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Ugly Sweaters for a Good Cause: Brands Celebrate UK’s ‘Christmas Jumper Day’

proxyIn the UK, the donning of hideously tacky Christmas sweaters has gone beyond an ironic fashion statement and party theme; today, Friday, December 12, is Christmas Jumper Day, a day dedicated to celebrating all things sequins and yarn while supporting the British charity Save The Children. The idea is for every person who sports a Christmas “jumper” today to consider giving a small donation of £2 by texting WOOLY to 70050.

Curious to see how organizations and brands would take part, we took to Twitter to explore the XmasJumperDay hashtag, and found roughly what we expected: many seriously fabulous sweaters; companies and organizations decking themselves out while ensuring the charitable side of things remains the focus; and, of course, some brands hijacking the hashtag for their own purposes.

Here are some examples of brands and organizations keeping the clickbait classy by supporting Save The Children:

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Mediabistro Course

Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

VP of Korean Air Lines Resigns After Tantrum Over Macadamia Nuts Delays Flight

Korean_Air_Boeing_777-200ER_HL7526_SVO_2011-6-17

There are some valid reasons for an airline executive to delay a flight, but we’re betting the plane full of people recently forced to embark on their trip 20 minutes late wouldn’t consider a bag of macadamia nuts one of them.

As a recent Korean Air Lines flight from New York City to Incheon, South Korea sat on a runway at JFK preparing to depart, Cho Hyun-ah, the airline’s vice president in charge of in-flight experience, was served a bag of macadamia nuts by a junior flight attendant. What’s the problem with that, you ask? Well, Ms. Hyun-ah was traveling first class, and the airline’s guidelines for proper service apparently state that no first class passenger should ever suffer the indignity of opening their own package of nuts — the macadamias were supposed to be served on a plate.

Upset over the rookie attendant’s mistake, Hyun-ah called over the senior flight attendant. But when he failed to produce the proper manual for flight service, Cho reportedly shouted, ordered the plane to return to the gate, and forced the senior flight attendant to disembark.

The debacle caused the flight to leave New York about 20 minutes behind schedule (presumably a bit more inconvenient for Cho’s customers than an unopened bag of nuts). Read more

Media Outlets Angle for Coverage During the British Royal Couple’s New York Visit

British Tea Shop Inside Final2Will and Kate, aka Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrived in New York City with great fanfare on Sunday for a 3-day visit. Their stay represents a pleasant diversion from the recent sad news and protests that have enveloped the city, though a continuation of the traffic jams. As media outlets converged on the Big Apple, we witnessed different types of stories emerging.

During a walk in the Meatpacking District and West Village on Sunday afternoon, we came upon Tea & Sympathy, an English-owned restaurant and shop. There NBC News was in the middle of interviewing the owner about the Royal couple. “The whole city erupts, and it’s great for my business”, she said. By the time we left, local newspaper reporters had also arrived.

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UN Women Goes Orange to Raise Awareness About Violence Against Women

orangeurhoodYou may have noticed a lot of orange online today.

The UN Secretary General’s UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign kicked its “Orange Your Neighborhood” initiative into high gear. The hashtag “orangeurhood” was trending for part of the day today. And the UN Women Twitter handle was filled with photos from around the world of people surrounded by the color in a sign of unity.

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and marks the beginning of 16 days of activism , heading straight to Human Rights Day.

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Taliban Spokesman Reveals His Location via Twitter, Claims Conspiracy

taliban-fighters-300x225You may be shocked to learn on this Monday morning that one of the world’s most visible terrorist organizations has some trouble managing its social media presence.

Nearly two years ago, we noted that the Taliban had inadvertently revealed its entire mailing list thanks to a spokesperson who mistook “cc” for “bcc” when sending a press release to media contacts (and friendly Afghan politicians/warlords). We had a laugh at his rookie error before getting a little upset over the fact that the group A) has a media spokesman, B) distributes press releases and C) included a disturbing number of the United States’ own “allies” within the Afghan government on its distribution list.

Over the weekend, the group proved once again that it isn’t the greatest on social: its spokesperson accidentally showed the world his secret location via Twitter’s geomapping feature.

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Why Punishing the ‘Dancing Guard’ Might be a Bad PR Move for Buckingham Palace

By now, you’ve likely seen the viral video of a member of the illustrious Queen’s Guard taking a timeout from the tedium and seriousness of his back-and-forth marching to break into dance (if you haven’t been graced with the subtle awesomeness that is this video, it’s included below). Since the red-coated guards of Buckingham Palace are famously stern and aren’t even supposed to crack a smile — let alone bust a move — the fleet-footed, lighthearted guard has become something of a YouTube sensation, bringing mirth and giggles to millions.

But England’s Ministry of Defense isn’t laughing.

Now that the guard has been identified publicly as 20-year-old Samuel Jones, his friends and family worry that the powers that be will make an example of him in an effort to prevent similar shenanigans in the future.

