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The News Matrix: Monday 24 March 2014

Priest admits civil partnership sham

A Catholic priest has been suspended after admitting he entered into a sham civil partnership so a Pakistani national could obtain a British passport. Father Donald Minchew went along with the arrangement in 2008 while he was an Anglican vicar.

Break up threat to Big Six providers

The Big Six providers could be broken up as the regulator refers them to the competition watchdog. The move is the latest effort to rein in soaring customer bills and address alleged profiteering. Ofgem is expected to consult on a full review of the sector.

New fees system is a waste, says Denham

For every £1 invested in teaching in universities, £7.50 is spent on cancelling students’ debts, parliamentary research has found. Labour’s former Universities minister, John Denham, will tonight accuse the Government of being “scandalously irresponsible” over higher education. PAGE 5

British teenager in ‘suicide death pact’

A British teenager who emigrated to Florida and her boyfriend are believed to have killed themselves after a police officer who stopped to question the pair was murdered. Alexandria Hollinghurst, 17, originally from Manchester, and Brandon Goode, 18, were found dead in an Orlando suburb.

Hamas supporters in show of strength

Thousands of Hamas supporters marched in a show of strength as the militant group faces its deepest crisis since seizing power seven years ago. It is dealing with a severe financial shortfall.

BBC wants to make arts mainstream

The BBC must broaden its coverage of the arts to avoid it becoming marginalised, its director general will say this week. Tony Hall will argue that more must be done to get young people interested in the arts earlier in life. Unveiling the corporation’s “new approach to the arts”, Lord Hall will outline new commissions, including greater coverage on Radio 2 and BBC One.

British police assist over rape allegation

Hampshire police are assisting the investigation into the alleged rape of a British businesswoman in a luxury hotel in Egypt. The woman, aged in her 40s, reported that she was sexually assaulted by a guard  who was escorting her to her room in a five-star hotel at the Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh.

Prosecutor accuses police of ‘excesses’

A top state prosecutor has said security forces had committed “excesses” in breaking up nearly two months of opposition protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, that have left at least 34 dead. In an interview yesterday, Luisa Ortega said prosecutors are “investigating” the issue.

Man to set sail in giant pumpkin

A New Zealand man is planning on sailing the 550kg pumpkin he has grown across a local lake. Tim Harris will tomorrow hollow out the oversized pumpkin and aim to sail it across Hamilton Gardens Turtle Lake – a unique feat in the country.

And they called it puppy love...

Claire Johnson, 50, and Mark Gaffey, 51, were married in Stoke-on-Trent after their guide dogs “fell in love” at training two years ago. The guide dogs, Venice and Rodd, took the happy couple through the service and even acted as ring-bearers.

Police in plea over sex with prostitutes

Police are urging lawmakers to preserve an exemption in Hawaii law that lets officers have sex with prostitutes. The notion has shocked advocates, with legislators looking to change the rule. MORE

D-Day aircraft back for anniversary

A US aircraft that took part in the D-Day landings will again drop paratroopers over France as part of the 70th anniversary commemorations. The  Douglas C-47 has been invited to mark the anniversary in June.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform