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The News Matrix: Friday 15 November 2013

Children’s services face takeover

Children’s services at Birmingham City Council could be taken over by the Government by the end of the year, amid heightened pressure from inspectors. Experts say the beleaguered department, ranked “inadequate” by Ofsted for four successive years, is not being given a chance to improve. Its failure to protect vulnerable children has been branded a “national disgrace”. MORE

Teen hanged himself ‘after hair abuse’

A 14-year-old boy hanged himself after suffering abuse over his red hair, an inquest has heard. Simon Walters, from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, was discovered dead by his father Nigel last October. Black Country coroner Robin Balmain recorded a verdict of suicide.

‘Whitey’ Bulger goes to prison for life

Former Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger was sentenced to life in prison for his murderous reign in the 1970s and 1980s, bringing to a close a case that exposed FBI corruption so deep that many people across the city thought he would never be brought to justice. MORE

Aid finally reaches devastated region

A hundred bodies were buried yesterday in a mass grave as aid began to reach some of the half-million people displaced six days ago by Typhoon Haiyan. Many of the dead were still lying along roads as survivors searched for bodies buried under the rubble.

Arrests worldwide in child porn inquiry

More than 300 people, including teachers and doctors, have been arrested on child pornography charges after a Canadian-led investigation. Toronto police said the arrest of 348 people included 108 in Canada, 76 in the United States and 164 in other countries. MORE

Nuclear projects slow down in Iran

Iran has significantly slowed work on nuclear projects that could be used to make weapons, the UN atomic agency said yesterday in a report.  After years of rapid progress, Iran’s uranium enrichment program expanded at only a slight pace, as did construction on a reactor.

One in three MPs pay party for office

One in three MPs, including almost half of the Cabinet, have claimed £3.6m of public money to rent office space from their local parties. Nick Clegg and Jeremy Hunt are among the 244 MPs. MORE

Putin awarded black belt in taekwondo

The World Taekwondo Federation has awarded an honorary black belt to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin received the certificate and a taekwondo uniform at a ceremony in Seoul. While the taekwondo grade is symbolic, Mr Putin has earned a black belt in judo, another martial arts discipline.

ITV plans its next big musical turn

ITV plans to turn a new musical talent show with a “technological twist” into its next big hit.  The broadcaster is expected to  announce that it has acquired  Rising Star from the Israeli company behind the drama Prisoners Of War. Rising Star has been sold around  the world. MORE

Baldwin stalker jailed for six months

A Canadian actress has been  convicted of stalking Alec Baldwin and sentenced to six months in jail. Genevieve Sabourin, 41, was found guilty of stalking, attempted  aggravated harassment, harassment and attempted contempt of court. Baldwin testified that the actress had turned his life into a nightmare.

Homes evacuated  in sinkhole panic

Residents of several Florida homes have been evacuated due to a possible sinkhole that opened in a backyard in Pinellas County. Deputy Fire Chief Trip Barrs said the hole appeared to be about four metres wide. The Tampa Bay Times reported that the ground is so unstable that two homes must be demolished.

Oliver gets his  own comedy show

John Oliver, the British comic who stepped into Jon Stewart’s shoes to host The Daily Show, has landed his own HBO series. He will host a Sunday night comedy series next year. “When we saw John Oliver handling host duties on The Daily Show, we knew his singular perspective belonged on HBO,” said original programming head Michael Lombardo.

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