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The News Matrix: Thursday 7 February 2013

Farage is a Stalinist dictator, says MEP

An MEP from the UK Independence Party has threatened to quit after accusing its leader, Nigel Farage, of being a "Stalinist dictator". Marta Andreasen, who represents South-east England, claimed that Mr Farage did not want "intelligent, professional" women in senior party positions. Mr Farage described the accusations as "laughable nonsense".

OAPs arrested over child abuse claims

Two elderly men have been arrested on suspicion of sexual offences as part of an investigation into allegations that MPs belonged to a paedophile ring in the 1980s. Scotland Yard said a 70-year-old from East Sussex and a 66-year-old in Norfolk were held in dawn raids. MORE

Rebels try to take back Damascus

Rebels launched an operation to "liberate" Damascus yesterday. Six of the organisations fighting President Bashar al-Assad took to Twitter to announce the start of "Operation Epic". The city came to a standstill as the rebels attacked roadblocks and army fortifications. MORE

Solar superstorm to hit Earth soon

An extreme solar storm could knock out Earth's communications satellites and disrupt aircraft avionics, a report has warned. A "superstorm", caused by the Sun ejecting billions of tons of matter at a million miles per hour, is set to hit the Earth in the near future. MORE

Date set for Huhne by-election

The by-election triggered by the resignation of the former Energy Secretary Chris Huhne as MP for Eastleigh will take place on 28 February. The Liberal Democrats, who hold all 36 council seats in the Hampshire constituency, said they would "throw the kitchen sink at it".

i columnist is named young writer of year

The i columnist Owen Jones was named Young Writer of the Year at the Political Book Awards last night. Jones, 28, was recognised for his ability to cover a range of topics and making a "significant contribution" to political debate.

Shooting prompts political crisis

The government of Tunisia was dissolved last night after the assassination of a liberal opposition politician set off violent protests. The Prime Minister, Hamadi Jebali, took the decision to install an administration of technocrats until elections can be held after Chokri Belaid was shot dead in the capital, Tunis. MORE

Former conservative leader booed at court

Demonstrators booed the former treasurer of conservative party Partido Popular as he left court yesterday. Luis Bárcenas, a former banker, was questioned over corruption. He is accused of helping to channel payments from construction firm managers to party leaders, including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. MORE

Largest prime number discovered

A US mathematician has discovered the largest known prime number. The number – two raised to the 57,885,161 power minus one – is composed of 17 million digits and yet can only be divided by itself and one. Curtis Cooper, of the University of Central Missouri, found the number using a large network of computers.

Monopoly voters decide on fur trade

The Monopoly iron token will be replaced with a cat after an international vote by fans. Toy maker Hasbro said the cat received 31 per cent of a Facebook vote, beating the robot, guitar, helicopter and diamond ring. The iron lost out after just 8 per cent of voters said they wanted to keep it.

6ft Komodo dragon goes on rampage

Two people needed hospital treatment after a Komodo dragon went on the rampage at a wildlife sanctuary. The 6ft-long reptile attacked a ranger at Komodo National Park, in the Lesser Sunda Islands, and another worker who came to help him. Both were badly bitten and were evacuated to a hospital on Bali island.

Crumbs! Bahlsen biscuit is returned

A large golden emblem stolen from one of Germany's most famous biscuit companies by a thief dressed as the Cookie Monster has reappeared. Bahlsen's 20kg cookie, which once adorned the entrance of its Hanover headquarters, was found hanging on a statue of a horse. The plain butter biscuit was stolen last month.

Out-of-this-world tweet for Sir David

Sir David Attenborough made his debut on Twitter yesterday – and got a message from space. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted from the International Space Station: "If you had an evening to spend here... how would you spend it?" Sir David said: "I'd just sit and watch the Earth go by."

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Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home