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The News Matrix: Monday 4 June 2012

U-turns are a sign of strength, says PM

Budget U-turns are a sign of strength not weakness the Prime Minister said yesterday, in an attempt to dodge criticisms about a series of last-minute changes in tax measures. "Nobody thinks this government lacks resolve, strength and grit," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr.

Rescued hostages were facing death

The hostages, including British aid worker Helen Johnston, rescued by the SAS from Taliban kidnapperson Friday were at risk of execution. Telephone interceptions revealed that the kidnappers, who died during the operation, were debating which one to kill. MORE

Death of 'Desperate Housewives' actress

The Desperate Housewives actress Kathryn Joosten, a two-time Emmy award winner, has died of cancer. Joosten was also well-known for her role as Delores Landingham in The West Wing. MORE

Woman 'too young' to get IVF on NHS

A 24-year-old, infertile after appendicitis, is claiming age discrimination after being denied IVF treatment because she is too young. National guidelines allow free IVF for women aged 23 to 39, but Andrea Heywood has been told by Portsmouth PCT she must wait until she is 30. MORE

Boy, 16, arrested in drugs death inquiry

Police have arrested a 16-year-old boy on suspicion of supplying drugs following the death of a teenager in Liverpool. Rose Farley, 15, died on Saturday amid reports her drink was spiked with Ecstasy just days after police warned of the dangers of the drug circulating in the city. MORE

Protests as ex-PM runs for president

The former dictator Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison at the weekend, but Egypt's streets again became the site of protest, as Egyptians directed their anger at Ahmed Shafik, Mubarak's last prime minister, and at present a presidential candidate. The protesters want to have Shafik's candidacy declared invalid on the basis of his connection to the ousted regime. MORE

Sister joins force that got brother's killers

The sister of a black teenager killed in an unprovoked racist attack has joined the police force that caught his killers. Seven years after her brother Anthony was killed, Dominique Walker, 26, is patrolling the tough Merseyside estates where his attackers grew up. MORE

Musicians to mime at opening ceremony

Musicians in the London Symphony Orchestra will have to mime their performance in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics because a live performance is deemed "too risky" because of the shape of the stadium and worries about the weather. MORE

Dead murderer's body eaten by bear

Authorities have identified a corpse, partially eaten by a black bear, as the body of Rory Nelson Wagner, who pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge in 1994, was paroled but went missing from his halfway house last month.

Teen mother drives off with baby on roof

A pot-smoking teenage mother from Arizona, Catalina Clouser, was arrested after leaving her five-week old son, strapped in his safety seat, on the roof of her car as she drove off. The baby fell off the car at an intersection, where he was found, unhurt.

The Voice loses viewers battle

More than seven million viewers tuned in to see the final of BBC talent show The Voice. Overall it lost the viewing figures battle to rival series Britain's Got Talent last month. The winner of The Voice was Leanne Mitchell.

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Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada