While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 19 edition

US brands movie studio hack a national security breach

The cyber attack that forced Sony Pictures to scrap a comedy about North Korea is a “serious national security matter,” the White House warned on Thursday, threatening an “appropriate response.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest declined to confirm reports that North Korea had attacked the movie giant, which pulled the the film after hackers invoked 9/11 in threatening attacks on cinemas.

Sony defended its decision to cancel the release of The Interview, a movie about a fictional CIA plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, saying "This is bigger than us."

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Jilted man finds travel partner with ex-fiancee's name for round-the-world plane ticket

Dumped by his fiancee last month, Jordan Axani lost not just his future bride, but a travel companion for the round-the-world trip he had been planning to leave on next week.

The non-refundable, non-transferable plane tickets - usable only under his name and that of his former love - might have been forfeited.

But Axani, 28, posted an ad on the social networking site Reddit, seeking a female travel partner answering to Elizabeth Gallagher - the same name as the woman who had jilted him a few weeks earlier.

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Rosetta comet-landing is Science journal's 2014 breakthrough

The top scientific breakthrough of 2014 was the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft's rendezvous with a comet, the US journal Science said Thursday.

Other top feats in the journal's annual top 10 issue included research that showed blood from a young mouse can rejuvenate the muscles and brains of older mice, leading to a clinical trial in humans with Alzheimer's disease.

Another was teams of termite-inspired robots that collaborate to get a task done without human supervision.

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After 70 years, US judge clears executed black teen

A judge in the southern US state of South Carolina has thrown out the conviction of a black teenager executed 70 years ago for the murder of two white girls.

George Stinney was 14 when he became the youngest person to undergo the death penalty in the United States in the 20th century.

In a 29-page ruling, South Carolina circuit court judge Carmen Tevis Mullen said "fundamental, Constitutional violations of due process" existed during Stinney's prosecution.

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Basketball: Jordan's game-worn shoes fetch $43,000

A pair of sneakers worn by Michael Jordan when he played basketball at the University of North Carolina sold for US$33,387 (S$43,902) on Thursday, US media reported.

Grey Flannel Auctions, which sold the shoes, told ESPN they were consigned by a high school team-mate of Jordan and that the winning bidder preferred to remain anonymous.

Last December, shoes worn by Jordan in the fabled "flu game" of the 1997 NBA finals fetched US$104,765 at auction.

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