Amy Held

An iridescent streak lit up the sky over Southern California on Friday night, stopping traffic and leading some residents to marvel and others to worry about a UFO or even a nuclear bomb attack. In reality, it was a SpaceX rocket lifting off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, north of Santa Barbara, Calif., carrying 10 satellites for the Iridium constellation. They will be used in mobile voice and data communications.

That white lie about snow on Christmas, "just like the ones I used to know," is probably going to remain a nostalgic lyric for most of the country. But for millions of people along the projected path of a system forming Saturday in the Great Plains that is forecast to become a nor'easter in New England by Monday, a white Christmas is looking more like a reality.

"We are going to have a decent swath of snow," meteorologist Marc Chenard with the National Weather Service tells NPR.

Beginning Saturday, a couple of inches are expected in Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska.

When a fire broke out around 6 a.m. local time Saturday at the ZSL London Zoo, keepers living on-site moved quickly to evacuate the animals' enclosures, moving them to safety before firefighters' arrival, according to the zoo.

Despite their efforts, a 9-year-old aardvark named Misha died in the blaze and four meerkats were missing as of early Saturday afternoon local time.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the eighth episode in the widely popular intergalactic series, ascended to first place among American and Canadian movie-goers in its debut weekend.

From Friday through Sunday, it brought in an estimated $220 million domestically, making it the No. 1 debut of the year, according to Disney. Its weekend haul also earns it the title of the second biggest domestic debut of all time, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, its predecessor released in 2015.

Police have launched an investigation after a woman working at the British Embassy was found strangled on a roadside outside the capitol city of Beirut on Saturday, Lebanese officials said.

NPR's Ruth Sherlock has confirmed with the embassy that the victim is Rebecca Dykes, a British national.

"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca," her family said in a statement, released by the Foreign Office. "We are doing all we can to understand what happened. We request that the media respect our privacy."

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