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The News Matrix: Thursday 4 September 2014

Morgan denies plan for ability groups

The Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has rejected claims she is planning to compel all secondary schools to introduce setting by ability groups. She dismissed the suggestion last night, but Ms Morgan was reported to be asking Ofsted to make ability sets a condition for a school to receive an outstanding ranking in an inspection.

Putin issues his  own peace plan

Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday issued his own peace plan for eastern Ukraine ahead of the Nato summit in Wales starting today. Mr Putin called for a halt to Ukrainian artillery strikes and the insurgence of troops and called for co-ordination of warring parties.

Ashya reunited  with his parents

Five-year-old Ashya King and his parents were reunited yesterday in a Spanish hospital. Brett and Naghmeh King had not seen their son in the four days since their arrest on Saturday night, after taking him from Southampton hospital without the consent of doctors.

Calais mayor’s  threat to close port

The mayor of Calais, has threatened to close the port as a “strong gesture” to the UK to control the number illegal migrants who attempt to cross the English Channel from France. Unsanitary illegal camps are costing too much and making life unpleasant for local residents.

No action against Rotherham staff

No one responsible for safeguarding children in Rotherham during the 16-year period when more than 1,400 young people were abused will face disciplinary action, despite the mounting public anger over the scandal, the chief executive of the council confirmed yesterday.

First Lady ‘tried to overdose’

Valérie Trierweiler’s new book, published today, details how she tried to overdose on sleeping pills over President François Hollande’s affair with the actress Julie Gayet.

Charities hit out over ‘knitting’ comment

The new minister for civil society has been called patronising and dismissive after he instructed charities to “stick to their knitting” and keep out of politics. Brooks Newmark made the remarks as charities claimed the Lobbying Act would limit their ability to campaign.

Joan Rivers out  of intensive care

The daughter of Joan Rivers says the comedian has been moved out of intensive care. Melissa Rivers said yesterday: “My mother has been moved into a private room where she is being kept comfortable.” The 81-year-old went into cardiac and respiratory arrest last Thursday.

Housing blueprint wins £250,000

A proposal to create 3.5 million new homes to help solve Britain’s housing shortage won a £250,000 prize last night. The plan was named as the winner of the Wolfson Prize, the second-biggest economic prize in the world after the Nobel Prize.

Girl rescued from washing machine

A five-year-old girl from Texas is in hospital after being found in a washing machine in a launderette on a high-speed cycle. “She was tumbling pretty fast in there,” Vance Mitchell of the Pasadena Police said, after someone saw her “flopping around” in the machine. Her injuries are not life threatening.

Great Fire drama takes heat off baker

Thomas Farriner, the baker held responsible for starting the Great Fire of London, is to be depicted as an “everyman hero” in a new ITV drama which charts the historical events of 2 September 1666 and their aftermath. The Great Fire is a four-part epic written by Tom Bradby, ITN’s political editor.

‘Strictly Come Belly Dancing’ show slated

Egypt’s top religious body has demanded a new belly-dancing television show be suspended for “corrupting morals” and serving “extremists” who could use it as a pretext to depict Egyptian society as anti-Islamic. Dar al-Ifta, which advises Muslims on religious issues, criticised the  show Dancer yesterday.

French know little about their wine 

Don’t know your Chablis from your Merlot? Not to worry, nor do most French people according to a new survey. Responding to the question: “Do you have the feeling you have a good knowledge of wine?” a surprising 71 per cent said “No”, with only three per cent saying they knew “a lot”.

More seals basking in Thames Estuary

Seal numbers in the Thames Estuary have increased, a wildlife survey has found. The number of seals counted rose from 685 in 2013 to 938 this summer, according to the Zoological Society of London audit of more than 1,500sq miles of the Greater Thames Estuary from Deal, Kent, to Felixstowe, Suffolk.

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