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The News Matrix: Tuesday 13 November 2012

Breakthrough in 'reading minds'

A man thought to be in a vegetative state has been able to answer questions from doctors using an MRI scan to assess his brain activity. Scott Routley told doctors he was in no pain by thinking of two different scenarios for "yes" and "no". MORE

Deputy may battle Zuma for top ANC job

The stage is set for a battle for the leadership of the African National Congress next month. The political party's current leader Jacob Zuma, South Africa's President, may face a challenge from Kgalema Motlanthe, the deputy leader, who is backed by influential party branches. MORE

Cameron defends trip to the Gulf

David Cameron makes "no apology" for flying out to the Gulf to try to help British defence exports. In a speech at the Guildhall in the City of London, he said he understands why people were "squeamish" about his trip.

Wife's tribute to killed soldier

A British soldier shot dead by a rogue member of the Afghan army playing football on Remembrance Day was hailed as a "great man" by his wife last night. Captain Walter Barrie was playing against members of the Afghan National Army at his base when he was shot at close range.

Army scores 'direct hit' in Syria

Israel's army fired tank shells into Syria yesterday and scored "direct hits" in response to a Syrian mortar shell that struck the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the military said. It was the second time in as many days that Israel fired into Syria, raising fears the war could spread. MORE

Big US firms deny tax avoidance in Britain

Three American corporations faced a grilling from the Commons Public Accounts Committee yesterday over their tax affairs. MPs were suspicious of Amazon of "manipulating" profits, while Starbucks and Google denied the accusation that they avoid their tax obligations in Britain. MORE

Police in terror swoop at Heathrow

Counter-terrorist police investigating Britons travelling to Syria to take part in terrorism have arrested a man at Heathrow Airport. The 24-year-old flew in from Bahrain and was detained yesterday morning. He was taken to a south London police station for questioning.

Donations dip as charities feel pinch

Charities have seen donations fall by over £2bn, leaving some smaller organisations teetering on the brink, as families continue to feel the effects of the recession. An annual survey from the Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations shows that 28.4 million Britons gave £9.3bn last year.

Psy success sees labels rush to Asia

Foreign-language songs from Asia and other regions could become British chart staples as record companies try to copy the success of South Korea's Psy and his hit "Gangnam Style". Several UK labels are looking to invest in stars from Japan and South America. MORE

Car thief continued with food deliveries

Police in Connecticut say a man stole a car used to deliver Chinese food and continued dropping off items so he could keep the money. Keith Hinds was charged on Friday with larceny. A delivery driver had called police after his car was stolen after he left it idling to run into a school.

Humans won't get no more cleverer, innit?

Humans peaked intellectually thousands of years ago and are on a slippery slope of decline, according to geneticist Professor Gerald Crabtree who argues that without the need to survive on instinct in communities of hunter-gatherers, natural selection on intelligence has stopped. MORE

More Sumatran elephants poisoned

Three endangered Sumatran elephants have been found dead on Indonesia's Sumatra island, apparently the latest in a string of elephants to be poisoned, an environmentalist said. The bodies of three female elephants were discovered on the edge of Tesso Nilo park in Riau province on Sunday.

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Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
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Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes