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The News Matrix: Friday 31 January

Knox and ex-lover guilty of murder

Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty of the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher by an Italian court last night. Knox, 26, who refused to travel from her home in the US for the hearing, was ordered jailed for 28 years and six months; Sollecito was given a  25-year sentence. Both can still appeal the decision. MORE

Rape victims ‘face culture of disbelief’

Serious sex crimes are being treated in drastically different ways by different police forces, according to analysis of figures. While one force registered a third of reported rapes as “no crimes” after receiving new information, another downgraded only 3 per cent of cases. MORE

Incomes down 6 per cent since recession

George Osborne’s claim that living standards are rising has been thrown into doubt by research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies which showed household income is down 6 per cent on pre-recession levels. The poorest have experienced higher inflation than the richest. MORE

Pro-opposition homes razed

The government used controlled explosives and bulldozers to raze thousands of residential buildings, an international human rights group says. The demolitions took place between July 2012 and July 2013 in seven pro-opposition districts around Damascus and the city of Hama.

Tsarnaev ‘should face death penalty’

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, who stands accused of planting bombs that killed three people and wounded  264 at the Boston Marathon last year, should face the death penalty if he is found guilty, Eric Holder, the US Attorney General said yesterday.

Doctors begin to awaken Schumacher

Michael Schumacher’s manager has confirmed that doctors have started trying to wake up the Formula One great from the medically induced coma he’s been in since suffering a skiing accident last month. MORE

Bieber was on drugs at time of arrest

Teen pop star Justin Bieber had marijuana and prescription medication in his system at the time of his arrest for alleged drag racing last week in Miami Beach, the state attorney’s office has said. A preliminary report did not detail how much marijuana and alprazolam the  19-year-old singer had in his system.

Cameron wedded to ‘snooper’s charter’

David Cameron has signalled his determination to resurrect the controversial data communications Bill if he wins the next election. Giving evidence to the Joint National Security Strategy Committee, the PM said the “snooper’s charter” was essential to help tackle terrorism and other serious crimes.

Historic houses go on sale for $1 each

The town of Boston Bar in the Fraser Canyon in British Columbia is hoping to save two historic houses by offering them for $1 each. The houses were built around the turn of the 20th century for Canadian Pacific Railway employees. The only stipulation is that the exterior of the buildings retain their heritage value.

London radio station LBC to go national

Radio station LBC is set to become a national service in a move that some say will bring America’s talk radio wars to the UK. In the biggest challenge to Radio 5 Live since the BBC launched its news network 20 years ago, the London network will broadcast nationally from 11 February. MORE

Red envelopes tradition shunned

Chinese people would rather receive bank transfers than traditional red envelopes filled with cash, which are usually given at occasions such as the Lunar New Year celebrations, which began yesterday, a South China Morning Post poll shows.

Sick of a song in your head – suck a straw

Kylie Minogue’s hit “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”, “God Save The Queen”, “Happy Birthday” and “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club are some of the catchiest songs, according to a new study of “earworms”. Researchers’ suggestions for exorcising songs stuck in the head include sucking a straw.

Superhero Pope image rubbed out

Rome police yesterday scrubbed the wall near the Vatican where graffiti art showing Pope Francis as a superhero had been displayed. The image, which saw the Pope as Superman in flight, clutching his black satchel of values – had garnered worldwide attention. Artist Mauro Pallotta put the image up on Monday.

Indians get chance to escape poverty

The Choctaw Indians, who live in Oklahoma, have been given the chance to rebuild their lives and recover their identity. The Choctaw live in areas where poverty remains entrenched, but a new government initiative aims to provide the infrastructure that would ensure a new lease of life for the community. MORE

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