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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

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform