Breakfast Briefing, 12.19.2016: A 'surreal' end to 2016

Merriam-Webster picks its word of the year for 2016.

And the word of the year is…"surreal," according to Merriam-Webster. The dictionary-maker said people are looking up the word in much greater numbers than last year due to several history-making news events, not the least of which was the U.S. presidential election. Bonus: "surreal" beat out "fascism" for the distinction.


Bana Alabed exits Aleppo safely. The seven-year-old Twitter phenomenon has left the besieged Syrian city safely, according to the nonprofit Syrian American Medical Society. Alabed amassed a worldwide following on the platform as she began tweeting about daily life in Aleppo.


Garden State lawmakers to make decision on legal notices. Legislators in New Jersey are set to take up a measure that could drop the requirement that state and local governments run legal notices in newspapers. Publishers have said waiving the requirement, which could cost them millions in revenue, is retribution from Governor Chris Christie for tough coverage.

Settlement could be even costlier for Volkswagen. The good news for the German automaker is that it is near a deal to settle claims related to its diesel scandal. The bad news is that an agreement could cost Volkswagen an additional $1 billion related to large diesel and luxury cars, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Smashburger apologizes to police. The company issued a statement over the weekend saying sorry to police after employees at a Denver-area restaurant put NWA’s "F*ck the Police" on repeat as officers ate. The company has put staffers at the location on leave as it investigates.

Chinese state media pokes fun at Trump’s grammar shortcomings. The state-controlled Global Times newspaper said President-elect Donald Trump isn’t behaving presidentially by provoking China on Twitter and poked fun at his "unpresidented" spelling error. Trump tweeted late last week about the two countries’ dispute over an underwater drone in the Pacific.

Snapchat and celebrities. Most social networks go to great lengths to get celebrities and other influencers to use their platforms, but Snapchat is different. The New York Times looks at how the company has attracted bold-face names by playing hard-to-get. 

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