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The News Matrix: Thursday 30 August 2012

People in UK are healthier longer

People in the UK are living in good health for longer, according to new official figures. Average healthy life expectancy (HLE) – the proportion of life spent in good health – increased by more than two years between 2008 and 2010. However, HLE declined in Scotland and Northern Ireland and experts said that the gap between health "haves" and "have nots" was widening.

Politicians can't grasp finance woes

Nearly half the population believes politicians don't understand financial pressures facing ordinary people, according to a study. A poll found 36 per cent "financially squeezed", 27 per cent expect their financial position to get worse, while 42 per cent feel secure in their job. page 10

More civil servants face redundancy

The Coalition's battle to cut Government spending could force it to sack thousands more civil servants. A committee of MPs warned that staff reorganisations will also be needed to ensure the money being saved is not wasted by lower efficiency and worse performance.

Isaac strikes the Gulf Coast at 80mph

Hurricane Isaac swept into New Orleans yesterday, stranding people in their homes as it breached levees on the south-eastern outskirts of town and produced an 11ft surge in sea levels. Forecasters warned that flooding from heavy rain was expected late into the night. MORE

Moment of truth for Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney will deliver the most important speech of his life tonight as he faces the Republican National Convention and the country and tries to brush off the caricatures and project himself as a man of conviction ready to lead the American people. MORE

High use of helium and barbiturates

Helium and barbiturates, drugs linked to suicide, were involved in more deaths than Ecstasy, cannabis, mephedrone and GHB last year, new figures have revealed. Campaigners blamed the rise of websites that encourage people to take their own lives and show them how. MORE

New sitcom accused of insulting Islam

Citizen Khan, a new BBC comedy about an Asian family, has been accused of stereotyping Muslims and insulting Islam, leading to comparisons to the "racist" 1970s series Mind Your Language. MORE

Care assistant jailed for hitting patient, 89

Care assistant Emma Bryan, 29, was jailed for four months at Leeds Crown Court yesterday after she was caught on a hidden camera hitting and abusing Ivy Robinson, 89, who suffered dementia, at the Oakfoss House Residential Care Home in Pontefract, West Yorkshire.

London Met faces foreign-student ban

London Metropolitan University may be forced to close courses if it is banned from teaching and recruiting foreign students. The ban, which could be enforced by the UK Border Agency, would force 2,700 of its undergraduates to find another university or face possible deportation.

Miners charged with murder of colleagues

Prosecutors have charged 270 strikers arrested at Marikana platinum mine with the murder of 34 colleagues even though the victims were shot dead by police earlier this month amid the country's worst violence since apartheid. MORE

3,500 firearms go AWOL in five years

More than 3,500 firearms have been lost or stolen over the last five years despite tight regulation on storage of arms, the Home Office has revealed. Around 2,400 weapons, mainly shotguns and rifles, were stolen from their registered owners.

Independence referendum 'close'

The Government is "close to agreement" with Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond on the terms of an independence referendum. The Coalition will drop its demand for an early vote, allowing the vote to be held as late as 2014. But, the SNP will have to agree to a single "yes or no" question.

Government work placements for all

A Government work experience programme for teenagers who qualify for free school meals is being held to give interns a taste of working in the civil service. Westminster has been criticised for running unpaid placements only available to the wealthy or those London-based in the past. MORE

Parents shouldn't pay up for uniforms

Parents should not have to pay for new uniforms when their child starts at a free school or a newly converted academy that is "rebranding" itself, the Local Government Association has said. It said schools which decide to alter their uniform should restrict changes to sew-on logos.

Kandinsky to fetch £19m

A Wassily Kandinsky is expected to bring in £19m when Christie's auctions the painting at its impressionist and modern art sale in New York later this year. The bright 1909 oil depicts pilgrims and a swordsman in Kiev.

Nuclear scientist is to go into politics

The man who made Pakistan into a nuclear power and later admitted leaking atomic secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya is going into politics. Abdul Qadeer Khan is a pariah in the West but at home he's lionised by Islamists for making Pakistan the only Muslim nuclear power.

Miner slashes wrist in TV pit protest

A Sardinian miner slashed his wrist in front of television cameras yesterday as some 100 fellow workers stayed barricaded underground in a campaign to keep Italy's only coal pit open. "We cannot take it any more. We cannot! We cannot!" Stefano Meletti, 49, shouted to reporters.

Man attempting Bigfoot hoax killed

A man wearing a bushy, military-style camouflage suit in an apparent attempt to impersonate the mythical creature Bigfoot has died after being run over on US Highway 93. Randy Lee Tenley, 44, was standing in the middle of southbound lanes when he was struck twice in quick succession.

Cow stuck in tree is winched to safety

A cow has been rescued by firemen in Cumbria after it fell down an embankment and became stuck in a tree. The 300kg cow was discovered by owner Philip Armstrong, who saw it was missing from his farm. The shorthorn heifer had to be sedated before being winched to safety.

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