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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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home