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The News Matrix: Tuesday 27 December 2011

Low-income families face tax credit cuts

Tax cuts of £1bn for low and middle-income families in April will be outweighed by cuts of more than £2.5bn in the tax credit scheme, according to a study for i. Cuts to credits, which top up the wages of low-income families, will take effect from April and could catch families unaware. MORE

MPs debate Armenia genocide recognition

Israel has become the second nation in a week to question Turkish denial of the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915. Yesterday MPs in Jerusalem debated whether the massacre should be termed a genocide, while France moved to criminalise denial of the killings as such. MORE

New EU law bans battery cages

Farmers have freed over 80 million hens from cruel and cramped lives as an EU-wide law banning battery cages comes into force on Sunday. Many European countries say they are unprepared to drop the use of battery cages, despite having had 13 years to prepare. MORE

Leading figures from South pay respects

Two prominent South Korean widows are in the north to pay their respects to Kim Jong-il. Lee Hee-ho, widow of former President Kim Dae-jung, will be joined by the Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun. MORE

Wildlife suffers a rollercoaster effect

The mixed weather of 2011 had a rollercoaster effect on British wildlife. The freezing winter, cool summer and warm autumn produced a mixed effect on birds, mammals, insects and plants, devastating their populations then allowing them to rebuild at record rates.

Arab League envoys arrive in country

Arab League observers have arrived in Syria to oversee the government's implementation of a plan aimed at halting the crackdown on protesters. The UN says over 5,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March, while at least 10 were killed yesterday. The opposition accuse President Bashar al-Assad of agreeing to the observers' visit solely to avoid further sanctions. MORE

Man arrested after woman found dead

A 56-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a woman, also 56, was found dead with stab wounds on Christmas Day. Police said she was discovered at a house in Nottingham where a man was also later found with injuries.

Mirror columnist Sue Carroll dies

The Daily Mirror columnist Sue Carroll has died at the age of 58 after an 18-month battle with cancer, the newspaper said yesterday. Carroll worked for The Sun and the News of the World before joining the Mirror, where she had a column for 13 years.

Unwanted gifts add up to £2.4bn in UK

About £2.4bn worth of unwanted Christmas presents have been given in the UK this year, according to a survey. Every UK adult will have been given up to two presents they did not want this Christmas, each worth £48.41 on average, according to the classifieds website gumtree.com.

'Human bonds' is character of the year

The Japanese ideogram for "human bonds" has been named the character of 2011, marking the end of a year overshadowed by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the country in March. Kizuna beat wazawai, or disaster, to the top spot in the annual poll by the Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation.

Hackers give away a million stolen dollars

Hackers have accessed the financial information of around 4,000 people and given their money away to charities. The Anonymous group crashed the website of Stratfor, a private security company which boasts Apple and the US Air Force employees among its clients, and circulated their details on Twitter. MORE

Station goes vinyl for New Year's Day

BBC Radio 6 will devote New Year's Day to playing vinyl records – finishing off a month-long celebration of the format. Jarvis Cocker and the singer Cerys Matthews will be among those spinning old 33s and 45s. The BBC phased out vinyl in favour of CDs in the early 1990s and now mostly plays digital files.

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