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The News Matrix: Thursday 28 June 2012

Pro-Assad TV station comes under attack

Gunmen raided the headquarters of a pro-government Syrian TV station yesterday, killing seven employees, kidnapping others and demolishing buildings. The government described the killings as a "massacre," just as the UN was blaming state forces for the Houla massacre. MORE

Scorsese gives up and goes digital

Martin Scorsese is to abandon shooting movies on film and turn to digital, after a long-term collaborator conceded the collapse of the format was "impossible to fight". The celebrated Hollywood director, has long campaigned for the use of film and restoration of old prints.

Wet June hits moths and butterflies

Some butterfly and moth populations have shrunk after what could be the wettest June on record. The marsh fritillary, the black hairstreak and the common blue are affected. Butterfly Conservation warned: "It's probably the worse spring and early summer ever for moths." MORE

Basic standards of  care 'not being met'

One in four hospitals, clinics  and care homes in England are  failing to meet basic standards for patient safety and quality of care,  according to the Care Quality  Commission's state of the nation  report based on 14,000  unannounced inspections. MORE

Berlusconi escapes tax evasion trial

A judge decided there were not enough grounds to make the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi stand trial for an alleged £8m tax evasion, opening the way for a potential comeback by the figure. MORE

Comedians back Twitter defendant

Comedians Stephen Fry and Al Murray appeared in court yesterday to support the right of a man to joke about blowing up an airport. Paul Chambers is appealing against the decision by a court in 2010 to fine him £385 for what he said was a tweet made in a moment of frustration when snow appeared likely to prevent his flight from an airport in South Yorkshire.

Circumcision ban sparks protests

Jewish and Muslim groups protested after a German court banned the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons. The Central Council of Jews in Germany called the ruling an "outrageous and insensitive" act.

Monsoon landslides kill 100 people

Landslides and floods caused by heavy monsoon rains killed up to 100 and many more are missing. Officials said the landslides occurred mainly in remote villages with poor roads, making rescue work more difficult. There have been three days of torrential rain in the region. MORE

Politician's family killed in bomb blast

Bombs planted around a Shi'ite politician's house killed seven people and wounded 21 others in Baghdad yesterday. The politician, who was not named, was unharmed but his wife, his daughter and his son were killed.

Piers Morgan's show hits a new low

Piers Morgan's US talk show has plunged to its lowest-ever ratings. Since succeeding Larry King in CNN's 9pm slot less than 18 months ago, Morgan has achieved the worst ratings for the broadcaster since it began collecting data 21 years ago.

Navy seal dies – but not on a mission

A US Navy seal best known for learning to use a screwdriver has died at a zoo in Washington at the age of 38. To be clear, Gunnar was not a member of the elite military group, but an actual seal trained and used by the US navy for operations.

Tranquilised bear makes a comeback

A male black bear captured on Cape Cod earlier this month, where it was tranquilised and moved to central Massachusetts, has shown up again only six miles from downtown Boston. State officials said they had captured the bear in a tree.

Fan-funded album hits No 9 in charts

An unknown singer-songwriter has rocked the music industry after his fan-funded album sneaked into the mid-week top 10. Ginger Wildheart's latest release, 100%, is at No 9 in the UK album charts. Last year Ginger, a member of the 1990s Brit-rockers The Wildhearts, invited fans to buy copies of the album in advance – despite not having recorded a note.

Garlic heist leaves a whiff of suspicion

Police didn't need sniffer dogs to locate 9.5 tons of garlic on three overloaded and sagging vans about to cross into Hungary from Austria yesterday. The vans were packed to the roof with the pungent cargo, valued at £20,000, and the five men in the vehicles were charged on suspicion of receiving stolen goods.

Sculptor, 79, in row over 'Grandmother'

Wolfgang von Schwarzenfeld's sculptures in a Berlin park were meant to promote world peace, but the German, 79, now has a Venezuelan tribe accusing him of stealing a sacred pink stone known to them as "Grandmother." The Venezuelan government has also demanded its return.

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Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

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We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
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The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

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The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

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Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor