And, sure enough, it is…

theinterview

So, after all the shenanigans over the Sony hack and various threats and recriminations surrounding The Interview, the only thing the North Koreans, or whoever else was responsible, achieved was to allow people to see the movie a day early with its release on various online platforms before a limited theater schedule tomorrow.

Initial reviews run the gamut, with some saying the movie is, as Businessweek puts it, “much less compelling than the events it inspired.”  The San Francisco Chronicle says “scandal aside, it’s pretty good” but The Verge calls it “substandard Apatovian bro-fare to the point of self-parody“.

See it or not (and you can find out where to go online or in movie theaters here) the story of the past few weeks will likely end up as a case study in marketing and crisis management classes for years to come.

* WORLD *   Whether ISIS shot down a Jordanian F-16 fighter jet near Raqqa in Syria today or the plane somehow crashed independently, the pilot appears to be in the custody of the group – his ID card and pictures of his capture circulating on social media.

The Centers for Disease Control said one of its lab technicians may have been exposed to the Ebola virus after a mix-up in procedures for handling samples.  CDC officials said the potential exposure is limited to one employee, who is now being monitored for the required 21-day period.

Tensions remain high in the St Louis area in the wake of the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Antonio Martin, who officials say had pointed a gun at an officer. The mayor of Berkeley, the suburb where the shooting occurred, said the incident was “unlike Ferguson” referring to the nearby location where a young unarmed black man, Michael Brown, was shot and killed earlier this year.

* POLITICS *  As 90-year-old former President George H.W. Bush spends a second night in a Texas hospital, political reporters continue to pick through thousands of his son Jeb’s emails during his time as Florida Governor for clues to how any potential 2016 presidential run might unfold. The younger Bush was planning to release the emails next year, but the Washington Post obtained them through a public records request. ABC News offers five things we’ve learned so far.

* MEDIA * Forget today’s dueling Santa-trackers, a site called HelloSanta.com gives your offspring the opportunity of a video call with the man himself. Kris Kringle isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, though, and the Washington Post has a history of people who have tried to put Santa Claus on trial, from 17th century England to a Miracle on 34th Street.

* BUSINESS * The Stock Trader’s Almanac has a rhyme: “If Santa Claus should fail to call, the Bears may come to Broad and Wall,” and today is technically the start of the “Santa Claus rally” that characterizes the end of the trading year. Wall Street ended the shortened pre-Christmas session amid fresh highs and optimism, despite continuing jitters over oil prices and geopolitical factors.

In the latest potential legal hurdle for ride-booking firm Uber, South Korea charged its CEO Travis Kalanick with violating local transport licensing laws. The company, which is also facing an unfair competition suit from taxi companies in Philadelphia, today announced a $2 surcharge for New York City customers who use its app to hail taxis. Meanwhile it said it was “truly sorry” for how its surge pricing algorithm had bumped fares in downtown Sydney during last week’s siege situation.

* SPORTS * Is there room at the Olympics for competitive video gaming? The creator of World of Warcraft thinks so and with some 40,000 people watching a recent League of Legends tournament live in South Korea, he might be on to something. If the idea gets that far, here’s four games that Time thinks might make the cut.

Finally, remembering the centenary of the Christmas Truce, in whatever form it may have actually occurred, the English FA offers a poetic tribute from today’s players to yesterday’s soldiers:

 

 

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