The News Matrix: Thursday 29 November 2012


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The Independent Online

45,630 exam papers wrongly marked

The number of GCSE and A-level papers wrongly marked this summer shot up by 18.4 per cent to a record 45,630. There was also a 36 per cent rise in the number of complaints, which reached almost 280,000. Headteachers' leader Brian Lightman said the figures, published by the exam regulator Ofqual, showed that "confidence in the examination system is an all-time low". MORE

Britain won't vote for Palestine state

Foreign Secretary William Hague has upset the Gulf states by indicating Britain would abstain in the UN vote to recognise a Palestinian state. He said the Palestinians would gain Britain's backing if they promised an "immediate" resumption of negotiations with Israel. MORE

Female students offered cash for sex

A website is offering students £15,000 a year to cover their university studies in exchange for having sex with wealthy businessmen, an i investigation can reveal. claims to have arranged for 1,400 women aged between 17 and 24 to be funded through "discreet adventures". MORE

Managers arrested over fatal factory fire

Three managers at the factory in Dhaka where 112 workers died in a fire have been arrested on suspicion of locking staff inside. Workers who survived say exit doors were locked, extinguishers did not work, bosses told them to ignore the fire alarm and emergency exits were locked.

WikiLeaks soldier 'illegally punished'

The US Army private charged with passing classified documents to the WikiLeaks website has appeared at a pre-trial hearing. Bradley Manning is seeking dismissal of the case, claiming he was illegally punished in detention, being locked up alone at least 23 hours a day and forced to sleep naked.

Britain could face EU exit, warns Blair

Tony Blair has warned David Cameron that renegotiating the terms of Britain's EU membership could result in the UK leaving the 27-nation bloc, saying it would be "a monumental error of statesmanship". MORE

City couples may be allowed two children

China could allow couples living in cities to have two children in a historic change to its one-child policy. Advisers are drafting proposals for what would be President Xi Jinping's first major reform since taking power this month. At present, only parents who are only children are allowed a second child.

Professor died after colleague's headlock

An Oxford University professor died from a heart attack when he was restrained in a headlock by a fellow academic, an inquest heard yesterday. A coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death in the case of Steven Rawlings, who had mental health problems. He attacked Dr Devinderjit Sivia, who tried to restrain him.

Tokyo still gourmet capital of the world

Tokyo has retained its crown as the world's gourmet capital for the sixth consecutive year. The Japanese city's number of three-star Michelin restaurants has fallen by two to 14 this year, but it still outranks Paris, Lyon and San Sebastian. All but two of the top-rated restaurants in Tokyo serve Japanese cuisine.

3 Cornish parking bays fetch £161,000

Three car parking spaces in the Cornish resort of St Ives have sold at auction for £161,000. The parking bays, located on Barnoon Terrace near the Tate gallery, fetched £56,000, £55,000 and £50,000. Each lot was worth more than double the average yearly salary in St Ives. Two bays failed to reach their reserve.

Man stabbed lover's parrot to death

A man who stabbed his former girlfriend's parrot to death with a fork has been jailed for six months. Richard Atkinson, 63, from Washington state, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and domestic violence. His lawyer said he may have mixed anti-anxiety medication with whiskey and slipped into a blacked-out rage.

Plan to excavate 36 buried RAF Spitfires

Dozens of Spitfires will be excavated in Burma early next year following a 16-year campaign. Enthusiast David Cundall has spent tens of thousands of pounds on locating the aircraft. He believes Lord Louis Mountbatten ordered the burial of 36 Spitfires at Mingaladon airfield as the Second World War drew to a close in 1945.

Plan to sell £20m Old Flo hits a snag

A council's plans to sell a Henry Moore sculpture have hit a snag as questions emerged over whether it owns the work. Old Flo, which could be worth £20m, is currently on loan in Yorkshire. The floods have prevented Tower Hamlets council from retrieving the sculpture thus far, but one source said it is owned by another borough. Tower Hamlets maintains there is no doubt that it owns the piece, under the terms of the London Government Act 1985.