Warning: This article contains information about domestic violence and suicide which may be distressing for some readers.
1. Backpacker Amelia was on the Australian trip of a lifetime, when she was killed in a suspected murder-suicide allegedly at the hands of her older lover.
Amelia Blake was meant to be planning the next international adventure of her adult life.
The 22-year-old, originally from Britain, had been in Australia for eight months and had just returned from three months working on a farm in Colignan, near Mildura in Victoria.
She was planning a trip to Vietnam, before she planned to return to Australia to explore Tasmania. She then intended to return to the UK to visit her family and friends.
But last week, Amelia's body was found next to that of her older, Nepalese boyfriend in her tiny Newtown apartment in the inner suburbs of Sydney. Her body was reportedly riddled with injuries, including head wounds.
Her exact cause of death is yet to be confirmed.
Police believe Amelia was murdered by her partner, believed to be aged in his 30s and whose identity has not yet been released, before he took his own life.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Amelia had only just started dating the man, and their bodies were discovered by a landlord on Friday who stopped by the apartment to check the mail.
Neighbour Scott Haggarty told The Daily Telegraph the couple, who mostly kept to themselves, seemed "happy".
A close friend, based in London, also said that Amelia had recently fallen ill but was looking forward to travelling more in 2018.
The young woman's desire for adventure was clear - her bio on in her Instagram page read, "I see my path, but I don't know where it leads. Not knowing where I'm going is what inspired me to travel it."
Detectives are continuing to investigate the deaths, and are urging anyone with information to come forward.
Amelia's family are currently on their way to Sydney from England.
If you or someone you know is in need of help, please call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT.
2. In an historic move, North and South Korea will march together under one flag at the Winter Olympics next month.
The two Koreas will field a combined women's ice hockey team and march together under one flag at next month's Winter Olympics in the South, Seoul says.
North and South Korea began talking for the first time in more than two years last week, offering a respite from a months-long stand off over Pyongyang's pursuit of nuclear and missile programmes, although Japan urged caution over the North's "charm offensive".
The two Koreas will compete as a unified team in the Olympics for the first time, though they have joined forces at other international sports events before.
North Korea will send a delegation of more than 400, including 230 cheerleaders, 140 artists and 30 Taekwondo players for a demonstration, AAP reports.
Prior to the Games, the sides will carry out joint training for skiers at the North's Masik Pass resort and a cultural event at the Mount Kumgang resort, for which Seoul officials plan to visit the sites next week.
The delegation is expected to begin arriving in South Korea on January 25.
The North will separately send a 150-strong delegation to the Paralympics.
The South's Unification Ministry said the two sides exchanged opinions on several issues, including the size of the North Korean athletics team and joint cultural events.
Seoul has proposed a joint ice hockey team, which triggered an angry response from athletes in the South suddenly being told they may have to play alongside total strangers.
"I don't know if it will happen, but a joint team will be a good opportunity for ice hockey to shed its sorrow as a less-preferred sport as many Koreans will take interest," South Korean President Moon Jae-in told players during a visit to a training centre.
Paik Hak-soon, the director of the Centre for North Korean studies at Sejong Institute in South Korea, said North Korea was using the cheering squad to draw attention to its apparent cooperative spirit.
On Tuesday, officials from North and South agreed a 140-person North Korean orchestra would perform in South Korea during the Games.
Fancy a cuppa? Research says you should definitely pour another cup if you're in need of a few good ideas.
According to The Sun, researchers from Peking University, China found that drinking just half a cup of tea was enough to inspire new and creative ideas in its drinkers. And the genius started after just a few minutes.
Of the 90 volunteers who took part in the study, half were given a cup of tea to drink while the remaining subjects were given a glass of water. Those who drank tea were found to be more imaginative in tests - one of which included coming up with a creative name for a noodle restaurant - than those who were given water.
Tea is known to contain caffeine and theanine, which boosts mental speed, accuracy and focus. However, these effects usually take half an hour to an hour to kick in, with this testing showing an improved mental capacity after just a few minutes.
Researchers concluded this means tea must have an overall positive mental effect, believing it boosts people's moods, which in turns helps them relax and think more clearly.
"The current research demonstrates that drinking tea can improve creative performance with divergent thinking," study leader Yan Huang said.
"This work contributes to understanding the function of tea on creativity and offers a new way to investigate the relationship between food and beverage consumption and the improvement of human cognition."
The body of a woman, believed to be aged in her 50s, has been found inside a bin at a property on Sydney's northern beaches, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Police made the discovery at a block of units on Wyndora Avenue at Freshwater after being alerted around lunchtime on Wednesday. A crime scene was quickly established.
Forensic technicians are combing over the driveway at the rear of the property.
The woman's death is being treated as suspicious and investigations are underway, police say, but it's believed she may have died from 'misadventure'. Her identity has not yet been released, but it's believed she is a longtime resident of the building.
A resident of the block of units, who did not want to be named, told The Daily Telegraph they feared the body belonged to one of their neighbours.
"I have been living here since I was a child, and I live here with my mum and we are both worried about who this might be," the neighbour said.
"The police can't tell me anything and we are not able to get back into our flat."
Authorities are also urging anyone with information in relation to the death to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Australia may have had its fair share of bizarre weather in recent months, but it's nothing compared to what plagued the Russian capital of Moscow during the month of December.
Moscow, a gloomy and cold place for many, plunged into further darkness in December as the sun shined over the Russian capital for only six minutes, AAP reports.
The Hydrometeorological Centre of Russia announced that December 2017 was recorded as the darkest month in the city's history.
The last month of the year is traditionally the darkest throughout Russia, according to the Meteonovosti weather portal.
"Last December was the darkest month in the history of weather observations," Meteonovosti reported.
Roman Vilfand, the head of Russia's meteorological centre, told the RBC business website that the sun peaked out of the clouds for only six minutes.
"It was an extraordinary situation," he said, citing warm temperatures - 5.8C higher than average - and cyclones that caused clouds to block out the sun.
The last record was set in December 2000, when Moscow only saw three hours of direct sunlight in the entire month.
6. Meet Rusty, the beloved family pet who hitched a ride and accidentally ended up 1600km from home.
A beloved family dog ended up 1600km from his Queensland home after he hitched a ride on a truck while his family were on holidays.
According to 9 News, the three-year-old Australian Terrier went missing earlier this month from the Goondiwindi cattle property of a family who was caring for him while his owners were away.
After wandering from the property and sneaking into the undercarriage of a truck, Rusty ended up in Snowtown, South Australia, a whopping 1600km from his origin.
Upon finding Rusty curled at the wheel of his truck "in a little ball", truck driver - and dog lover - Paul McDowell said he had no choice but to give the loveable pup a ride.
Rusty has so far spent more than 10 days in Snowtown, and has fast become a favourite to the locals.
"He's quite content and quite happy," resident Shirley Talbot told 9 News.
"He just wanted to go on his own holiday, finding his own family and no matter where it was, he was going."
Luckily, Rusty is due to be reunited with his family next week, and he'll be taking a much quicker route: pet travel company JetPets has offered to fly Rusty home to Queensland.