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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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Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

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Al Pacino wows Venice

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Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering