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The News Matrix: Friday 21 October 2011

ETA declares it will lay down its arms

After more than 40 years of bomb attacks and assassinations, the Basque separatist group ETA yesterday declared a “definitive cessation” to its armed activities. In the widely anticipated move, ETA said that “a new political age is opening” in the Basque country. MORE

Students wait to find out cost of courses

The Government’s attempt to persuade universities to drop fees below £7,500 a year could leave thousands of potential students waiting to find out the cost of courses until six weeks before the deadline. Twenty-eight universities could lower fees in exchange for hundreds of extra places. MORE

Symbolic end to 10-year legal battle

Dale Farm’s travellers and protesters left the site in a symbolic walkout yesterday. Following a battle with police and bailiffs on Wednesday, residents said they wanted to leave with their “heads held high”. Their eviction from the site ends a 10-year fight against Basildon Council. MORE

France and Germany spark confusion

The Eurozone appeared to be in disarray last night when France and Germany announced they would follow Sunday’s “make or break” meeting with another one on Wednesday. The decision seemed to suggest the first meeting had little chance of success. MORE

Leader under fire over flood response

Thailand’s Prime Minister reacted last night to criticism that she had failed to act decisively to thwart the floodwaters threatening Bangkok by allowing a controlled release of water into the city to minimise flooding. MORE

Tory rebels threaten to quit over EU vote

David Cameron could see the first political resignations from his Government following Monday’s vote to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. A total of 76 MPs – 60 of them Conservative – defied party whips by signing a motion calling for a referendum. Ed Miliband announced that Labour will support the Government in its opposition. MORE

More women over 50 having babies

Some 118 women over the age of 50 gave birth last year, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. Most were helped by IVF, and delivered 141 children between them – a multiple birth rate ten times higher than the national average.

10,000-strong force pursues militants

Turkey yesterday expanded its offensive against PKK rebels by sending 10,000 troops to the border with Iraq – the largest offensive against the Kurdish militants in three years. It comes a day after 24 Turkish soldiers were killed in a border raid. MORE

Sarkozy joy at birth of baby girl – Giulia

French President Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday spoke of his “profound joy” at the birth of his baby daughter with wife Carla Bruni. “We are lucky to have been blessed by a new arrival,” said Mr Sarkozy, the first French President to have a baby while in office. The baby, born on Wednesday night, is to be called Giulia. MORE

MC Hammer takes wraps off WireDoo

Rapper MC Hammer has taken a detour from music to challenge Google and Microsoft’s internet supremacy. The musician has been developing a search engine called WireDoo over the past two years, and claims that its “deep-search” ability will consign the likes of Google, Yahoo! and Bing to history.

‘Just a Minute’ to get TV series on BBC

The much-loved Radio 4 series Just A Minute will be brought to TV next year to mark its 45th anniversary. Nicholas Parsons will host the show on BBC 2, again encouraging guests to avoid “repetition, hesitation or deviation”. The show had earlier been broadcast on ITV and the BBC during the 1990s.

Olympic hopes from winter sports venue

Some 10,000 people attended the opening ceremony of a €135m (£117.8m) winter sports complex in Turkmenistan. The new venue is intended to improve the country’s chances at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Turkmenistan has never before sent an athlete to the Winter Olympics.

Barry Feinstein dies, aged 80

American photographer Barry Feinstein, who captured Bob Dylan for the cover of his 1964 album The Times They Are AChanging, has died aged 80. Feinstein shot more than 500 record sleeves. He was responsible for the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet cover, famously posed in a graffiti-covered toilet cubicle.