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The News Matrix: Wednesday 23 March 2011

Heart attack ‘false alarms’ may be real

More than three out of four of the 500,000 people taken to hospital every year with chest pains are discharged as victims of a false alarm. But a new blood test suggests one in three did have a minor heart attack. MORE

River death father given life sentence

A father who drove his two young children into a river, killing his five-year-old daughter, has begun a life sentence. Christopher Grady must serve at least 15 years for the murder of his daughter Gabrielle. His son, Ryan, survived after rescue workers pulled him from the water.

Local forces to take over in seven areas

The Afghan government yesterday announced seven areas of the country where the nation’s security forces would take over from the coalition. The move is the first step towards the recall of foreign troops by the end of 2014. But there are fears the local forces are not up to the task.

Former president receives jail term

The former Israeli president Moshe Katsav was sentenced yesterday to seven years’ jail for raping an employee in the 1990s, and for sexual offences while president. MORE

£20,000 reward offered in search

An anonymous donor has offered a £20,000 reward to help find Sian O’Callaghan, who went missing in Swindon at the weekend. The offer came as hundreds of volunteers joined a search of woodlands for the 22-year-old.

Number of HIV cases doubles since 2001

New diagnoses of people infected with HIV rose from 1,950 in 2001 to 3,780 in 2010, according to the Health Protection Agency. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence says routine testing for HIV should now be offered to all patients. MORE

Tanks on streets as Saleh refuses to go

Yemen’s embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to step down in a defiant television address to the nation yesterday and warned of a bloody civil war. More than a dozen of Yemen’s military commanders have abandoned the president and pledged their support for youth protesters calling for an end to his 32-year rule. MORE

Cross-dressing potter elected to RA

Grayson Perry has been made a member of the Royal Academy of Arts. The 50-year-old, who rose to fame as much for his frocks as for his ceramics decorated with images of sex and child abuse, joins Tracey Emin and Anish Kapoor. Perry won the Turner Prize in 2003 and collected his prize dressed as his flamboyant feminine alter-ego Claire. MORE

Burials begin of earthquake victims

As the death toll from the devastating earthquake and tsunami rose to 21,000, residents in the north-eastern town of Higashimatsushima yesterday began the task of burying their victims. The bodies were the first to be laid to rest in an area of land large enough to take 1,000 burials. MORE

Lecturers stage a one-day protest

Thousands of staff at universities and colleges across England staged a strike yesterday in a row over staff pensions. Members of the University and College Union (UCU) walked out for 24 hours at 47 institutions in protest at changes to their pension schemes.

Prehistoric rabbit fossil discovered

The fossil of a giant, prehistoric rabbit – six times as large as the modern animals – has been found on the island of Menorca. The newly discovered species, named Nuralgus rex, was so large that it could not hop. It is thought its ancestors came to the island when it was still connected to the mainland.

Stars line up for Japan fundraiser

Primal Scream, Liam Gallagher and Richard Ashcroft are among the acts that will headline a charity concert in London later this month in aid of the victims of Japan’s earthquake. The musicians will be joined by Paul Weller, The Coral and Graham Coxon of Blur as well as other acts. The event will take place at the Brixton O2 Academy on 3 April.

Singer in the Black to the tune of a million

Rebecca Black, the teenage singer whose cringingly awful music video became a viral smash online last week, may already be a millionaire as a result. Forbes magazine estimates she has made at least that sum based on the 30 million views and two million downloads of her song “Friday”.

Pastor Jones finally burns the Koran

The pastor who became notorious last year after saying he would burn a copy of the Koran has finally made good on his threat – after conducting a “trial” for the holy book in his church. Only 30 people attended Terry Jones’s ceremony, which was also streamed on the internet. MORE

Why big day may prove fatal for some

Prince William’s nuptials could disrupt the NHS so seriously that death rates may rise, doctors claim. Two four-day weekends at the end of April – for Easter and the royal wedding – leave only three working days in an 11-day period. Yet many NHS trusts have no further safety plans.

Giant shark seen off coast of Cornwall

A giant summer visitor – a basking shark – has arrived off the coast of Cornwall two months early. The arrival of the world’s second- biggest fish was seen by scuba divers off Roskilly Beach at Newlyn. Normally basking sharks, which can grow more than 30ft long, appear in May.

Disgraced MP to take up fur trade post

Liberal Democrat ex-MP Mark Oaten, who quit after an affair with a male prostitute, has been made chief executive of the Fur Trade Federation, which promotes the industry and gives it a “factual image”. MORE

Amazon defies Apple over new app store

Amazon launched its “Appstore for Android”, selling downloads for smartphones yesterday, defying a lawsuit from Apple which claims it infringes the trademark of its own three-year-old App Store. MORE

Quake forecaster provokes panic

A maverick “lunar forecaster” who claims to have predicted both New Zealand’s major earthquakes provoked panic when he predicted another correctly. Ken Ring has exasperated scientists. MORE

Blood-sucking tick flees Europe for UK

A blood-sucking tick normally found only on dogs in continental Europe has been discovered in the UK. The Dermacentor reticulatus is thought to have arrived here because of climate change. MORE

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Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

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From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone