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The News Matrix: Thursday 19 September 2013

Corpse of boy found two years after death

The mummified corpse of a four-year-old boy was found in a cot in his mother's bedroom almost two years after he starved to death, a court heard. Hamzah Khan's body was still dressed in clothes designed for a baby when police made the "dreadful discovery" at a house in Bradford in 2011. Prosecutors claim the boy's mother failed to feed him "over a lengthy period". MORE

Amnesty: gays live in 'climate of fear'

Gay, lesbian and transgender people face shocking levels of violence, discrimination and abuse across Europe, with gaps in EU and national legislation robbing them of justice and creating a climate of fear, a new report by Amnesty International says. MORE

Abbott takes charge of women's issues

After urging Australians to vote for "the one with the not-bad-looking daughters" and appointing only one woman to his cabinet, Tony Abbott - who was sworn in as Prime Minister yesterday – has provoked dismay by giving himself ministerial responsibility for women's issues. MORE

Police chief calls for private drunk tanks

Privately run "drunk tanks" should be considered to tackle alcohol-fuelled disorder, police chiefs have said. Chief Constable Adrian Lee, the national policing lead on alcohol harm, said drunks should be taken to a cell run by a commercial company and charged for their care. MORE

Beauty contest for girls to be banned

France is paving the way to become the first Western country to ban "Mini-Miss" beauty contests for girls to prevent the "hypersexualisation" of youngsters. In a measure approved by the upper house, organisers of pageants for under-16s could face up to two years in jail. MORE

Pair in 'Bonnie and Clyde' crime spree

Investigators have accused a nursery school teacher and her partner of a Bonnie and Clyde-style, six-year crime spree in which they allegedly robbed and murdered up to 30 people, including police officers, in southern Russia. MORE

Security reviewed after mass shooting

Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered security reviews after the Washington naval base shootings, saying that "a lot of red flags" raised about the gunman, Aaron Alexis, were apparently missed. MORE

Drugs accused could serve terms in UK

Two women charged with drug trafficking in Peru could be allowed to return to serve their sentences in UK prisons if they plead guilty, prosecutors confirmed yesterday. Melissa Reid and Michaella McCollum could return to Britain if they qualified for "early termination". MORE

West will not insist on threat of force

Britain, France and the US are ready to back down from a demand that a Security Council resolution on removing chemical weapons from Syria include the threat of military force if the Syrian government does not comply, senior sources have said. MORE

Tory chiefs get the hairdryer treatment

One of the Tories' biggest donors, Alexander Temerko, has accused George Osborne, David Cameron and Ed Davey of squandering a chance to create thousands of jobs and bring in billions of pounds by scaring away off-shore wind investors. MORE

Eleven political prisoners freed

Tehran is reported to have released at least 11 political prisoners, including noted human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. The move comes days before Iran's new President Hassan Rouhani visits New York for the UN General Assembly.

Rowling stigmatised as a single mother

JK Rowling has revealed the "slowly evaporating sense of self-esteem" she felt after being stigmatised as a single mother on benefits while writing the first Harry Potter novel. The author said she had been defined "in the eyes of many" by something she had "never chosen".

Honesty pays off for Boston vagrant

Donations totalling more than $68,000 (£42,000) have poured in from around the world for a homeless man in Boston who found a backpack stuffed with cash, and handed it in to the police. The bag, containing $42,000, was eventually returned to its owner.

Lagoon goes from 'sewer' to super

A lagoon in Puerto Rico's capital that was once known as the sewer of San Juan has been designated a nature reserve. The Condado Lagoon is now considered a crucial component of the San Juan Bay estuary. It attracts tourists and several Ironman competitions have been staged there.

Households 'waste 11lb of food a week'

The average household throws away more than 5kg (11lbs) food per week, and nearly two-thirds of that waste is avoidable, according to a new report. The waste costs £480 a year per household and £680 per family. Reasons given included cooking too much food to not using it in before it goes off.

Grumpy becomes a 'spokescat'

Grumpy cat, the sour-faced internet sensation, is now a "spokescat" for a Friskies brand of cat food. Photos of the US-based cat, her brown and white face in a constant scowl, have become a constant presence on social media, often accompanied by grumpy messages.

Sheep rustling a national problem

Police have said the value of sheep stolen across Scotland since the start of the year has run to hundreds of thousands of pounds. They are currently investigating reports of incidents in the Borders but said it was an issue which was now affecting the "whole of Scotland".

Eminem's old house up for sale on eBay

The childhood home of rapper Eminem – which belonged to his mother Deborah Mathers, from 1989 to 2003 – has gone up for auction in Detroit. The Detroit News said a past owner listed it on eBay for $500,000 but did not receive any bids.

Winning lottery ticket left in shop

The city of Coruna is seeking the person who bought a winning lottery ticket but left it in the shop. The shop owner, Manuel Reija, who kept the ticket for a year, said he only realised it was worth €4.7m when he went to throw it away. He could keep the money if the owner does not appear.

How to get served in a busy bar

Scientists have identified body language that ensures bartenders serve you first. They examined the behaviour of customers in nightclubs to see which behaviours were most successful, and found that standing squarely to the bar and looking directly at the barman worked best.

Career Services

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Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

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Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

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Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
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Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
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Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

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The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

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Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

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How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star