The News Matrix: Saturday 29 September 2012


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Examiner quits over GCSE grade shifting

A senior AQA examiner who marked English papers for 16 years has quit in protest over the shifting of GCSE grade boundaries. Stephen McKenzie said increasing the number of marks needed to get a C grade damaged the prospects of the most vulnerable pupils. MORE

Bo Xilai accused of abuse of power

China's ruling Communist Party accused the disgraced politician Bo Xilai of abusing power, taking huge bribes and other crimes yesterday, sealing the fate of a controversial leader. The once high-flying Bo now faces a criminal investigation and will almost certainly be jailed. MORE

Rover images show dried up riverbed

Nasa's Curiosity rover has discovered a dried-up riverbed on Mars, providing the first direct evidence of an ancient network of streams on the planet. The rover's images show Martian rocks that have been worn away to resemble those found in terrestrial riverbeds. MORE

Apple admits maps system 'fell short'

Apple's chief executive has made an uncharacteristic apology over a new maps system which users claimed was riddled with inaccuracies. Tim Cook said the technology giant "fell short" of its usually high standards, and suggested users download an alternative product from one of its rivals.

Akin: opponent acting like a 'wildcat'

Todd Akin, the Republican Senate candidate who said women rarely get pregnant when they are subject to "legitimate" rape, has caused even more embarrassment for his party after saying that his adversary was behaving like a "wildcat" rather than in a "ladylike" manner. MORE

BBC now notices the weather up North

BBC Breakfast's move to Salford has helped correct the corporation's tendency to ignore big weather stories that don't affect London. Programme editor Adam Bullimore said his show's prominent coverage of this week's northern floods showed the benefits of relocating.

Pope's butler on trial for document theft

The Pope's former butler, 46-year-old Paolo Gabriele, goes on trial today accused of stealing sensitive documents and passing them on to a journalist, whose subsequent book appeared to lift the lid on back-stabbing and corruption at the Vatican. The case will be heard in the Vatican courtroom.

Council bans badger culling on its land

A council on the edge of the badger cull zone has banned farmers from killing the animals on its land. Conservative-controlled Forest of Dean District Council said the cull, due to begin in Gloucestershire later in the autumn, would not be effective in preventing the spread of TB in cattle.

Clash of the catwalk titans in label debuts

Raf Simons, who replaced disgraced designer John Galliano as creative director at Dior, received a rapturous response to his first ready-to-wear collection for Dior in Paris yesterday. All eyes now turn to Hedi Slimane, and his pret-a-porter collection for arch rival Yves Saint Laurent. MORE

Audit finds banks are €59bn short

An independent audit of Spain's banks shows a shortfall of €59.3bn to cover for an economic downturn. The stress tests' findings, released yesterday, will help the country decide how much money it will tap from a €100bn (£80bn) European loan facility to prop up its financial sector.

Magazine prints new naked Kate pictures

A Danish magazine has published a 16-page photo spread of the Duchess of Cambridge, including images of her naked changing her bikini bottoms. The photos, in Se og Hoer, appear to be from the same set as the topless shots already circulating. St James Palace has said it is considering "all appropriate responses".

Centenarian pedals for 100 kilometres

French cyclist Robert Marchand has ridden into the record books at the age of 100 by cycling 100 kilometres (62 miles) in four hours, 17 minutes and 27 seconds. Setting off on his Trek racing bike at a track in Lyon, Marchand covered the distance at an average pace of 14.5 mph.

Now 50 Shades hits sales of car manuals

The success of the erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey has been blamed by Haynes, the publisher of car manuals for amateur mechanics, for a slump in sales. Haynes said revenues in the UK and US were down 10 per cent because people's "available budgets" for books went on erotica.

Nine men in court over child trafficking

Nine men accused of being involved in a child sex-trafficking ring in Oxford have pleaded not guilty at the Old Bailey yesterday. The men, aged between 25 and 39, face a total of 51 charges between them relating to the exploitation of six girls aged between 12 and 16 over an eight-year period.

Breivik speech turns into theatre event

A Turkish-German actress will read out Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik's bizarre courtroom speech in German theatres next month to highlight the widespread prevalence of far-right ideology in Europe. Breivik's Explanation was adapted for the German stage from an audio recording.

Ure gets unwanted contact on stage

"Just looking for contact," sang Midge Ure at Ultravox's Hammersmith Apollo gig on Thursday. But the 80s pop star was not expecting a woman to rush on stage and assault him with a custard pie. The Vienna singer was covered in yellow gunk.

£120,000 for des-res broom cupboard

An 86 sq ft flat in exclusive Kensington in West London that was actually converted from a broom cupboard has become the focus of a remarkable bidding war. The price, which began at £89,500 , has so far risen above £120,000.

No complaint over naked Harry photos

Prince Harry's aides will not be making a formal complaint about The Sun's publication of nude photos of him taken in Las Vegas. Harry is on deployment in Afghanistan and pursuing a complaint with the Press Complaints Commission (would be a distraction, St James's Palace said.


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