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The News Matrix: Thursday 12 September 2013

Colorado ousts gun control advocates

Colorado voters ousted two Democratic lawmakers, including the state senate president, in a historic recall vote on Tuesday over their support for tougher gun control laws. The recall races, the first in Colorado history, were seen as a test of the power of lobbyists. MORE

Firms abusing bank access for profit

Payday lending firms are draining the accounts of hard-up consumers by taking money without permission or even after loans have been paid off. The Citizens Advice Bureau said companies are taking advantage of "continuous payment authorities" to maximise profits. MORE

Hamas reins in criticisms of Cairo

The Hamas Islamist group ruling Gaza sought to ease tensions with Cairo yesterday by ordering Muslim preachers to mute their criticism of the Egyptian government over what some of the clerics have called its war on Islam and to "focus on our Palestinian national issues".

Arms fair features torture equipment

The organisers of one of the world's largest arms fairs in London were yesterday accused of failing to crack down on the sale of equipment that could be used in torture – after two exhibitors were found to be illegally marketing shackles and electric stun weapons. MORE

Mugabe rewards his hardliners

President Robert Mugabe has sworn in a 62-member Cabinet of ministers and their deputies that critics say rewards veteran hardliners for his party's commanding victory in disputed elections in July.

Families angry over slow police progress

A year on from the report that exposed the cover-up over Britain's worst stadium disaster, anger is mounting among the families at the slow progress of the police investigation. The report's lead author said he doubted whether the Independent Police Complaints Commission would get to the bottom of officers' alleged misconduct. MORE

Six children injured in attack on village

Médecins Sans Frontières, the international aid organization, says it has treated more than 24 people for machete and gunshot wounds in a series of attacks that took place on Monday. Six children were among the wounded, and residents fled into the countryside after their homes were set ablaze.

Shapps hits out at critical UN official

Grant Shapps, the Chairman of the Tory party, has become embroiled in a row with a UN official who criticised the Government's "bedroom tax". After Raquel Rolnik, the UN special rapporteur on housing, spoke out, Mr Shapps accused her of failing to consult ministers first – though she insists that she did. MORE

Flight training helps dogs enjoy air travel

For $349, your dog can learn to fly. Air Hollywood offers a real fuselage with a simulator that mimics take-off, turbulence and landing. The idea is the brainchild of Talaat Captan, president of Air Hollywood, the world's largest aviation-themed film studio, who observed a dog having trouble at airport security.

Postman Pat van reaches 100mph

A Postman Pat van, purchased on eBay and kitted out with a 500cc single-cylinder motorbike engine, has shot into the record books. Reaching a speed of 101.36mph at York Raceway, the former coin-operated ride, which was bought for £250, recorded a faster quarter-mile time than a Porsche 911.

Women take classes on a fruity subject

Increasing numbers of women in Shanghai are signing up for classes on sex. The two-day tutorials cost 2,500 yuan (£258), more than half the average monthly wage. Women learn about the anatomy, psychology and techniques of intimacy, aided by "appropriately-shaped fruit".

Kylie set to coach the next 'Voice'

Kylie Minogue is joining BBC singing show The Voice as one of the coaches in the new series. The Australian star will join returning mentors and Sir Tom Jones in the third series, with a fourth coach yet to be announced. She said: "Will I be competitive? Probably more than even I imagine. Watch this space!"

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