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The News Matrix: Wednesday 11 December 2013

Two French troops killed in gun battle

Two French soldiers have been killed in the Central African Republic capital, Bangui, complicating Paris's military intervention in the anarchic country, where fighting has already claimed 400 lives. President François Hollande visited the conflict zone last night after attending a memorial in South Africa for Nelson Mandela. MORE

Maternity bosses missed bad practice

The deaths of mothers and babies at an NHS hospital were not properly investigated because senior midwives "failed to identify" bad practice, according to a damning report. Ombudsman Dame Julie Mellor conducted the review of Furness General hospital.

Islamist leader's execution is stayed

An Islamist opposition leader has won a stay of execution hours before he was due to be hanged, allaying fears for now of a violent backlash less than a month before elections are due. Abdul Quader Mollah had been found guilty in February of war crimes committed in 1971.

Millions of payday loan adverts for kids

British children saw an average of 70 payday loan adverts on television last year, according to new figures from Ofcom. Children aged four to 15 watched a total of 596 million payday-loan TV commercials in 2012, up from just three million in 2008.

Nuclear talks are making progress

A senior Iranian official said progress was being achieved in talks between Tehran and six world powers over the implementation of a landmark nuclear deal. But the Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency said the meeting would continue today.

Abu Qatada pleads not guilty to charges

The radical cleric Abu Qatada has pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges in Jordan. He was convicted in his absence of involvement in bombings in 1998 and a foiled terrorist plot in 2000, but is now being retried.

Same-sex weddings from March 2014

The first same-sex weddings in England and Wales can take place from March 29 next year, Equalities Minister Maria Miller has announced. The date is several months earlier than expected. Ms Miller described the move as "just another step in the evolution of marriage". MORE

Father's plea for son missing on hike

A father has issued an emotional appeal for help in the search for his son who is thought to have gone missing while hiking in Canada. Tom Billings, 22, failed to return to accommodation in Vancouver. His father Martin Billings, a lawyer from Oxford, said: "We just hope he can be found somewhere safe."

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