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The News Matrix: Saturday 31 August 2013

First-time buyers struggle to move on

The average age at which first-time home buyers trade up to a new property has risen to 40 – with younger owners trapped in homes they purchased before the recession of 2007, according to figures which suggest the housing bubble is forcing young families to stay put. MORE

Helicopter not to blame for crash

The Super Puma helicopter crash that killed four oil workers last Friday was not caused by an airworthiness or technical problem, the Civil Aviation Authority has said, adding that the decision to return the fleet to service after a temporary suspension on flights is “appropriate”. 

Government scraps planned envoy trip

North Korea cancelled a planned trip by a US envoy to Pyongyang to seek the release of ailing American missionary Kenneth Bae. North Korea withdrew its invitation to Robert King, special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, who was expected to arrive Friday.

David Miranda ‘had top-secret files’

A man detained at Heathrow with thousands of pages of top-secret British documents was carrying a piece of paper with written instructions to crack encrypted computer files with more than 50,000 highly classified documents, the High Court was told yesterday. MORE

Opposition to Miss World grows

Pressure is mounting on the Miss World pageant ahead of its opening next week in Bali. The Religious Affairs Minister, Suryadharma Ali, cited Islamic teachings saying “Muslim women should cover immodest parts of their bodies”. Organisers have agreed to axe the bikini round.

Snowden reveals growth in spy budget

The latest leak from the whistleblower Edward Snowden has revealed the $53bn “black budget” for the NSA and CIA. It reveals the huge growth in US spy agencies since 9/11, as well as “critical gaps” in America’s knowledge of security threats. MORE

3 is first to scrap roaming charges

Three has become the first mobile network in the UK to abolish roaming charges for customers abroad. The landmark move comes just two months after a new EU-wide cap on roaming fees.  The tariff will initially be available in seven countries, including the Republic of Ireland.

Thousands of Morsi supporters march

Thousands of supporters of the ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi marched through cities across Egypt yesterday to demand his reinstatement. Although most marches passed without major incident, three deaths were reported, and police fired tear gas at protesters in Cairo.

Schools ditching GCSEs for rival exam

The number of independent schools ditching GCSEs for a rival exam based on traditional O-levels rose by 32 per cent in the last yearwhile IGCSE exam entries increased to 129,288 of year-11 students. GCSEs fell from 293,335 to 274,183, the Independent Schools Council said.

Anti-corruption putsch targets Zhou

China continues its corruption crackdown, targeting former security chief Zhou Yongkang, once of the Politburo Standing Committee. It is the first time in decades  a committee member has been investigated, and follows the trial of Mr Zhou’s ally Bo Xilai on corruption charges last week. MORE

Armed guard for wounded boxer

A former Team GB boxer and his brother are under armed guard in hospital after being shot in a “neighbour feud”, said reports last night. The victims, who were shot in the legs and chest on Tuesday, were named by the BBC as  lightweight boxer Martin Ward and his brother John.

Sun-smart whales can get a tan

Whales can get a tan in a similar way to humans, according to new research. A study published in the journal Scientific Reports claims that some species become darker with UV exposure, while others can protect themselves from the sun’s rays by turning genes on and off.

Surgeons separate conjoined twins

Owen and Emmett Ezell, conjoined twins who doctors in Dallas initially said had no chance of survival, have been successfully separated. The boys were born joined from just below the breast bone to just below the belly button on July 15. They shared a liver and intestines.

Four legs good, no legs bad

Florida officials trying to eradicate the Giant African Land Snail, one of the world’s most destructive invasive species, have a new weapon in their battle – Labradors. Agriculture officials plan to use the dogs to sniff out the giant gastropods, which can grow up to 10 inches long

Lily Allen to return after family break

Pop star Lily Allen has announced her return to the music industry after a four-year break from her solo career to start a family. The “Smile” singer tweeted: “I’m coming back,” and changed her moniker on the social networking site from her married name to her stage name.

Susanna Reid puts on dancing shoes

BBC Breakfast presenter Susanna Reid, below, has signed up for the upcoming series of Strictly Come Dancing, according to reports. The news anchor, who commutes between London and Salford, will have to schedule classes with her dance partner around her early morning schedule. Vanessa Feltz was also confirmed as a contestant this week.

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