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The News Matrix: Friday 1 March 2013

Missing Americans turn up at base

Two missing Americans feared kidnapped in the Amazon have turned up at a military base in Peru. Jamie Neal and Garrett Hand, both in their mid-twenties, triggered alarms after stopping their Facebook posts and withdrawing money from their bank accounts a month ago. MORE

Stolen artwork back on display in Venice

A Renaissance sculpture stolen by a security expert in 2003 will go on display in Vienna today. Benvenuto Cellini's La Saliera aroused international interest when Robert Mang outwitted high-tech motion sensors and around-the-clock guards to steal the artwork.

Death penalty for Islamist leader

An Islamist party leader has been sentenced to death over abuses carried out during the country's 1971 war of independence. Delwar Hossain Sayedee was found guilty on eight of 20 counts involving killings, rape and other offences committed during the war against Pakistan. MORE

Raising a glass of leeky ale for St David

A brewery has produced a special ale to celebrate St David's Day – flavoured with leeks. Food North Wales and Conwy Brewery created Leeky Barrel using caramelised leeks, which were infused during the brewing process to create a dark, sweet tasting ale.

Man charged over Union flag protests

One of the chief organisers of street demonstrations protesting against the lowering of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall in Northern Ireland was charged last night. Willie Frazer, 52, will appear in court accused of offences including taking part in an unnotified public procession.

Pray-gay-away ad 'unlawfully' banned

Boris Johnson banned a Christian charity's controversial "pray the gay away" adverts from London buses in a "politically driven" move to help him win the mayoral election, the High Court heard. The Core Issues Trust says it was unlawfully denied the freedom to express its views.

Hockney brushes off honour from town

Bridlington's plan to honour its most famous resident, David Hockney, has fallen apart after the artist failed to reply to any of the council's letters.

The council had proposed naming a gallery after the 75-year-old and giving him the freedom of the town but were forced to drop the idea.

Post-election tension increases

The post-election deadlock worsened yesterday as Beppe Grillo, the leader of the Five Star Movement, dismissed calls for pragmatism and said his protest party should form the next government. Mr Grillo commands 162 seats in the new parliament. MORE

Heart of Richard I preserved for God

The heart of Richard the Lionheart was soaked in frankincense when he was embalmed, a French pathologist has discovered, suggesting that he fretted that his acts of treachery and brutality might prevent him getting into heaven. MORE

Manning speaks out on WikiLeaks

A soldier charged in the largest leak of classified material in US history has given the first detailed explanation of his actions. Bradley Manning, 25, said he sent the material to WikiLeaks to enlighten the public about American foreign and military policy. MORE

Trio 'rehearsed' weeks before blaze

A man accused of killing six of his children in a house fire often talked about getting a bigger house, a court has heard. It was also claimed Mick Philpott, his wife, Mairead, and friend Paul Mosley also took part in a "rehearsal" of the fatal blaze weeks before tragedy struck. MORE

Gervais to reprise David Brent role

Ricky Gervais, pictured, is bringing back his David Brent character for a one-off Comic Relief edition of The Office. The episode, to screen on 15 March on BBC 1, will see Brent acting as a music manager. MORE

US steps up aid to the rebels

The United States will for the first time give non-lethal help to Syrian rebels and more than double its aid to Syria's civilian opposition, disappointing those clamouring for weapons. There will be $60m of aid towards services such as security, education and sanitation. MORE

Vote could put stop to golden handshakes

A referendum on Sunday could force listed companies to hold binding votes among their shareholders on pay for managers and directors as well as banning golden handshakes and parachutes. It follows a petition prompted by a huge payoff for the former CEO of Swissair.

UK sausages may contain illegal meat

Banned low-quality meat may have found its way into sausages on British shelves. Mechanically-separated meat being is not permitted to contribute to a product's meat content, but suppliers on the continent are describing the meat differently when selling it to the UK.

Police use van to drag a man in street

The South African police watchdog is investigating the death of a man in custody after officers were caught on video dragging a man hundreds of metres with a van. The 27-year-old Mozambican taxi driver, Mido Macia, was later found dead in detention with head injuries. MORE

'Slumdog' professor wins $1m for work

Professor Sugata Mitra, of Newcastle University, whose research inspired the film Slumdog Millionaire, has won the $1m (£658,300) prestigious TED prize to help his work in educating the world's poorest children. The prize promotes "ideas worth spreading".

Student records 'teacher stealing'

A Californian student set up a video sting to catch a thief, only to discover the culprit was a teacher. Justine Betti hid in a locker with her camera phone after classmates complained that someone had been stealing cash from bags. The thief was allegedly a 30-year veteran of the school's staff.

Afghan tours will rise to nine months

British troops will see their tours of Afghanistan increase to nine months in the period leading up to the handover to Afghan forces. Soldiers currently spend six months on tour, but ministers are considering proposals to extend this by half. The move comes at a time when a large number of service personnel are facing redundancies because of cuts to the defence budget. MORE

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