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The News Matrix: Wednesday 24 October 2012

Payday loan rogues will face closure

Firms that rip off vulnerable people with high interest payday loans will face closure from next spring under new rules. Dodgy loan companies can currently remain in business for up to two years, but the Office of Fair Trading will be able to shut them down as soon as there is evidence of wrongdoing. Labour MP Yvonne Fovargue said: "Voluntary regulation has failed miserably." MORE

Birmingham warns of council cuts crisis

Birmingham City Council will have to "decommission" a number of services following spending cuts, it announced yesterday. The council need to make savings of around £600m by 2017. Council leader Sir Albert Bore said: "This is the end of local government as we have known it."

Gove launches blitz on poor primaries

The Education Secretary's campaign to raise standards continued yesterday with the news that up to 1,000 under-performing primary schools face closure or conversion. Michael Gove will write to MPs in constituencies where large numbers of schools miss targets. MORE

Reshuffle sends UK down the rankings

Britain has slipped two places in the international rankings on sexual equality because of a cut in the number of female ministers. The World Economic Forum's annual "global gender gap" report puts Britain in 18th place, behind Nicaragua and Luxembourg.

'Balance of power' to be reviewed

Foreign Secretary William Hague says the balance of power between London and the EU in 32 policy areas will be reviewed in a bid to see "what that means for Britain and our national interest". The first areas under scrutiny include the single market, taxation and animal welfare. MORE

Portman lashes lead to Dior advert ban

The advertising watchdog has banned a Christian Dior mascara advert featuring actress Natalie Portman, saying it exaggerated the effect of the product on her lashes. Dior said it had received no complaints.

Duggan inquest to take place next year

The family of Mark Duggan have expressed their hope of "finally" discovering the truth about his death after a coroner ruled the inquest must go ahead early next year. It was thought the inquest would be delayed until the retrial of the man alleged to have supplied Mr Duggan with a gun moments prior to his death last August.

Emir of Qatar makes state visit to Gaza

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, arrived in Gaza yesterday in the first visit by a foreign head of state since Hamas took power five years ago. He arrived from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing, where cheering crowds of Palestinians and Hamas officials greeted him.

Romney goes global in White House race

A once-hawkish Mitt Romney scrambled to position himself as a centrist on global affairs in his final debate with President Barack Obama last night, a dramatic shift for the Republican challenger as both candidates yesterday launched a final two-week campaign blitz in the deadlocked race for the White House. MORE

Hunters accidentally shoot 13 people dead

Hunting enthusiasts have accidentally shot dead 13 people and wounded 33 since the season opened in September, and pressure is growing for the country's antiquated hunting laws to be updated. Last weekend, a boy of 16 was killed by a friend while hunting, a pensioner was shot and wounded in his garden, and a cyclist was hospitalised after being hit with grapeshot.

'Jews back apartheid against Palestinians'

Most Israelis believe the Jewish state practises "apartheid" against Palestinians, but many support the discriminatory policies, a survey suggests. A poll published by the left-leaning newspaper, Haaretz, yesterday found nearly half of all Israelis would like to see Arab-Israelis stripped of their citizenship and placed under Palestinian control.

'Top Gun' director's death was suicide

The British film director Tony Scott did not have a serious illness when he committed suicide in August, a coroner ruled. The Top Gun film-maker was found with "therapeutic" levels of medication in his system, including anti-depressants and sleeping tablets. Scott, 68, died from "blunt-force injuries" and drowning after he jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Los Angeles on 19 August.

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