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The News Matrix: Monday 31 March 2014

Royal Mail increases cost of stamp to 53p

Higher prices come into force today, with first-class stamps dearer by 2p to 62p and second-class stamps up 3p to 53p. The privatised Royal Mail insisted its prices were still among the best value in Europe, and that it had the highest service specification of any major European postal service.

Coding to secure UK’s digital future

Britain will continue to be at the forefront of digital-based business, the Government’s technology ambassador has said. Joanna Shields said 2.2 million children had learned the basics of computer coding under the “Hour of Code” campaign she is supporting.

Karzai accuses Pakistan of attacks

Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, has claimed that Pakistan was behind a string of recent attacks in his country. Mr Karzai also claimed that its eastern neighbour was trying to stop Kabul from agreeing terms for peace with the Taliban.

Blood monitor ‘could predict heart attacks’

Heart attacks could be predicted days in advance using a wearable blood monitor, scientists have found. Researchers have identified two biomarkers whose levels drop dramatically within two weeks of a heart attack. The discovery could lead to an early-warning test.

New purge on slums ahead of World Cup

More than 1,400 police and marines moved into a massive complex of slums near Rio de Janeiro airport before dawn yesterday in the latest security push ahead of this year’s World Cup. MORE

UK troops ‘would go to eastern Europe’

The UK is prepared to send its forces to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and other eastern European countries that are members of Nato amid ongoing concern over the build-up of tens of thousands of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine. Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, said “nobody should be in any doubt” of Britain’s resolve to meet its Nato commitments.

Election promises boost for Erdogan

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan could emerge from a corruption scandal with a boost from local elections yesterday. Early returns suggested his party was outstripping its results in the last ballot. 

Dawlish line to reopen after storms

The storm-damaged railway line at Dawlish in Devon will reopen on Friday, Network Rail (NR) has confirmed. The coast-hugging stretch of line was severely damaged in this winter’s savage storms, and again in another violent storm on Valentine’s Day, but will reopen on schedule.

Sahara blows into the West Country

Red dust from the Sahara has been blown all the way to the West Country. People yesterday found a covering of fine red dust on their cars. It had been carried by a southerly wind and deposited during showers. More could be on its way today.

Panda checks at zoo for mating season

Edinburgh Zoo has begun a daily monitoring of its giant panda couple as mating season approaches. It hopes Tian Tian and Yang Guang will produce a cub this year. Tian Tian was artificially inseminated last year, but she lost her foetus at late term.

Crisps for pig feed catch fire at farm

Thirteen tonnes of crisps went up in smoke in a blaze at a farm in County Durham. They were rejects from the nearby Walkers plant and destined to be turned into pig feed.

Black Sabbath to headline festival

Black Sabbath are to top the bill at the British Summer Time festival at London’s Hyde Park in July. The band, fronted by Ozzy Osbourne, made a comeback last year.

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