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The News Matrix: Monday 20 August 2012

Assad at Eid prayers as protests flare

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attended prayers for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, but the rare public appearance underlined pressures he is facing as demonstrators took to the streets.  MORE

Hurricane Gordon set to hit eastern isles

Portugal's Azores archipelago braced itself yesterday for Hurricane Gordon, which had intensified to Category 2 and was likely to hit the easternmost islands early today. The Atlantic islands, about 1,000 miles west of the Portuguese coast, are a popular tourism destination and particularly busy at this time of year.

Aung San under fire over Muslim silence

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese politician and democracy's campaigner, has drawn censure for failing to speak out on behalf of Burma's Rohingya Muslims, described by the UN as one of the world's most persecuted minorities – even after Britain asked her to do so. MORE

PM backs 'yes or no' in referendum

David Cameron is prepared to let Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond select the timing of an independence referendum and set the wording provided it is a "yes or no" choice. The Prime Minister is adamant the question is a straight "in or out of the Union", aides said. MORE

Chillax and mead: significant words

'Chillax' and 'mead' are among 100 words picked by linguistics professor David Crystal to illustrate changes in the English language from medieval times onwards.

Jay Leno takes up to $10m cut to save staff

US chat show host Jay Leno is taking a US$5-10million (£3-6m) pay cut to spare other staff members at The Tonight Show the sack as parent company NBC slashes expenses. But the move has failed to help 24 employees already shown the exit.

President ignored assassination threat

Mexican President Felipe Calderó* was warned of a threat to assassinate him while he was in the presidential jet but used the plane anyway, according to the Mexican media.

Family criticise police delay

The family of one of the victims of the Moors Murders have criticised Greater Manchester Police for their delay in acting on evidence that may hold clues to the whereabouts of his body. A Channel 4 documentary tonight discusses the existence of a letter written by Ian Brady that could lead to the remains of Keith Bennett, whose mother died on Friday. MORE

Ryan gets his mother on campaign

Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan wheeled out his 78-year-old mother to campaign against President Obama's Medicare overhaul during a stopover in Florida, a swing state with the highest concentration of senior citizens in the US.  MORE

Air and sea rescue for missing boy

An air and sea rescue was under way last night for a missing four-year-old boy. A coastguard helicopter was scrambled after an alarm was raised at 6pm by a member of the public who witnessed the boy's parents' desperate attempts to rescue him after he entered the water at Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset.

'Reactors will rid UK of stored plutonium'

Britain could get rid of its plutonium stockpile, the world's biggest, with the construction of nuclear reactors to burn the waste at Sellafield in Cumbria. A study claims, twin nuclear "fast reactors" will dispose of the plutonium as fuel to generate electricity. Plans are at the research stage. MORE

iPad toys tipped as Christmas hit

Toys that connect to iPads could be this year's Christmas "must-have" gift for children as more and more kids use their parents' tablets to play games. Industry pundits have tipped products such as Mattel's Apptivities to take off. MORE

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