While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 25 edition

Panic at US shopping mall amid reports of gunshots

Panic erupted at a US mall packed with Christmas Eve shoppers, amid reports of a shooting inside.

Local broadcaster WBTV, citing an unnamed witness, said that a gunman was shot and killed by an officer.

WBTV quoted a witness as saying there was arguing before shots were fired, also suggesting the shooting was the result of a dispute of some sort.


Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr granted pardon for 1990s drug conviction

California Governor Jerry Brown pardoned actor Robert Downey Jr for drug and weapon offences committed in the 1990s, following the entertainer’s request for clemency.

Downey was convicted in 1996 of possession of a controlled substance, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle with a prior conviction, driving under the influence with prior convictions and being under the influence of a controlled substance, according to the governor’s pardon.

The actor’s legal troubles gave him a reputation as one of Hollywood’s so-called “bad boys,” threatening to derail his career.


Canadian proposes by sending ring into space

Canadian Shawn Wright was looking for an out-of-this-world marriage proposal.

So, he attached the engagement ring to a balloon rig and sent it 33km above the earth to the edge of space, while filming the whole journey.

Wright and now-fiancee Maylynn Stephenson have been together for six years. The couple will tie the knot next year in Bali.


New York City sees record warmth on Christmas Eve

New Yorkers doing some last-minute shopping on Christmas Eve left their winter coats at home as temperatures soared to record highs.

The mercury hit 21 deg C in the morning, prompting some people in the Big Apple to head out in T-shirts, even though skies were overcast.

The previous record for Dec 24 - 17 deg C - dates back to 1996.


World champion weightlifter Aleksei Lovchev banned over doping test

World champion Aleksei Lovchev of Russia has been suspended for failing a doping test, the International Weightlifting Federation said on its website.

The 26-year-old, who is also the 105kg world record holder, was found to have traces of the banned substance Ipamorelin in his 'A' sample.

"I think this problem has a political motive," Lovchev told the All Sport news agency.