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The News Matrix: Wednesday 21 March 2012

Politician faces quiz over expenses

A politician whose expenses claims have been called into question will face a formal police inquiry. A special panel with representation from Scotland Yard and the CPS declined to name the individual, but said no further action would be taken against two other parliamentarians.

Dramatic rise in liver disease deaths

Deaths from liver disease have hit record levels, with experts blaming corresponding increases in obesity, alcohol consumption and the prevalence of hepatitis. In 2001, disease of the liver was responsible for 9,231 deaths, but by 2009 that figure had risen by a quarter to 11,575. MORE

Actor criticised for 'punching' ex-wife

Actor Dennis Waterman has been criticised for trivialising domestic violence. He admitted punching ex-wife Rula Lenska twice, but said: "She wasn't a beaten wife, she was hit and that's different." MORE

UN initiative finally gets Russian backing

Russia offered qualified support for a UN initiative to end the bloodshed in Syria for the first time yesterday, as opponents of the regime faced a growing uphill struggle to oust President Assad. Armed rebel forces also faced criticism for exploiting sectarian tensions and perpetrating abuses. MORE

Nuclear monitors invited to return

North Korea has invited the International Atomic Energy Agency to return three years after expelling its monitors, in a sign that the nuclear state may be softening its position. The US said such a move would be welcome but remained critical of the North's rocket launch plans.

i Health Editor and columnist triumph

Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor of i and The Independent, and columnist Deborah Ross both won major prizes at the Press Awards last night. Laurance won Specialist Reporter of the Year for his "brilliant and original" work in 2011, which included his revelation of soaring infant mortality rates at NHS trusts. Collecting his award on stage, he thanked managing editor Sean O'Grady for "threatening to break my legs if I didn't enter". Ross was awarded Interviewer of the Year in the broadsheet category, following a year in which her subjects included X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos and socialite Tamara Ecclestone. Ross said she was "really, really, really chuffed".

Teenage shooting sparks race outcry

The case of a black teenager shot dead by a neighbourhood watch member will go before a grand jury, Florida prosecutors said. The announcement was made as the lawyer for the victim's family said Trayvon Martin, 17, was on his phone to a girlfriend in the moments before he died. MORE

ISS may be used for Mars dry run

The International Space Station may provide the setting for a 500-day pretend trip to Mars in a few years. Nasa said yesterday that consideration is under way to use the space station as a dry run for a simulated trip to and from Mars. It would be patterned on a Russian mock flight to Mars.

Escaped gorilla is captured

A 400lb gorilla that escaped from its cage at an upstate New York zoo and bit a zookeeper has been captured in a zookeepers' lounge tranquillised. Buffalo Zoo says a male gorilla named Koga had bitten the keeper on the hand and calf.

How to make kosher calls on the Sabbath

A kosher mobile phone has been built for Orthodox Jews to make emergency calls on the Sabbath. Religious law prohibits activation of an electrical appliance after sunset on Friday as it violates rules against starting a project on the day of rest; the new phone has a current running continuously.

Video games outsell DVDs for first time

Sales of video games outpaced DVDs and videos for the first time in 2011. Combining console games, digital downloads and apps, the UK games market grew to £1.93bn, ahead of the £1.8bn spent on video and £1.1bn on music. However, in the first 11 weeks of this year, video regained its top spot.

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