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The News Matrix: Thursday 21 July 2011

Army pulls out of peaceful province

International military forces in Afghanistan yesterday handed over control of a peaceful Bamiyan province in the centre of the country to Afghan police, taking another step in a transition that will allow foreign troops to withdraw in full by the end of 2014. MORE

Brain-damaged woman shows ‘smile’

A “profoundly” brain-damaged woman who relatives say should be allowed to die sometimes displays a “bit of a smile” when carers tease her about men, the High Court heard. The 51-year-old woman sometimes made a different sound if carers joked about a man being good looking. MORE

Olympic velodrome favourite for prize

The shortlist for British architecture’s most prestigious award, the Stirling Prize, was announced yesterday, but the award is almost certain to go to the Olympic Velodrome, designed by Hopkins Architects. MORE

Number of new cancer cases rises

Almost 265,000 new cancer cases were registered in England in 2009 – a 20 per cent rise over the past decade, according to the Office for National Statistics. Skin cancer diagnoses doubled to nearly 10,000 – suggesting the message about sunbeds and sunburn is failing to get through. MORE

Briton died while taking on robbers

Tributes were paid to a British holidaymaker who took on a gang of robbers and was shot dead at a Margarita Island hotel in Venezuela on Monday. Thomas Ossel, 28, from Bedfordshire, was shot in the jaw, while his brother Jack was stabbed in the back but survived. MORE

Drought puts 3.7m at risk of starvation

The United Nations said yesterday that two regions of southern Somalia had been hit by the worst famine in the area for 20 years and that 3.7 million people in the anarchic Horn of Africa nation risked starvation. Years of drought have hit harvests and conflict has made it extremely difficult for aid agencies to operate. MORE

Last remaining war crimes suspect held

The last fugitive sought by the UN’s Balkan war crimes tribunal was seized yesterday in a remote mountain forest. Goran Hadzic, former leader of Croatia’s ethnic Serbs, had been secretly watched by Serbian secret police chasing a money trail that began with a photograph of a Modigliani painting. MORE

That’s a very Big Mac...

Fast-food chain McDonald’s is building its biggest-ever restaurant in London’s Olympic Park in time for the 2012 Games. The two-storey building will employ 470 people and seat 1,500.

Lions attack when moon is on the wane

A study of 500 lion attacks on Tanzanian villagers has shown that the predator is most likely to hunt and kill its victims on nights when the moon is not full. Lions use darkness to surprise their prey, and the majority of successful attacks took place between dusk and 10pm on nights when moonlight was waning.

Gervais looks to the heavens in new show

Ricky Gervais is following up The Office and Extras with a new sitcom about an atheist who dies and finds himself in heaven, called Afterlife. Gervais will work with Clyde Phillips, producer of the US serial killer series Dexter, which he said had been his “favourite show of the last five years”.

Spanish man guilty of $13bn Yukos theft

A Moscow court has convicted a Spanish citizen in absentia on charges of embezzling $13bn from a subsidiary of the now-defunct Yukos oil company. The conviction of Antonio Valdes-Garcia on Monday came despite imprisoned Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s testimony that he didn’t know of any such embezzlement.

Rogue leopard dies of knife wounds

A leopard that mauled 11 people in a fierce showdown with Indian villagers has died of knife wounds after being captured. The snarling adult male leopard leapt at locals and forest officials as they tried to drive it back toward a wildlife sanctuary in West Bengal state.

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Day In a Page

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
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories