Excitement grows for GOP’s mass debate

One week away from the first televised GOP debate and there is genuinely no clue who will actually be taking part.

Beyond this one guy who appears to be a shoo-in.

The Washington Post‘s Eugene Robinson writes the “gift of a Trump-fueled debate” means that “Christmas has come early.”

How could Thursday night in Cleveland fail to be one of the most entertaining political spectacles we’ve seen in a long time? There are, far as I can tell, 17 candidates for the GOP nomination. Nobody’s quite sure which 10 will qualifyfor the prime-time clash, with the rest relegated to an earlier also-rans debate. Fox News, which is organizing the festivities, says it will use an average of national polls to make the cut, but won’t say which polls.

One hopes the poor candidates at least hear the good or bad news before they arrive in Cleveland. Imagine the phone call Rick Perry’s campaign might get: “Um, has the governor’s plane landed yet? Because it turns out we need him on stage quite a bit earlier than we thought.”

As the confusion continues over which polls will actually be used, and which candidates will benefit, one notable absentee could be Gov John Kasich, on the cusp for inclusion in his home state – and incidentally where the Republican Convention will be held next summer.

Gabriel Sherman writes at New York magazine that the debate could “draw the biggest audience in cable history – and Roger Ailes is making all the rules.”

And the whole thing is – of course – great ratings fodder for Fox.

With the debate coinciding with Jon Stewart’s final Daily Show, expect a social media Sharknado of snark.

But the self-styled main attraction should probably get the last word. Except it won’t be. Remotely.

***

* WORLD *  Six people were stabbed in an attack at a gay pride parade in Jerusalem. The perpetrator had recently been released from prison for a similar attack at the 2005 parade.

There was increasing evidence that the aircraft wreckage that washed ashore on Reunion Island is from a Boeing 777. The only missing aircraft of that type is Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH370. On Friday, the debris will be flown to France where it will be examined.

US authorities at the Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe “to see if it was part of a conspiracy to violate U.S. laws against illegal wildlife trading,” Reuters reports.

***

* BUSINESS * Uber is set to invest $1billion in India, the Financial Times reported. “The US ride-hailing app company said the spending drive would see its service hit 1m daily rides by March 2016, the first time it has produced such a target in India,” the paper says.

LinkedIn easily beat expectations, reporting full-year revenues of about $2.94billion. Mobile traffic now accounts for 52% of the site’s total traffic.

***

* MEDIA * NBC Universal is reportedly in talks towards a significant investment in BuzzFeed and Vox.

Amazon signed up the Top Gear team to present a new internet car show. The Independent reports that Jeremy Clarkson “couldn’t resist a jibe at his old employer”.

“I feel like I’ve climbed out of a biplane and into a space ship,” said Clarkson, in a pointed reference to the BBC, which fired him earlier this year following a fracas with a member of the Top Gear staff.

***

* SPORTS * The host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics will be announced on Friday in Kuala Lumpur. The two candidates are Beijing and Almaty in Kazakhstan.

Major League Baseball’s trade deadline is at 4pm ET on Friday.

* Follow live updates at ESPN here.

There have already been some big deals – and some big non-deals, leading to this string of events at CitiField last night, and some predictable headlines.

 

 

 

 

 

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