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The News Matrix: Thursday 1 November 2012

Psychics fail their spiritual screen test

Two mediums experienced in contacting the spiritual world failed to demonstrate their abilities under laboratory conditions when scientists from Goldsmiths, University of London, asked Kim Whitton and Patricia Putt to identify the characteristics of five people hidden behind a screen.

The ultimate test for bionic leg

Zac Vawter will put his ground-breaking bionic leg to the test on Sunday when he attempts to climb 103 flights of stairs to the top of Chicago's Willis Tower, one of the world's tallest skyscrapers. His trailblazing prosthetic leg is controlled by his thoughts.

Monument honours military dogs

The first American national monument to pay tribute to military dogs will be unveiled in California in two months, it was announced yesterday. The US Working Dog Teams National Monument will honour every dog that has served in combat since the Second World War.

Your pythons are in the post

Clerks at Sabie post office, north-east of Johannesburg, fled when they emptied a postbag and a white python slithered out. The metre-long non-venomous snake was one of four sent in an express parcel. The receiver of the parcel was charged with illegal transport of animals.

Patch is claimed to cure hangovers

A new hangover cure has gone on sale. The Bytox Hangover Prevention Patch is said to replenish vitamins and acids lost when consuming alcohol, but alcohol charity Drinkaware warned it wouldn't stop damage caused by excess drinking.

Town is Europe's oldest found so far

Archaeologists have discovered the oldest prehistoric town to be found in Europe so far. The walled and fortified settlement, near the modern town of Provadia, is thought to have been a centre for salt production and may explain a large hoard of gold found nearby 40 years ago.

Be prepared to talk politics

Scouts could soon be singing about the single transferrable vote round the campfire. The Scout Association said members will now learn about parliament and current affairs. Yesterday MPs teamed up with scouts for a quiz; the winning team was the only one without an MP to help.

Savile inquiry 'is too narrow'

Senior journalists at the BBC are "horrified" by the small scale of an official inquiry into why a Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile was scrapped last year. Staff claim Nick Pollard, the former head of Sky News who is conducting the review for the BBC, is "being held on a short leash" to limit criticism of the organisation. MORE

ANC agrees to ban on 'Shoot the Boer'

The ruling African National Congress party yesterday pledged to stop its supporters singing the "Shoot the Boer" anti-apartheid anthem to avoid upsetting white farmers and stirring racial tension. It ends a two-year legal battle over the song.

RSPCA warning over abandoned pets

The number of abandoned pets has risen by 65 per cent since 2007, the RSPCA claims. In 2011, 40,595 animals were thrown out, compared to 24,638 five years ago. The RSPCA said abandoned animals are spending longer in rescue centres and cruelty convictions have risen. MORE

Mother spared jail over racist abuse

A mother-of-two who stamped on a stranger's head after shouting racist abuse was spared jail yesterday. CCTV footage showed Amanda Lowe, left, kicking Khuram Nisar in Manchester in May.

Police chief's spam filter blocks critics

The chief of Oakland Police, who faces legal action that could remove him from office, says he failed to read crucial messages about the upcoming court case because he uses a spam filter automatically to delete critical emails from the public. MORE

Party will veto harsh labour reforms

The leader of one of the parties in Greece's fragile coalition government has told i his leftist bloc cannot accept harsh labour reforms requested by the nation's lenders, raising the prospect of delays to the release of bailout cash crucial to averting bankruptcy. MORE

More schools are caught out cheating

Some 130 schools and colleges have been penalised for cheating in GCSE and A-level examinations this year, compared to just 56 in 2011. In many instances, examination papers were opened too early or inappropriate assistance was offered to students. MORE

4,000 evacuated ahead of cyclone

Almost 4,000 people were evacuated from their homes on India's south-eastern coast yesterday as Cyclone Nilam blew winds at speeds of up to 60mph across the area. At least 4,000 people in displacement camps on the nearby island of Sri Lanka have also been affected by flooding.

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