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The News Matrix: Wednesday 14 August 2013

Parents may have to pay some care costs

The parents of children taken into care could be made to pay towards the cost of looking after them, under plans being considered by a Conservative-controlled council. Worcestershire County Council has launched a consultation on children’s social care which states that its future policy could mean “parents asked to contribute towards the cost of certain services”.

Participation age increases to 17

The education participation  age rises to 17 next month, sparking fears of a lack of training places. Some 600,000 16-year-olds will be used as “guinea pigs” for the policy this autumn, the first step towards all teenagers remaining  in school or training until 18 by 2015. MORE

Runaway train crash firm loses licence

A US-based rail company whose runaway oil train derailed and exploded in a Quebec town, killing 47 people, has lost its operating licence. The Canada Transportation Agency is suspending the certificate of fitness for Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway and its Canadian subsidiary.

Pollster rules out independence

The campaign for Scottish independence has had its chances of success called into question by Nate Silver, the pollster who predicted the outcome of all 50 states in last year’s US election. Barring a “major crisis” in England, he said, the ‘No’ side, at 55-60 per cent, would win.

Abbott’s ‘sex appeal’ remark causes storm

Liberal leader Tony Abbott has caused an election storm after  saying one of his party’s candidates was “feisty” and had “sex appeal”. Mr Abbott made the remarks about Fiona Scott. Mr Abbott claimed he had been carried away at the time by “exuberance”.  MORE

Pistorius police inquiry complete 

South African police have finished their murder investigation into athlete Oscar Pistorius, left, who will appear in court next week over the Valentine’s Day shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Balcombe ‘unlikely’ to hit full production

The energy company Cuadrilla said its controversial exploration site at Balcombe, West Sussex, was “unlikely” to become a full production location in the future last night. Protesters have been outside the site for 17 days in opposition to test drilling which they fear could lead to fracking.

Berlusconi sentence ‘must be applied’

Italy’s President, Giorgio Napolitano, has said a jail sentence for Silvio Berlusconi must be applied, indicating he will not pardon the former prime minister. Members of Berlusconi’s centre-right party had lobbied the president to exercise his powers of presidential pardon to annul a tax fraud conviction.

End of the road for ‘middle lane hogs’

Motorists who hog the middle lane face a £100 fine and three penalty points from Friday, as new driving legislation comes into law. A survey carried out on behalf of the AA has found that 29 per cent of motorway users are at risk of falling foul of the “careless driving” offence.

Santorini fire leaves tourists in the dark

Visitors to the Greek resort of Santorini are facing candlelit dinners with warm beer after a power station fire left the entire island without electricity at the peak of the tourist season. Greece’s power network administrator said yesterday’s blaze had been put out and power would be restored as soon as possible.

1872 recipe wins best beer in Britain prize

A beer brewed from an 1872 recipe has been crowned best in Britain. West Yorkshire Elland Brewery’s 1872 Porter beat seven other finalists to be crowned champion by the Campaign for Real Ale. A spokesperson described it as a “rich and strongly flavoured porter with flavours of coffee and dark chocolate”.

€1,000 reward to find snapping turtle

The mayor of a Bavarian village has offered a reward of €1,000 for the capture of a mystery alligator snapping turtle which is believed to have bitten and severely injured an eight-year-old-boy while he was swimming in a lake. The turtle, usually found in the US, is believed to be an exotic pet released into the wild.

First US Banksy to go under hammer

A Banksy street mural is to be auctioned for the first time in the US. Julien’s Auctions will sell Banksy’s 2008 Los Angeles mural Flower Girl in December. The piece appeared on the wall of a Hollywood gas station, below. It shows a girl looking up at a CCTV camera on a tall plant. The mural could fetch at least £97,000.

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