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The News Matrix: Saturday 14 December 2013

UK employers ‘not using nation’s talent’

The UK’s attempts to stage an economic recovery are being held back as the skills of the workforce are being wasted. The Office for National Statistics said the nation’s employers are not making full use of the talent that can spur a long-term economic recovery. MORE

£5.5bn wind farm project cancelled

Britain’s green energy revolution has hit another setback with the abandoning of plans for the £5.5bn Argyll Array wind farm off the coast of Scotland. Scottish Power Renewables cited construction issues and “a significant presence” of basking sharks for its decision. MORE

Mafia boss’s sister arrested in raid

Police arrested 30 people yesterday while searching for Matteo Messina Denaro, a Mafia boss who has been in hiding since 1993. Investigators said the pre-dawn sweep was a major step forward. Patrizia Messina Denaro, the fugitive’s sister, was among those arrested.

Concentration camp guard is arrested

A former concentration camp guard living near Berlin is being investigated on suspicion of murder after authorities received a tip from Nazi-hunters. The 87-year-old – identified only as “Horst P” – is alleged to have been involved in killings at the Dachau camp near Munich.

Greenpeace activists denied exit visas

The 30 Greenpeace activists and journalists who are on bail in St Petersburg on hooliganism charges for protesting against Arctic oil drilling have been denied exit visas. Russia is defying a ruling by the UN maritime tribunal last month that the ship and its crew must be allowed to leave.

May says gang crime initiative is working

A Government initiative to tackle gang crime in the wake of the 2011 riots is working, claimed Home Secretary Theresa May, after significant falls in knife and gun crime were recorded. But an adviser on youth and race issues said violence now was “probably worse”. MORE

Proof that sexism is everywhere

Less than two years after its launch, the Everyday Sexism Project website has its 50,000th entry. “What started out as an awareness-raising campaign has become an international movement, with new branches flourishing in 18 countries,” says founder Laura Bates. MORE

Baghdad jailbreak leads to manhunt

Some 22 suspects facing terrorism charges escaped from a prison in Baghdad yesterday after killing a guard, but most were rearrested later. The jailbreak from al-Adela prison triggered a manhunt backed by helicopters that ended with one prisoner dead and 13 captured.

Drink-driving teen suffered ‘affluenza’

A wealthy Texan teenager who killed four pedestrians while driving drunk has been sentenced to 10 years’ probation. Critics are outraged by the defence’s argument that Ethan Couch, 16, was a victim of “affluenza” – his family’s wealth meant he thought his actions had no consequences.

White knight saves Remploy factories

More than 200 jobs have been saved with the purchase of three former Remploy factories by an automotive business. Arlington Industries says it now plans to expand the business, which mainly employs disabled people. Thirty-four Remploy factories were closed last year.

White town sheds no tears for Mandela

In Orania, a town with no black residents, no tears will be shed for Nelson Mandela’s death on Sunday, when millions across South Africa watch the former president’s funeral. “We see him as a fallen opponent,” said Carel Boshoff, president of the Orania Movement. MORE

Tree of Pleasure too sexy for Milan

A provocative outdoor Christmas tree in Milan was too naughty for city officials, who ordered it to be denuded of its red sex toys. Norma Rossetti, who runs a sex-toy website, complied. But she defended the “Tree of Pleasure”, saying the “decorations” were elegant.

Bill Gates reveals his top reads of 2013

Entrepreneur Bill Gates has revealed his favourite books in 2013 – including a 440-page tome on shipping containers. Released in 2006, The Box by Marc Levinson charts the economic impact of the industry’s rise. Gates said: “I won’t look at a cargo ship in the same way again.”

‘Father Frost’ is banned from TV

The Central Asian country of Tajikistan has banned new year’s celebrations from television screens. Government channels will not show snowmen, the “holiday tree” or Father Frost since these subjects “do not bear a direct relationship” to Tajik national traditions. MORE

US asks Islamists to return stolen gear

Washington has asked Islamic Front rebels in Syria to return the equipment they stole from Western-backed opposition fighters last week, a senior US official said. “We want our stuff back,” said the official of the material, which included vehicles and communications gear.

Beyoncé releases surprise album

Beyoncé surprised the music world yesterday by releasing her fifth studio LP, Beyoncé, without any pre-warning or marketing. Its 14 tracks – which include collaborations with her husband, Jay-Z, and their one-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy – are accompanied by 17 original videos. MORE

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Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
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Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
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Blackest is the new black

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Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

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The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
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Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

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