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The News Matrix: Saturday 10 March 2012



Rebel leader rejects talks with regime

The leader of Syria's main opposition group rejected calls by UN envoy Kofi Annan for dialogue with the government yesterday, saying such talks are pointless while the regime is massacring its own people. In the past few days two generals and a government minister have changed sides. MORE

US transfers control of detention centre

The US military signed an agreement yesterday to transfer its main detention centre in the country to Afghan control in six months. The deal removes an obstacle that had threatened to derail talks between the countries as the US prepares to bring its forces home.

£1.3bn investment a 'major gamble'

Postal unions have warned that the Government's £1.3bn investment in the Post Office is a "major gamble" and that the proposals were "full of spin". It is feared that the modernisation of 6,000 locations could lead to smaller branches being "downgraded" or reduced to a shop counter. MORE

Charlotte Church's priest was victim

Charlotte Church's priest has claimed his phone was hacked by jailed private investigator Glenn Mulcaire. Father Richard Reardon will take legal action against the News of the World, whose parent company News International has settled out of court with Church. MORE

Police launch review of Madeleine case

Portuguese police have launched a review of the original investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance, it emerged yesterday. The official inquiry was formally shelved in July 2008, but a Scotland Yard review of the case was launched last May after a request from Theresa May.

Israeli airstrike kills Shalit captor

An Israeli airstrike in Gaza yesterday killed the commander of the militant group behind the abduction of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held captive for five years and freed in a prisoner swap for more than 1,000 Palestinians. The attack immediately sparked retaliatory rocket attacks.

Solar storm more fizzle than fury

The solar storm that seemed to be more fizzle than fury got much stronger yesterday before fading again. At its peak, it was the most potent solar storm since 2004, US space weather forecasters said. However, no power failures or technological disturbances were reported .

Ministers criticise church leaders

Ministers will accuse Church leaders of turning the gay marriage debate into "a battle between gay rights and religious beliefs", according to a document leaked to i. However, the Government sought to reassure religious groups that they will not be forced to carry out same-sex marriages. MORE

Cameron sets out adoption reforms

The Prime Minister has promised to dismantle the "absurd barriers" to mixed-race adoption, saying councils will be forced to launch a nationwide hunt for homes if children can't be placed in the local area after three months. An "adoption action plan" will be launched next week. MORE

Japanese bring whaling fleet home

Conservationists claimed victory after Japan announced it had ended its whaling season early, having hauled less than a third of the annual target. Whaling ships gave up on their mission in the Southern Ocean this week after catching 266 minke whales and one fin whale.

Reform risks report could be published

An internal government assessment of the risks posed by reforms to the NHS is close to publication after a Department of Health appeal to block it was thrown out. The Information Rights Tribunal upheld the Information Commissioner's ruling that the 2010 document should be disclosed.

Bild says goodbye to its naked blondes

The men at Germany's biggest-selling newspaper apparently had an attack of remorse on International Women's Day. The Bild daily proclaimed that yesterday's bare-breasted front-page blonde would be the last. MORE

Oldest film based on Dickens found at BFI

The earliest known film based on the works of Charles Dickens has been discovered in the British Film Institute archives. The Death of Poor Joe, filmed in 1901, was made by the British film pioneer GA Smith. It was donated in 1954, but was filed incorrectly.

Facebook catches man with two wives

Facebook has led to two women learning they were married to the same man by suggesting one of them as a friend to the other. Alan O'Neill allegedly married a woman in 2001, then changed his name and remarried.

1972 Irish Whiskey gives Cameron a lift

The Prime Minister has revealed that he has always loved the guitar riff in Thin Lizzy's "Whiskey in the Jar", saying he plays it "when needing a lift". The 1972 song by the Irish rock band is about a highwayman betrayed by his lover.

Preacher admits world's end mistake

A California preacher who predicted the end of the world last year is acknowledging for the first time that his prophecy was wrong. Harold Camping, 90, now says that he has no evidence the end of the world will come anytime soon.

BBC newsreader caught 'snoozing'

Cameras in the BBC newsroom appeared to catch presenter Simon McCoy asleep at his desk yesterday morning. The 50-year-old was seen resting his head, jumping up when he realised the cameras were rolling. He later denied he'd been snoozing and said he had been "head-banging".