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The News Matrix: Friday 6 December 2013

Militia fight fierce battles in capital

Armed militia fought fierce battles in the Central African Republic’s capital yesterday, killing 105 people, as the UN approved French military action to halt Muslim-Christian sectarian violence that threatens to escalate into widespread civilian massacres. Mindful of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the US and other Western powers have urged swift international action.

Nigella ‘not proud’  of taking cocaine

Nigella Lawson said yesterday she was “not proud” of having taken cocaine and cannabis. Appearing at the trial of two former personal assistants, she said she objected to stories “peddled” by ex-husband Charles Saatchi, including one that he was checking her nose for cocaine. 

Benefits reform will miss deadline

Multiple failures mean that nearly 750,000 people will not move on to the Government’s new benefits system by 2017, it was admitted yesterday. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith was criticised for announcing the delay at the same time as the Autumn Statement. MORE

Caesarean section ruling explained

Details of how Alessandra Pacchieri was forced to have a Caesarean section, described as the “stuff of nightmares”, have emerged. The Court of Protection ruled last year that she should be made to have the operation as a natural delivery risked rupturing her womb.

Rigby was killed as he was ‘spotted first’

The two men accused of murdering Lee Rigby chose their alleged victim because he was “the soldier that was spotted first”, a jury heard yesterday. In a police interview Michael Adebolajo also said: “The most humane way to kill any creature is to cut the jugular.” MORE

‘Midsomer’ medical expert dies at 75

Barry Jackson, who played pathologist Dr George Bullard in Midsomer Murders for more than a decade,  has died aged 75. His long career  included roles in films including  Ryan’s Daughter and Barry Lyndon.

Disposal of chemical weapons tested

The US will this month conduct tests of seaborne equipment that could be used to neutralise Syria’s deadliest chemical weapons. Two large chemical neutralisation units, which employ a process known as hydrolysis to render toxic chemicals safe enough to be disposed of at commercial sites, will be used.

Firefighters to stage two more strikes

Firefighters in England and Wales are to stage fresh strikes in their bitter dispute with the Government over pensions. Members of the  Fire Brigades Union will walk out  for four hours from 6pm on 13 December and again on the 14th, having already been on strike four times since September.

Two volunteers give 84 years of service

Two hospital volunteers who have spent a combined total of 84 years  helping others have been honoured for their dedication. Ivy Abraham, who will turn 95 on Christmas  Eve, and 82-year-old Karla Gunn were given their awards at  Southampton General Hospital where they both work.

Girl, 5, who paid for breakage is found

A girl of five who wrote an apology and sent two £1 coins to a John Lewis store in Cambridge after she broke a bauble has been found following a social media campaign. Branch manager Dominic Joyce launched a bid to find the girl on Twitter using the hashtag #findfaith, to thank her for the “adorable gesture”.

Critic fired over gay website images 

Mark Shenton, the chief theatre critic for the Sunday Express since 2002, has been fired after images of him emerged on a gay website. He confirmed in a blogpost on TheStage.co.uk that the “private, personal (but entirely legal) images” were of him, saying he believed they were taken 22 years ago.

Mail deliveries on again after dog days

Families in Reading have had their postal service reinstated following a safety dispute over an “aggressive dog”. Three streets in the suburb of Whitley have not received any mail since a dog bit a postal worker in June. The Royal Mail apologised and said deliveries had resumed on a trial basis.

Beckham wedding tiara fails to sell

Despite expectations that it would fetch between £18,000 and £25,000, a tiara worn by Victoria Beckham for her wedding failed to sell at auction yesterday. Made from gold and diamonds to commission, the headpiece (pictured) failed to reach its reserve with a top bid of £14,000.

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