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The News Matrix: Friday 13 December 2013


Kim Jong-un’s uncle ‘has been executed’

The uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been executed for “attempting to overthrow the state”, the state media agency claimed last night. Earlier this month authorities announced Jang Song Thaek, who was considered the country’s second in command, had been sacked amid allegations of corruption, drug use, womanising and a generally “dissolute and depraved life”.

Warning issued after meningitis deaths

The death of a second child from meningitis has led health officials to urge parents to look out for symptoms. The unnamed pupil at Little Bloxwich C of E Primary School in Walsall, in the West Midlands, died on Monday following the death of a pupil in Berkshire.

UK must ‘share more’ of immigrant burden

France last night called on Britain to “share” more of the policing and financial “burden” caused by the pile-up of illegal immigrants in  Calais. The French interior minister, Manuel Valls, said that he had invited the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to meet him in the new year.

Little diversity in public body posts

Equality laws should be extended to include class alongside gender, ethnicity and disability to stop professionals dominating public life, a report has recommended. Think-tank Policy Exchange found there was a “shameful” exclusion of working class communities from public bodies.

President: ‘I will sign pact with the EU’

The Ukrainian President yesterday appeared to be edging towards a U-turn on his country’s future, telling the EU’s top diplomat that he would sign a pact on closer integration with the bloc. President Viktor Yanukovych has not given any time scale for signing the deal. MORE

Putin emphasises traditional values

In his annual state of the union address, President Vladimir Putin yesterday pitched Russia as a defender of traditional values, a thinly veiled reference to the West’s more liberal attitude toward gay rights. MORE

Call to put breast cancer drug on NHS

The breast cancer drug anastrozole should be made available on the NHS, experts have urged. In trials, the drug was found to reduce the likelihood of breast cancer by 53 per cent in post-menopausal women who were already at high risk, making it more effective than tamoxifen and raloxifene. MORE

Helicopter crash claims 10th victim

The helicopter crash at the Clutha bar in Glasgow claimed a 10th casualty yesterday as Joe Cusker, 59, from Cambuslang, who had been receiving treatment at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, died, Police Scotland said. The news came shortly after the funerals of two of the victims were held. MORE

No head for present shopping?

A Philadelphia museum has the perfect holiday gift idea for the person who has everything. A $200 (£122) donation buys the preservation of one of 139 skulls dating back to the 19th century in a collection at the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

Britons spend more on boozing at home

Staying in is officially the new going out, according to the Office for National Statistics. The average households spent an average of £7.80 per week on wine, beer and spirits brought from the off licence or  supermarket – up 50p – compared to £7.40 spent in licensed premises. MORE

Evolutionary tale of sponges full of holes

Sponges are getting squeezed out of a distinctive role in evolution. A new study says they don’t represent the oldest branch of the animal family tree after all. The DNA research gives the spot instead to comb jellies, a group of gelatinous marine animals with names like the sea walnut and the sea gooseberry.

Two women are arrested for driving

Two women have been arrested for driving in Saudi Arabia – the only country in the world which forbids them to do so. Azza Al Shamsi and her friend Baria Al Zubaidi were detained by police in the capital, Riyadh. The two refused to call their male custodians, arguing they were responsible for their acts.

1780 rum sells for more than £78K

A dozen bottles of rum that were found hidden away under layers of cobwebs and dirt have sold at Christie’s auction house for £78,255. The drink, which dates back to 1780, was discovered in the cellar of Harewood House in Leeds, in 2011. They sold for over six times their pre-sale estimate.

No, No, 7: doctors tell Bond to stop boozing

James Bond’s drank more than four times the weekly recommended limit of alcohol, according to a new study of 12 of Ian Fleming’s classic spy novels. Experts from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said that they would have  advised the licence-to-kill spy to seek help.

McQueen in line for Golden Globe

Steve McQueen’s epic 12 Years A Slave is heading for awards season success after it received seven nominations at the Golden Globes. The film is tied with crime caper American Hustle for most nominations with nods for Londoner Chiwetel Ejiofor for best actor in a motion picture and best motion picture drama.

Fossil of duck-billed dinosaur is found

Duck-billed dinosaurs may have been the roosters of their day, a new discovery has suggested. At least one species found in new fossils had a head crowned by a cock’s comb. “These findings dramatically alter our perception of the appearance and behaviour of this well-known dinosaur,” said researcher Dr Phil Bell.