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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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Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home