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The News Matrix: Thursday 08 December 2011

 

3.5 million Brits to take payday loans

Up to 3.5 million Britons are likely to take out a high-interest, payday loan in the next six months. The Association of Business Recovery Professionals says falling wages, rising prices and lax regulation mean people turned away by high street banks are heading to loan sharks. MORE

Karzai's anger as shrine bomb kills 56

Afghan President Hamid Karzai confronted Pakistan yesterday, saying a militant group based there was behind a suicide bombing at a Shia shrine in Kabul that killed 56 people. Pakistan countered by demanding that Karzai provide evidence to back up his claim. MORE

Ready, Teddy, go for Obama's campaign

Barack Obama has launched his re-election bid, choosing for his speech the small town of Osawatomie, Kansas, the place where Theodore Roosevelt gave his famous "square deal" speech 101 years ago. MORE

Britain's first rehab clinic for stalkers

The first clinic in Britain designed to rehabilitate stalkers opens today. The treatments are designed to prevent the rapes, sexual assaults and murders sometimes associated with stalking behaviour. A survey found one in five women and one in 10 men have been stalking victims. MORE

St Paul's protesters meet bank regulator

Anti-capitalist protesters camped outside St Paul's Cathedral met the chief executive of the Financial Services Authority, Hector Sants, last night to discuss changes to banking regulations. Mr Sants is said to have promised firmer regulation. MORE

Assad: 'We don't kill our own people'

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied ordering his troops to kill peaceful demonstrators, saying that only a "crazy" leader kills his own people. "We don't kill our people ... No government in the world kills its people, unless it's led by a crazy person," he said. The UN says that more than 4000 people have been killed in the uprising against Assad's rule, which began earlier this year. MORE

Man jailed for killing crying toddler son

A man from Essex who killed his toddler son because he was crying was jailed for nine years at the Old Bailey yesterday. Nathan Allen clenched his fists and thrust them on 14-month-old Fletcher's abdomen as he lay in his cot. He was jailed for manslaughter after a jury cleared him of murder.

GPs urged to heed two-pill Viagra limit

GPs in the south of England are being pressured to prescribe men who need Viagra just two pills a month. The South Central Priorities Committee, which makes recommendations to doctors in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, urged medical practitioners to observe a twice-monthly limit on erectile dysfunction drugs.

Policeman sacked for chasing fame

An Indonesian policeman whose YouTube antics lip-synching to a Bollywood hit captured the heart of the nation has been sacked. His superiors say has been too busy chasing stardom to turn up to work for two months. MORE

'Suicide' of youth, 18, eaten by piranhas

A drunk 18-year-old teenager was eaten alive by piranhas after leaping from a canoe into a river infested with the fish. Police suspect suicide as he was an experienced fisherman who knew the dangers of the Yata River in north-eastern Bolivia, 400 miles north of the capital La Paz. MORE

Judge Jules gives up DJing for law career

DJ Judge Jules has hung up his headphones after 14 years at Radio 1 to become a lawyer. Jules – whose real name is Julius O'Riordan – studied law at the London School of Economics and will now take up a position in the entertainment division of Sheridans. The 45-year-old insisted he'll continue to DJ at club nights.

Capaldi gets a news role in The Hour

He is used to playing a foul-mouthed spin doctor in Armando Iannucci's comedy The Thick of It, but Bafta-winning actor Peter Capaldi will be on the other end of angry phone calls when he takes on a new role as an eccentric news editor. The man who played Malcolm Tucker has joined BBC newsroom drama The Hour.

TV show cannonball stunt misfires

A stunt for the Discovery Channel television show MythBusters has sent an errant cannonball through a California family's house and into a nearby parked minivan. Producers for the programme were aiming the cannonball at the Alameda County Sheriff's Department bomb range when it misfired. No one was injured.

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Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
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Ed Balls interview

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He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

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Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

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Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

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Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

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The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

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