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The News Matrix: Friday 18 October 2013

Low-paid workers ‘need more help’

Wages of the lowest-paid workers should be increased to tackle the scourge of “in-work poverty”,  according to a government  watchdog. In its first “state of  the nation” report, the Social  Mobility and Child Poverty Commission also proposed cuts in perks for well-off pensioners to raise money for children in poor families. MORE

Obama chides GOP over shutdown

President Barack Obama rebuked Republicans yesterday hours after a US debt default was narrowly averted and called on his opponents to help repair the damage caused by the shutdown. Standard & Poor estimates the shutdown has cost the economy $24bn so far. MORE

Badger marksmen fail to hit target

Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, has admitted that a trial of the Government’s proposed badger cull killed less than half of the animals it set out to. He has now applied to extend the six-week trial, but many believe this leaves the idea in tatters. MORE

Officials say 49 killed in plane crash

Rescuers pulled bodies from the Mekong River yesterday as officials ruled out finding survivors from a plane crash that killed 49 people. Backpacks and passports were scattered on the riverbank where the Lao Airlines turboprop plane disappeared into the water on Wednesday.

Nigeria demands return of fortune

Nigeria is asking the World Bank to help force Liechtenstein to return more than a quarter of a billion dollars stolen by former dictator Sani Abacha. Liechtenstein blamed the delay on a complaint filed by Abacha-linked companies at the  European Court of Human Rights.

Pollution causes cancer, says WHO

Pollution in the air we breathe is a leading environmental cause of cancer, the World Health Organisation has said. It is the first time the WHO has classified air pollution as “carcinogenic to humans”.

Top general killed ahead of peace talks

A top Syrian general has been killed in fighting with rebels, state-run Syrian television reported, as the deputy prime minister floated November 23/24 as possible dates for talks. Gen Jameh, head of the military intelligence directorate in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, was killed in the provincial capital.

Gove under pressure over free schools

Labour has put pressure on Michael Gove over the monitoring of free schools, after a Muslim institution was branded “dysfunctional” by Ofsted. Tristram Hunt, Labour’s shadow Education Secretary, said the entire free schools programme had become an “out-of-control ideological experiment”. MORE

German rudeness  is explained

Germany’s Goethe Institute says it has an official explanation for why Germans are perceived as rude. The Institute puts it down to the country’s centuries-long subdivision into mini-states, which it says led people to feel “constantly surrounded by enemies”, which explains Germans’ famously blunt approach. MORE

Housework not effective exercise

People who count housework as exercise may well be fooling themselves. Research has shown those who consider gardening, DIY or cleaning as part of their weekly exercise are more overweight. Housework accounted for 36 per cent of the moderate to vigorous physical activity people said they did. MORE

Hezbollah captures eagle-eyed spy

Israeli eagles, endangered by pesticides, electrical wires and poachers, now apparently face a new threat: Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas. Hezbollah’s Al-Manar website boasted of capturing an eagle with Israeli labelling that carried a transmission device on its back. It claimed the bird was an Israeli spy.

Halloween house makes child cry

A man who put up a gory Halloween display of disembowelled corpses outside his home has been told by police to tone it down after a passer-by said it made their child cry. James Creighton, 25, decorated the outside of his house with skeletons, bloodied corpses and cobwebs in a display dubbed Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Kangaroo disrupts affairs at airport

An injured kangaroo shut down part of Melbourne airport after it hopped through the busy terminal and into a chemist. Police in the south-eastern Australian city secured the store before wildlife workers tranquillised and captured the animal. Last year, a kangaroo was found in one of Melbourne airport’s parking garages.

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