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The News Matrix: Tuesday 24 June 2014

Senior diplomats  call for Blair to resign

Tony Blair is facing calls to step down from his role as Middle East envoy, following a letter signed by former British ambassadors and senior politicians. It accuses him of trying to “absolve himself” from responsibility for the crisis in Iraq. The letter’s signatories include his former ambassador to Iran Sir Richard Dalton and the former London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

Companies flouting law on personal data

Google is one of many organisations found to be defying the public’s right to access personal data being held on them. Almost half of data holders either did not disclose the private information they stored on people or did not give a legitimate reason for not doing so when asked. MORE

22,000 kids taken into care since 2007

In the past seven years, 7,143 mothers have had more than one of their children removed by the family courts, English records show. Some 22,790 children have been affected. Half were 24 or under at the time of the first care application, with the youngest just 14 years old.

Mis-selling scandal could affect Lloyds

The Government’s plan to return all of Lloyds Banking Group to private ownership before next year’s election could be derailed. An i investigation of potential liabilities from the mis-selling of interest-rate protection has found payouts could match the PPI scandal. MORE

Israel detains 37 more Palestinians

Israel’s army said yesterday it had detained another 37 Palestinians overnight as it searched for three missing teenagers and extended a crackdown on the Hamas Islamist group it accuses of kidnapping them. There were no reports of clashes during the raids in the West Bank.

Kerry promises ‘intense support’

US Secretary of State John Kerry promised “intense and sustained” support for Iraq yesterday, and urged its leaders to save their beleaguered country from break-up. MORE

Blast at medical school kills eight

An explosion at a medical school in the northern city of Kano killed eight people and wounded 12, according to police who blamed Islamic extremists. The Kano state police Commissioner Adenrele Shinaba said one suspect was detained and his vehicle seized for investigation.

Shooting suspect  to plead insanity

The lawyer representing the man charged with killing one student and wounding two others at a Seattle university says she is planning to pursue an insanity defence for her client.  Aaron Rey Ybarra pleaded not guilty to premeditated first-degree murder yesterday morning.

Man denies murder of pregnant partner

A violent boyfriend murdered Jayden Parkinson, 17, a day after finding out she was pregnant with his child, Oxford Crown Court heard. Ben Blakeley, 22, of Reading, denies murdering Jayden – but has admitted her manslaughter and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

First solar-powered crossing of Channel

Simon Milward, 38, has become the first person to cross the English Channel on a boat powered directly by the sun. He set off from Dungeness in Kent at 8.30am in his 15ft catamaran, equipped with six AKT solar panels, and reached Boulogne-sur-Mer after more than six hours.

Children ‘cope with unhappy endings’

Young readers “don’t need happy endings”, two leading children’s authors have claimed. Kevin  Brooks, winner of the Cilip Carnegie Medal, and Jon Klassen, who has scooped the Cilip Kate Greenaway Medal, both said that children “benefit” from books without happy endings.  MORE

Three arrested over World Cup video

Iranian police have arrested three people who appeared in an online video of young men and women singing and dancing in support of the country’s World Cup football team. The video shows young people, including women not wearing the mandatory headscarf, interspersed with footage from matches.

Official sacked for piggyback in flood

An official from Guixi in Jiangxi province has been sacked after a picture of him being given a piggyback across a flooded path during a search for missing children went viral and sparked outrage. The official was being carried on another man’s back through ankle-deep water to keep his shoes dry.

McQueen’s Porsche up for record sale

The 1969 Porsche 917K that featured prominently in Steve McQueen’s 1971 film Le Mans is to be sold at auction. The car, one of just 25 of its kind, is expected to fetch up to $20m (£11.8m) when it goes under the hammer in Santa Monica in August, making it the most expensive Porsche ever sold at auction.

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