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The News Matrix: Thursday 31 October 2013

McCanns sceptical over kidnap reports

Kate and Gerry McCann have described reports about a man Portuguese police suspect kidnapped Madeleine as “pure speculation”.  The 40-year-old had been fired from the Ocean Club holiday complex in Praia de Luz where the McCanns were staying when their daughter disappeared on 3 May 2007 and may have been seeking revenge, according to the daily Correio da Manha.

‘Islamists’ held after Beijing car terror

Chinese police have detained five suspected Islamist militants after confirming a deadly car crash at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on Monday was a “carefully planned, organised and premeditated” terrorist attack targeting the heart of the capital. MORE

Royal Mail workers scrap plans for strike

A planned Royal Mail strike over pay and pensions has been called off. Members of the Communication Workers Union had been set to walk out next Monday after an agreement could not be made over concerns linked to privatisation of the postal firm. Instead, talks are continuing.

Hollande criticised over freed hostages

President François Hollande was under fire from media yesterday after the French government was accused of paying €25m (£21.4m) for the release of four hostages taken by Islamist rebels in Mali. He had made personal pledges about refusing to pay ransom deals. MORE

New homes plan  for East Jerusalem

Israel has announced plans to build new homes in a Jewish settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, just hours after freeing 26 Palestinian prisoners as part of a deal struck earlier this year ahead of peace talks. The Palestinian Authority said the move was “destructive to peace efforts”.

Kate Hoey fined for jumping red light

Former Labour sports minister Kate Hoey was told to pay £240 for jumping a red light. The MP for Vauxhall, south London, was fined £135 at City of London Magistrates’ Court and had to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim charge.

Mystery barge  could be linked to Google

A mysterious barge in San Francisco Bay is causing waves on blogs and tech websites as Silicon Valley watchers try to determine if the site is linked to search giant Google. It is four storeys tall, 250 feet long and 72 feet wide – a vast floating barge which some believe could be a huge new data centre.  MORE

Actor Graham Stark dies aged 91

The actor and director Graham Stark, who starred in almost 100 films and was best man to Peter Sellers on four occasions, has died 91. He grew up in Merseyside and made his professional debut aged 13 in pantomime at the Lyceum Theatre in London. He starred in the Pink Panther films.

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