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The News Matrix: Thursday 5 September 2013

US surveillance is illegal, says Nieta

President Enrique Peña Nieto says reported surveillance by the US National Security Agency would constitute an illegal act. He demanded the US investigate allegations aired in a report this week on Brazil's Globo TV that cited documents from the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicating that the US monitored Mr Pena Nieto's communications before he was elected in July 2012.

Millions wasted on benefit reforms

The Government's benefit reforms were beset by "weak management" and a "fortress mentality" that wasted millions of taxpayers' money, the National Audit Office said. Computer systems costing more than £300m could not identify fraudulent claims, the NAO said. MORE

Britain's richest pensioner has £22m

The richest pensioner in the FTSE 100 has been revealed as Sir Frank Chapman, former boss of oil and gas company BG Group, worth more than £22m when he quit. The transfer value of Sir Frank's pension holdings is the highest uncovered by this year's TUC Pension Watch survey. MORE

Courts drop 500 cases each week

Failings by prosecutors or in the legal system are leading to more than 500 cases being thrown out of court each week. Figures showed a total of 106,859 cases, costing an estimated £17.4m, were dropped or delayed last year. The court system was described as "chaotic". MORE

Jersey air crash couple named

A couple who died when their light aircraft ditched into the sea off Jersey yesterday were named last night as businessman Carl Whiteley, 56, and his wife Kathryn, of Derby. The alarm was raised at 10am after the Cessna hit the water about five miles from Jersey airport.

Berezovsky left debts of up to £300m

Boris Berezovsky may have left debts of more than £300m when he died in "tragic and mysterious" circumstances, the High Court has heard. The Russian oligarch was found hanged at his home near Ascot in March.

L'Enclume takes the top restaurant slot

A restaurant run by chef Simon Rogan and committed to nature not science has toppled celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck eatery as Britain's top restaurant. Rogan's L'Enclume restaurant, at Cartmel in the Lake District, took the title in the Good Food Guide, knocking three-star Michelin chef Blumenthal into second place.

Prisons chief is sacked amid unrest

The Interior Minister removed the chief of the prisons yesterday amid reports he facilitated meetings between detained Muslim Brotherhood leaders and other Islamists. The government also removed security and investigative chiefs in the southern governorate of Minya , where unrest is rife.

Entire town moves down the road

An entire town and its 18,000 residents are moving two miles down the road after an iron ore mine started to threaten its foundations. In 2004, the decision was made to uproot the city centre of Kiruna and on 31 August, residents gathered on the platform of the station to watch the final train roll out. page 20

The smart car that can fold itself in half

With a click on a smartphone, the experimental "Armadillo-T" electric car, made in South Korea, will park itself and fold in half, freeing up space in urban areas. The quirky two-seater, named after the animal it resembles, may never see production but it is part of a trend of developing environmentally friendly cars for cities.

Florida targeted in condom drive

A health group that successfully pushed for a Los Angeles law mandating condom use in the adult film industry is now taking aim at Florida. The Aids Healthcare Foundation has filed a "sanitary nuisance complaint" over a pornographic film apparently made in Florida without the use of condoms.

Great dane 'put out' Nazi bomb in WW2

An unlikely tale of animal heroism from the Second World War has been discovered. Juliana, a great dane, neutralised a Nazi bomb by urinating on it after it fell through the roof of her owner's house. Her story was revealed when auctioneers cleared the house in Bristol and discovered the dog's Blue Cross medal for bravery.

Star Wars: Dawn of the mini-series

Comic lovers will get a different take on Star Wars from a new series based on the original George Lucas script from 1974. The draft, called "The Star Wars" features Darth Vader with no helmet, an older Luke Skywalker and a green Han Solo. Dark Horse Comics has created an eight-issue mini-series based on the script.

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A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried