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The News Matrix: Wednesday 25 September 2013

Borrowing grows as confidence returns

Banks are seeing annual growth in credit card and personal loan borrowing for the first time in four years, the British Bankers’ Association has reported. The findings are evidence that households are beginning to feel more confident. People spent more on their credit cards than they paid back in August in a break with a trend for more cautious behaviour in recent years.

UN inspectors return to continue inquiry

The UN says a team of chemical weapons inspectors will return to Syria today to complete its investigation into “pending credible allegations” of chemical weapons use in the conflict. Previously, the team found evidence the nerve agent sarin was used near Damascus in August.

Doctors’ home visits lose out to admin

Doctors spend over twice as much time on paperwork as on home visits, a survey suggests. Attending management meetings and doing administration takes up about 17 hours a week, compared with seven hours spent at patients’ bedsides. About 400 doctors were polled.

40 die as earthquake strikes near border

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck a remote area in south-western Pakistan yesterday, killing at least 40 people and wounding dozens as houses collapsed. The Pakistani military said it was rushing troops and helicopters to Baluchistan province’s Awaran district. MORE

Gove’s curriculum  is ‘neo-Victorian’

A leading education expert claims the Government’s new curriculum is “neo-Victorian”. Cambridge University Professor Robin Alexander told the British Academy that Education Secretary Michael Gove’s reforms favour English and Maths at the expense of the arts. MORE

Police raided in move against far right

Internal affairs officers have raided police stations near Athens as part of an investigation into the activities of the far-right Golden Dawn party. The move came a day after the government replaced five senior police officers “to ensure the absolute objectivity” of the investigation.

Disabled people take Disney for ride

Disney is changing its rules allowing disabled people to skip the queues at its US theme parks after it emerged visitors had hired disabled “black market Disney guides” to help them jump queues. MORE

North Sea helicopter flights under review

Helicopter operations in the North Sea are to be reviewed, the Civil Aviation Authority has announced. The review follows five accidents in the last four years, the last of which in August claimed four lives. It will be undertaken jointly with Norwegian and European agencies.

Kipling’s home on the market for £1.5m

The seaside home of Rudyard Kipling is for sale for £1.5million. The author of The Jungle Book lived in The Elms, a five-bedroom detached house in Rottingdean, East Sussex, from 1897 TO 1902. A spokesman for the estate agents claimed he wrote many of his works there.

Village reluctant to become an F-word

Residents of the Welsh village of Varteg have expressed their concern over plans to rename it Y Farteg. Welsh language campaigners support the change, saying in the Welsh language there is no letter V and the same sound is produced by the single letter F. Locals are worried it would make them the butt of jokes.

Parents’ groups say no to Elton

A parents’ committee has asked Vladimir Putin to cancel a concert by gay musician Elton John, saying he will violate a ban on “homosexual propaganda” when he performs in Russia in December. Elton John wants to go ahead with the concert to champion gay rights.

British rower ends 3,750-mile journey

A British rower who paddled for 150 days on a solo feat from Japan to Alaska has returned engaged. Sarah Outen, 28, from Rutland, Leicestershire, arrived in Adak in the Aleutian Islands yesterday after rowing some 3,750 nautical miles in her boat Happy Socks. MORE

Church confesses to sin of mass texting

A Roman Catholic church in the Austrian city of Graz says it has been found guilty of contravening telecommunications law by sending mass texts to its followers asking them to pay overdue membership fees. It says it was fined €10,000 after congregation members complained.

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