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The News Matrix: Friday 13 September 2013

Assad agrees to give up chemical arms

President Bashar al-Assad formally embraced a Russian plan for Syria to relinquish its chemical weapons arsenal yesterday, but appeared in the same breath to set conditions, notably that the US should first lift the threat of military strikes and cease arming Syrian rebels. MORE

Jihadist shot dead in al-Qa'ida ambush

A US-born former member of the Islamist al-Shabaab militant group is believed to have been killed in a shootout with members of al-Qai'da in Mogadishu yesterday. Omar Hammami had been in hiding, after breaking away from al-Shabaab, which is al-Qa'ida's operation in Somalia. MORE

Watercress recalled after E.coli scare

The supermarket giant Sainsbury's has recalled watercress from store shelves following an E.coli outbreak. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said the recall, which included salads containing watercress, came as a "precautionary measure due to a possible association" with the E.coli outbreak that affected 15 people.

'Miliband would let welfare costs rise'

Voters do not trust Labour leader Ed Miliband to prevent benefits spending rising out of control, according to a survey. The latest YouGov poll of 1,593 people, which shows that more than half of people who believe the welfare bill is too high blame the last Labour government, has put pressure on the Mr Miliband to take a tougher approach to welfare. MORE

Satellite images raise nuclear fears

New satellite imagery of activity at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear facility has raised fears that the pariah state may have restarted plutonium production at the plant, which is at the centre of the country's nuclear-armament plans. MORE

Grants to help labels expand overseas

Indie record labels are to be given a helping hand by the Government to help boost their sales overseas. Grants worth millions of pounds will be available to firms who have found success at home but struggled internationally. In 2012, UK artists achieved their largest ever share of global sales with 13.3 per cent.

Hanks for getting me out of jury duty

A domestic violence court case in America, on which Oscar-winning movie star Tom Hanks, below, sat as a juror, has been brought to an early end after the Hollywood actor was reportedly approached by a "star struck" member of the prosecutor's office – in contravention of the strict rules of court conduct. MORE

Fight is on to save Orwell's house

Campaigners are battling to save a house where George Orwell lived. Orwell moved into the house in Katha, 150 miles north of Mandalay, with its lush garden in the 1920s, but it has now fallen into disrepair. MORE

Bishop vows to tackle poverty

The new Bishop of Durham has said that tackling poverty in the North-east will be one of his top priorities. The Right Reverend Paul Butler will be installed later this year. Bishop Butler said: "I will want to speak up strongly for this region, advocating for its specific needs."

Students slip out of school due to heat

A Massachusetts district cancelled lessons in all six of its schools yesterday because their floors were too slippery. The Amherst Regional School District blamed "weather-related building issues" and said there had been 22 reported falls. Hot weather had left the newly waxed floors too greasy to walk on.

Voyager 1 leaves solar system

The Voyager 1 probe has become the first man-made object to exit our solar system. Nasa last night confirmed the spacecraft, launched in 1977 to study the outer planets, crossed into interstellar space in August last year. Voyager 1 is now around 12 billion miles from Earth.

Twitter submits files in plan to float

Twitter Inc has confidentially submitted a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission ahead of a planned initial public offering, the company said yesterday in a tweet.

A Twitter spokesman, who confirmed the authenticity of the tweet, declined further comment.

Tehran film industry restarts production

Tehran has reopened its award-winning film industry guild, The House of Cinema, almost two years after it was closed by hardliners. Deputy Culture Minister Hojatollah Ayoubi said the decision shows the new president, Hassan Rouhani, shows his tolerance and support for filmmaking.

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