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The News Matrix: Saturday 29 June 2013

Ministers accused of policy cover-up

Tory ministers allegedly tried to cover up how a key housing policy is failing. The Government launched a plan to double the number of self-build homes in a decade, but the Department of Communities tried to suppress figures about how many such homes exist. MORE

Free schools bill is £60m for 79 schools

The Government's flagship free schools scheme has spent £60m on its first 79 schools, it emerged last night. This does not include the capital costs of buying buildings – which also run into millions. Critics say the money should have been used to provide more primary places.

Brooks and Coulson lose bid to halt trial

Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson have lost an attempt to block their prosecution over charges of phone hacking. They tried to get the case dismissed by arguing accessing voicemails after they had been listened to by the recipient was not covered by legislation. MORE

'Disabled need more help at gigs'

The winner of BBC 1's The Voice has called for better treatment of disabled fans at gigs. Andrea Begley, who has 10 per cent vision, said: "I have had some frustrating experiences at gigs and festivals. Sometimes access can be poor because of steps and poor lighting." MORE

Wasted food: don't blame the consumer

Supermarket supply chains are responsible for much of the "global scandal" of food waste, a campaign group has warned. Feeding the 5,000 said blaming consumers was "a distortion of the facts", and that "ugly" rejected produce could amount to 20-30 per cent of the harvest.

Morsi opponents plan more protests

Thousands of supporters and opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi held rallies in Cairo yesterday, in a prelude to nationwide protests planned by the opposition tomorrow demanding Mr Morsi's removal. Recent clashes have left at least five dead.

'Clear Sarkozy,' urges state prosecutor

A state prosecutor recommended yesterday that former French president Nicolas Sarkozy should be cleared of abusing the mental weakness of France's wealthiest woman. He is accused of defrauding L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt to fund his 2007 presidential campaign.

Glastonbury crime figures are down

Crime at the Glastonbury Festival has decreased by a third, police said yesterday. By yesterday morning there had been 107 crimes, compared with 153 at the same point when the event was last held, in 2011. There had been 62 thefts and 32 drug-related offences. MORE

Fireworks moved to protect bald eaglets

Just because they're both emblems of US pride doesn't mean fireworks and bald eagles go together. The floating launch pad for next week's 4 July fireworks display in Seattle is being moved from its usual site to avoid frightening a pair of baby bald eagles nesting in a tree.

I'll have a Big Mac and a Singing Bone

Police were called in to control the queues when McDonald's in Singapore launched Singing Bone, a special Hello Kitty stuffed toy, at midnight on Thursday. Tempers flared after the fast-food outlet ran out of stocks of the toy. It promised to take steps to improve its service.

US executive freed by his own workers

An American executive held hostage for nearly a week by his company's Chinese workers in a pay dispute has said he was "held ransom for severance packages". Chip Starnes said he paid about £390,000 in cash to secure his freedom. Mr Starnes left the Beijing factory on Thursday.

Man who captured Monroe dies

American photographer Bert Stern (below), renowned for his images of Marilyn Monroe known as The Last Sitting, has died in New York aged 83. Stern took thousands of pictures of the actress during a shoot at the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles in 1962, six weeks before her death.

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