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The News Matrix: Wednesday 24 October 2012

Teachers walk out over 'fines' by head

Teachers at one of the Government's flagship academies went on strike yesterday after their headteacher became the first to "fine" staff. Governors at Stratford Academy in East London imposed a 15 per cent cut in salaries after teachers objected to spot checks on their lesson preparations. The school says the checks are key to its success.

Doctors demand unit price on alcohol

Doctors have called for immediate minimum pricing on alcohol, with 21 medics from the North-east demanding a minimum 50p per unit price to combat the "devastating impact" of drink on the region's health. They say cheap alcohol is also fuelling crime.

Activists threaten to disrupt badger cull

The threat of extremist opposition to the badger cull means environment ministers are subject to "special security arrangements", a former farming minister has revealed. Veterans of the campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences have pledged to disrupt shooting.

Armoured buses to protect cricketers

Cricket authorities are buying a fleet of armoured buses to protect visiting players against attacks in an attempt to end the boycott of their country by international teams. A Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by militants in 2009. MORE

Bruni-Sarkozy says marriage is 'simpler'

The former first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy says she thinks her successor, Valerie Trierweiler, should get hitched to be taken more seriously. In her first interview since Nicolas Sarkozy lost the election six months ago, she said: "It is simpler to be the legitimate wife of the head of state."

Totnes celebrates victory over Costa

People power emerged victorious yesterday as coffee chain Costa bowed out of plans for a store in Totnes, South Devon. Despite winning planning permission, Costa abandoned its efforts after residents claimed it would threaten their mainly independent-store high street. MORE

Tom Cruise files libel suit over Suri claims

An attorney for Tom Cruise says he has filed a $50m defamation lawsuit against the publishers of Life & Style magazine for articles that said the actor has abandoned his six-year-old daughter, Suri. Cruise and Suri's mother, Katie Holmes, divorced earlier this year.

Hype lands estate agents in trouble

Three partners at the estate agent Bycroft & Co alleged to have falsely described a property as a "charming period family house" with "superb gardens" must stand trial, the High Court ruled yesterday. Legal experts said other agents should take heed, and label properties accurately.

Phillips: school made me vile teen

Former GMTV star Fiona Phillips turned a speech to her old school into a rant about how badly it had treated her. She told staff and pupils that teachers at Millbrook school in Southampton had crushed her aspirations, and made her a "vile shoplifting teen". MORE

Homeowners on route will get £1.3bn

The Government has set aside £1.3bn compensation for people forced to abandon their homes due to a planned London-Birmingham high-speed rail link. The Department of Transport will buy more than 820 homes within 60m (197ft) of the planned route. MORE

Headless ladybird excites the experts

A wildlife technician in Montana has discovered a new type of insect: a "headless" ladybird that tucks its head into its throat. Ross Winton caught the pinhead-sized bug in 2009 and sent it to experts in Australia. The genus is formally described in the journal Systemic Entomology.

Obama and Romney fight for Colorado

President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, have been campaigning in the crucial swing state of Colorado. The state has only voted once for a Democrat for the White House since 1968 –Mr Obama won it in 2008. But this time it is a toss-up. MORE

WPC down in mouth after lipstick remark

A police officer has been disciplined after she appeared on TV and said wearing lipstick was "more effective than a Taser" in some situations. Lancashire Constabulary received a number of complaints about the behaviour of PC Claire van Deurs Goss.

Hurricane Sandy heads for Bahamas

Hurricane Sandy last night rumbled across Cuba and headed to the Bahamas as a Category 2 storm, bringing heavy rains and winds that ripped the roofs off homes. Meteorologists warn that mid-Atlantic and Northeastern US states face dangerous winds. MORE

Soldier killed in apparent error

A third female soldier has died in Afghanistan in a firefight which has been called a tragic mistake. Channing Day, 25, was killed alongside a Royal Marine in an apparent case of mistaken identity. MORE

Tokyo governor to form new party

The governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, has announced he is quitting Japan's main opposition party to form a new right-wing bloc. Mr Ishihara, 80, wants to realign Japanese politics and scrap its "ugly" war-renouncing constitution, which he has long criticised as "shameful". MORE

Pope's former butler moved to station cell

The Vatican yesterday moved Pope Benedict's former butler from house arrest to a cell in the city state's police station, and indicated he would not be getting a papal pardon in the foreseeable future. Paolo Gabriele was sentenced to 18 months after leaking sensitive accounts.

Tenth baby dies of whooping cough

A tenth baby has died in the biggest outbreak of whooping cough for 20 years, health officials said yesterday. The disease has killed 10 infants under the age of three months in England this year. All pregnant women will be vaccinated against it.

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