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The News Matrix: Monday 10 October 2011

Lecturers to take industrial action

Industrial action by lecturers and academic staff was due to disrupt universities today. Members of the University and College Union in 67 universities, including Cambridge, Oxford, the London School of Economics, Manchester and Liverpool, will only work contracted hours.

Miscarriage victims ‘neglected by NHS’

Women who miscarry are being neglected by the NHS, says Mumsnet. The website found women were treated insensitively, faced delays and were given inadequate pain relief. Mumsnet is calling for a new code of care to improve the treatment of women who miscarry. MORE

19 die as Christians clash with the army

Fierce clashes erupted in Cairo last night between Christians and the military, leaving 19 people dead in the worst violence in the city for months. The protests were over a recent attack on a church.

Leaking container ship threatens bay

Marine crews were preparing yesterday to extract oil from a container ship floundering off the coast of New Zealand. The ship has already leaked about 30 tonnes of fuel, but has 1,700 on board – which could be a disaster for the nearby Bay of Plenty, famous for its pristine waters. MORE

Two teenagers found shot in Salford

Two teenagers were shot in Salford yesterday. Police were called to investigate the incident on Tatton Road, Ordsall, Salford, at 4.25am. Officers discovered a 17-year-old boy with gunshot wounds to his leg and an 18-year-old man, also with a gunshot wound to the leg.

Government makes headway in Sirte

Libyan government forces drove deep into Muammar Gaddafi’s home town last night in a bid to stamp the new leadership’s authority on the country. During a weekend of bloody fighting inside the northern city of Sirte, the forces of the new transitional government captured buildings such as the university and a conference centre where Gaddafi received foreign dignitaries. MORE

Illegal immigrant students to get aid

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill giving illegal immigrant students access to state-funded financial aid, the second half of two-part legislation known as the Dream Act. The measure represents a victory for immigrant-rights activists ahead of the 2012 presidential election.

Nobel prizewinner in presidential poll

Liberia goes to the polls tomorrow in a tense contest that pits this year’s Nobel Peace prizewinner against a former world footballer of the year. The incumbent, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, must see off a strong challenge from an opposition counting on the popularity of its vice-presidential candidate, George Weah. MORE

Odd weather means small jack o’lanterns

Jack o’lanterns on display for Halloween this year may be smaller than usual because the weather has been bad for pumpkin growers. The Royal Horticultural Society said it has been a tricky year for pumpkins and they may be smaller as a result. However, Apple bobbers will be able to take advantage of a bumper crop from Britain’s orchards. MORE

Cold winters may be due to sun’s activity

The sun’s 11-year cycle of solar activity may have been behind the unusually long spells of cold weather seen in Britain over the past two winters. Scientific research claims that an exceptional period of low solar activity could have influenced the flow of air in the upper atmosphere, bringing cold easterly winds over northern Europe.

TV creates a drama on the high street

Edwardian fashion is enjoying a revival on the high street because of the period drama Downton Abbey. Fur capes, full-length gloves and sequinned capelets are some of the items benefiting from the show’s popularity. Shops such as Debenhams and John Lewis say the trend is down to the show, which follows the lives of the Crawley family and their servants.

Fox coughs up for ‘Simpsons’ voices

Fans of The Simpsons can breathe easy after the US television network Fox announced it would make two more series of the show after reaching an agreement with its multimillion dollar-earning voice actors. The animated series – now in its 23rd season – was threatened with the axe unless it could cut its budget.

Humans ‘look on the bright side of life’

Humans have an inbuilt tendency to always look on the bright side of life, scientists have found. Researchers identified an “optimism bias” in the brain that resists accurate data about the world. This means people “update” their beliefs accurately only when things turn out to be better than expected not worse.