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The News Matrix: Friday 22 March 2013

Holy Switcheroo! Batman takes control

One of the Vatican's Twitter accounts and its communications office website had stories about Batman yesterday with the headline "Holy Switcheroo!". But two Vatican officials said the site hadn't been hacked by pranksters – the reason for the unusual posting was an "internal system failure".

Teacher found dead after sex change

A primary school teacher who changed sex to begin the new term at St Mary Magdalen's Church of England Primary School in Accrington, Lancashire, as a woman has been found dead. The death of Lucy Meadows is not being treated as suspicious.

Grandma banned from rugby club

A grandmother has been banned from her village rugby club for loutish behaviour. Lillian Mort, 74, a fan of Pyle Rugby Club, near Bridgend in south Wales, won't be able to watch her team's matches for three months. The pensioner has tried to get around the ban by peering through the steel railings around the field.

Kurdish rebel leader calls for ceasefire

In an important step toward ending one of the world's longest insurgencies, the jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan has called for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of thousands of his fighters from Turkey. MORE

Gillard unchallenged in power struggle

Australia's government further damaged its public image yesterday with an internal power struggle in which Prime Minister Julia Gillard was forced to open her job to challengers only to find that no one from her party would run against her. MORE

Deadly mamba missing from zoo

The Pretoria Zoo is going to use infrared cameras to search for a two-metre-long black mamba snake that escaped from its enclosure a week ago. The zoo said the missing snake was probably in the roof of a service building behind its terrarium. The mamba is one of the world's fastest and most venomous snakes.

iPlayer to host its own original dramas

The BBC's iPlayer will soon play host to its own original dramas. Six short films, commissioned especially for the online streaming service, will be screened over the next two years to showcase "up and coming talent". House of Cards, a drama created for the pay-to-view site Netflix, was a recent critical success.

Stroke puts Duke of Kent in hospital

The Duke of Kent, the Queen's cousin, has suffered a mild stroke, Buckingham Palace disclosed yesterday.

The 77-year-old royal was taken to an undisclosed London hospital in the early hours of Monday where he was assessed by doctors.

Cardinal 'admits' gay sexual relationship

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the disgraced former head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, has reportedly confessed to a "longstanding physical relationship" with one of the men whose allegations led to his resignation. The length of the relationship could explain why he referred to his time as a "priest, bishop and cardinal" when he apologised earlier this month. MORE

Zip zip hurray for biggest ride

Visitors can fly at 95mph on a mile-long zipwire, up to 700ft above the ground, at Penrhyn Quarry in Snowdonia, when Zip World officially opens to the public tomorrow. It is the largest such attraction in the northern hemisphere. Views on a clear day include the Isle of Anglesey and even the Isle of Man.

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Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments