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The News Matrix: Monday 21 January 2013

BBC's Marr 'on the mend' after stroke

The broadcaster Andrew Marr said yesterday that he was "on the mend", according to the BBC, his first reported comments since suffering a stroke. Speaking from his hospital, Marr, 53, also sent "a huge thank you" to his well-wishers and said the goodwill messages had been truly wonderful.

Obama sworn in for second term

President Obama took the oath for his second term at the White House in a private ceremony. It was a low-key start to the President's second term, likely to be dominated by budget fights with Republicans. MORE

Foreign top cop plan 'a smack in the face'

Moves by the Home Secretary to allow foreign police chiefs to become chief constables in England and Wales under new reforms to improve the force's leadership were described as a "smack in the face" yesterday by a former chief constable.

Key vote may be end of peace process

Israelis go to the polls tomorrow in an election which could sound the death knell for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict. With Benjamin Netanyahu and his hardline allies predicted to capture 63 seats, analysts anticipate deadlock in peace efforts. MORE

Renovation plan to revive the North

Work should begin to refurbish thousands of derelict homes across the North of England to help kick-start the recovery, an influential think-tank says. It says Burnley, Bradford, Hull and Blackpool have large concentrations of crumbling properties that could be renovated. MORE

Academic pressure prompts drop-outs

Pressure to study academic subjects is leading to thousands of teenagers dropping out of A-level studies, says a report out today. Research by the Policy Exchange think-tank shows as many as one in three students in some parts of the country are quitting their studies.

Man shot with Taser dies in hospital

A man who was shot by police using a Taser during his arrest has died in hospital. Martin Baskeyfield was detained for motoring offences on 29 September last year in Stoke-on-Trent. During the arrest he was subdued by officers who shot him using the Taser stun-gun. Five days later he was admitted to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, but died on 14 January. MORE

Fifty Shades of Grey confiscated by judge

A judge in Rio de Janeiro has confiscated copies of Fifty Shades of Grey and other books, saying store owners must seal such novels to prevent children leafing through them.

Rare spider found in London cemetery

A rare spider has been found in the famous Highgate Cemetery. The discovery of the orb weaver is the first time the species has been recorded in London.

Sailor saved after three days adrift

A French sailor has been rescued by a cruise ship after spending three days adrift on a life raft in the Southern Ocean. Alain Delord, 63, had been attempting a solo round-the-world voyage when the mast of his yacht broke in fierce weather.

'Les Mis' cast gets a reason to be cheerful

The stars of Les Miserables have become the first film cast to top the official albums chart in almost 16 years. The soundtrack of Tom Hooper's musical is the first cast recording to top the albums chart since Evita in 1997.

The musical's cast knocks Emeli Sande's Our Version Of Events down to number two.

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Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape