Today's letter from the Editor
The News Matrix: Friday 1 February 2013
MTV gong means a big day for Ebony
An unsigned singer has won MTV's search for this year's next big music star. Ebony Day, 19, below, only turned to music after being confined to her home for much of her education due to food allergies. Last year's winner, Conor Maynard, scored a number one album and four top 10 singles.
The bells toll for Notre Dame
Nine new bronze bells are making their way to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The enormous bells, named after saints, will be on display until 25 February, when they will be hoisted into the twin towers to replace older bells which had become discordant. The €2m bell-casting project was funded by donations.
Birds wash up on UK shores covered in oil
Hundreds of seabirds have washed up along England's south-west coast covered in palm oil. They were coated in a "PVA glue-type" substance with their feathers matted together. Traditional techniques for removing oil from the birds failed, but a combination of vegetable oil and margarine was working better.
Chocolate makers fined for price-fixing
Eleven chocolate makers including Kraft and Nestlé have been fined a total of €60m (£51m) by German anti-trust authorities for colluding to rig the price of sweets. The offences, committed between 2004 and 2008, included agreeing on how much to raise the cost of chocolate bars when the cost of raw materials went up.
Black Forest farm fire kills 86 camels
A fire at a camel farm in the Black Forest region has killed 86 animals and caused up to €2m (£1.7m) in damage. The fire broke out early yesterday morning, and the farm's owner was only able to save five camels as the rest perished in their stalls. It took 100 firefighters to bring the blaze under control.
Money woes drive rise in will disputes
The number of family feuds over disputed wills that result in cases before the High Court has soared as financial pressures and changing relationships drive a boom in legacy litigation. Figures obtained by i show a 700 per cent increase over the past five years in the number of such cases. page 23
Bali smuggler loses bid for legal funding
Lindsay Sandiford, the Briton facing execution for smuggling drugs, has lost her High Court battle over the Government's refusal to fund her appeal. Two judges ruled that her case must be dismissed. MORE
Girl wins right to keep her name
A 15-year-old girl has won the right legally to use the name given to her by her mother. Iceland has strict rules on names, but it was deemed that the teenager could finally use the moniker "Blaer Bjarkardottir". The name Blaer, meaning "light breeze", was not originally deemed a proper feminine name.
'Woeful' watchdog castigated by MPs
The system to root out police wrongdoing is being undermined by poor-quality investigations by the 'woeful' Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is unable to get to the bottom of serious cases of corruption and misconduct, according to a damning report by MPs. MORE
French troops rout militants in north
Islamist militants in Mali are "in disarray" following three weeks of air strikes by the French in the north of the country, France's Defence Minister has claimed. Jean-Yves Le Drian said there had been a "turning-point", and that jihadists have now scattered.
International anger over strike by Israel
The international community has reacted furiously to Israel's military strike on a target in Syria. Russia accused Jerusalem of a "gross violation of the UN charter", while Syria threatened a "surprise" retaliation attack. Hezbollah described it as an act of "barbaric aggression". MORE
China 'hacking us', says New York Times
Chinese hackers repeatedly infiltrated New York Times computers as a story was being prepared on the hidden family wealth of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, the newspaper has claimed. Hackers had "at least three back doors into machines" and knew all employees' passwords. MORE
Hunt's A&E decision signals shake-up
Jeremy Hunt fudged a key decision on the future of a London A&E department yesterday – but signalled a potential revolution in the provision of emergency services across England. The Health Secretary wrong-footed critics when he announced the partial downgrading of the A&E unit at Lewisham hospital, south London, to help rescue a neighbouring trust from bankruptcy.
- 1 Terror at Woolwich barracks: Attacker tried to behead and disembowel British soldier
- 2 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 3 After woman sells virginity for $780,000, here are the results of our prostitution survey
- 4 China agrees to impose carbon targets by 2016
- 5 Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
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