While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 23 edition

North Korea hit by 'continuous' Internet outages, cyber-attack suspected: reports

North Korea appeared to have been hit by Internet outages, reports said Monday, just days after US President Barack Obama warned Washington would retaliate for a cyber attack on Sony Pictures blamed on Pyongyang.

The New York Times reported the country's Internet had gone "completely dark".

According to respected US-based cybersecurity firm Dyn Research, Internet connectivity between the remote North Korea and the outside world, never good at the best of times, seemed to have been severely affected in recent hours - suggesting it may be under attack.

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Six killed as lorry mows down Christmas shoppers "like pinballs" in Glasgow

Six people were killed when a rubbish lorry ran out of control and careered down a pavement crowded with Christmas shoppers in Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, on Monday, people, police said, in what appeared to be a tragic accident.

“Sadly, six people have died as a result of the George Square major road incident,” Police Scotland said on Twitter. 

One eyewitness described the vehicle knocking people down "like pinballs" as it veered out of control over a distance of around 300 metres only stopping when it crashed into the side of a hotel.

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Air China orders 60 Boeing 737s for more than US$6 billion

Boeing announced Monday it would sell 60 of its 737 jets to Air China for more than US$6 billion (S$7.91 billion) in its latest big deal with an air carrier from an emerging economy.

The deal will include "next generation" 737 and 737 MAX airplanes, which are known for their fuel efficiency, Boeing said.

Deliveries are expected between 2016 and 2020, Air China said.

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United States fines French industrial giant Alstom record US$772 million in bribery case

French industrial giant Alstom will plead guilty and pay a record US$772.3 million (S$1.02 billion) penalty in a wide-ranging foreign bribery case, the US Justice Department announced Monday.

Alstom admitted to bribing officials to win power and transportation projects from state-owned entities around the world, including Indonesia, Taiwan, the Bahamas, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

In total, Alstom paid more than US$75 million in bribes to secure US$4 billion in projects around the world with a profit of approximately US$300 million, US prosecutors said.

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Legendary soulful singer Joe Cocker dies at age 70

Raspy-voiced, Grammy-and-Oscar winning singer Joe Cocker, a Grammy-and-Oscar-winning singer best known for his cover of the Beatles' With A Little Help From My Friends and the ballad You Are So Beautiful, has died, his agent said on Monday. He was 70.

Marshall Arts, the company of Cocker's agent Barrie Marshall in England, confirmed on Sunday that he had died, the BBC reported. Marshall did not reveal his cause of death.

However, The Yorkshire Post, the singer's hometown newspaper in England, said that Cocker had been battling lung cancer and died in Colorado in the United States , where he had long lived, AFP reported.

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