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The News Matrix: Thursday 31 January 2013
Israel 'bombs' military centre in Damascus
Israeli forces have reportedly bombed a military research centre in Damascus over concerns that groups such as Hezbollah could get hold of a stockpile of chemical weapons. The attack followed a period of 36 hours when at least 12 Israeli warplanes crossed into Lebanon's airspace. MORE
Police considering recruitment reform
The practice of hiring all new police recruits as constables could cease. Policing minister Damian Green said the system puts off applicants who don't want to wait 25 years to reach top ranks. But the Association of Chief Police Officers said such reform may anger existing officers. MORE
Ecstasy could be decriminalised
The possession of ecstasy for personal use could be decriminalised in Colombia in an attempt to curb drug trafficking. Justice Minister Ruth Stella has introduced a Bill which would put synthetic drugs in the same category as cannabis, meaning those carrying small amounts would not be prosecuted.
UK exit would be a 'mistake', says Clarke
Leaving the European Union would be a "fatal mistake", Ken Clarke has warned. The Tory grandee urged the Prime Minister to be "positive" in negotiations with fellow EU leaders. "It is in our vital national interest that we avoid the fatal mistake that would be a No vote if a referendum is held in the next few years," he said. MORE
New BlackBerry phone launched
The new BlackBerry 10 smartphone has been unveiled, and it bears more than a passing resemblance to Apple's iPhone. Its latest offering boasts flashy graphics, better cameras and an improved app store. MORE
Polish becomes UK's second language
Polish is now the most commonly spoken non-native language in England and Wales, with more than half a million people in this country speaking it as a first language. Almost 140,000 people in England and Wales can't speak any English, while 726,000 can only summon basic phrases. In 2001, Polish wasn't in the top 12. MORE
Cats and dogs react to 'pleasure pulses'
Scientists may have discovered why cats and dogs never seem to tire of being petted. Areas of hairy skin contain specialised nerve cells that send "pleasure pulses" to the brain when stimulated. A study of laboratory mice showed that the nerve endings in their hairy back legs respond well to rubbing, but not to pain. MORE
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
- 5 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute