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The News Matrix: Friday 21 February 2014

Britain faces fine over city pollution

Fines of up to £300m a year may be levied against the UK over its failure to cut levels of a gas believed to cause premature death and affect children’s lung growth. The European Commission said yesterday that it was taking legal action against Britain because it had not managed to reduce the amount of nitrogen dioxide to agreed limits. MORE

Families reunited after decades apart

Families torn apart during the Korean War were reunited yesterday at Diamond Mountain Resort in North Korea. The event is a first since 2010. Many of those reunited had gone decades without communication and the majority are in their 80s and 90s.

Cancer drug extends lives of women

A drug that cuts blood supply to tumours can extend the lives of women with advanced cervical cancer, a study shows. Avastin increased the number responding to therapy from 36 per cent to almost half, and life expectancy increased from 13.3 months with just chemotherapy to 17 months.

Fukushima water leak was contained

Radioactive water that leaked from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in 2011 did not reach the Pacific, the Tokyo Power and Electric Company says. The operator said 100 tons of contaminated water escaped from a drainage pipe, but workers contained the leak.

UK military second most LGBT-friendly

The UK military is the world’s second most LGBT-friendly in the world, according to a think tank. The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies has ranked over 100 armed forces by its inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender personnel. New Zealand came in at number one.

Beauty queen dies  in Caracas violence

A beauty queen in Venezuela died from a gunshot wound as a result of political unrest. This is the fifth fatality in Caracas after opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez urged protesters to oust the government. MORE

New war of words at Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park, the estate where codebreakers helped to win the Second World War for the Allies, is the scene of a dispute over a fence nicknamed the “Berlin Wall”. Andrew Spencer, of the National Museum of Computing, said the fence, put up by Bletchley Park Trust, was “no ordinary fence”. MORE

Alleged death camp guards arrested

The homes of nine elderly men have been raided on suspicion that they served as SS guards at the Auschwitz death camp. Three of the men were arrested on allegations of accessory to murder. The raids come after authorities said they would investigate former guards at Nazi death camps.

Play with Snowden and Assange is creating action figures of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. Snowden’s head will be placed on a 12-inch action figure costing from $99 (£59). All profits from the Snowden figure will go to the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Proceeds from the Assange figure will go to Wikileaks.

Order a pint while watching rugby

The days of half-time queues may be over from tomorrow as rugby fans at the Six Nations England vs Ireland match will be able to pre-order refreshments using their mobile phones for the first time. The Rugby Football Union hopes the system will “enhance the match-day experience for fans”.

Three, two, one... you’re a Barbie

A woman in California is using hypnotherapy to decrease her IQ. Blondie Bennett, 38, told the  Huffington Post she hoped to become the “ultimate Barbie doll” and desires to be “completely plastic”. Ms Bennett has spent £25,000 on five breast augmentations and has three hypnotherapy sessions each week.

Binned cookie art mistaken for crumbs

A cleaning woman in southern Italy unknowingly threw out pieces of modern art that were part of an exhibition. The woman believed the works, which included pieces of cookies scattered on the floor, were left behind by those setting up the exhibition and proceeded to throw them in the bin. The cleaning company is using its insurance to pay for the rubbished works, which were valued at an estimated €10,000.

Is 50p in your pocket worth £120?

People all over Britain are being advised to check their small change after an “incredibly rare” 50p coin, worth up to £120, was identified by the Royal Mint. The Kew Garden commemorative coin – which is believed to be just one in 300 – bears the dates 1759 and 2009 and the word “Kew” at the bottom.

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Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?