While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 9 edition

Massive fires dominate Los Angeles skyline

A pair of massive fires burst across the Los Angeles skyline early on Monday, damaging four buildings and closing down freeways during the morning commute.

No injuries were reported but the flames near a downtown freeway interchange could be seen for kilometres and billowing clouds of smoke closed down adjacent highways in two directions.

City fire officials were unable to give an immediate cause for the blaze, which severely damaged a seven-story apartment building that was under construction. Damage to the structure appeared to be nearly total. Flames spread for a whole city block, nearly a 9.29  square kilometres, officials said.

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Malala Yousafzai to star in Nobel ceremony, with blood-soaked school uniform on display

Malala Yousafzai picks up her Nobel Peace Prize on Wednesday, but the youngest ever laureate already has an even more startling memento from her young life: the blood-soaked school uniform she wore when shot by the Taleban.

The 17-year-old Pakistani known everywhere as Malala shares the peace prize with the Indian campaigner Kailash Satyarthi, 60, who has fought for 35 years to free thousands of children from virtual slave labour.

But visitors to the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo can catch a reminder of the very different circumstances that led to Malala's rise in the international spotlight. The centre has on loan the uniform the then 15-year-old Malala was wearing in 2012 when a Taleban gunman shot her on a school bus in response to her campaign for girls' education.

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NASA Mars rover finds key evidence for lake at landing site

Billions of years ago, a lake once filled the 154-kilometre wide crater being explored by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, bolstering evidence that the planet most like Earth in the solar system was suitable for microbial life, scientists said on Monday.

The new findings combine more than two years of data collected by the rover since its sky-crane landing inside Gale Crater in August 2012.

Scientists discovered stacks of rocks containing water-deposited sediments inclined toward the crater's centre, which now sports a 5 km mound called Mount Sharp. That would mean that Mount Sharp didn't exist during a period of time roughly 3.5 billion years ago when the crater was filled with water, Curiosity researchers told reporters during a conference call.

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Internet star Zoella had 'help' writing book Girl Online

Young British YouTube star Zoella, whose debut novel sold a record number of copies in Britain in its first week, has admitted she had "help" writing the book.

Girl Online became the fastest-selling work by a first-time author in Britain since records began in 1998, selling more than 78,000 copies in seven days when it was published last month. Zoe Sugg, 24, became a YouTube sensation under the pseudonym Zoella when she started a "vlog", or video blog, in 2009, filled with fashion, beauty and lifestyle tips for young women and girls.

A spokesman for publisher Penguin Random House confirmed Monday that "Sugg did not write Girl Online on her own".

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International Olympic Committee clears way for more than one Games host city

The International Olympic Committee on Monday voted to allow host cities to move events to other towns, or countries, in a break with the tradition of keeping the Games in one location.

The decision fuels speculation regarding the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, with sources saying that talks were being held to move the sliding competitions to Japan.

IOC President Thomas Bach did not rule out such a move, saying any change would be done after discussions with the hosts.

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