IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Countdown with 'Countdown'

Simultaneous 'Countdown' of the top news stories exclusively  at

Homecoming queen — It is certain that of all the convicts in all the prisons in all the world, who have ever emerged from captivity and been returned to society has never had a grand entrance like Martha Stweart today.  In addition to the camera crews and helicopters, she was greeted by the news that their new syndicated daytime household hints television show was going to be seen in 85% of the country this fall.  Martha Stewart is living life again — under house arrest.  She still has freedoms, of course: Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom to have a cappuccino.  But the concept of the woman who is the last word in the kitchens of America, having a broken cappuccino machine at home, is devastating.  In fact, shares in Martha Stewart Omnimedia dropped more than nine percent of their value.  Under terms of the next five months — her house-arrest — we believe Ms. Stewart is entitled to drink cappuccino.  She just can't go and buy one.  At least every time she leaves Bedford, New York, she will not draw as much media attention as she did when she left prison last night.  It's not like we're trying to absolve ourselves of responsibility for this — MSNBC was live, just like everybody else... of course we had more stories and more angles.

Newly freed hostage wounded — It was a development that began with such promise, A welcome bit of good news amid the chaos of post-war Iraq.  But the euphoria surrounding the release of a western hostage today turned out to be short-lived.  After four weeks in captivity, Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was finally freed from hostage-takers in Iraq, only to be while heading to the airport.  The incident left her and another wounded.  An Italian intelligence officer died in the attack.  President Bush is voicing his regrets as the Italian government is demanding answers.  In Rome, the Coliseum had been lit up to welcome the journalist home.  Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi was near tears on television tonight, reportedly popping champagne to celebrate the release, when he received word the hostage had been shot.  The Italian prime minister, a staunch ally of President Bush, is meeting with the U.S. ambassador.  Despite opposition from the majority of Italians, Berlusconi has kept 3,000 troops in Iraq to help the cause.

Going ape — A terrifying story emerged from Bakersfield, California today.  Police confronted with what looked like a scene from a bad sci-fi film — when .  A couple’s plans for a birthday party for their former pet chimpanzee turned tragic when two other chimps at an animal sanctuary attacked them. The man was critically injured with massive wounds to his face, body and limbs, and the attacking animals were shot dead.  LaDonna Davis, 64, suffered a bite wound to the hand while trying to help her 62-year-old husband, St. James Davis.  He had severe facial injuries and requires extensive surgery in an attempt to reattach his nose, according to Dr. Maureen Martin of Kern Medical Center. His testicles and a foot also were also severed in the attack…As we told you yesterday, the beloved 22lb. Lobster named Bubba died while being moved from a fish market off Nantucket, to an acquarium in Pittsburgh.  , literally: his reddish-brown outer casing will be preserved at the Pittsburgh facility.

‘Roid Rage on the hill — Rule number one in modern politics: If there is a headline and the remotest possibility that you could pass a law about it — call a hearing.  In fact, call two hearings about it — in this case, about steroid use in baseball.  The House Government Reform Committee, and the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, have both scheduled hearings over the next two weeks: Commerce meets on the 10th and no list of witnesses has been provided. The reform group meets a week later on the 17th and “invited” guests include: Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Jason Giambi, Sammy Sosa,, Curt Schilling, Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox, and four executives Commissioner Bud Selig, Baseball vice-president Sandy Alderson, Union chief Don Fear and Kevin Towers, the General Manager of the San Diego Padres…One man not on the list?  The California Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  In a recent interview, Governor Schwarzenegger said that he has no regrets about using steroids during his bodybuilding days by pointing out they were legal at the time and that he took them under a doctor's supervision.

Weekly news quiz — What did you learn this week, folks?  and see how you score.