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The News Matrix: Thursday 09 May 2013

April suspect seemed ‘normal’ says teacher

April Jones’ headteacher said Mark Bridger “behaved normally” at a parents’ evening the night he is accused of kidnapping and murdering the schoolgirl. A court yesterday heard from an eight-year-old girl who said Mr Bridger invited her to a “sleepover” just before April went missing, as well as her mother’s 999 call. Mr Bridger denies the charges.

Diamond gang hunt: 31 people arrested

Unlike the brilliant thieves in Ocean’s Eleven, it appears that those behind the clockwork-precision, £32m diamond heist at Brussels Airport may not get a Hollywood ending. The authorities have detained at least 31 people in a three-nation sweep. MORE

Abu Qatada could  be freed by weekend

The extremist cleric Abu Qatada will make another bid for freedom tomorrow at an immigration tribunal. If the Special Immigration Appeals Commission agrees to his lawyers’ application for bail, Qatada could be released by the weekend despite strong Home Office resistance.

Khan to recover fully from fall

The prominent politician Imran Khan is expected to make a full recovery despite fracturing three vertebrae and a rib in a fall at a rally, his doctor said yesterday. Khan’s main competitor,  former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, suspended his campaign for a day on out of respect.

GCSE shake-up ‘will hit results for years’

GCSE results could vary “more than normal” for years after a proposed overhaul of the exams, it is claimed. In a letter to Education Secretary Michael Gove, Ofqual chief regulator Glenys Stacey warns against downgrading the importance of English and maths qualifications. MORE

French icon placed under Nelson’s nose

A French icon – a giant blue cockerel  – is coming to London. The 4.7m work by artist Katharina Fritsch will stand on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth, within crowing distance of naval hero Lord Nelson, for 18 months from July.

Seven die as ship slams into dock

Rescue workers in diving gear found seven bodies yesterday after a cargo ship slammed into the dock at Genoa, toppling the busy Italian port’s control tower into the harbour. Four people were taken to hospital and two others remained unaccounted for, rescue officials said. MORE

US fugitive is found living in Kent

One of New York City’s most wanted fugitives has been found living in Chatham, Kent. Sean Lopes, 47, has been on the run since 2004 and faced charges of kidnapping and attempting to murder his ex-girlfriend. Kent Police arrested him following a joint investigation with the New York Police Department.

Swimming ape debate resurfaces

Are humans descended from swimming apes? That question will be discussed today by a scientists, academics and medics who are all proponents of the Aquatic Ape Theory. The target of much derision from the scientific mainstream, the theory was devised in 1960 and last discussed in 1992. MORE

Woman survives harpoon accident

A woman in Brazil miraculously survived after her husband accidentally shot her in the mouth with a harpoon. Elisangela Borborema Rosa’s husband was cleaning his spear gun when it went off, firing a harpoon that hit her cervical spine.  A neurosurgeon at the hospital said the harpoon came within 1cm of killing her.

Tycoon not obliged to support ex-wife

A millionaire green tycoon is not obliged to make financial contributions to his former wife, who shared his New Age lifestyle, a judge has ruled. Dale Vince, 51, separated from Kathleen Wyatt almost 30 years ago and they divorced a decade later. At the time, Vince was a “most improbable candidate for affluence”.

Man, 22, sent €29m tax bill by mistake

A 22-year-old Austrian had the shock of his life when he received a tax bill for €29m (£24.5m). Agadir B, who was earning €600 a month, told the Heute newspaper he received the bill after filing his tax return for 2008. However, a second letter later came declaring the first one void and apologising for the “technical error”.

Dylan’s chance of award goes to pot

Bob Dylan’s pot-smoking, peacenik antics in the 1960s and 70s may have put him out of the runaning for France’s highest award, the Legion of Honour, according to claims in the media. The people behind the award were reportedly alerted to Dylan’s past activities by the habitual police check of potential laureates. MORE

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Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

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'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam