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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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Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam