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The News Matrix: Thursday 04 July 2013

'Nice' is overrated, social workers told

Social workers should worry less about being "nice" and instead tell "the honest truth" about people's problems, the Government's adviser on troubled families Louise Casey warned. She said that too many social workers were "colluding" with parents to help them to make excuses for their children at the Local Government Association's annual conference in Manchester. MORE

Ageing King Albert II ready to abdicate

Belgium's 79-year-old King Albert II announced last night that he would abdicate in favour of his son, Prince Philippe, because he felt too old to carry out his duties properly. Prince Philippe, 53, who studied at Oxford University, will take over on 21 July. MORE

Cold cases team 'was inconsistent'

A major "cold cases" team which investigates thousands of Northern Ireland Troubles killings treated deaths caused by troops and police with less rigour than others, according to an official report by the Historical Enquiries Team. MORE

Call for 'maximum force' against Putin

Chechen Islamist rebels have released an online video urging their followers to use "maximum force" to prevent the Russian President Vladimir Putin staging the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in the Black Sea city of Sochi. MORE

New climate worries in ‘warmest decade’

The world’s warmest decade since records began has sparked renewed global warming worries. A report by the World Meteorological Organisation found that while both hemispheres have heated up in the past 10 years, the rate of melting sea ice is double that in the 20th century.

Katona dropped as payday promoter

Former Atomic Kitten star Kerry Katona has been dropped as the face of the payday-loan company Cash Lady. The former Celebrity Big Brother star filed for bankruptcy for a second time in five years.

Compound raided to exhume bodies

Police forced entrance to a compound in South Africa's Eastern Cape yesterday to retrieve the buried remains of three of Nelson Mandela's children, following a court ruling that the bodies must be returned from Mvezo to their original burial site in Qunu. MORE

Brown's sister-in-law 'put on blacklist'

Gordon Brown's sister-in-law, Clare Rewcastle Brown, an investigative journalist, was yesterday barred from entering Sarawak and said to have been "deported" to Singapore. The founder of the Sarawak Report website, which is openly critical of the Malaysian state's government, said she had been "put on the blacklist".

Miliband forgets script in toilet

Labour leader Ed Miliband blundered within minutes of leaving the Commons yesterday by forgetting his script in a toilet. The document indicated that his lines attacking David Cameron were planned and revealed fears that Labour would be portrayed as being the "sons of Gordon Brown".

Pope's Twitter following hits 7m

Pope Francis has now clocked up seven million followers on Twitter. The @pontifex account, launched by his predecessor Benedict XVI, had 2.5 million followers before the new Argentinian Pope took up the post, meaning that each of his 76 tweets has on average attracted almost 60,000 new followers.

War letters to be put on public display

A private collection of 90,000 war letters to and from soldiers fighting in US conflicts, from the American Revolution to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be permanently housed in California. Andrew Carroll, a private collector, has amassed the letters over the past 15 years, and has chosen to display them.

Sarcasm filter for Home Office

A company called Spotter has developed an analytics tool that claims to have up to 80 per cent accuracy in identifying sarcastic comments posted online, and one of its customers is reportedly the Home Office. The algorithm-based analytics software generates reputation reports based on social and traditional media material.

Crushing blow for £300k Lamborghini

A £300,000 Lamborghini Aventador could be sent to the crusher after it was seized by police in Knightsbridge, London, for being driven without insurance. The "glow in the dark" purple machine is currently on display outside New Scotland Yard while police consider charging the driver, thought to be from the Middle East.

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Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes