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The News Matrix: Wednesday 23 October 2013

BBC executives face harassment charges

At least three BBC executives are facing decisions on disciplinary hearings over allegations of bullying while one senior staff member has already left over harassment claims, the Director-General, Lord Hall, told MPs yesterday. Some of those accused are facing more than 20 claims and have been moved to new jobs pending the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings.

Religion teaching  ‘failing’ in schools

Religious education is failing under government reforms, a new report has concluded. Carried out by the Religious Education Council, it blames a lack of specialist teachers in secondary schools, as well as a “lack of time” given to the subject in primary teacher training.

Mass grave ‘may be largest yet found’

Experts are excavating what may be the largest mass grave of ethnic-cleansing victims in Bosnia. The site’s existence was known for years but its exact location covered up by Serbs. The UN war crimes tribunal has sentenced 16 Bosnian Serbs to prison for atrocities in Prijedor.

Fatty foods ‘may not cause heart disease’

A leading cardiologist has claimed cutting down on saturated fat may not reduce the risk of heart disease. Dr Aseem Malhotra said unprocessed fatty foods can even be good for the heart, adding that repeated advice to cut our intake of fat may have increased heart disease risks.

Saudi Arabia ‘may withdraw from talks’

A key Syria meeting in London ended with one of the main backers of the rebels, Saudi Arabia, declaring it will withdraw co-operation with the West. The main opposition group warned it would boycott planned peace talks unless President Bashar al-Assad is forced from power. MORE

Basque separatist released from prison

A Spanish court ordered the release of a Basque separatist convicted of terrorism after a top European court ruled her rights were violated. Hours later, Ines del Rio walked out of a northern Spanish prison.

Miliband plans to bring fight to ‘Mail’

Ed Miliband appeared to ratchet up his rhetoric against The Daily Mail last night as he put his party on standby for a “big fight” with Fleet Street. Speaking in London at a private dinner for party donors, the Labour leader called on his party to “fight back” against hostile coverage.

Murderer could  be spared death

The US Supreme Court is to decide whether a convicted murderer should be spared the death penalty in Florida because he could be mentally disabled. Freddie Lee Hall scored 71 one in an IQ test, just above “mentally impaired”. MORE

Gardening is good for the mind

Outdoor activities like gardening and wildlife conservation are good for our mental health and should be prescribed on the NHS, says charity Mind. It follows a study of  12,000 people who took part in an “ecotherapy” project.

Currency plan will be good for trade

Cuba took the first step towards scrapping its two-tier currency yesterday in a move which could boost local workers’ income and remove a major hurdle for importers and exporters. The government plans to gradually eliminate the dual monetary system which has been in place for the past two decades.

Protest over push to let women drive

Around 150 clerics and religious scholars have rallied outside King Abdullah’s palace, protesting against women seeking the right to drive. The senior religious leaders said the United States was behind a petition calling for women to drive on 26 October, which claims to have gathered 16,000 signatures.

Teenagers smoking flavoured cigars

Small cigars flavoured to taste like candy or fruit are popular among US teenagers, according to the first government study to gauge their use. About 1 in 30 middle- and high-school kids said they smoke the compact, sweet-flavoured cigars, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cocky sportsmen wear bright trainers

Sportsmen who wear bright trainers are signalling that they are masculine, cocky and excellent at their sport, a new study claims. Those who wear all-white trainers can be aggressive, according to new research at the University of Brighton, which shows shoe choice is a key indicator of the wearer’s character.

‘Wicket’ men take over in the Vatican

The Vatican has launched a new cricket club with the hope of challenging the Church of England to a game. The initiative is the brainchild of John McCarthy, Australia’s ambassador to the Vatican, who said he hopes the club will field a team to play the Church of England at Lord’s next year.

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