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The News Matrix: Saturday 16 March 2013

Cuts 'could force sixth-forms to close'

Government cuts will force school sixth-forms to close or reduce the number of A-level courses they offer, such as modern languages and further maths, heads warned yesterday. The cuts will put sixth-forms on an equal footing with further education colleges in terms of funding. MORE

Coalition tensions mount over Leveson

Coalition tensions intensified last night before next week's crunch vote on press regulation. Tory anger boiled over after Nick Clegg joined forces with Labour to set out an alternative vision of how best to curb media excess in the wake of Lord Justice Leveson's report. MORE

EU blocks bid to lift weapons embargo

Prime Minister David Cameron and French President François Hollande saw their plea to lift an embargo on supplying weapons to Syrian rebels rejected by EU leaders yesterday. The rest of Europe is fearful of sparking an arms race with Russia, which supports Bashar al-Assad. MORE

Family await results in murder inquiry

A South African family are awaiting test results on bodies exhumed in a murder investigation which could implicate Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in the deaths of two young men in 1988. Ms Madikizela-Mandela has been named as ordering the killing by a witness. MORE

Recovering Filin eyes Bolshoi ballet return

The Bolshoi ballet artistic director badly burned in an acid attack says he is "full of strength and faith" and that he will eventually be well enough to return to work at the famed Moscow theatre. Sergei Filin spoke at the German hospital where doctors are hopeful his vision will recover.

Former Mirror editor questioned by police

Richard Wallace, former editor of the Daily Mirror, has been questioned by detectives investigating phone hacking over a suspected conspiracy to intercept voicemails. Mr Wallace, 51, edited the tabloid for eight years until he was sacked last May. MORE

Three Britons guilty of plotting terror

Three British men, including one who recently converted to Islam, have pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to preparing for terrorism acts. Richard Dart, 29, along with Imran Mahmood, 21, and Jahangir Alom, 26, plotted to go to Pakistan to train at a terrorist camp. MORE

Tycoon arrested for 'wasting police time'

Irish property tycoon Kevin McGeever, who vanished for eight months only to reappear emaciated and dishevelled on a country lane claiming to have been held hostage by an armed gang, has now been arrested on suspicion of wasting police time. MORE

TV presenter joins Netanyahu coalition

Former TV presenter Yesh Atid, whose upstart political party was the biggest surprise in Israel's January election, was named finance minister yesterday as a coalition deal was signed. He agreed to join a Benjamin Netanyahu-led government after six weeks of negotiation. MORE

Francis sets frugal example for faithful

Pope Francis has told Roman Catholics in his Argentine homeland not to come to his inauguration next Tuesday but instead to save the money to give to the poor. It was also revealed that he has declined to ride in the papal Mercedes. MORE

Livers kept 'alive' in donor breakthrough

Human livers have been kept "alive", warm and functioning outside of the body before being successfully transplanted into a new patient, in a breakthrough for organ transplants. The livers were sustained in a new machine, which mimics the conditions inside the body. MORE

Defences boosted to counter North Korea

Chuck Hagel, Defence Secretary, has announced a plan to boost missile defences in Alaska to counter the growing North Korean threat. Up to 14 extra ground-based missile interceptors could be stationed there though experts say North Korea is years away from being able to hit the US mainland with a nuclear weapon.

Bill Gates admits the market can be wrong

Billionaire Bill Gates has said capitalism is flawed as it channels more money into unimportant cosmetic drugs than into serious illnesses. The Microsoft founder said people working on male baldness received more funding than those working to cure or treat malaria. MORE

Former footballer hoping to net a wife

Former Brazilian footballer Leonardo asked his girlfriend to marry him live on Italian television yesterday while they were co-presenting the Champions League draw. "Do you want to marry me? You have to answer me now," he told Anna Billo. "OK... We'll see," she said. She later said yes.

Pub owners fined over mice droppings

The managers of a pub restaurant have been fined more than £4,000 each after mouse droppings were found in the food and a dead mouse was found on the premises. Environmental health officers made the discovery when they visited the Dolphin pub in Old Portsmouth after a tip-off.

Roman relic surfaces for the second time

A Roman stone relief of a Cotswold deity which has been missing for over 100 years has turned up in a castle cupboard. The artefact, dated 150-350AD, was first found in 1875 on the site of what was once a Roman villa in Stancombe Wood, on the estate of Sudeley Castle.

McDonald's sued over condom claim

McDonald's has been sued by a woman who said her two-year-old son ate a used condom he found in the play area of one of its restaurants in Chicago. Anishi Spencer claims her son Jacquel picked up the condom and shortly afterwards coughed up a piece of it.

BBC stalwart gets show on Classic FM

The former Radio 4 presenter Charlotte Green – who worked for the BBC for 34 years – will host a new weekly programme on Classic FM. Green, familiar to listeners of the Today programme, will present a new show about the great composers from next month.

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'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

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If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

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Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
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From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

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'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine