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NBC News fired popular Today show host Matt Lauer after a colleague accused him of inappropriate sexual behaviour, the network said on Wednesday.

The married 59-year-old US news star's termination sent shockwaves through US morning television, where Lauer has been a fixture since becoming a Today anchor in 1997.

The complaint made by an unnamed female colleague on Monday night was a "clear violation" by Lauer of the company's standards, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack said in a statement.

"While it is the first complaint about his behaviour in the over 20 years he's been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident," Mr Lack said.

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The network issued a second statement in response to a report in Hollywood trade publication Variety that said several women had complained to the network about Lauer's behaviour.

"We can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer's conduct," an NBC spokesman said.

The news was announced by Today co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb at the start of the talk show.

"We just learned this moments ago just this morning," Guthrie said, visibly shaken. "As I'm sure you can imagine, we are devastated." - REUTERS

Freeze! Pororo's sliding into town

Get up close to Pororo The Little Penguin at UE Square Shopping Mall today and Rochester Mall tomorrow.

The characters from the popular Korean animated series will hold meet-and-greet sessions between noon and 3pm at the Level 1 Skylight Atrium at UE Square, and noon and 5pm at Rochester Mall Levels 1 to 3. While you are there, check out festive programmes such as Green Christmas craft workshops.

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Liu Yifei cast as new Mulan star

China's Liu Yifei has beaten about 1,000 candidates to win the title role in Disney's upcoming live-action remake of Mulan.

The studio confirmed on Wednesday that the actress will play Hua Mulan in a 2019 version of the Chinese folk tale and the 1994 animated film.

The Hollywood Reporter said Liu, 30, was found after a year-long search across five continents. Casting directors were looking for a young ethnic Chinese woman who had martial arts skills and star quality, and could speak English, the report said. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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