While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 28

An undated photo supplied by Russia shows an intercontinental ballistic missile lifting off from a truck-mounted launcher. PHOTO: AP

New Russian weapon can travel 27 times the speed of sound

A new intercontinental weapon that can fly 27 times the speed of sound became operational on Friday, Russia's defence minister reported to President Vladimir Putin, bolstering the country's nuclear strike capability.

Putin has described the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle as a technological breakthrough comparable to the 1957 Soviet launch of the first satellite.

The new Russian weapon and a similar system being developed by China have troubled the United States, which has pondered defence strategies.

The Avangard is launched atop an intercontinental ballistic missile, but unlike a regular missile warhead that follows a predictable path after separation it can make sharp maneuvers in the atmosphere en route to target, making it much harder to intercept.

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Chinese man charged with photographing Navy base in Florida

A Chinese man was arrested while taking photos at a US Navy base in the Florida Keys, authorities said.

Witnesses spotted Liao Lyuyou, 27, walking around a perimeter fence of the Naval Air Station in Key West and entering the military facility from the rocks along the water, according to a federal complaint.

The witnesses warned Liao that he was trespassing in a restricted area, known as the Truman Annex, the Miami Herald reported.

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George Michael's sister dies on anniversary of pop icon's death

The sister of the late British pop icon George Michael was found dead on Christmas Day, three years to the day after the singer-songwriter died, the family and police said on Friday.

Melanie Panayiotou, 55, was found dead by her sister Yioda Panayiotou on Wednesday at her home in north London, according to reports.

"We can confirm that very tragically Melanie has passed away suddenly," the family's lawyer John Reid said in a statement.

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Football: Arsenal's Xhaka wants Hertha Berlin move in January, says agent

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka wants to leave the Premier League club in the January transfer window and sign with Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin, the player's agent has said.

Xhaka has had a fractured relationship with the fans since he reacted angrily to being booed when he was substituted against Crystal Palace in October.

"Look, I will say it frankly and honestly, we are in agreement with Hertha BSC and would like to go to Berlin," Xhaka's agent Jose Noguera told Swiss publication Blick.

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Star Wars TV series Mandalorian confirmed for season two

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The Mandalorian, the live-action Star Wars television series which introduced the world to Baby Yoda, has been confirmed for a second season.

Creator Jon Favreau posted the news on Twitter on Friday, the same day the first season drew to a close on streaming platform Disney+.

"Season 2 of #TheMandalorian coming Fall 2020," wrote Favreau, along with an image of a troll-like green space alien.

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