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The News Matrix: Tuesday 26 February 2013

Socialite's ex found guilty of blackmail

Tamara Ecclestone's former fiancé faces jail after being found guilty of blackmailing the socialite for £200,000. Derek Rose, 33, told the Formula 1 supremo's daughter that he had been offered hundreds of thousands of pounds to sell his story to the tabloids, despite no newspaper having made such an offer.

Kerry's bid to reaffirm 'special relationship'

John Kerry enjoyed breakfast with David Cameron yesterday as the new US Secretary of State spoke of his determination to reaffirm the "special relationship". But there remains a difference of opinion between the US and the UK on the issue of arming Syrian rebels. MORE

Horse is found in Ikea meatballs

A batch of Ikea meatballs have been withdrawn from sale after horse meat was found by Czech authorities. The meatballs were labelled as beef and pork. Ikea said meatballs would still be available in its stores and only one batch was being withdrawn as a precaution. MORE

Children let down by poor packed lunches

Parents are sending their children to school without proper packed lunches, a survey of school, youth and health workers has found. In some cases, children have to make do with cold chips or a packet of biscuits. More than eight out of ten of those surveyed said they had seen children going without enough to eat, while 68 per cent said it was a growing trend.

'Vulcan' top name for new Pluto moons

An online vote to name Pluto's two newest moons is over. The winner is Vulcan, a name suggested by William Shatner, Captain Kirk in the Star Trek series. In second place was Cerberus, the guard-dog to the underworld.

Two arrested over acid attack

Detectives have made two arrests in connection with an acid attack which left a shop assistant partially blinded. A 28-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of being involved in causing grievous bodily harm to Victoria's Secret worker Naomi Oni, 21. MORE

Rebels reject first offer of talks

Rebels in Syria have rejected the regime's first offer of talks, claiming they will not negotiate until President al-Assad leaves. Walid al-Moallem, Syrian foreign minister, said his government is ready for dialogue with "anyone who's willing". But the Free Syrian Army said: "We will not negotiate with a criminal." MORE

Depardieu cosies up to Kadyrov

Gerard Depardieu, below, who won Russian residency after fleeing France's high taxes, has made friends with Chechnya's Kremlin-backed leader, Ramzan Kadyrov. Mr Kadyrov wined and dined the actor before they embraced each other in fits of laughter. Depardieu was made an honorary citizen of Chechnya. MORE

Mitchell translates autism memoir

Booker Prize-nominated author David Mitchell has co-translated an acclaimed book about how autistic children respond to the people around them. The Reason I Jump was written by Japanese writer Naoki Higishida, who has autism and wrote the book when he was 13 years old. Mitchell's son is autistic. MORE

Frostbite thwarts Sir Ranulph's expedition

Sir Ranulph Fiennes has abandoned his bid to become the first person to cross Antarctica in winter after contracting severe frostbite during training. The explorer had used his bare hands to attempt to fix a ski binding in temperatures of -30C. Last night, his evacuation was being hampered by blizzards. MORE

Man jailed for attacks on two women

A man who knocked two women unconscious in two random attacks has been jailed for four years. Michael Ayoade, 35, from east London, was caught on CCTV punching a 16-year-old girl in the head and attacking a student at a Tube station.

Giant goldfish threaten Lake Tahoe

Giant goldfish have mysteriously found their way into Lake Tahoe, the second-deepest lake in the US, alarming researchers and raising questions about the invasive species' long-term effects. Goldfish weighing as much as 4lbs and measuring up to 1.5ft long have recently been caught in Tahoe.

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