begun to see killings and decapitations committed by street gangs that are remnants of splintered drug cartels.

In another incident allegedly involving the Zetas, the Mexican navy said Friday that it rescued a former mayor of Reynosa, across from McAllen, Texas, who had been kidnapped along with his son. Four alleged Zetas members were arrested at the scene after an anonymous tip that former Mayor Humberto Valdez was abducted Thursday, a navy statement said.

Also Saturday, the government announced it sent 1,800 federal police to the western state of Michoacan, where drug gang members have blocked highways and fired on officers in recent days. The force deployed with close to 200 vehicles, including ambulances, and also with Black Hawk helicopters.

Earlier in the week, federal police killed four gunmen who attacked them in Michoacan, triggering reprisal attacks by gang members who blocked highways with burning trailers, buses and pickup trucks.

Police said the gunmen were members of the Knights Templar, a criminal organization that split off from the La Familia cartel, a cult-like drug gang.

On Saturday, federal police killed three more riflemen after confronting them on a highway where they were trying to pull motorists out of their cars, the Michoacan state prosecutor’s office said.

Poire repeated the government insistence that criminals, not the government’s crackdown on organized crime, are causing the violence. More than 35,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon stepped up the attack on organized crime in 2006, according to official figures. Some groups put the number at more than 40,000.

"The violence won’t stop if we stop battling criminals," Poire said. "The violence will diminish as we accelerate our capacity to debilitate the gangs that produce it."

Federal authorities apprehended La Familia’s alleged leader in late June, claiming the arrest was a debilitating blow to the gang. Jose de Jesus Mendez Vargas was alleged to be the last remaining head of the cartel, whose splinter group, the Knights Templar, continues to fight for control of areas La Familia once dominated.

Mexican authorities also arrested Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar, a co-founder of the Zetas drug cartel who is suspected of involvement in the February killing of a U.S. customs agent.

Jul 23

Are Whitney Houston and Tyrese Gibson Dating?

Whitney Houston, 47, has been known to scoop men half her age. Ray J, 30, comes to mind when thinking of her romantic love interests, but now there’s a new boy toy the troubled superstar is being linked to: Tyrese Gibson.

According to the National Enquirer, the ‘I Will Always Love You’ performer is dating the 32-year-old crooner-turned-actor. Houston reportedly met the ‘Transformers’ star in February of this year while at a party together. Since their introduction, the two have been “quietly dating,” reports say.

A source reveals that Houston made the first move on Gibson, approaching him at the event then calling him afterwards to set up a date.

While the tabloid magazine is known to exaggerate facts, and celebrities blast its reports as false many times, there could be truth behind the claims that Houston and Gibson are an item, despite the latter already denying the rumors.

"Negative blogs, press, blurbs, people spreading negative things. Rumors. I rest Well at night cause none of these things matter anymore…" Tyrese wrote in a post on his Twitter account. He then went on to digitally laugh over the news he’s "dating" the pop chanteuse. "Man if ya’ll don’t Gtfoh (get the f**k out of here) w (with) this dumb s**t.. Hahahahahaahahaa… #Never… I repeat.. Never..!!"

Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, didn’t take the film star’s reaction to the news lightly.
"Lmao (laughing my a** off) at Tyrese.. Damn it’s like tht (that)?! Hah, well to clear it up, Trust Me, MY MOM WOULD Never. Hah #shesroyalty," she responded.

As for Houston, she is still taking steps toward sobriety in an outpatient rehabilitation facility.

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