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The News Matrix: Friday 29 November 2013

Muqtada Al-Sadr: the future is dark

In his first interview with a Western journalist for almost 10 years, the Muqtada al-Sadr, the Iraqi Shia religious leader whose Mehdi Army militia fought the US and British armies, says the future of Iraq is endangered by rising sectarianism. Speaking from the holy city of Najaf, Mr Sadr expressed pessimism about the immediate prospects, saying “the near future is dark”. MORE

Southern Europeans raise migrant figures

David Cameron’s drive to allay public fears over immigration has suffered a setback after official figures showed a surge of people coming here from southern Europe. Overall, 182,000 more people came to the UK than left, up from 167,000 last year. MORE

PM urges protesters to end latest unrest

Thailand’s Prime Minister has begged protesters to call off their anti-government demonstrations and negotiate an end to the nation’s latest crisis. But the protesters yesterday marched instead to new targets, including the national police headquarters. MORE

Archives reveal British atrocities

Attempts by the British government to hide or destroy the secrets of rule overseas – including atrocities such as torture and murder committed during Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion – have been revealed today in documents released by the National Archives in Kew, west London.

Proposal to destroy Syria weapons at sea

The Obama administration is considering destroying Syria’s chemical weapons at sea to circumvent diplomatic, security and environmental problems that would come with land-based disposal. The plan has not yet been approved but is thought to be in favour.

Litvinenko ‘given documents by MI6’

British security services handed the poisoned spy Alexander Litvinenko a confidential government document that summarised meetings held with a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, i has learnt. MORE

Services can mark same-sex unions

Clergy should be able to offer appropriate services to mark same-sex relationships, a report prepared for the Church of England has said. The House of Bishops working group on human sexuality does not however propose specific wording for the service and says clergy would not be required to offer them.

Former PM warns over ‘costly’ EU exit

Britain will pay a “severe price” if it votes to leave the European Union, Sir John Major has said. An exit could cost billions, and would leave the UK isolated internationally, yet still required to implement EU regulations it had no part in framing, the former prime minister said in a speech last night.

Hitman ‘butt-dialled’ intended victim

A pair of bungling would-be hitmen were foiled by police after one alleged co-conspirator sat on his phone, accidentally “butt-dialling” the potential victim and revealing the details of the hit, police said. Larry Barnett, from Arkansas, was reportedly plotting the murder of a former employee. MORE

Two sisters ‘blew Saatchi’s money’

Luxury spending sprees by the sisters accused of embezzling almost £700,000 from Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson were detailed in court yesterday. Mr Saatchi’s accountant said he did not tell the former couple of his suspicions as he did not want to bother them with “trivial matters”. MORE

Put gut instinct first before tying the knot

Scientists have found the best advice for people contemplating matrimony is to put their gut instinct first. A study of newly-weds who were followed over four years found that what they said about their partner was not always what they felt deep down, and it is the latter reaction that matters for happiness. MORE

i correspondent wins ‘Australian Pulitzer’

The i’s Asia-Pacific correspondent, Kathy Marks, has won one of Australia’s most prestigious journalism awards. Marks, who is based in Sydney, won a Walkley, known as an “Australian Pulitzer”, for her work on indigenous affairs. Her reporting ranged from East Timor violence in 1999 to the 2006 Java earthquake.

240 million-year-old toilets discovered

Palaeontologists say they have found the world’s first toilets – used by rhino-like reptiles 240 million years ago. The eight “massive accumulations” of fossilised dung, believed to have been produced by a huge tusked herbivore called the dinodontosaurus, break the record for prehistoric toilets by 220 million years.

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