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The News Matrix: Wednesday 5 December 2012

Baby to be crowned, whatever its sex

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's child will become monarch regardless of its sex after the approval of the Commonwealth realms. The move means that if the royal pair has a daughter and subsequent sons, the daughter will be Queen. Kate Middleton remained in a London hospital yesterday, where she is being treated for acute morning sickness. MORE

Palestine threatens to take Israel to ICC

Palestinian officials will use the country's newly upgraded UN status to haul Israel before the International Criminal Court if it continues to expand West Bank settlements. A senior aide to the Palestinian president said: "Israel is pushing and forcing us to go to the ICC."

Postmen to be balloted on boycott

The Communication Workers' Union will ballot its 120,000 Royal Mail members in the New Year on whether they should stop handling all private mail. If the boycott is approved, it would affect all of the £1.4bn-a-year's worth of mail passing through Royal Mail. MORE

Republicans oppose Obama tax hikes

President Obama's refusal to budge on his demand for greater taxes on high earners has prompted further rows between Democrats and Republicans. The parties are attempting to forge a deal to avoid a potentially devastating series of tax hikes and spending cuts next year. MORE

Boss makes call for more transparency

Civil servants have become better at collecting information on schools, hospitals and crime, but releasing it to the public is still poor, according to the Cabinet Secretary. Sir Jeremy Heywood called for greater transparency to make the UK Government the "most open" in the world. MORE

Pensioner who killed nephew walks free

A pensioner who killed his nephew after he mistook him for a burglar has walked free from court. Ezekiel McCarthy, 85, was jailed for nine months at the Old Bailey but his sentence was suspended for two years. Judge Peter Beaumont said it was unlikely he would offend again. MORE

Producer: 'Grail' was funnier because of me

The producer of Monty Python And The Holy Grail, left, told the High Court that the hit film would have been "much less funny" without his input. Mark Forstater is also chasing royalties from the hit spin-off musical Spamalot.

Day of judgement for supermarkets

Supermarkets which treat suppliers unfairly could be named and shamed by a new watchdog. The groceries adjudicator will rule on disputes between retailers and suppliers, with the power to impose fines. Competition Minister Jo Swinson said fines would only be used as a "last resort".

Typhoon kills 33 as floods swamp hall

Typhoon Bopha claimed another 33 lives yesterday after torrents of water rushed down a mountain, drowning villagers and soldiers in Compostela Valley province. Some of the victims had fled to a village hall, which was swamped by floods. The typhoon has now killed 40 people.

Linesman dies after attack by players

A linesman has died from severe head injuries after being beaten by a group of teenage football players. Richard Nieuwenhuizen, 41, was taken to hospital after an attack by three players from the Amsterdam youth club Nieuw Sloten. MORE

Birds protect chicks with cigarette ends

Birds in urban areas use cigarette ends in their nests to ward off parasites, scientists have claimed. The nicotine deposited in cigarette filter tips though smoking is a powerful natural insecticide and keeps mites away from new-born chicks. MORE

Bob Marley drink made students ill

A drink named after Bob Marley has been taken off the shelves after it made several students at a New Jersey school feel sick. A label on Marley's Mellow Mood says it may cause drowsiness and is not intended for children. However, students could buy it on campus.

Red carpets out in charm offensive

Senior officials in China will no longer enjoy the pomp and ceremony they're accustomed to as the government seeks to reduce the distance between politicians and ordinary citizens. The Politburo agreed that officials should reduce bureaucratic visits to "remain close with the public".

McAfee flees across the border

The founder of internet security software firm McAfee, wanted in connection with a murder in Belize, has fled to Guatemala. John McAfee, above, appeared with his lawyer and said he refused to be questioned by officers in Belize because he feared they would kill him. MORE

Bad sex award goes to Huston

Author Nancy Huston has triumphed over Tom Wolfe and Newsnight economics editor Paul Mason to win the least-coveted prize in the literary world: the Bad Sex in Fiction award. One passage in her winning novel, Infrared, reads: "Never will I tire of… the carnal pink palpitation ."

US denies claims of captured drone

Iran's Revolutionary Guard says it has captured a US drone that entered the country's airspace. Tehran's assertion was disputed almost instantly by the United States, but the Iranians showed a video with the aircraft displayed in front of a map of the region. MORE

Watchdog criticises American Apparel

American Apparel adverts which showed "gratuitous" images and the sexualisation of models who appeared to be under 16 have been slammed by the Advertising Standards Authority, which said the pictures were irresponsible and likely to cause widespread offence.

40-year-old divorces teenage wife by text

An official who married a teenager is facing calls to resign after he divorced her by text message just four days after their wedding. Aceng Fikri, 40, took a 17-year-old as his second wife in a Muslim ceremony, but there has been public outrage over their speedy separation.

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