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The News Matrix: Saturday 27 October 2012

Gang-attacker faces retrial for murder

A teenager convicted of manslaughter over the death of a schoolboy is to be retried after jurors could not agree a verdict on a murder charge. Junior Bayode, 19, from south London, will stand trial next April. Sofyen Belamouadden, 15, was fatally stabbed in a gang attack in 2010.

Tory MPs call for child benefit U-turn

Tory MPs have demanded that plans to remove child benefit payments from middle-class parents from January be shelved. George Osborne has been warned that the policy would alienate Tory voters. Families with a higher-rate taxpayer will lose £1,752 a year if they have two children. MORE

Race is vital issue in presidential vote

An aide to Mitt Romney has suggested that the former secretary of state Colin Powell has endorsed President Obama mainly because he is a fellow African-American, as new polling revealed that the race has become the most racially polarised election in more than two decades. MORE

Starr offers to speak to police over claims

Comedian Freddie Starr has offered to speak to police investigating the Jimmy Savile sexual-abuse claims. The 69-year-old said he was prepared to talk to officers on Monday. Karin Ward said Starr groped her in a BBC dressing room when she was 15. Starr denies the allegations. MORE

Five killed, 30 hurt in car bomb attack

A car bomb attack hit the Syrian capital of Damascus yesterday, shattering a four-day UN-brokered ceasefire for the Eid holiday that had begun only hours earlier. State TV reported five people had been killed and more than 30 wounded, with children among the casualties.

Hurricane brings Halloween nightmare

Federal and local authorities across the north-east are gearing up for a visit from Hurricane Sandy over Halloween. Dubbed the "Frankenstorm", it is predicted to inflict $1bn worth of damage as it brings heavy rain, coastal flooding and possibly snow next week. MORE

BBC Savile report was 'not strong enough'

Newsnight editor Peter Rippon's change of heart over a planned investigation into Jimmy Savile's sexual abuse came a day after the BBC's Christmas schedules were published, it has been found. Rippon said the programme was canned because it wasn't strong enough.

Netanyahu plan may have lost moderates

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's big political gamble of joining forces with the ultra-nationalists ahead of early elections in January threatened to backfire yesterday amid early signs that the new alignment could alienate moderate voters. MORE

Premier Wen's £1.7bn fortune revealed

Chinese authorities angrily denounced a report published in the New York Times which detailed the £1.68bn fortune accumulated by Premier Wen Jiabao's family, and blocked the newspaper's English and Chinese language websites, calling the report a "smear". MORE

'When Malala fell, Pakistan stood'

The shooting of 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban has provoked a united outcry in her country, her father said. Malala arrived in the UK on Thursday for hospital treatment. "When she fell, Pakistan stood. This is a turning point," said Ziauddin Yousafzai. MORE

Action man Putin 'has a bad back'

The Kremlin has dismissed talk that President Vladimir Putin has a back problem, which has prompted him to postpone foreign visits and might require surgery. Mr Putin has long cultivated an active image which would not sit well with a news of an ailment.

Police 'failings' over man's custody death

A coroner has criticised Cheshire police after "serious deficiencies" in procedures were revealed by an inquest into the death of a former cage fighter. Jacob Michael, 25, of Widnes, died in custody after he was pepper-sprayed by officers in August 2011. He was said to be in a cocaine-induced "delirium" when restrained.

Ash tree disease threatens insects

A fungal disease threatening Britain's 80 million ash trees could kill off wildlife. Chalara fraxinea has wreaked havoc in Europe and was discovered in trees in Norfolk and Suffolk this week. Sixty rare insects dependent on the trees are likely to be at risk of decline or extinction.

Man jailed for telling students 'time's up'

A man has been sentenced to a year in jail for ending a national college entrance exam early. Xiao Yulong claimed it was a "mistake" when he forced students to hand in their papers nearly five minutes before the exam should have ended, state media said yesterday.

Ladies-only laptop branded as sexist

A laptop marketed at women, which has features including a manicure-friendly opening clasp and a pre-installed app with daily horoscopes, has been criticised for reinforcing sexist stereotypes. Computer expert Gillian Arnold said Fujitsu's Floral Kiss was "sad" and demeaning.

Dylan goes from protest to snooze fest

He was once the nasal-sounding voice of libertarian protest, but Bob Dylan is set to feature on an album billed as the musical equivalent of a winter nightcap. His 1997 ballad "Make You Feel My Love" is among 58 tracks on the Keep Calm and Stay Cosy CD. MORE

Recreational drugs in air of eight cities

A new study says trace amounts of cocaine and marijuana have been found in the air of eight Italian cities. Researchers at Italy's Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research found traces in Bologna, Florence, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Rome, Turin and Verona.

Stolen Olympic medal is returned

The Olympic bronze medal belonging to hockey player Hannah Macleod, stolen at a London nightclub, has been returned to her anonymously by post. A second bronze medal, belonging to rower Alex Partridge, is still missing. A man has been arrested in connection with the thefts.

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