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The News Matrix: Saturday 2 November 2013

RBS to fence off toxic assets in ‘bad bank’

Royal Bank of Scotland is to fence off an internal “bad bank” to hold £38bn of toxic assets. The Chancellor George Osborne welcomed the decision but others were disappointed that more was not being done. The bank’s share price dropped after it announced a £634m Q3 loss. MORE

Wales to vote on own income tax

Welsh citizens are to have a referendum on taking control of income tax, David Cameron has said. Speaking in Cardiff Bay yesterday, he said the measures, part of a plan to give more responsibility to the Welsh Assembly, were for “a strong Wales inside a strong United Kingdom”. MORE

Snowden may meet German officials

The German government yesterday held out the extraordinary prospect of a meeting with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to help resolve a diplomatic row between Berlin and Washington. The idea was put forward by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Interior Minister. MORE

Baby P’s mother is released

The mother of Baby P has been released from prison. Tracey Connelly was jailed indefinitely with a minimum of five years in May 2009 and is believed to have been released on Tuesday. The Ministry of Justice said her freedom would be subject to restrictions. MORE

Toronto Mayor refuses to quit

The colourful Conservative Mayor of Canada’s biggest city has refused to resign despite revelations that Toronto police have acquired a video that allegedly shows him smoking from a crack pipe. Rob Ford insisted he had no reason to step down yesterday. MORE

Taliban leader killed in US drone strike

The head of the Pakistani Taliban was reportedly killed by a US drone strike yesterday. Hakimullah Mehsud, believed to be in his mid-30s, has been reported dead several times before, but yesterday several sources confirmed he had been killed in North Waziristan. MORE

GCSEs will focus on older literature

The new syllabus for GCSE English literature, to be rolled out in September 2015, was revealed yesterday. In a shift away from modern authors, students will have to study at least one 19th-century novel, and at least five different poets from 1789 onwards. MORE

Schoolboy dies after failing to write essay

A 10-year-old boy fell 30 floors to his death after failing to complete an essay as punishment for talking in class. Jun Jun, from Chengdu, threw himself from a window after his teacher allegedly suggested he jump from a building after failing to complete the lengthy apology.

Drug dealer could lose £198m fortune

The only drug dealer ever to make The Sunday Times Rich List faces losing £198m of his reputed fortune when he appears in court next week. The court in Jersey is using “proceeds of crime” legislation to try to claw back the money that Curtis Warren has made. MORE

Prime Minister’s charity and chairs

The official list of Ministers’ Interests, published yesterday for the first time in two years, reveals David Cameron as patron of 29 organisations and his wife, Samantha, as patron of four charities. Her mother, Viscountess Astor, is recorded as chief executive of the luxury furniture dealer OKA.

Third gender gets official recognition

Germany yesterday became the first country in Europe to give parents the option of a third “indeterminate” gender description on birth certificates. Children born with characteristics of both sexes can decide in later life if they want to be male or female or remain “blank”. MORE

Music linked to better IVF success

Music has been found to dramatically boost the chances of fertilisation in IVF treatment. The Institut Marques in Barcelona has reported that music increased IVF success rates by 4.8 per cent. The genre or popularity of the music appeared to make no difference.

A case of handbags Down Under

Leather satchels issued to Auckland councillors at a cost of more than NZ$23,000 have caused outrage. Some 164 “fancy bags” were distributed but Councillor Linda Cooper, who returned her’s, said: “As a ratepayer I’m appalled. I’m quite happy to carry my papers in a shopping bag.”

‘Faggot’ post thought  to be homophobic

A Facebook user has been banned for posting: “I like faggots.” Robert Wilkes, 54, was recalling his fondness for the classic English dish. Faggots are meatballs traditionally hand-made with offal. But he had his Facebook account shut for 12 hours for using “homophobic language”.

Election delayed ‘due to lack of funds’

Guinea-Bissau does not have enough money to hold elections that were planned for 24 November and will delay the ballot until next year, officials said yesterday. The election was supposed to return the West African country to democracy after a military coup last year.

David Suchet bids farewell to Poirot

Actor David Suchet is to step down as the TV detective Hercule Poirot. As the last episode airs this month, Suchet bids farewell to “one of my very dear best friends”, the detective created by Agatha Christie. The programme has attracted an estimated 700 million viewers. MORE

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