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The News Matrix: Wednesday 9 January 2013

Starved girl's siblings sue city's council

The surviving siblings of a seven-year-old girl who was starved to death by her mother and father are suing Birmingham City Council, claiming her death could have been prevented. Khyra Ishaq died in May 2008 following months of cruelty at the hands of her parents, who were both jailed in 2010. Despite having a fully stocked kitchen, their children went hungry.

Spiritual leader blames rape victim

A spiritual leader sparked outrage across the country by saying that the 23-year-old woman who was gang-raped and murdered in Delhi was "as guilty as her rapists". Asaram Bapu told followers in Rajasthan that she should have "begged" the attackers to stop. MORE

Care home patients report a lack of trust

Care home patients and their families do not trust the body charged with ensuring decent standards following a series of high-profile scandals, the Health Select Committee said. It reported a "disconnect" between official inspections and the standards experienced by patients. MORE

Flag-waving for Kate may prolong rioting

Violent disturbances looked set to continue in Belfast last night, with the Union Flag due to fly over City Hall today to mark the Duchess of Cambridge's birthday. Petrol bombs and masonry have been thrown at police in the east of the city for five nights by loyalists.

Second Tory minister quits the Coalition

Lord Marland of Odstock, a junior trade minister at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, became the second Conservative minister to leave the Government in as many days last night. It follows the surprise resignation on Monday of Lord Strathclyde.

Most-scathing book reviews honoured

The shortlist for the Hatchet Job of the Year – celebrating the most scathing book reviews of 2012 – was announced, with some of the world's most respected authors among the subjects of derision. The nominated reviews include Ron Charles's take on Martin Amis's Lionel Asbo.

Girl who died in police car crash is named

A 13-year-old killed when a car being pursued by police hit her family's vehicle was named as Wiktoria Was. She was described as a "highly valued member of our community" by Alison Garner, head of Goffs School, in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.

Record year for Tate Modern

Critics doubted whether the 2012 Olympics would provide any real benefit for London's cultural institutions, but the Tate Modern has revealed it had a record year. The gallery welcomed 5.3 million visitors, up 9.5 per cent on 2011.

Minister raising tax is accused of evasion

The minister charged with enforcing controversial new taxes on the rich is to be investigated for tax evasion. The chief prosecutor of Paris has started an investigation into allegations that Jérome Cahuzac hid money in an undeclared Swiss bank account until two years ago.

Farmers are excused 655-year-old debt

A court has wiped out an annual debt that farmers have had to pay the Catholic Church to atone for a crime 655 years ago. The payments had been a tradition since 1357 as compensation for a man's murder. But farmers no longer have to pay 70 Swiss francs each year, a court ruled.

A gripping reason for wrinkly fingers

Scientists claim to have found a reason why fingers submerged in water develop wrinkles – it improves your grip on wet objects. "This wrinkling could have helped with gathering food from wet vegetation or streams," according to the Newcastle University study, published in Biology Letters.

Politician quits over racist football chant

A politician in the far-right Northern League party has quit after being accused of chanting the racist comments that led AC Milan footballers to walk off the pitch last week. Riccardo Grittini, 21, a councillor for sport in Corbetta, near Milan, is under investigation by prosecutors.

Michael McIntyre nets £21m in year

Comedy has been touted as the new rock'n'roll since the 1990s, but Michael McIntyre has proved the point by taking £21m – nearly as much as the Rolling Stones – from his latest tour. Some 639,000 fans flocked to see his show. He was the only stand-up in the top 50 touring acts.

Chavez to miss his swearing-in

President Hugo Chavez will miss tomorrow's scheduled swearing-in ceremony for his third term in office because of health problems, the Government confirmed in a letter to Congress yesterday. Mr Chavez has not been heard from since having his fourth operation for cancer.

Conflict has left one million hungry

About one million Syrians are going hungry because of the difficulty in getting supplies into conflict zones, the United Nations warned yesterday. Government-approved aid agencies are said to be stretched to the limit, with bread and fuel in particularly short supply.

Lottery winner in cyanide poisoning

Police in Chicago are investigating the murder of a man who died of cyanide poisoning just a day after he accepted a lottery cheque for $425,000 (£264,000). Urooj Khan, 46, was about to cash in his prize from a scratchcard win when he died suddenly last July. MORE

Phone company ditches Lenin ad

A mobile phone operator that used a cartoon image of Lenin and the slogan "Keep Talking" in its adverts has pulled the campaign following complaints. The Russian revolutionary's communist regime killed millions of people and imposed mass terror on the Soviet Union.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?