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The News Matrix: Friday 4 October 2013

‘Mail on Sunday’ apology to Miliband

Senior executives at the company which owns the Daily Mail have  distanced themselves from the  paper’s editor as the row over its  attack on Ed Miliband’s father Ralph intensified. Yesterday the Mail on Sunday suspended two journalists after admitting a “terrible lapse of judgement” in sending a reporter to question guests at a memorial service for Mr Miliband’s uncle. MORE

Mother is jailed for son’s manslaughter

An alcoholic mother-of-eight has been convicted of starving her four-year-old son to death and leaving his body in a travel cot, where it was found by police almost two years later. Amanda Hutton, 43, was  found guilty of the manslaughter  of Hamzah Khan. MORE

The Gambia quits Commonwealth

The Gambia has withdrawn from the Commonwealth 48 years after joining, branding it a “neo-colonial institution”. Relations between The Gambia and the Commonwealth have been strained in recent years. The UK Foreign Office expressed regret at the decision. MORE

Health chief pledges tobacco-free country

Ireland has become the latest country to pledge to become “tobacco-free”, as its health authorities announced a crackdown on places where cigarettes are sold. Dr James Reilly, the Irish Health Minister, said less than 5 per cent of the population would be smoking by 2025. MORE

Israel coy on cyber chief’s assassination

Israel said yesterday it was “not necessarily” involved in the death of the head of Iranian cyber warfare, Mojtaba Ahmedi, who was killed north of Tehran – the latest in a string of Iranian experts to meet an untimely end. Details of the death remain shrouded in mystery. MORE

Putin promises to restore Arctic base

President Vladimir Putin says Russia will expand its presence in the Arctic and restore a Soviet-era military base there. Putin told activists of the main Kremlin party yesterday that the Arctic region is essential for Russia’s economic and security interests.

Women’s website launches with a row

New pro-women’s website, Feminist Times, has withdrawn an article on forced sterilisation after it provoked a huge row. Charlotte Raven (left), its editor, told i that removing the story would be a “bad idea”. MORE

Tesco supersizes war on high street

Tesco has revealed it is stepping up its assault on the high street by reinventing its hypermarkets as an aspirational alternative. The chain, long blamed for the demise of independent retailers, has declared 2014 “the year of the hypermarket”, ignoring warnings that the era of supersized supermarkets is over.

Gaddafi’s son held from court hearing

A court hearing for officials of Moammar Gaddafi has resumed in Tripoli, but without the former regime’s most prominent figure – Gaddafi’s son, who is being held by a powerful militia group. Seif al-Islam Gaddafi was not among the 30 men held in a cage called the “indictment chamber”.

Austen revamp ‘has been a treat’

Crime writer Alexander McCall Smith has said that the opportunity to give Jane Austen’s heroine, Emma, a literary makeover, as part of a series reimagining the novelist’s work, was like “being asked to eat a delicious box of chocolates”. US writer Curtis Sittenfeld has revamped Pride and Prejudice for the project.

Apple pledges quick UK arrival for radio

Top Apple executive Eddy Cue says he’s “very pleased” with the initial rollout of iTunes Radio and hopes to have it running internationally as soon as possible. “One of our top priorities is to bring iTunes Radio obviously here in the UK but everywhere in the world,” Mr Cue said last week in an interview from London.

‘Old crone’ portrait posted to couple

A pensioner has spoken of his surprise at receiving a painting of an “ugly woman” in the post – and he has no idea of who sent it. Keith Webb, 82, of Winchester, Hampshire, said the parcel was a complete mystery: “It’s a painting of such a horrid old crone – my wife won’t have it in the house.”

Children say reading is ‘embarrassing’

Children regard reading as “embarrassing”, with fewer youngsters picking up a book for fun, research suggests. The number of children who read outside class in their own time is falling, while some say their parents are not bothered if they read, according to a new study by the National Literacy Trust.

Forsyth updates manhunt formula

More than 40 years after the release of The Day of the Jackal, British author Frederick Forsyth has published another thriller that focuses on a manhunt for an assassin. The Kill List draws upon Forsyth’s research into the latest advances in counterterrorism as agents track fictional Muslim terrorist called “The Preacher”.

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