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The News Matrix: Monday 10 December 2012

Smoking linked to infant meningitis

Smoking when pregnant can triple the risk of a child succumbing to a major cause of meningitis, research has shown. Inhaling tobacco smoke in the home also made young children vulnerable to invasive meningococcal infection.

'Wow' says stunned X Factor winner

James Arthur was named The X Factor winner last night. The 24-year-old from Saltburn, near Middlesbrough, beat Jahmene Douglas in front of a 10,000-strong audience at Manchester Arena, with millions more watching the ITV show at home. Arthur looked stunned, saying only "wow" when asked how he felt.

Ann Summers sales enhanced by novel

Jacqueline Gold, the woman behind the lingerie chain Ann Summers, has said the success of Fifty Shades of Grey has led to sales at her chain going through the roof. She told Hello! magazine: "Not only have we sold out of handcuffs, jiggle balls and blindfolds, but it's opened up a lot of new doors on a business level." MORE

Regime troops in strategic withdrawal

Diplomats say withdrawals by government forces may have given the false impression that Assad's military position is weaker than it really is. The government claims to have made a strategic choice not to defend smaller outposts in order to concentrate on Damascus. MORE

Concession fails to satisfy opposition

A concession offered by President Mohamed Morsi, left, failed to placate opponents who accused him of plunging Egypt deeper into crisis by refusing to postpone a vote on a constitution shaped by Islamists. MORE

Parents urged to watch their drinking

Parents should drink less in front of their children if they want to prevent them becoming binge drinkers, a report suggests today. The authors of research by the think-tank Demos said it was "not enough" for parents to wait until their children were in bed before opening the bottle, because their interviews suggested "children are more aware than they are often given credit for".

BBC forecasts the hit-makers of 2013

The BBC has published its list of musicians it believes could hit the big time next year. The Sound of 2013 long list, which features a country-rock band and a Native American rapper, is compiled by industry experts. The first award – for the Sound of 2003 – went to US rapper 50 Cent. MORE

Sparkling result for home-grown bubbly

Sales figures from the UK's largest independent wine merchant, Bibendum Wine, show that 25 per cent more wine from English vineyards is being consumed in bars and restaurants than last year. For English sparkling wine the figure is even more impressive – a 55 per cent increase.

Many war refugees on Britain's streets

Thousands of people who have fled some of the world's most dangerous countries including Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are being forced into destitution, begging and prostitution on British streets because they cannot be sent back, the Home Office is warned. MORE

Will it be Monti versus Berlusconi?

Italy and the rest of Europe anxiously awaited the reaction of financial markets yesterday to Prime Minister Mario Monti's surprise decision to resign and set the stage for an early vote, as speculation abounded over whether he might dive into politics and challenge Silvio Berlusconi in the election. MORE

Teenager held over death of boy, seven

Police questioning a teenager who was allegedly at the wheel of a car which killed a young child at a caravan site have been given an extra 12 hours to hold him. A seven-year-old boy was knocked down and later died from his injuries in hospital after the accident at around 3pm yesterday.

Jazz landmark closes down

The Lenox Lounge, a historic Harlem jazz club that has hosted greats including Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and John Coltrane, will close its doors on New Year's Eve. The Lounge was founded in 1939. But owner Alvin Reed said with rents on the rise he can no longer afford the lease on the jazz landmark. MORE

Romney tops quotes of the year list

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's comments about 47 per cent of the population dependent on the government and "binders full of women" topped this year's best quotes, according to Yale University librarian Fred Shapiro's annual quotes list.

Career Services

Day In a Page

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
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment