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The News Matrix: Wednesday 15 January 2014

UK prices among Europe’s highest

Britons face some of the highest and most volatile food prices in Western Europe, research has found. The UK was one of the worst performers in a global food index compiled by Oxfam, despite being the world’s sixth-richest country. The Government’s austerity measures are exacerbating the situation, the charity said. MORE

Corrie star ‘abused fan in car’, court told

The actor William Roache sexually abused a star-struck 14-year-old fan in his Rolls Royce before giving her change to get the bus home, a court heard. Mr Roache, 81, who has played Ken Barlow for more than 50 years, used his fame to attack young fans in the 1960s, prosecutors claim. MORE

Group warns against social mobility cuts

Cutting funding designed to help boost the numbers of disadvantaged students going to university would be a “disaster”, a think tank has warned. Slashing the allocationwould be a “defeat” for the Government’s social mobility agenda, according to the Million+ group.

One in four parents say local area unsafe

More than a quarter of parents in Britain fear their neighbourhood is not a good place for children to grow up, research published today shows. According to 56 per cent of parents, family life is now harder than it was 20 years ago, a study from the charity 4 Children found.

Death row prisoner faces new drug risk

The execution of an Ohio prisoner using a new combination of drugs has been given the go-ahead by a federal judge. Dennis McGuire, 53, a rapist and murderer, will be executed on Thursday using a sedative and pain killer which may leave him writhing from “air hunger”. MORE

200 refugees drown as packed boat sinks

As many as 200 people drowned in the White Nile yesterday when a boat carrying people away from the fighting in South Sudan sank in the river. A local official told Reuters that many of the victims were children with many of the adults on board able to swim to safety.

Referendum puts Sisi on road to presidency

Voting began yesterday on a new constitution that looks set to usher in top general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as president. It is a blow to the Muslim Brotherhood’s campaign to reinstate ousted President Morsi. MORE

NHS spends £80m on part-time doctors

The Government has been forced to defend its record on A&E staffing after it was revealed that NHS trusts last year spent more than £80m on part-time doctors. Health minister Dan Poulter insisted that problems in holding on to A&E doctors had started under Labour.

Israeli minister’s comments ‘offensive’

Washington has hit back at Israel’s Defence Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, calling his comments about US Secretary of State John Kerry “offensive”. Mr Ya’alon said Mr Kerry’s drive for a new peace process was driven by “misplaced obsession and messianic fervour”.

New Kitchener £2 coin is ‘too jingoistic’

More than 25,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the new £2 coin commemorating the First World War to be dropped. Critics say the coin, which features Lord Kitchener and the words “Your country needs you”, glorifies war.

Devon town hit  by freak ‘twister’

A “twister” caused havoc when it ripped through a the centre of a pretty Devon town, authorities said. Kingsbridge was hit by the mini-tornado at 1pm on Monday. Roofs were torn off and a window was sucked out of a pub by the updraft.

Olympian held for phone use in army

An Olympic judo silver medallist was held for eight days by South Korean military police for using a mobile phone during his national service. Wang Ki-chun, who won silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, entered army training with his phone, defying a ban.

Pilot lands plane at the wrong airport

Two pilots were suspended after landing their jetliner with 124 passengers aboard at the wrong airport near Branson, Missouri. The Southwest Airlines captain and a first officer were removed from flying duties pending a federal investigation of the landing.

Banana ban for unhealthy monkeys

Monkeys at a zoo in Devon have been banned from eating bananas because they are too unhealthy. Animal nutritionists at Paignton Zoo have warned that giving such sugary fruit to the animals is equivalent to giving them cake and chocolate. MORE

Two Britons first across the Atlantic

Two Britons have battled against extremes in physical and mental exhaustion to row the Atlantic in an endurance race dubbed “the world’s toughest”. Mike Burton and Tom Salt were the first across the finish line in Antigua yesterday, more than a month after setting off from the Canary Islands.

Speedy tortoise does beat the hare

The tortoise beat the hare during a skiing competition in Henan province, China, when pet owners were invited to the slopes and allowed to place their animals on skis and sledges or guide them while skiing themselves. Competitors included cats, dogs, a rooster and yellow duck.

Erotic art proves to be a big draw

The British Museum attracted a record number of visitors last year, thanks to the erotic art it exhibited. “Shunga: Sex And Pleasure in Japanese Art” closed last week after drawing almost 88,000 visitors in three months. The museum had more than six million visits in 2013.

Sued for $1m after topless tower shoot

The photographer Allen Henson has been sued for $1m after getting caught taking pictures of a topless model on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building in New York. MORE

ITV accuses BBC of mimicking shows

ITV has accused the BBC of  mimicking its programmes instead of creating its own shows. In a complaint to MPs, the broadcaster said: “The BBC has rushed to commission or produce almost identical programmes to those by ITV.” MORE

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