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The News Matrix: Tuesday 28 January 2014

Teachers at free school to strike

Teachers at a free school have voted for strike action over what they claim are “zero-hour” contracts. From Thursday, a series of walk-outs will take place at the sixth-form academy in Islington, north London, in what will be the first action of this kind at a free school. MORE

Government woos Mugabe allies

The British Government is being criticised for hosting Zimbabwean businessmen in London, including some with close links to Robert Mugabe. They are meeting officials and business leaders at the Foreign Office this afternoon to discuss ways of improving trade. MORE

Missing terror suspect’s appeal

A terror suspect who went missing after changing into a burka at a mosque is appealing measures taken against him “to protect the public”. Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, 27, who is said to have received al-Qaida-linked terrorist training, disappeared last November.

State of Nation: Obama’s last hurrah

President Barack Obama will be hoping to use the annual State of the Union address tonight to persuade America he still has what it takes to realise his faltering social and economic initiatives, none of which has been achieved since he stood at the podium last year. MORE

UN chief says state’s security worsening

The security situation in the Central African Republic is getting worse despite the inauguration of a new leader, the UN human rights chief Navi Pillay says. Muslim and Christian leaders have just met British Prime Minister David Cameron to lobby for more assistance.

Sportsmen dropping the Tuf guy act

Former England cricketer Phil Tufnell says his decision to have a hair transplant demonstrates the increasing acceptability of cosmetic treatments among men. “The team’s bags are full of moisturisers,” he said.

Roache cleared  of one sex charge

Coronation Street actor William Roache has been cleared of one of the seven sex allegations against him. Mr Roache, 81, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, remains on trial on two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault involving five girls 16 or younger. He denies all charges.

Ministers play down emergency threat

Ukraine’s government has played down threats from its Justice Minister to declare a state of emergency, amid fears that authorities will end protests by force. Elena Lukash said she would call for the declaration if protesters occupying her ministry refused to leave. MORE

Pesticide exposure linked to dementia

Past exposure to the banned pesticide DDT is “strikingly” linked to the development of Alzheimer’s in later life, a study has shown. People with the highest levels of DDT residue in their blood were four times more likely to succumb to the disease.

Arab Spring hotbed passes constitution

Leaders signed a new, modern constitution yesterday – a key goal of the revolution three years ago that touched off the Arab Spring. “With the birth of this text, we confirm our victory over dictatorship,” President Moncef Marzouki said.

Brokeback cowboy tale is set to music

The tragic tale of two cowboys in love is being reinvented as Brokeback Mountain – the Opera. The premiere is due to be held in Madrid today. Author Annie Proulx said opera explored the tale in a new way.

Yoga helps breast cancer side effects

Yoga can help to alleviate the side effects of treatment for breast cancer, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found. Practising yoga for just three months reduced symptoms of fatigue and inflammation that followed radiotherapy.

Smoking claims fifth Marlboro Man

An American actor has become the fifth former “Marlboro Man” from the famous cigarette advertisements to die from a smoking-related disease. Eric Lawson modelled as the cowboy character during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was 72.

Let’s hear it for bubble wrap

An air ambulance charity which uses bubble wrap to help patients yesterday marked Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust said the wrapping “helps save lives” as part of the strategy for reducing blood loss.

Relic with Pope John Paul’s blood stolen

Police are searching an Italian mountain area beloved by Pope John Paul II for a stolen relic bearing his blood. Vatican Radio decried the “sacrilegious theft” from San Pietro della Ienca church near the Gran Sasso part of the Apennine mountains, where John Paul used to ski. MORE

Mackintosh in  NY’s Hall of Fame

Sir Cameron Mackintosh has become the first British producer to be inducted into the Broadway Theatre Hall of Fame. Productions he has worked on include Les Misérables and Cats. Sir Cameron said that he was “deeply honoured”.

Tarantino sues over script leak

Quentin Tarantino is reportedly suing US company Gawker Media after a draft script of his new project The Hateful Eight appeared on Gawker’s Defamer blog. The film-maker claimed he was “very, very depressed” at the “betrayal”. He has suspended work on the film.

Daft Punk clean up at Grammys

French dance duo Daft Punk have won five Grammy Awards, including Album and Record of the Year. Pharrell Williams, who is featured on the outfit’s “Get Lucky” track, delivered the thank-you speech to the musicians – real names Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo.

Parliament’s game of cat and mouse

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has compiled a shortlist of three cats, Jill, Ginger and Bloom, which it thinks could help tackle a mouse problem at the Palace of Westminster. The buildings are said to be infested with the mice, which have nibbled on important documents.

Flatulent cow burnt in shed explosion

Methane gas from 90 flatulent cows exploded in a German farm shed on Monday, damaging the roof and injuring one of the animals. The gas had built up in the structure in the town of Rasdorf, then “a static electric charge caused the gas to explode”. One cow was treated for burns.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape