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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.

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The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

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Children's books are too white, says Laureate

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Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

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Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

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Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

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Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

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