Did North Korea order hack on Sony Pictures computers? –
Sony Pictures Entertainment is said to be investigating whether North Korea was behind a hack of its computer network, over a Hollywood film depicting a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-un. The hermit state’s anger over the comedy about CIA plans to kill its leader may have been behind the attack on the company’s system, according to tech news website Re/code. A group calling itself #GOP (Guardians of Peace) posted a warning on employees computers on Monday saying “If you don`t obey us, we’ll release the data shown below to the world”, giving a deadline of 11:00 the same day and listing five data links. #GOP said Sony Pictures had been warned before but did not detail its demands. North Korea had threatened “a strong and merciless countermeasure” against the US if it released the Sony Pictures’ film The Interview.
Angelina Jolie ‘set to become a peer’ –
The dusty old House of Lords has been considerably enlivened in the past few weeks when a number of half-famous people have been officially sworn in as members of Parliament’s second chamber. But the most excitement came last week when Arminka Helic – best known as a highly-regarded special adviser to former foreign secretary William Hague – was formally welcomed into the House of Lords as Baroness Helic of Millbank. Elderly Parliamentarians dozing off a good lunch were startled to glance up to the public gallery and spot actress Angelina Jolie, an old friend of Lady Helic, gazing down benignly. Now tongues are wagging in Westminster that Miss Jolie is being lined up herself set on a seat in the House of Lords. The idea is not so far-fetched. Last month Miss Jolie was made an honorary dame by the Queen for her campaign work fighting sexual violence and for services to UK foreign policy. And last week it emerged that Miss Jolie has decided to retire from acting and focus her energies on her humanitarian work.[Daily Telegraph] Angelina Jolie
Sunny smile –
Kent student Jess Smith reveals that she was the baby who played the sun on the Teletubbies, a BBC TV show in the 80s & 90s.
Joe Cocker dies –
Joe Cocker, famous for his version of the Beatles “With A Little Help From My Friends” which reached number one in 1968, has died from cancer. Joe Cocker
Total indulgence –
Costa Coffee in the UK is selling 100,000 sticky toffee latte a week during the festive season. The largest ‘massimo’ size has around 598 calories, contains up to 75g of sugar – nearly 19 teaspoons, or twice the amount in a can of Coke.
Google launch the second version of their self-driving car which has been described a toy police car.
Tit-for-tat attack? –
North Korea internet shut down for 9 hours and just days after the state was accused of a major hack on Sony Pictures in the state. Speculation is that the US government caused the outage in retribution.
US Cop gets 14 million hits singing to Taylor Swift in car –
A policeman with Dover Force in Delaware has received over 17 million views of a YouTube video showing him singing along to the Taylor Swift song “Shake It Off”. The video (see below) has gained mix reactions but Taylor Swift gave it her seal of approval through her Twitter account to her 51 million followers:
Actress Anne Kirkbride dies –
She played Deidre Barlow in the British soap Coronation Street since November 20th 1972 and died at the age of 60.
Takes a hack to spot a hack –
Two newspapers, The New York Times and Germany’s De Spiegel report that the US knew North Korea was behind the Sony Pictures hack because it had secretly infiltrated the country’s computer networks in 2010. The NY Times believe that software planted by the US intelligence in North Korea’s computers alerted them to hacking activity on Sony.
Sun drops Page 3 topless images –
For 44 years the UK tabloid newspaper The Sun has by synonymous with a large topless picture of a model but that has come to an end today when a picture of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wearing lingerie appeared. The paper is reported to be planning to reinstate the topless feature if sales drop. Among those who found fame were Linda Lusardi, Jilly Johnson and Samantha Fox. Samantha Fox
Tom Holland is announced as the new Marvel Spider-Man –
Tom Holland, who was in Wolf Hall and the stage musical Billy Elliot, has grabbed the lead in the franchise reboot. Marvel and Sony confirmed the news in a statement on their website. The 19-year-old takes over from Andrew Garfield for the new film which is due out July 2017. In a statement posted on their website, Marvel said: “Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios are proud to announce that after a full worldwide casting search, Tom Holland will play Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the next Spider-Man film.” The statement also said: “The studios and producers were impressed by Holland’s performances in The Impossible, Wolf Hall, and the upcoming In the Heart of the Sea, and by a series of complex screen tests.” [BBC Newsbeat] He celebrated with some acrobatic videos on his Instagram account Tom Holland
Titanic composer James Horner dies in plane crash –
The composer James Horner, who won Oscars for the theme song and score for the film Titanic, has died in a plane crash in California. He was 61. His credits included numerous other high-profile films, among them Avatar, Braveheart and Aliens. He was alone in his two-seater plane when the accident happened. [BBC]
Formula 1: US-Qatari investors ‘to bid for sport’ –
The Miami Dolphins American football team owner Stephen Ross is reportedly working with investors from Qatar to buy a stake in Formula 1 racing. RSE Ventures and Qatar Sports Investments plan a bid for CVC Capital Partners’ 35.5% stake in the holding company that owns F1. The Financial Times and Reuters said the deal could be worth up to $8bn, and help build F1’s presence in the US. [BBC]
‘Earth 2.0’ found in Nasa Kepler telescope haul –
A haul of planets from Nasa’s Kepler telescope includes a world sharing many characteristics with Earth. Kepler-452b orbits at a very similar distance from its star, though its radius is 60% larger. Mission scientists said they believed it was the most Earth-like planet yet. Such worlds are of interest to astronomers because they might be small and cool enough to host liquid water on their surface – and might therefore be hospitable to life. Nasa’s science chief John Grunsfeld called the new world “Earth 2.0” and the “closest so far” to our home. It is around 1,400 light years away from Earth. [BBC]
Taylor Swift apologises to Nicki Minaj –
Taylor Swift has apologised to Nicki Minaj following their Twitter row over the MTV VMA nominations. The singer’s admitted she misunderstood Nicki’s initial tweets, which attacked the music industry for favouring white females. “I thought I was being called out. I missed the point, then misspoke, I’m sorry, Nicki,” Taylor wrote. Nicki has accepted her apology by tweeting back: “That means so much Taylor, thank you.” It all started after Nicki voiced her disappointment at Anaconda not getting a nomination for video of the year. [BBC Newsbeat] Nicki Minaj
Sony Pictures buys rights to make an emoji movie –
Sony Pictures Animation has bought the rights to turn emoji icons into a movie. The studio plans to create an animated feature film about the smiley, winky and unhappy characters used in texts and on social media. At this stage, it’s not clear how it will turn the static yellow round faces into a Hollywood blockbuster. Commentators claim the success of The Lego Movie showed that any subject matter can be turned into a hit. Emojis were developed in Japan in the late 1990s as smiley-faced emoticons. [BBC Newsbeat]
Video of the Day –
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Official Trailer – “We March Together”
Turkey scrambles fighter jets and Turkish tanks open fire on ISIS positions along the Syrian border following an exchange of fire which left one Turkish soldier dead and two injured. The clashes are the first direct combat between the Turkish military and ISIS forces. (Telegraph)