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The News Matrix: Wednesday 15 August 2012

Gove sparks playing field sell-off fears

Education Secretary Michael Gove has relaxed Government regulations on the amount of minimum outdoor space schools must provide pupils for playing team games. Campaigners fear the move will result in the further sell-off of playing fields.

BBC's Thompson gets New York Times job

The New York Times Company has announced that Mark Thompson, the outgoing director general of the BBC, will be its new chief executive. Arthur Sulzberger Jnr, the newspaper's publisher, said Mr Thompson, 55, would join the company in November.

PM told to quit over Breivik blunders

Norway's prime minister was urged to quit yesterday after an official report said police could have prevented the murder spree by Anders Behring Breivik last year. "A more devastating verdict on our government could not have been made," one newspaper said.

British soldiers linked to murder

Two British soldiers have been accused of involvement in the murder of a 21-year-old woman in Kenya whose body was found inside a septic tank. Witnesses claim Agnes Wanjiru-Wankiju was seen entering a hotel with British personnel earlier this year. MORE

Police attacked in night of rioting

Youths jeered and jostled the French interior minister yesterday as he met officials in Amiens following overnight riots in which police were fired at with buckshot and pelted with missiles.

Standard Chartered to pay £217m penalty

British banking giant Standard Chartered has agreed a $340m (£217m) settlement with New York regulators over allegations that it hid $250bn (£160bn) of transactions with the Iranian government. The bank saw £6bn wiped from its value amid claims it exposed the US to terrorists, drug kingpins and weapon dealers. Standard "strongly rejects" the portrayal by regulators. MORE

Former PM: 'Assad regime collapsing'

The former prime minister of Syria claims the regime is on the brink of collapse, with President Assad's forces in control of only a third of the country. In his first public appearance since fleeing the country last week, Riad Hijab said other prominent figures were waiting to defect. MORE

Briton’s murder trial appeal rejected

The highest court in Massachusetts has rejected a British man’s appeal for a new trial over the murder of his wife and daughter. Neil Entwistle was convicted of shooting in 2006. His lawyers said evidence obtained during warrantless searches of his home should have been dismissed.

Former president on trial for bribery

Argentina is putting a former president on trial for bribery. Fernando de la Rua is accused of paying $5m (£3.1m) to senators in exchange for their votes to remove worker protections in 2000, when the IMF was making workforce flexibility a requirement for extending loans to Argentina.

Blood group link to heart disease

Blood type helps determine a person's risk of heart disease, a US study has found. People from groups A, B and AB are more at risk than those with type O. Those with AB, the rarest group, are 23 per cent more likely to suffer heart disease.

Kurdish militants free politician

Kurdish militants have freed a Turkish opposition politician, Huseyin Aygun, after his abduction at the weekend in the southeast province of Tunceli caused outrage and fears of an escalating campaign of kidnapping and violence.

Radio 1 changes its tune with jingles

It isn't just Chris Moyles getting the boot from the Radio 1 breakfast show in September, it's the "cheesy" sung jingles that introduce listener games and interview segments. The BBC sent a memo to music firms asking for something "slickly produced and original".

Who forgot to turn off the streetlights?

A Connecticut utility company has reimbursed a woman almost $10,500 (£6,700) after acknowledging it billed her for 25 years for the electricity used by streetlights near her home. The company claimed the previous owner of the home had agreed to pay for the lights.

Man who spied on athletes could go free

A man who tried to spy on members of China's swimming squad as they got changed has been told he could be spared jail. Declan Crosbie, 25, was spotted peering over cubicles in a Leeds sports centre. Yesterday he was told at Leeds Crown Court he could be spared a jail sentence.

Bounty hunter refused UK visa

A bounty hunter from Hawaii who became a reality TV sensation has been denied a visa to the UK over a murder conviction in the late 70s. Duane "Dog" Chapman, star of Dog the Bounty Hunter, was due to appear on Channel 5's Celebrity Big Brother.

Operation frozen Dumbo works

Scientists have succeeded for the first time in impregnating an elephant with frozen sperm, ultrasound pictures presented by Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo showed yesterday. The foetus, which was scanned in April, is due to be born to 26-year-old African elephant Tonga in August 2013.

Internet film pirate jailed for four years

An internet pirate who made up to £60,000 a month from a site which let up to 400,000 visitors a day download pirated TV shows and films was jailed for four years yesterday. Anton Vickerman's cost the film industry – and the taxman – millions.

Hiker's six-day ordeal in crevasse

A German hiker rescued in the Austrian Alps yesterday said he had survived for six days stuck inside a crevasse. Police say the 70-year-old man was pulled from a 66ft hole in a glacier near the Laengentaler Weisskogel peak in the Tyrol after other hikers heard his call for help.

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