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The News Matrix: Friday 6 September 2013

BBC misled MPs, says Thompson

The former BBC director-general, Mark Thompson, has accused of Lord Patten of "fundamentally misleading" MPs over how much he knew about payoffs to senior staff. His claims about the BBC Trust chairman appear in evidence Mr Thompson has filed with the Public Accounts Committee, which was leaked last night. Both men are due to appear before the committee on Monday.

Pressure mounts on IDS over 'cover-up'

Pressure is growing on Iain Duncan Smith over the chaotic introduction of his £2.4bn benefits reforms and the hiding of the problems the project was experiencing from Parliament. Labour seized on a damning report by the National Audit Office as evidence of a "cover-up". MORE

130 vehicles crash on fog-bound bridge

The fact no one died in a pile-up involving 130 cars on a fog-bound bridge was "truly miraculous", police said. Drivers were travelling at high speeds without headlights as they crossed the bridge from the Isle of Sheppey to the Kent mainland in thick fog. MORE

Refusal to admit guide dogs 'illegal'

Blind people with guide dogs are being illegally denied access to restaurants, shops and public transport, according to the Guide Dogs Charity. It claimed it was "common" for people to be refused access to services on the grounds that they are accompanied by a dog.

World 'failing to protect its species'

Conservationists' efforts to save the world's most endangered species of animals and plants are going to waste, a study claims. The report in the journal Science claims global treaties for preserving wildlife fail to cover those areas with the highest proportion of unique species. MORE

Holmes film is a case for McKellen

Sir Ian McKellen has signed up to play Sherlock Holmes in a new film by Bill Condon, the director of Chicago. A Slight Trick Of The Mind will feature a long-retired Holmes still tortured by an unsolved case.

Two-month prison hunger strike ends

Convicts have ended a two-month hunger strike in protest against the California prison system's isolation policies. More than 30,000 inmates had refused meals since the strike began in July. They said gang leaders are often held for decades in isolation. A judge had given authorities permission to force-feed inmates.

Woman behind Taliban film slain

Militants have killed an Indian woman whose 1995 memoir about marrying an Afghan man and life under the Taliban was made into the 2003 Bollywood film Escape from Taliban. The killing of Sushmita Banerjee, 49, is the latest in a string of attacks on prominent women in Afghanistan.

Flemish town bans French speakers

Civil servants in the municipality of Menen have been told they will no longer be permitted to speak French from the new year. Mayor Martine Fournier announced the new rules in a bid to prevent "Frenchification". Despite the town's position near the border with France, it lies in the Flemish half of Belgium. MORE

Cat elected mayor is attacked by dog

A town's honorary mayor, Stubbs the cat, has been badly injured in an attack by a dog. The quirky community of Talkeetna in Alaska elected Stubbs 15 years ago. But now Stubbs is sedated and under veterinary care. Saturday's attack left him with a punctured lung, bruised hips, a deep gash on his side and a fractured sternum. MORE

New York delicacy 'cronut' comes to UK

A croissant-doughnut hybrid that brought queues of punters to shops in New York is being launched in the UK. Greggs has manufactured its own version of the "cronut", with summer berry and caramel varieties. The bakery chain claimed it was the "the most exciting thing since the birth of the sausage roll".

Google gets green light for flash HQ

Workers will soon enjoy a rooftop swimming pool, running track and gardens at Google's £650m new base in London. Camden Council has approved plans for the search engine's UK headquarters in King's Cross. The building will be up to 11 storeys high, but has been tagged a "groundscraper" as it will be 330m long.

Polanski: My sex crime frustration

Roman Polanski has spoken of his frustration at being the object of hatred over a sex crime he committed in 1977. The Oscar-winning director of The Pianist had sex with Samantha Geimer, then 13, during a photoshoot. Polanski, 80, told Vanity Fair he felt more persecuted after he was arrested in 2009 in Switzerland at the request of the US than he did when he was convicted.

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Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal