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The News Matrix: Friday 27 December 2012

BBC pay-offs to be investigated

The National Audit Office is to investigate BBC severance packages after it emerged almost 200 managers received pay-offs of more than £100,000 in the past three years. The investigation was sparked after former Director-General George Entwistle left with a £450,000 pay-off . MORE

Bush in hospital with 'elevated' fever

A spokesman said the fever that kept former President George H W Bush in a Houston hospital over Christmas has worsened and doctors have put him on a liquids-only diet. Jim McGrath said the "stubborn" fever was "elevated" in recent days, despite treatment, and the cause had yet to be nailed down.

EBacc plans 'a huge mistake,' says Baker

The former Education Secretary Kenneth Baker has accused his successor and fellow Conservative Michael Gove of making a "huge mistake" with his plans for an English Baccalaureate at 16, and called for children to transfer school at 14 rather than 11. MORE

Rape victim moved to Singapore hospital

An Indian student who was left with life-threatening injuries after being brutally gang-raped in Delhi was last night on her way to Singapore for specialist medical care. According to reports, the 23-year-old student was moved out of Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital last night. MORE

Nazi concentration camp guard dies

A former Nazi concentration camp guard who had been fighting US attempts to deport him to Austria has died. Anton Geiser, 88, was born in what is now Croatia. He said he was forced to join the SS at the age of 17, in 1942, and that he never killed anyone. He had been living in Pennsylvania for more than 50 years.

PM wants end to sexism at holy site

Israel's Prime Minister has instructed a Jewish organisation to find a solution for female groups wishing to pray at one of Judaism's holiest sites after Israeli police detained women from a liberal Jewish group who approached the Western Wall carrying prayer shawls. MORE

Lonely Planet forum shut down by BBC

The BBC has shut down its hugely popular forum for backpackers and travellers because "uncomfortable themes" were being discussed. BBC Worldwide suspended the Thorn Tree forum on its Lonely Planet website A BBC spokesman yesterday denied speculation that the "uncomfortable themes" were paedophilia.

Mandela released from hospital

Former President Nelson Mandela was released from hospital yesterday after spending three weeks being treated for a lung infection. The 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader also had gallstones removed.

£1m for Oxfordshire rocket launch pad

A £1m "launch pad" has been set up by the Government to help the British space industry take off. The funding is aimed at companies setting up at Harwell, Oxfordshire, where there is an expanding hub of space-industry businesses. The Government's stated goal is to build a £30bn space industry by 2030.

Military police head 'joins the revolution'

The general who heads Syria's military police has defected and joined the uprising against President Bashar Assad, in one of the highest ranking walkouts by a serving security chief during the country's 21-month uprising. Maj-Gen Abdul-Aziz Jassim al-Shallal appeared on Al Arabiya on Tuesday saying he is joining "the people's revolution." MORE

Ice Age predators were 'well fed'

Sabre-toothed cats and other Ice Age predators were well fed and flourishing just before they died out, according to new research. The evidence, from a study of the animals' teeth, deepens the mystery surrounding the "megafaunal extinction" that wiped out legions of large beasts in North America

EastEnders tops Christmas ratings

Derek Branning's last gasp helped EastEnders retain its traditional spot at the top of the Christmas Day ratings as the BBC dominated festive viewing again. But viewing figures were down for many shows, with EastEnders slipping half a million on 2011 and the show's Christmas Day ratings thought to be the lowest for a decade. MORE

Santa Claus forced to pay appearance tax

Cash-strapped Ukraine has reminded entertainers making money by posing as Did Moroz – the local version of Santa Claus – and his helpers to pay income tax. The state tax service found out that a Did Moroz would earn 250 to 3,500 hryvnias (£18-£270) per hour in capital Kiev and must therefore pay taxes.

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