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Disney buys Fox, with huge implications for the film and television industries; a committee in Irish parliament votes to legalize abortion.
Get ready for a lot more bland blockbusters
- Disney just spent $52.4 billion to buy Rupert Murdoch's company 21st Century Fox — a sign that it plans to muscle in on online streaming services like Netflix, Apple, Amazon, and Google. [CNN Money / Hadas Gold and Charles Riley]
- This merger (which still has to be approved by antitrust regulators) is a big really deal for the film and television industries. [Forbes / Jonathan Berr]
- The big picture here is that there's an awful lot of consolidation of big media companies these days (something President Trump's FCC is making a lot easier). [Reuters / David Shepardson]
- Disney is one the biggest of those media companies, and the fact that it's only getting bigger means there's going to be less competition in the entertainment industry. That's sure to have ripple effects in what we, as media and entertainment consumers, get for movies and TV shows. [Vox / Todd VanDerWerff]
- If the deal goes through, Disney will own all of Fox's movie and television studios, including FX, the Fox broadcast network, and 20th Century Fox films. It would also own most of the streaming service Hulu. [LA Times]
- As Vox's Todd VanDerWerff points out, Disney is known for turning out huge blockbusters, many of which are cinematically safe and a bit bland. Fox, on the other hand, produces more adventurous (and critically acclaimed) films and shows, which could be impacted by the merger. [Vox / Todd VanDerWerff]
- The deal has been getting a lot of attention in pop culture circles because it also has big implication for superhero movies. Disney already owns Marvel but would be adding Fox (which has produced the X-Men and Fantastic Four movies). People seem to think this is a good thing, but again, there will be less competition, and therefore less of an incentive to take creative risks. [Vox / Alex Abad-Santos]
Ireland takes the first step toward legalizing abortion
- A committee in Irish parliament has voted for the first step toward possibly changing the country's strict anti-abortion laws. The full parliament still needs to vote on the recommendation. [BBC]
- The committee recently voted in favor of repealing the eighth amendment in the country's constitution, which effectively bans abortion and gives the unborn a right to life. It also voted to consider unrestricted abortion access up to 12 weeks. Ireland's prime minister has also promised to hold a referendum on the issue next year. [NYT / Ed O'Loughlin]
- Ireland's strict anti-abortion laws are informed by the country's strong ties to Catholicism, and faith leaders in the country so far have said they disagree with the decision. Many believe abortions should only be permitted in narrow circumstances, including when the life of the mother is in imminent danger. [Irish Times / Patsy McGarry]
- Public opinion polls have found that the majority of people in Ireland support repealing the eighth amendment, but they are still skeptical about fully legalizing abortion in all circumstances up to 22 weeks. [Guardian / Henry McDonald]
- Something's afoot in Vancouver, where 13 human feet have washed ashore since 2007. Apparently, it doesn't even bother the locals anymore (police don't suspect foul play). [NYT / Matthew Haag]
- Wisconsin's government is moving toward dramatic changes to its welfare program, including proposals to drug-test food stamp applicants. It could have an ally in the Trump administration. [Atlantic / Vann Newkirk II]
- Imagine a penguin as tall as a 5-foot-10 human, weighing about 220 pounds. That's the size of a species of recently discovered prehistoric penguins, also known as "monster birds." [NPR / Rhitu Chatterjee]
- Tattoo artist Kat Von D used to be known mostly as the girlfriend to various stars in the mid-aughts. Since then, she's built a formidable beauty empire and has become an outspoken force in the industry. [Racked / Cheryl Wischhover]
"Well ... queenmaker." [Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, when asked if he was uneasy about being a "kingmaker" by naming his Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to Al Franken's US Senate seat]
Watch this: Star Wars’ infamous Holiday Special, explained
How the 1978 spinoff accidentally shaped the Star Wars universe. [YouTube / Christophe Haubursin and Mac Schneider]
On opioids, the White House keeps talking and planning — but not doing anything of significance
Net neutrality is now officially on life support. Here’s what happens next.
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Greenland's ice sheet is driving global sea level rise. One section is melting 80% faster.