Jay Z-funded ‘Uber for planes’ gets $146M boost

The company has actually been in existence for several years, but the latest financial boost it’s received has pushed it into ‘Series C’ funding, which means it can now significantly increase the number of routes available in the US. The company has a value of more than $2 billion, and Mr Petrossov says he has plans to expand the service to up to 100 new markets by the end of next year. JetSmarter provides a service that allows you to order a private plane via an app in the same way you might order a taxi – and members have the option of booking a single seat or fully charter a plane. To become a core member requires a US$15,000 (NZ$20,800) fee, which allows them a selection of free flights and the ability to take non-members with them on their journeys for a comparatively reasonable price. He also said the company plans to venture into ‘on-demand’ access to private planes for non-members. A private jet booking service that’s drawn comparisons with Uber has just received a US$105 million (NZ$145.7 million) cash injection in a push to send it to new heights. US hip-hop mogul Jay-Z is heavily involved in the project, alongside founder Sergey Petrossov and several members of the Saudi royal family.

Ed Sheeran returns to Twitter with cryptic message

The British pop-singer, best known for hits like ‘Sing’ and ‘Thinking out Loud’, returned to Twitter this evening to post a single blue square. The cryptic image, which came with no caption, was enough to send fans of the singer into a frenzy, speculating if new music could be on the way. Sheeran went on social media hiatus last year, saying he would rather not see the world through a screen. Fans of Sheeran joked that he had “singlehandedly saved 2016” with his simple tweet. Adding to the mystery, the singer’s manager Stuart Camp changed his profile picture to the same image at exactly the same time. Sheeran last released music in 2015, with his commercially and critically successful album ‘x’ going seven times platinum in New Zealand. Ed Sheeran has returned to social media exactly 12 months after he left it – right down to the minute.

Moana stars celebrate Golden Globes nominations at NZ premiere

The third local talent is Jemaine Clement, playing a massive kleptomaniac crab called Tamatoa. Three of the lead roles are played by Kiwis. Moana’s Gramma Tala is voiced by Rachel House, and Temuera Morrison is behind the character of her father, Chief Tui. Disney film Moana has scored two Golden Globe nominations for Best Animated Film and Best Original Song – just in time for the Kiwi cast of the film to celebrate at its New Zealand premiere on Tuesday night. See the video for interviews with the actors.

Warriors and Breakers battle it out in cross-code Call of Duty

“I think there are half a dozen players, maybe more, that play on the Playstation.”
The Call of Duty Infinite Warfare Premiership final will air on Sky Sport on December 21st. “Yeah, I think it is [strong],” says Lolohea of the Warriors gaming culture. E-Sport is burgeoning across the globe, and now has its own governing body which is seeking recognition by the International Olympic Committee as an official Olympic sport. “That would be pretty cool to go to the Olympics and just sit in a chair with the controller and let your fingers do the talking, I guess it’s pretty cool if that can happen,” says Warrior Tuimoala Lolohea. “Even in this country our viewership and rating across online and TV already eclipse some of the more traditional sports like hockey and netball, an early mark for E-Sports in New Zealand,” says Let’s Play Live organiser Duane Mutu. Gaming is clearly a popular past-time among professional sports teams, particularly when they’re on the road. “I do it in my free time because you can’t always play basketball, you’ve got to be off your feet a little bit and having gaming in the background is pretty good,” says Breakers centre Rob Loe. The sport has grown exponentially over the last decade and is now a billion dollar industry, attracting viewership in excess of some of the world’s biggest sporting events. By Ravinder Singh
The Breakers, Warriors, and some of New Zealand’s top gamers treated local punters at Skycity Auckland to a rare Call of Duty Premiership event held by Let’s Play Live on Monday. The Breakers wanted a chance to play against the Warriors who are currently ambassadors for the sport of gaming, with the two set to go head to head in a cross-code battle as curtain-raiser for the Call of Duty Premiership final next week.

Netflix causes outrage with suicide ad

“This is a very triggering thing to tweet,” wrote another, with an account named Sammay Nickalls. Netflix hasn’t yet responded to the criticism of the video, but other Twitter users have made light of it. The tweet follows an earlier message on the Netflix US account, which simply asks: “Have you seen death?”
Netflix appears to be promoting its new show The OA with the shocking video, a move that has been slammed by many of its followers. Some of us have actually dealt with suicide in real life and don’t need to be reminded of this,” added @ivyleaguepunk. It’s fake amateur mobile phone footage of a blonde woman approaching the railing on a vehicle bridge before leaping over the side. “Have you seen bad advertising?” replied one Twitter user. “Is this the trailer for Fuller House Season 2? “Please delete this. The video was published on the streaming service’s Twitter account, causing it to auto-play on followers’ timelines, without a caption. Taking a dark turn aren’t we?” asked one, while others referred to the death of video stores and characters named Death. “Tweeting a video of literal suicide to over two million people is completely f**ked up.”
Warning: The video is embedded below. Netflix is facing a backlash after using footage depicting a woman committing suicide to promote one of its products, without context.

Kim Kardashian returns with sexy lingerie video

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian has returned to the spotlight with a sexy video for Love magazine’s annual advent calendar. The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star, 36, has been keeping an uncharacteristic low profile since she was robbed at gunpoint in Paris in October. She’s the latest model in Love’s daily December video series, coming after her half-sister Kendall Jenner who

Brady Bunch star loses radio job over homophobic rant

Former The Brady Bunch star Susan Olsen has been fired from her job as a radio host in Los Angeles after posting a homophobic rant on Facebook. The 55-year-old former child star attacked gay actor Leon Acord-Whiting in an expletive-filled message, after chatting with him on her LA Talk Radio show.

Extra Adele tickets all sold out

A temporary stand is being erected at the Mt Smart Stadium venue that will hold an extra 5000 people at each of the three gigs in March. Adele is performing at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium on March 23, 25 and 26 2017. The British ‘Hello’ hitmaker’s first ever New Zealand concerts sold out their initial ticket allocations in under 30 minutes – breaking multiple records as over 100,000 were snapped up. VIP packages are still available to the three shows. Promoter Live Nation announced the 15,000 extra tickets on Monday night, which went on sale on Tuesday at 9am. The 15,000 extra Adele tickets that went on sale Tuesday morning for her 2017 Auckland concerts were all sold in just ten minutes, according to the promoter.

Moana nominated for two Golden Globes

Oscar-nominated filmmaker New Zealander, Taika Waititi, helped write the script for the film that centres on a Polynesian princess called Moana. It’s been nominated for Best Animated Motion Picture and Best Original Song for a Motion Picture. Animated feature film Moana has been nominated for two Golden Globes.

La La Land leads Golden Globe Awards film nominations

Director Damian Chazelle is also nominated, and the film is up for the Best Musical or Comedy award. Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams both received acting nominations for their work in Manchester By The Sea, which is also up for Best Drama and Best Director (Keith Lonergan). The Best Drama category is rounded out with nominations for Hell or High Water, starring Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges; Lion, starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara; and Hacksaw Ridge. In that category, it’ll be up against Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool, Meryl Streep’s Florence Foster Jenkins, Sing Street and 20th Century Women. The film also garnered Supporting Actor nominations for Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris. La La Land looks set to be the darling of the upcoming awards season, leading nominations for the 2017 Golden Globe Awards with seven nods, including in the Best Actor Musical Comedy categories for stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Coming-of-age drama Moonlight also received several nominations – up for six awards including Best Drama, Best Director (Barry Jenkins) and Best Screenplay.

Beached Az Whale returns to farewell John Key

The video is Beached Az’s first original clip for nearly two years, and is one of only a few posted since the ABC Network canned their TV version of the cartoon in 2010. Everyone’s favourite beached whale has made a long-awaited return to the internet to say its final goodbye to now-former Prime Minister John Key. The whale and his friend the seagull performed a song to thank Mr Key for taking to the job like “a jandal on the fin”, a play on Elton John’s famous track ‘Candle in the Wind’. The clip even consists of a ‘Key’ change to symbolise the handing of power to former Finance Minister Bill English. Beached Az rose to prominence in 2008, after taking aim at aspects of the New Zealand accent and slang in a comedic manner.

The woman behind Bill English’s poem

Marsh hopes it shows Mr English will be a compassionate leader. “You work with what you have, and everybody has something to contribute to your leadership vision,” she says. The woman who wrote it, poet Selina Tusitala Marsh, says it’s about seeing the potential in everybody. After securing the position last week, there wasn’t much surprising about Bill English being confirmed as our new Prime Minister today. Except in the way he chose to begin the job, with a poem aptly titled Lead. As Marsh read her poem, she spotted the Prime Minister-elect in the crowd. “The bill is definitely in the mail,” Marsh jokes. “I think it means he recognises how the creative and critical can work together, not just in terms of knowledge production and stimulation, but in touching people and connecting people.”
And while she’s thrilled her poem has been given a national audience, Mr English shouldn’t expect to avoid paying a royalty cheque. “He was taking notes, writing down the words of the poem so he could colonise them, so he could riff off them,” she says. Mr English and Marsh both spoke at The Global Women Breakthrough Leaders Celebration Dinner on Thursday, shortly after his two rivals for the top job dropped out.

Pastor films himself ruining Christmas for Texas kids

Jesus was born 2016 years ago. He was born in a manger in a small town called Bethlehem.”
He explains the Santa they’re about to meet “is just a man in a suit dressed up like Santa, but Santa does not exist”. Shutup. “We don’t need you coming over here and blabbing whatever the hell you’re blabbing. “In reality, there are no flying reindeer. “I’ve got my kids over there,” says another. He flips the camera around, revealing parents and kids waiting to see Santa. “We’re going to tell the children here the truth that there is no Santa Claus, and that Christmas is about Jesus Christ,” he says in the clip, filmed at Westgate Mall in Amarillo. There is no workshop at the North Pole. “Shutup. Stop,” says one. Stop. Santa Claus does not exist. Mr Grisham’s group Repent Amarillo made headlines in 2010 when it tried to burn a copy of the Quran on a grill. “Kids, I want to tell you today there is no such thing as Santa Claus. There is no elves making toys.”
It doesn’t take long for angry dads to accost Mr Grisham. Stop. “I know I don’t want any of my grandkids going out there if there’s any chance this horrible excuse of a human being will be allowed to do this,” said one shopper. “Folks my name is Pastor David,” he tells them. The plot was foiled when a local skater grabbed the Muslim holy book. Outraged parents in Texas want a pastor banned from shopping malls after he filmed himself telling kids Santa doesn’t exist. Go.”
Shoppers took to Westgate Mall’s Facebook page to urge the mall to ban Mr Grisham. “I hope you will have security stationed nearby in case he comes back. He’s already posted that he plans to return.”
“If David Grisham returns to your mall to verbally assault children and parents waiting for Santa (as he promises to do on his FB page), what are your intentions?” wrote another. David Grisham of Repent Amarillo and Last Frontier Evangelism uploaded the video to Facebook on Sunday (NZ time). The Christmas season is about Jesus. Stop. “I said ‘Dude, you have no Quran,’ and ran off,” Jacob Isom told media at the time. “Westgate is private property, so you are within your rights to ban him form the premises.”
The mall replied to each complainant, saying Mr Grisham will be asked to leave if he does it again.

Adele in NZ: Extra seating announced for Mt Smart Stadium gigs

Another 15,000 tickets to Adele’s Auckland gigs will go on sale on Tuesday, with a temporary stand at Mt Smart Stadium being built. Promoter Live Nation announced on Monday night an extra 5000 fans will be able to attend each show, with a grandstand temporarily gracing the stadium’s north bank. More than 100,000 people will see Adele over the three nights in March 2017. The new tickets go on sale on Tuesday at 9am, available from livenation.co.nz. The British singing superstar sold out her original two shows in minutes, and tickets to a third went in half-an-hour.

Confused koala mistakes man’s leg for tree

“Oh my god – are you filming this? “No, he’s just a koala,” his friend replies. I’ve never seen that before,” the friend says. It turned out to be just as interested in them, as they were in it. She was wrong – around three-quarters of koalas in the wild have chlamydia, and in rare cases it can jump species. An Australian man out to get closer to nature got more than he bargained for when a koala mistook him for a tree. “He thinks this is a tree… that’s not a tree!”
Mr Kearney wasn’t so thrilled. Trent Kearney was hiking in Morialta Conservation Park in South Australia when he came across the iconic Australian marsupial. Eventually, the koala finds a real tree to climb, to everyone’s relief. You have a baby koala on your leg. “Am I gonna get a disease from him?” he asks. Don’t run away from him.”
That’s when the koala made his move. “He’s gonna come on you,” an off-camera friend can be heard telling Mr Kearney in video supplied to network Channel 7. “He wants to come and see you.