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The News Matrix: Thursday 20 February 2014

Wrong meter clocks could cost us money

As many as 3.9 million households could be paying hundreds of pounds more than they should on electricity due to electricity meter clocks showing the wrong time going unnoticed. The consumer group Which? said it has heard from people whose meters had been showing the wrong time, potentially leaving them “significantly out of pocket”.

Second man held over al-Hilli killings

A second man was held yesterday by police investigating the murder of a British-Iraqi family in the French Alps in 2012. The arrest comes after a former policeman was detained on Tuesday by detectives who are trying to piece together the brutal killings of the al-Hilli family. MORE

Mother arrested over toddler death

A critically injured woman has been arrested on suspicion of murdering her two-year-old daughter, who died in hospital after falling from a house. The 36-year-old, who was also taken to hospital, and the toddler were discovered in the back garden of a house in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks falter

Two months before a deadline in the latest Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the two sides appear to be as far apart as ever. Ideas floated by the US, which is the main sponsor of the latest peace effort, so far don’t provide a basis for serious talks, senior Palestinians said yesterday.

Be prepared for more sinkholes

A “second wave” of sinkholes could appear across southern England in the coming weeks as the ground begins to dry, the British Geological Survey has warned. The number of sinkholes has already reached six this month. Typically only one or two are reported in a year. MORE

Cossacks whip  Pussy Riot members

Members of the anti-Putin punk rock group Pussy Riot were attacked with horse whips by a group of Cossacks yesterday when they protested in front of advertising for Winter Olympics in Sochi. MORE

Mortgages could  soar by £5k a year

Homeowners in Scotland could face average annual mortgage increases of almost £5,200 under independence if the Scottish Government walks away from its share of national debt, Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury warned the Scottish parliament yesterday. 

Former soldier gets life for jail murder

A British former soldier on death row has been handed a life sentence for the murder of his cellmate, despite experts having concluded the death was a suicide. Joshua French, who served in the Parachute Regiment, was charged with murder after Tjostolv Moland was found dead in their shared cell last August.

Outraged woman buys up racy shirts

A woman upset about “indecent”  T-shirts for sale in a store at a Utah shopping centre bought all 19 of the items, spending $567 (£340). Judy Cox has also complained to the retailer, PacSun, and the matter has been referred to its corporate office. The shirts featured pictures of scantily dressed models in provocative poses.

KitKat top of the chocolate bars

According to experts surveyed by Time magazine, KitKat is the “most influential candy bar of all time”. It is regarded as the first confectionery to be sold successfully in every market in the world, with the first all-KitKat shop opened in Tokyo on 17 January. Runners-up include Hershey’s and Toblerone.

Jazz study links music and language

Jazz players activate parts of their brain normally associated with spoken language, research has shown. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland found that improvisation activated brain areas linked to syntactic language processing: interpreting the structure of phrases and sentences.

Turks fight for internet rights

Up to 80,000 people stopped following Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Twitter yesterday after he signed into law a bill increasing government control over the internet. The move, which was announced  on the social networking site, led  to an online campaign against  Mr Gul. MORE

Absent Bowie steals show at Brits

David Bowie managed to steal the show at last night’s Brit Awards, despite not even turning up to the event. Bowie, 67, reclaimed the Best Male Brit he last won three decades ago following his surprise return last year with the acclaimed album The Next Day. But he declined to pick up the prize in person. MORE

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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
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

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'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