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The News Matrix: Monday 28 February 2011

New standards for nursing homes

Nursing homes must submit to new “excellence tests” or risk losing funding, under plans announced today. Homes will be assessed on staff training and turnover, daily activities for residents, and the quality of care they offer. MORE

Coalition led by Fine Gael to take power

Fine Gael and Labour are expected to open talks this week on agreeing a formal coalition after a landmark election decimated Fianna Fail, which has dominated Irish politics. Voters punished the party for presiding over the collapse of the economy. MORE

Ethical produce soars to £1bn

Sales of Fairtrade products rose by 40 per cent last year to more than £1bn in the UK, up from £836m in 2009. Harriet Lamb of The Fairtrade Foundation says she hopes that sales will double this year to £2bn.

Funding sought to make Chernobyl safe

Concerns that the Chernobyl nuclear reactor could collapse and again leak deadly radiation have prompted European agencies to seek hundreds of millions of pounds to build a steel shelter around the site. MORE

Four Britons among dead as city empties

Four Britons are believed to have died in last Tuesday’s earthquake that hit Christchurch, New Zealand. The death toll stood at 147 last night, with more than 50 people unaccounted for. Thousands of the city’s 350,000 residents have left since the quake, more than 50,000 through the airport alone. MORE

Spending cuts force review of priorities

Several countries which have been receiving aid from the UK, including Kosovo and Vietnam, are to have their funding stopped as part of government spending cuts. MORE

Impresario’s boat sunk in ‘arson’ attack

A boat belonging to Sir Cameron Mackintosh, the West End producer of musicals including Cats and Les Misérables has been destroyed in a suspected arson attack. MORE

‘Shampanskoye’ bubble set to burst

Ukrainian vineyards producing the syrupy sparkling wine called “shampanskoye” will be forced to change the name as part of a free trade agreement with the EU due to be signed later this year. Brandy known as “konyak” and cheese marketed as feta will also be affected. MORE

Is it the final curtain for interval drinks?

Half-time pots of ice cream and a quick drink to steady you for the second half could be on the way out of British theatre. A raft of recent productions have sidestepped theatre tradition and done away with any form of interval. MORE

Hip-hop star too blinged up for flight

American hip-hop star Kanye West’s jewellery-heavy look proved impractical for travelling as he set off airport metal detectors. The singer, proud of the weight of his swag, tweeted a picture of the jewels he needed to shed before passing through security.

Officers to tweet before kettling

Police will be communicating a new “softly, softly” approach to protesters via Twitter. In a friendlier approach to policing demonstrations, tweets will warn when groups are about to be kettled and a brochure will explain how police are committed to the rights of democratic protest.

Team repeats Shackleton epic

Lt Col. Henry Worsley travelled 900 miles over 66 days to follow in the footsteps of his relative Frank Worsley, skipper to Ernest Shackleton on his unsuccessful attempt to reach the South Pole. His new book, In Shackleton’s Footsteps, traces the journey he made a century after his relative.

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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
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
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