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The News Matrix: Tuesday 30 October 2012

Longest-serving Wren heads ashore

The Royal Navy's longest serving female has retired from active service following a 34-year career. Warrant Officer First Class Susan Morgan, below, joined the Wrens at the age of 17 in 1978 and was awarded an MBE in 2010 for her role tackling equality and inclusion issues in the navy.

A pre-breakfast workout is the best

A pre-breakfast workout could help you lose more fat than exercising after the first meal of the day. The study, by the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow, monitored 10 overweight men and the effect on their metabolic health and fat loss.

Wine expert holds 51 glasses in one hand

A British sommelier has smashed the world record for the number of wine glasses held in one hand – 51, surpassing the previous record of 39. Philip Osenton, 43, a wine consultant based in Beijing, began handling dozens of glasses at a time when he worked at the Ritz and Savoy hotels in London.

Ai's 'Gangnam Style' parody is yanked

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has criticised the government in Beijing for removing from Chinese websites his parody of Korean pop sensation Psy's Gangnam Style video. Mr Ai and staff of his company performed Psy's famous horse dance in his Beijing studio and posted the video on Wednesday.

Pterodactyl dosn't have two Ls in it

Children have less trouble spelling rarely used words such as "palaeontologist" and "pterodactyl" than they do common ones like "doesn't" and "until", a study by Oxford University Press has found. Experts believe children are more likely to consult a dictionary when using unfamiliar words.

Gay marriage push divides nation

France is gearing up for one of its biggest political battles, over the President François Hollande's bid to legalise gay marriage. The leader of the centre-right opposition yesterday attacked the proposed legislation and said it threatened the "pillars of our society". MORE

Mirror investigates Sophie hack claim

The Sunday Mirror's alleged hacking of a phone owned by the Countess of Wessex's former business partner is being investigated internally by its publisher, Trinity Mirror, the company disclosed yesterday. MORE

British boy, 12, still missing after 3 days

Searches were continuing last night for a 12-year-old British boy who disappeared while cycling alone on a Mediterranean island. Pierre Barnes went missing during a storm hours after his family arrived on Porquerolles, near Toulon, for the half-term holiday. MORE

Editor on trial for printing bank details

A journalist who published the names of more than 2,000 wealthy Greeks with Swiss bank accounts appeared in court yesterday to stand trial for violating data privacy laws. Kostas Vaxevanis, editor of the Hot Doc magazine, was arrested at the weekend. MORE

Military steps up Damascus attacks

Syrian government jets pounded parts of Damascus yesterday in what residents said were the fiercest air raids to date. "More than 100 buildings have been destroyed, some levelled to the ground," said one opposition activist. "Whole neighbourhoods are deserted." MORE

Import ban on ash trees is imposed

A ban on the importation of ash trees and seedlings was imposed yesterday in an attempt to halt the spread of Chalara ash dieback disease. The Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, said: "This is a very serious disease that demands action to stop its spread." MORE

Sandy gives Obama a chance to shine

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were forced to cancel up to two days of campaigning due to Hurricane Sandy, in the last full week of one of the closest presidential contests in recent US history. While taking him off the campaign trail, the storm gave Mr Obama the opportunity to demonstrate his leadership credentials. MORE

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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

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'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
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A shot in the dark

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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

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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