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The News Matrix: Thursday 3 March 2011

Number of working pensioners soars

The number of over-65s in work rose from 412,000 in 2001 to 870,000 at the end of last year, figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal. Full-time employment rates fell for 16 to 64-year-olds, but rose by 0.5 per cent for those over 65. MORE

Nobel prize-winning economist is sacked

Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel prizewinning Bangladeshi economist, has been sacked as the head of the microfinance bank he founded. The humiliating blow for an activist whose revolutionary idea of giving small loans lifted many out of poverty, was made by the Dhaka government. MORE

Christian minister killed by Taliban

The Taliban yesterday murdered Pakistan’s only Christian cabinet minister after he challenged a law that requires the death penalty for insulting Islam. Shahbaz Bhatti is the second prominent Pakistani politician to be murdered this year. MORE

Galliano faces trial over racist insults

The designer John Galliano, who was dismissed by the house of Dior on Tuesday, will face trial over alleged racial insults, prosecutors in Paris announced last night. MORE

Doctors criticise plans to reform NHS

Ministers are facing a growing rebellion from doctors over their plans to reform the NHS. In the first significant test of doctors’ opinion, a survey for the British Medical Association found that the majority are not convinced that potential benefits of the plan outweigh the risks. MORE

Government ‘failed to plan for ash cloud’

The last Government failed to plan for the volcanic eruption in Iceland that paralysed air traffic in the UK and caused massive disruption despite being warned of the threat, an official investigation into national emergencies has found. MORE

Woman arrested for ‘taunting’ officer

A woman was arrested yesterday after she stood behind the police officer blinded by gunman Raoul Moat and allegedly shouted “bang, bang”. PC David Rathband was at Newcastle Crown Court for the trial of Moat’s alleged accomplices.

May tells police ‘cut wages to save jobs’

The Home Secretary is on a collision course with police rank-and-file after she said yesterday their pay and perks would have to be cut to save jobs. Theresa May has vowed to act where her predecessors failed by ordering an overhaul of the rules on overtime and working conditions. MORE

Derrick Bird wanted to ‘do a Dunblane’

Derrick Bird threatened to make his home town of Whitehaven “as famous as Dunblane” weeks before embarking on his murderous rampage, an inquest heard yesterday. He made the chilling link – between the scene of his massacre and the Scottish town where 16 pupils and their teacher were gunned down in 1996 – apparently out of the blue. MORE

Soldier faces 22 new WikiLeaks charges

The US Army announced last night that it was bringing 22 new charges against Bradley Manning, the soldier held in the WikiLeaks case. Manning was arrested in 2010 and charged with communicating national defence information to an unauthorised source.

Sir Jackie Stewart taken to hospital

Motor racing champion Sir Jackie Stewart was taken to hospital yesterday after falling ill while flying home from the Geneva Motor Show. He is in Hillingdon Hospital, where his condition was described last night as “stable”. MORE

Author offers cash for ‘swan killers’

Best-selling author Sir Terry Pratchett has offered £10,000 to catch those responsible for killing 31 swans in the Wedmore area of Somerset. Twenty-three dead swans have been discovered close to where eight others were found shot in the head with airgun pellets outside Blackford last week.

Strictly stars waltz into Snow White

Former MP Ann Widdecombe will make her debut in pantomime, alongside Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood. The former Tory minister will star in a production of Snow White in Dartford, Kent.

Cameron hit by fit of giggles in Commons

Prime Minister David Cameron was reportedly overcome by a fit of the giggles in the House of Commons yesterday. It emerged that what set him off was the sight of Labour frontbenchers Ed Balls and shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander making strange hand gestures.

Penis painting taken out of competition

A large penis painted on a bridge in St Petersburg has been dropped from the shortlist for an art prize. The painting, which pointed skywards when the bridge was raised, was created last June by the art group Voina, or War, to protest tight security at an international meeting.

Renting becomes dearer than buying

Falling prices and rising rents have made it cheaper to buy a home in eight out of 10 towns, research shows. Renting now costs an average of 10.5 per cent more than paying for a mortgage for a comparable property, up from 8.7 per cent last year, property website Zoopla.co.uk said.

A luxury hotel for lapdog in your life

In one Paris hotel the guests have four legs and tails. Actuel Dogs bills itself as France’s first luxury hotel for dogs, and founders Devi and Stan Burun also offer training programmes for unruly hounds and dog walks in the woods.

New Kafka works unveiled in court

Writings by Franz Kafka and his friend Max Brod which have been hidden away for decades have been brought to light at an Israeli court. The contents of safes in Tel Aviv and Zurich were detailed in a legal battle over Brod’s estate.

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