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The News Matrix: Thursday 12 December 2013

Spending on home families’ biggest cost

Housing costs account for the largest chunk of the weekly family budget, according to new figures. Data released by the Office for National Statistics revealed that UK households spent £68 a week on housing, fuel and power in 2012, making it the largest weekly outgoing, ahead of transport and recreation. MORE

Final farewell to Nelson Mandela

World leaders and thousands of South Africans yesterday filed past the flag-draped casket containing the body of Nelson Mandela, having a final look at the anti-apartheid icon in the amphitheatre where he was sworn in 19 years earlier as the country’s first black President. MORE

Scientologists can marry in chapel

The Church of Scientology is to be treated as a religion after a landmark judgement by the Supreme Court yesterday. Judges ruled that two members of the controversial sect could legally get married in a Scientology chapel in central London. MORE

Model’s husband in $100m lawsuit

A $100m lawsuit brought against Jeffrey Soffer, the billionaire husband of Elle Macpherson, has alleged the supermodel attempted to persuade a grieving widow to release Mr Soffer from liability for a fatal helicopter crash in which he was allegedly the pilot. MORE

Court maintains ban on homosexual acts

India’s Supreme Court has struck down a 2009 court decision to decriminalise homosexual conduct. The judges said only politicians could change a colonial-era law that bans homosexual acts and makes them punishable by up to a decade in prison.

Damien Hirst works stolen from gallery

Two signed Damien Hirst artworks with a combined value of £33,000 were stolen from an art gallery in London’s Notting Hill during the early hours of Monday. The burglar fled in a hatchback. MORE

Court told to hear Pussy Riot appeal

The Supreme Court has ordered a Moscow court to hear an appeal against the prison term given to two members of Pussy Riot, ruling the sentence was illegal. Meanwhile, amnesty legislation being considered by the State Duma may also result in a pardon for Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

Student loans ‘may never be paid back’

Up to 40 per cent of student loans may never be paid back, a senior civil servant has told MPs. Martin Donnelly, the permanent secretary at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said the figure was at the “top end” of estimates, but was “not unrealistic”.

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