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The News Matrix: Wednesday 01 January 2014

Conservative halve Labour’s poll lead

The Conservatives have halved Labour’s opinion poll lead over the last year, and Ukip’s support has slowly declined from its dramatic peak in the spring, i’s latest poll of polls can disclose. The finding will give David Cameron hope for next year’s general election. MORE

Global temperatures to rise 5C by 2100

Global temperatures are set to increase by up to five degrees centigrade by 2100, according to a study suggesting climate is more sensitive to greenhouse gas emissions than previously thought. By 2200, the world could be more than 8C warmer than it was in pre-industrial times.

Civil war death toll passes 130,000

The death toll in Syria’s civil war has risen to 130,433, more than a third of them civilians, but the real figure is probably much higher, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said yesterday. The anti-Assad think-tank put the number of women and children killed at 11,709.

Recruit tells of ‘hazing’ ordeal

A former recruit to a notorious college fraternity in Maryland has revealed that he endured severe physical and psychological abuse during an induction ritual and likened his eight-week “hazing” ordeal to “torture” and the Guantanamo Bay prison. MORE

Welby urges us to be good Samaritans

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has used his first New Year’s message to urge people to tackle poverty in their own neighbourhoods, to “try and change the world a bit where we are”.

Schumacher still critical after surgery

Michael Schumacher underwent a second surgery after a brain scan showed small, “surprising” signs of improvement, but doctors said yesterday they could offer no insight into the prognosis for the Formula 1 champion. Schumacher, who turns 45 on Friday, suffered critical head injuries when he fell and struck a rock Sunday while skiing in the French Alps. MORE

‘Songs of Praise’ host Wheeler dies at 83

The broadcaster Geoffrey Wheeler, best known for presenting Songs of Praise and quiz show Top of the Form, has died aged 83. Wheeler died on 30 December in a care home in Prestbury, Cheshire, after a long illness. He created the game show Winner Takes All, hosted by Jimmy Tarbuck between 1975 and 1986.

Corruption probe dubbed ‘mini coup’

Turkey’s government said it was fending off a “mini coup attempt” by elements in the police and judiciary who served the interests of foreign and domestic forces bent on humbling the country. Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said the ruling AK Party would not now yield to the corruption investigation.

Boy ‘pepper sprayed for staying in bed’

A US police officer faces criminal charges for allegedly pepper-spraying his girlfriend’s 13-year-old son because the boy stayed in bed instead of going to school. WTAE-TV reports that Pennsylvania state Trooper Ernest Boatright faces a preliminary hearing this month.

Tycoon eyes the ‘New York Times’

An eccentric Chinese recycling magnate has said he is preparing to open negotiations to buy the New York Times Co. Chen Guangbiao, a well-known philanthropist, is a celebrity in China. During a bout of pollution last January, the ebullient and tireless self-promoter handed out free cans of “fresh air”.

Discord after frog croaks in tuna salad

A Pret A Manger customer was less than impressed with her lunch after discovering a dead frog in her salad. The New York woman was tucking into the Tuna Nicoise at her desk when she made the grim find yesterday. The shop manager apologised and offered the customer a refund and a lunch voucher.

Commissioner backs naming and shaming

The Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner yesterday defended his force’s policy of naming drink drivers on Twitter once they are charged. Matthew Ellis said the practice saves lives, but has been urged to resign by a solicitor, who accused him of a “disregard for the presumption of innocence”.  MORE

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