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The News Matrix: Saturday 23 February 2013

Swinson 'failed to act over allegations'

The Women's minister, Jo Swinson, is to face questioning over allegations she failed to act on information about the inappropriate sexual behaviour of Lord Rennard. Yesterday the party announced Ms Swinson and the then chief whip, Paul Burstow, would be questioned. MORE

Cabinet 'caved in too easily' on reforms

Italy's employment and welfare minister Elsa Fornero has admitted the outgoing cabinet caved in too easily on vital reforms that could have revitalised the country's economy and that the Government should have "shown more determination" in dealing with mainstream parties. MORE

NOTW veteran cleared of hacking

Neil Wallis, one of the News of the World's most senior journalists, has been cleared of phone hacking. The Crown Prosecution Service told Mr Wallis, a long-standing member of Rupert Murdoch's staff, that it would not be taking action against him due to lack of evidence.

Family wants beheading inquiry

The family of a British grandmother who was beheaded by a Bulgarian drug addict in Tenerife has called for a full inquiry. Deyan Deyanov, 29, was found guilty of murdering Jennifer Mills-Westley in 2011. A warrant for his arrest had been issued just three days before the killing.

University halts Friday prayers

Muslim students at a London university have had their Friday prayer meeting shut down because they refused to allow staff members to view their sermons before delivery. Students said City University's demand to see the weekly khutbah sermon amounted to censorship. MORE

Creator of Roobarb and Custard dies

The animator behind cartoons like Roobarb and Custard and Henry's Cat – loved for their anarchic humour – has died, aged 91. Bob Godfrey, who won an Oscar for his short film Great in 1976, had an enormous impact on British animation during a 50-year career. MORE

Woman told she had cancer by fraudster

A fraudster who "fleeced" a wealthy spinster out of almost £130,000 by telling her she had four types of cancer has been jailed. Beth Parr, 36, conned 68-year-old Maureen Briscoe for two-and-a-half years. She was sentenced to two years and four months at Liverpool Crown Court.

Pressure on Merkel over weapons sales

Germany doubled its weapons sales to the Gulf region in 2012, putting Angela Merkel's government under pressure to review its arms export policies. The country's military exports to the six nations belonging to the Gulf Co-operation Council rose to £1.22bn last year. MORE

UN rejects cholera compensation claim

Five thousand victims of a cholera epidemic brought into Haiti by United Nations peacekeepers have pledged to hold the UN to account despite their claims for compensation being rejected. The UN said "the claims are not receivable", citing immunity. MORE

France on course to exit Mali next month

France is still ready to start pulling its forces out of Mali next month despite a rebel attack on the key town of Gao, the head of French armed forces has said. Admiral Edouard Guillaud, chief of defence staff, said he was not surprised by an attack in Gao, when 15 Islamists were killed.

Allow priests to marry, says Cardinal

The UK's most senior Catholic clergyman, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, suggests priests should be able to marry and have sex. In a departure from church teachings, he said the new Pope could consider changing the rules. "Celibacy of the clergy, whether priests should marry, Jesus didn't say that," he said.

200 kidnap victims freed by gunmen

Gunmen from rival Sunni and Shia Muslim villages in northern Syria have freed more than 200 people snatched in tit-for-tat kidnappings this month, easing tensions that threatened to touch off sectarian violence, activists claimed yesterday. But in Syria's largest city of Aleppo, three explosions killed at least 14 people.

Designer in attack on rivals' morals

A leading architect has condemned Western designers who "build gleaming streets for despots" in an attack on rivals who work in countries with dire human rights records. Daniel Libeskind said beautiful architecture was no excuse for working with "morally questionable" clients. MORE

Films have been 'slapdash' with facts

First, it was Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty that appeared to have its Oscar chances ruined by claims of inaccuracy, but now a further two films on the Best Picture shortlist – Argo and Lincoln – have been derided over their apparently slapdash approach to historical facts. MORE

Hirst sticks red nose on diamond skull

Damien Hirst has refashioned his artwork For The Love Of God to raise money for Comic Relief. He has produced a new image of the diamond-encrusted skull with a red nose which will be displayed at Tate Modern. Collectors can buy prints for £2,500 each.

UK people pounce on cat café concept

Britain's first cat café could open within months after the public donated £100,000 to bring the Japanese idea to the UK. Entrepreneur Lauren Pears said she is looking at possible sites in London with a view to opening in May. Guests pay a fee to stroke the animals while they drink coffee.

Prince Charles turns tailor on factory visit

The Prince of Wales turned tailor yesterday, trying his hand at making a shirt. Charles sat behind a sewing machine when he visited the factory of Turnbull & Asser, sealing a 40-year relationship with the business, which has been making clothes for the heir to the throne since January 1973.

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