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The News Matrix: Tuesday 6 August 2013

Labour’s lead over Tories has halved

Labour’s lead over the Tories has more than halved in four months, a poll of polls for i has shown. July was a particularly difficult month for leader Ed Miliband, who faced problems with his reforms to Labour’s links with the trade unions, as well as criticism that the stance of senior shadow frontbenchers towards Coalition policies is not aggressive enough. MORE

Regime missiles kill hundreds of civilians

Hundreds of Syrian civilians have been killed in the past few months by government missile attacks on populated areas, says Human Rights Watch. The claims come after the watchdog investigated nine missile attacks which killed at least 215 civilians, including 100 children.MORE

Green investors’ climate warning

The world’s biggest investors in green energy have warned that policies to tackle climate change are “inconsistent and halting”. A survey of 84 international investment firms showed the group see extreme weather as a sign that climate change is already upon us. MORE

Six people killed in fresh attacks

Attacks have killed six people in and near Baghdad. Police officials say a bomb went off yesterday afternoon as people lined up to buy bread in a mainly Shia area of Baghdad. Four people died. Earlier, gunmen shot dead the owner of a neighbourhood power generator and his son in Madian.

Mandela family in bill bungle

The City of Johannesburg has apologised to Nelson Mandela and his family for mistakenly posting a non-payment notice on the former President’s house warning him his electricity was about to be cut off. The notice should have been delivered to a different house.

Thousands sign up to run with the bulls

Bull runs, inspired by the one held in the Spanish town of Pamplona, are to be held in southern US cities this summer and autumn. Some 5,000 people have already signed up to the first run in Virginia. MORE

Fort Hood killer’s court martial begins

The military court martial of Nidal Malik Hasan begins today, four years after he killed 13 people at the Fort Hood military base in Texas. The trial will be closely watched, not least as Hasan, who faces the death penalty, will be representing himself and may cross-examine many who survived the attacks. MORE

Woman’s body found in bathing pond

The body of a woman in her fifties was found in the Women’s Pond, a bathing spot in Hampstead Heath, London. She was recovered by police divers after the authorities were alerted by bathers concerned about the missing swimmer. The death is being treated as “non-suspicious” as the body awaits formal identification.

Lego confirms ‘Simpsons’ series

Lego has confirmed it will launch a special The Simpsons-themed series next year. A spokesman for the Danish company would not give any details about what characters would be included, but said it hoped the series will “appeal to fans.” Lego has seen its sales soar in recent years thanks to similar tie-ins.

Doctor Who meets Mister Tucker

Doctor Who fans are celebrating the appointment of Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor by creating expletive-packed spoofs online. Famed for his role as foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in the BBC’s The Thick Of It, the character’s outbursts have been edited together with footage from Doctor Who on Youtube.

The smell of a poor jobs market

Cover your noses – a peak in graduate unemployment has seen a decline in male grooming. A survey for the consumer magazine The Grocer shows that 7 per cent of young men no longer use deodorant and 5 per cent of men aged 17 to 24 wash their hair less than once a week as a result of high unemployment. MORE

Call for Chico the monkey to go home

The removal of a pet monkey from the family that adopted him 40 years ago is upsetting Brazilians. More than 4,000 people have signed a petition urging Sao Paulo environmental police to return Chico, a capuchin monkey, to 71-year-old Elizete Farias Carmona  It is illegal to keep wild animals as pets in Brazil.

First gay couple get married

A gay couple showed up before dawn to be the first to register under Uruguay’s new marriage equality law. The TV producer Sergio Miranda and artist Rodrigo Borda, below, have been partners for 14 years. They signed up at Montevideo’s civil registry yesterday. Mr Borda called it a “historic day.” Uruguay is the second Latin American country to allow gay marriage, after Argentina.

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Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

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Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

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Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

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Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal