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The News Matrix: Friday 23 November 2012

Government stands firm on prison votes

The Government was on a collision course with the European Court of Human Rights yesterday after insisting it had the authority to maintain the current ban on prisoners voting. The other choices were to give the vote to those sentenced to four years or those with six months. MORE

Lord Freud: benefits system is dreadful

Poor people should be prepared to take more risks because they have the least to lose, according to the minister for Welfare Reform. Lord Freud said the benefits system was "dreadful" and allowed lone parents and sickness claimants to "have a lifestyle" on the state.

Man charged with attacking girl, 16

Police have charged a man with assault after an unprovoked attack on a teenage girl near her home. Michael Ayoade, 34, will appear before magistrates today. He is accused of attacking a 16-year-old in Plaistow, east London on Tuesday.

Bigfoot spotted in Tunbridge Wells

Residents of affluent Royal Tunbridge Wells claim to have spotted a Bigfoot-type monster roaming the nearby countryside. The 8ft creature had "demonic" red eyes and long arms. One man told The Sun he ran off when the beast roared in his direction. Some locals believe it is a prank after several sightings.

How one should eat with one's fingers

Debrett's Guide can be relied upon as the last bastion of good manners, so the etiquette experts' advice on eating with one's fingers could raise a few eyebrows. It claims it is now "acceptable" to eat with hands rather than silverware, and table manners are no longer about sticking to an "outdated" code of conduct.

There's room for all the Family

The Queen went "glamping" for the first time yesterday, as she was driven around Bristol in a £45,000 motorhome built by Bailey of Bristol. "It's a real home from home," the Queen said.

Bin Laden received Islamic burial

Osama bin Laden was buried in accordance with Islamic tradition, but his last rites were shrouded in such secrecy that the ship's crew did not see the event. US military emails show Bin Laden's body was washed, draped in a white sheet and placed in a weighted bag. MORE

President is immune from legal challenge

Egypt's president Mohammed Morsi has granted himself sweeping powers that will see all his decisions remain immune from legal challenge. He has ordered the retrial of leaders of Hosni Mubarak's regime for the killing of protesters in last year's uprising.

Sarkozy questioned over heiress case

The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was questioned over claims he cheated a84-year-old woman out of £120,000 to fund his election campaign. He denies the allegations, but was given the status of a "legally assisted witness" – making him a possible suspect. MORE

Gold Christmas tree on sale for £2.7m

When it comes to Christmas presents, they say it's the thought that counts. But for those with more extravagant tastes, a Tokyo jewellery store is selling a Christmas tree for 350 million yen (£2.7m). It is made from 40kg of pure gold, stands 7ft 11in tall and is decorated with gold plate cutouts of 50 Disney characters.

Mexico may change its name to... Mexico

The President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón, wants to change his country's name. Formally called "The United Mexican States", Calderón wants to make it "Mexico". He said the name was adopted in 1824 to imitate the USA, but claimed that almost 200 years on Mexico did not need to emulate anyone.

Church tower buried in pigeon droppings

Two tons of pigeon droppings piled up in a church tower in Sweden after a hatch was inadvertently left open for three decades. During an inspection this May, the Gavle church's property manager found a one foot deep layer of droppings. More than 160 bags were filled during the clean-up operation.

The Independent's travel section wins national press awards

The Saturday travel magazine Independent Traveller in i's sister paper The Independent has won National Newspaper Travel Section of the Year 2012 at the British Travel Press Awards, with the judges praising it for being "comprehensive and engaging". The award ceremony, hosted at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London, also saw Independent Traveller's 48 hours In Bermuda with Simon Calder win Broadcast Travel Programme of the Year. Meanwhile, writer Chris Leadbeater won Consumer Travel Journalist of the Year for three stories written for Independent Traveller.

Separately, in the Business Travel Journalism Awards, Simon Calder, pictured, won Business Travel News Journalist of the Year – Print.

 

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