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The News Matrix: Tuesday 6 March 2012

Couple jailed for life for murdering boy

A couple who tortured and murdered a 15-year-old boy in the belief that he was a witch have been jailed for life. Magalie Bamu, who drowned Kristy, her own brother, in a bath, will serve at least 25 years in jail. Her partner, Eric Bikubi, will serve at least 30 years behind bars. MORE

Al-Qa'ida militants kill 107 soldiers

Al-Qa'ida militants attacked army bases in southern Yemen yesterday, killing 107 soldiers and parading 55 captured troops through a local town. Militants have taken advantage of the political instability created by the year-long uprising against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Tax rule could cost poorer nations £4bn

ActionAid has claimed new tax rules in the upcoming Budget will mean poor countries are deprived of up to £4bn a year. It said George Osborne's plans to only tax multinational companies when profits are shifted from the UK to tax havens abroad would make it easier for companies to move profits from developing countries.

Israel presses US for action on Iran

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu said his nation must remain "the master of its fate" at a meeting with US President Barack Obama. Mr Obama said "there is still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution" but added that the US would consider "all options".

Italian marines jailed over 'pirate' deaths

Rome has expressed "very real concern" over an "unacceptable" decision by Indian authorities to jail two Italian marines who allegedly shot two fishermen they mistook for pirates. Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone had been protecting the Italian merchant vessel Enrica Lexie when the incident occurred.

Baby P father wins £75,000 in libel case

The natural father of Baby P has been awarded £75,000 after the publishers of The People wrongly described him as a sex offender convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl. Lawyers for the father said the newspaper was guilty of "one of the gravest libels imaginable".

Lord St John of Fawsley dies at 82

The politician, author, barrister and constitutional expert Lord St John of Fawsley has died at the age of 82. As Norman St John-Stevas, he served in the governments of Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher. For Life in brief CLICK HERE

DNA helps convict suspect 25 years later

Conclusive DNA evidence has led to the guilty plea of a man who was acquitted of committing rape more than 25 years ago. Alexander McGuire, 60, admitted to the Berkshire rape of 1986, when he attacked a girl in a McDonald's restaurant. DNA techniques not available at the time were used to secure a new conviction.

Extradited Briton is refused bail

A US judge has ruled that a retired British businessman must remain in custody while he awaits trial on arms dealing charges. Chris Tappin, 65, has been refused bail after he was extradited to the United States two weeks ago. His wife, Elaine Tappin, called the decision "heartbreaking". US prosecutors told the federal court in El Paso, Texas, that Mr Tappin may be a "danger to the community" if released.

McCain suggests helping Syrian rebels

John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, said last night that the US should lead an international effort to protect "safe havens" for "opposition forces" in Syria through air strikes on President Bashar al-Assad's government forces.

Two set themselves alight in protest

A young mother and a student have died after setting themselves on fire in separate protests against Chinese rule in Tibetan areas, according to media reports. More than 20 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in the past year to draw international attention to "repressive" Chinese policies.

Anti-smoking campaign launches

The Government will announce plans to cut the number of smoking-related deaths today, including a campaign showing the effects of second-hand smoke. More than 80 per cent of smoke is not visible to the naked eye. New print and television adverts will show children are exposed even if parents are smoking outside.

Humans descended from two-inch worm

Scientists have claimed humans evolved from a two-inch long worm-like creature that inhabited the world's seas 500 million years ago. The extinct Pikaia gracilens is the earliest known member of the chordate family, which includes all modern invertebrates. Researchers discovered the worms had primitive backbones.

Air bags used to help with earthquakes

About 100 buildings are to be fitted with giant air bags to help protect against earthquakes. The bags are fitted underneath buildings and have sensors to inflate them within one second of detecting movement. The devices lift the building 1in to keep it stationary as the ground shakes.

Penguin takes flight from zoo

Police are attempting to track down a penguin, after it escaped from the Tokyo Sea Life Park on Sunday. Zookeepers realised the penguin had broken free only when it was spotted swimming down a river.

X Factor contestant's swearing censured

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has described a live episode of The X Factor as "unacceptable" after a contestant swore before the 9pm watershed. Frankie Cocozza sparked more than 100 complaints when he shouted "F***ing have it!" when he had made it through to the next round.

Supermodel's father 'threw tantrums'

Gunther Klum helped turn his daughter Heidi into one of the world's richest models, but a German magazine has accused the former cosmetics-industry executive of throwing tantrums and locking young models into unfavourable contracts. MORE

Early Picasso is put up for sale

An important early work by Pablo Picasso marking the start of his Blue Period has been put up for sale by its aristocratic Welsh owners and is estimated to be worth around £50m.

MP stripped of post because of nose job

A fundamentalist Muslim MP has been sacked by his party after he lied about having plastic surgery on his nose. Anwar al-Balkimy, an MP for the Salafi al-Nour Party, had the operation in a Cairo clinic last month – despite religious edicts forbidding surgery on cosmetic grounds. MORE

The fish with a nose for trouble

It was thought that critically endangered sawfish were harmless creatures that used their spiky snouts to sift sand on the ocean floor. But after witnessing them splitting fish in half with their saw-like appendage, researchers in Australia have claimed that they are impressive predators.

Athletes given handy tip for Games

British athletes are being told not to shake hands in case they catch a bug which wrecks their Olympic dreams. A mild bug which can knock athletes off their stride could be picked up in the "quite stressful environment" of the Games, said Dr Ian McCurdie, of the British Olympic Association.

Girl scouts take on cash grab thieves

Two Texan girl scouts made headlines after attempting to thwart two thieves who stole $200 from their cookie-sale cash box. One girl punched one of the thieves, and the other jumped on their car to try to stop their escape. They didn't succeed, but have been praised for their bravery.

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