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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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