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The News Matrix: Friday 28 December 2012

Arrest after alleged attack on saboteur

Police have arrested a 23-year-old man after a hunt saboteur was allegedly beaten with sticks by a gang of men on quad bikes during a Boxing Day hunt. The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) blamed hunt supporters for the alleged attack in Plumpton, East Sussex, which left the victim with "severe injuries" to his hands. Police confirmed receiving a report of an incident.

Witness protection service enhanced

The first national witness protection service is to be launched in a bid to improve the "inconsistent" approach to safeguarding vulnerable people whose lives are at risk. Victims and witnesses given protected person status will be supported by the new UK Protected Persons Service. MORE

Putin vows to stop US adoptions

President Vladmir Putin has said he will ban US families from adopting Russian children. Russia is the biggest source of adopted children in the US, with more than 60,000 over the past 20 years. The proposed bill would block dozens of current adoption plans. MORE

Gay marriage causes huge split in Tories

David Cameron's backing for gay marriage is splitting the Conservatives a new poll has found. A survey of more than 2,500 Conservative Party members for i found that a huge majority reject his arguments for legalising same-sex marriage. MORE

Gang rape victim in apparent suicide

A 17-year-old girl who was gang-raped and subsequently pressured by police to drop charges and marry one of her attackers has killed herself. The news comes amid continued unrest over the gang-rape of a 23-year-old female student on a bus in New Dehli earlier this month.

R&B singer Fontella Bass dies aged 72

Soul singer Fontella Bass, best known for her R&B hit "Rescue Me", has died, aged 72. The singer's daughter, Neuka Mitchell, said she died at a St Louis hospice from complications after suffering a heart attack.

Big rise in Facebook and Twitter crimes

Reports of crimes via Twitter and Facebook have risen sharply this year with more than 650 people charged with offences, according to police figures. The two social networking sites were cited in nearly 5,000 cases reported to 29 police forces in England, Scotland and Wales.

George HW Bush in intensive care

Former US President George HW Bush is in intensive care after suffering "a series of setbacks". Spokesman Jim McGrath said the 88-year-old, the oldest living former president, was alert and talking to medical staff. He said doctors were cautiously optimistic about the former president's prognosis.

Sherlock voted best programme of 2012

The drama Sherlock has been voted the top TV show of 2012.

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, it beat US thriller Homeland in the Radio Times poll. Twenty Twelve, the mockumentary following the team behind the 2012 Olympics, came third.

Circus pony is back to his old tricks

A 2ft pony is back with its owners, having been kidnapped by a desperate mother. Fridolin was nabbed from the Vienna Christmas Circus last week, but a woman rang the circus on Wednesday they could find him at a local bus stop. She said her sick daughter wanted a pony, but she realised she couldn't keep it.

One in two would rather stay at home

Bars, pubs and clubs are usually at their busiest on New Year's Eve, but 56 per cent of people would opt for the comfort of their own sofa. According to the research carried out by Post Office Home Insurance, a further one in six would throw a party or go to a friend's party, rather than go out on the town.

Peter Parker killed off in comic shock

Spider-Man comics have taken a bold new turn, with Peter Parker dying – and swapping bodies with his old nemesis, Dr Otto Octavius. Issue 700 of Marvel's classic series, which came out yesterday, was penned by Dan Slott, who has written most of the last 100 issues. He said: "We always find a way to keep Spider-Man fresh."

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