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The News Matrix: Friday 11 November 2011


Ecclestone paid £27.5m ‘hush money’

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone said he paid £27.5m in "hush money" to a German banker to avoid an investigation into his back taxes. Mr Ecclestone, 81, appeared as a witness in the Munich trial of banker Gerhard Grib-kowsky who is charged with tax evasion, corruption and bribery. MORE

Warning on addiction to prescription drugs

The Department of Health wants to curb addiction to prescription drugs after a leap in prescribing rates for powerful painkillers and tranquillisers. Officials have appealed to doctors, drug agencies and regulators for greater "vigilance" to avoida surge in deaths. MORE

Malema given 5-year ANC suspension

Julius Malema, the outspoken youth leader of South Africa's governing African National Congress, has been suspended from the party for five years after being found guilty of bringing it into disrepute. MORE

Jackson doctor makes defence on TV

Despite failing to give evidence at his trial for the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson, Conrad Murray has spoken to NBC's Today show explaining his version of events. He said the amount of the powerful sedative propofol that he gave Jackson was "inconsequential". MORE

Riot police fire tear gas at quake protest

Riot police yesterday fired tear gas and used batons to disperse protesters angry at the state's relief efforts after the second earthquake in eastern Turkey in three weeks killed at least 10 more people in the city of Van. Rescue teams continued to search for survivors. MORE

Call to investigate border chief briefings

The head of the Civil Service has been asked to investigate whether the Home Secretary's advisers were "briefing against" the head of the UK Border Force over the relaxation of checks at ports during the summer. Labour MP Simon Danczuk has written to Sir Gus O'Donnell asking him to investigate whether Theresa May's staff may have broken the special advisers' code of conduct. MORE

Three policemen die in suicide attack

Five suicide bombers attacked a local government office in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, sparking a battle that left three Afghan police dead and two others wounded. The attack took place in Zumat district, an area near the Pakistan border controlled by the al-Qa'ida-linked Haqqani network.

Number of babies born at home drops

Ever-dwindling numbers of women are giving birth at home, new figures have revealed. Only 2.5 per cent of those giving birth last year in England and Wales did so in their own houses, down from 2.7 per cent in 2009 and 2.9 per cent in 2008, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Perry’s memory loss is Romney’s gain

Rick Perry dropped a clanger that will live in the annals of American presidential debates when he began to list the three government departments he would eliminate – and forgot the third. His floundering lasted an excruciating 53 seconds. The gaffe is likely to benefit Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts.MORE

Tweeters’ silence to honour the fallen

Twitter users have come up with their own way to mark Remembrance Day. At 10.15 today, organisers will tweet an order of service with links to hymns. There will then be a two-minute "silence" when tweeting will stop. Users are encouraged to post the names of loved ones who died serving in the Forces.

Safety switch lets squid change colour

Some marine creatures are able to change colour rapidly by responding to light, scientists have discovered. A deep sea octopus and squid "switched" from transparent to reddish brown when a blue light was shone above them. They use the trick as camouflage against predators that use a bright glow to snare their prey.

Pyramids to close over 11/11/11 cult fears

The pyramids of Giza will be closed to visitors today after concerns that a cultish group was planning to hold rituals to mark the date 11/11/11 at the ancient site. The decision was taken after pressure from internet users, Atef Abu Zahab, head of Egypt's Department of Pharaonic Archaeology, told AFP.

Chinese vase sells for more than £9m

An imperial Chinese vase thought to have been kept at the royal palace in Beijing's Forbidden City sold for more than £9m at auction last night. The turquoise vase, decorated with chrysanthemums, was bought over the phone during a 700-lot Chinese sale at Bonhams auction house in London.

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The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
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