A friend of Jones’ recently told The Evening Standard, “The strict routines of army life can get a bit heavy sometimes and Sam really enjoys cheering people up…He has no idea how seriously his latest stunt would be taken – and it has worried his family…It was just a prank and everyone is hoping his bosses don’t make too much of an example out of him.”

The possible penalties could include a £1,000 fine, a loss of privileges, and even a three-week prison sentence. Though a Ministry of Defense spokesperson told The Evening Standard last week it was unlikely that Jones would be jailed, he also made it clear that the guard certainly isn’t getting off scott free: “He will face some sort of action but it is more likely to be a fine. No decision has been made,” the representative said. Read more

Mexican Wal-Mart Under Fire for Allegedly Hosting In-Store Cockfight

walmart chickenIt’s going to take more than “clean up in aisle seven” to wash this one away.

Wal-Mart Mexico, or Walmex, has come under fire for allegedly hosting a cockfight in its Boca del Rio store in order to promote a soda company.

What happened to good old fashioned free samples?

If the allegations are proven true, the retailer could face fines of up to 96,000 pesos ($7,240), as cockfighting is illegal in Boca del Rio.

A Walmex spokesman, Antonio Ocaranza, said the the promotion was not actually a cockfight, as the roosters weren’t armed with blades, no betting took place, and none of the roosters were harmed.

“It wasn’t a cockfight,” Ocaranza told Bloomberg. “There wasn’t anything that would be in violation of any game regulations.”

Photos of the event (below) depict the penned roosters looking agitated and appearing to attack one another…so, there were cocks, and they fought, but it wasn’t technically a “cockfight” because the birds weren’t wielding weapons? Lovely, then. Read more

Groundskeeper Willie of The Simpsons Takes a Stand for Scottish Independence

Willie_s Views On Scottish Independence | THE SIMPSONS | ANIMATION on FOX - YouTube

It’s common for celebrities to publicly back political candidates or openly support causes they care about, but no one ever asks fictional cartoon characters what they think, and as it turns out, they might just have a lot to say — The latest pop culture icon to release a statement urging his countrymen to vote a certain way is none other than the (highly) animated Groundskeeper Willie of The Simpsons.

The proud Scotsman has officially weighed in on the upcoming vote that will decide whether Scotland will separate from the United Kingdom.

“Now, both sides of this argument have valid points,” Willie amicably admits at the beginning of the video (below, after the jump), but his true opinions become clear when he goes on to describe those opposing sides as “the freedom-loving heirs of the highland tradition, and those who enjoy crawling like worms under British boots.”

Well then. Read more

Burger King Japan Brings Back the Strangely Popular Black Burger

BN-EM432_bkingj_D_20140911023522Well, if Dr. Seuss taught us anything, it’s that strangely-colored food just tastes better (and can be eaten on a on a train, in the rain, in a boat, with a goat…).

But it isn’t green eggs and ham that have won the hearts of Burger King Japan‘s customers — it’s a black burger, complete with black bun, black cheese and black sauce. And while we, personally, may think the sandwich more closely resembles industrial waste than a viable lunch option, we are in the minority.

The black burgers, now called The Kuro Pearl burger and Kuro Diamond burger (“kuro” meaning black), were first introduced for a limited time in 2012. They became so popular that they outsold all other new products the company offered that year. Due to high demand, the burgers were temporarily brought back again in 2013. Now, the burger chain is hoping for an equally-warm welcome the third time around. Read more

Now the Sultan of Brunei Has His Eye on The Plaza Hotel in New York

plaza hotelThe Sultan of Brunei is looking to expand his holdings with the possible purchase of The Plaza hotel in New York City. That hotel plus two others come with a price tag of $2.2 billion. The current owner,  Subrata Roy, head of the Sahara Group, would like to sell in order to get his hands on some cash to get out of prison. He was arrested in India earlier this year on money laundering charges.

Back in May, the Sultan — and by extension, the Beverly Hills Hotel — faced some high-profile protesters including Jay Leno, Richard Branson and Ellen DeGeneres because of Sharia laws he put in place in April. These laws promise to inflict harsh punishments such as incarceration, stonings and amputation for “crimes” such as homosexuality, abortion and adultery.

“Christopher Cowdrey, CEO of the Dorchester Collection, which owns the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air, has been quick to respond, speaking to the media directly about the issue. But what he’s been saying is terrible,” we wrote at the time. The Sultan’s investment agency owns the Dorchester Collection.

These big-name Hollywood celebs asked for a boycott and promised to keep away from events held at these hotels until there was change. It cost $2 million in business.

New York has its fair share of celebrities. But more than that, what New York has is a lot of business travel in addition to millions of tourists per year. And a lot of high-end hospitality competition. Criticism on the East coast could be just as, if not more, potent.

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