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The News Matrix: Tuesday 21 January 2014

UN withdraws Iran’s invitation to talks

The United Nations last night withdrew Iran’s invitation to attend the first day of the Geneva II peace talks on Wednesday. Delegations from the Syrian government and rebel groups will attend, but the Syrian Opposition Coalition threatened a boycott over Iran’s presence. MORE

Report condemns politician attacks

Personal attacks by the Police Federation on political figures such as Andrew Mitchell and Theresa May have been condemned in a review calling for change at all levels of the organisation. Questions were also raised about the £64.5m the federation holds in reserves. MORE

Two die in floods after heavy rains

Heavy rains have flooded the Riviera, leaving two dead and thousands without electricity or cut off from roads. The administration for the Var region evacuated some residents. It said a 73-year-old man was killed in his basement and another man died when his car was washed away.

Eight disciplined over harassment

Eight BBC staff members were disciplined over allegations of bullying and sexual harassment in the first nine months of 2013. The figures will raise concerns that the broadcaster is still failing to address internal bullying and harassment. Four of the eight disciplined were given a final written warning and two were given an initial written warning. MORE

Vitamin D linked to progression of MS

Vitamin D may stave off the symptoms of multiple sclerosis in the early stages of the disease, scientists claim. Findings published in the journal JAMA Neurology show that levels of the vitamin were strongly linked to disease severity and speed of progression.

Government defends ‘cove’ dolphin hunt

The Japanese government has defended an annual dolphin hunt in the town of Taiji from environmentalists. More than 200 of the animals were forced into a cove, with the cull set to begin yesterday. MORE

Pub set to open in a service station

A £1m pub will open at a motorway service station today. JD Wetherspoon said that its Hope And Champion pub will be open daily from  4am to 1am. Only 12 per cent of people support putting pubs into motorway service stations, a survey by  the RAC found.

Banking details of 20 million leaked

The personal data of at least 20 million bank and credit card users in South Korea has been leaked, local media has reported. The data was stolen by a computer contractor working for a company called the Korea Credit Bureau, which produces credit ratings. He was later arrested.

Charge rage on rise in Silicon Valley

Incidents of “charge rage” among drivers is increasing in Silicon Valley, as people compete for access to ports to charge their electric cars. The German software firm SAP is producing guidelines as the supply of charge points is not enough for the number of workers.

Minister wants  more street parties

More people will be able to organise street parties and charity fundraisers without the fear of red tape, the Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, has said. It is hoped that a guide to organising community events will lead to a surge in community events.

Working-class actors losing out

Opportunities for working-class actors are becoming so limited that young people from council estates have less of a chance of forging a career than they might previously have done, Call the Midwife actor Stephen McGann has claimed. MORE

Graduate uses his head to raise cash

A student at the University of Michigan-Flint hopes to claw back  his tuition fees by selling advertising space on his graduation cap. Alex Benda, 22, an international business student, told the Detroit Free Press he split the top of his 10inx10in graduation cap into 100 tiny squares, and he hopes to sell each one for $300 (£183) to pay off his $30,000 student loan.

Oscar nominees shun red carpet

Getting an Oscars invite is always welcome, particularly if you have been nominated – but not for the crew of the Indonesian film The Art of Killing, which seeks to shine a light on the ‘Communist purges’ that hit the country in the 1960s. Fear of reprisals means that the crew, which was uncredited, will not attend. MORE

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