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The News Matrix: Friday 1 July 2011

Murdoch on brink of BSkyB takeover

Jeremy Hunt faces a backlash after paving the way for Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of BSkyB. The Culture Secretary has agreed to Sky News being run as an independent company, allaying fears about News Corporation’s control of the media. MORE

Student attacked by pirates in Amazon

A gap-year student who took a tour up the Amazon river has described how her boat was attacked by pirates armed with guns and machetes. South African Nicola Soekoe, 18, had reached a remote part of the Brazilian rain forest when the gang struck before making off with valuables.

Gap year trio killed in coach crash

A grieving father has spoken of his “unbearable” agony after his teenage son and two close friends were killed in a bus crash on a gap year in Thailand. Bruno Melling-Firth, Conrad Quashie and Max Boomgaarden-Cook were travelling to Chiang Mai.

Man in crowd nearly topples Sarkozy

The French President Nicolas Sarkozy was grabbed and almost pulled to the ground yesterday during at a public appearance in the town of Brax in south-west France. MORE

26-mile Jiaozhou Bay bridge opens

The world’s longest cross-sea bridge spanning 26 miles has opened in China. The Jiaozhou Bay bridge links the eastern port city of Qingdao to the island of Huangdao. Supported by more than 5,000 pillars, it was built in four years and cost more than 10bn yuan (£930m).

New US strategy sees more use of drones

The US has extended its unmanned drone campaign to terrorist leaders in Somalia. The attacks, which last week apparently wounded two leaders of al-Shabab, bring to six the number of countries where the missile-firing drones have been deployed. MORE

Britain’s population is booming again

Britain’s population is growing at its fastest rate for nearly half a century because of a higher birth rate and increased life expectancy. The number of people stood at 62.3 million last June, a rise of 470,000 on the estimated figure a year earlier. MORE

Millions of medical records lost by NHS

Millions of personal medical records have been lost by NHS trusts and hospitals, in the latest of a long series of data breaches which include staff losing laptops and memory sticks, and in one case faxing the details of patients’ operations to the wrong number. MORE

Call for inquiry into Baby P ‘cover-ups’

Doctors from Great Ormond Street hospital will today call for an independent inquiry amid mounting accusations of management coverups, bullying and falling standards. They want an investigation into claims that senior managers withheld information about the hospital’s role in the events leading to the death of Baby Peter Connolly. MORE

Airline to pioneer flights on biofuel

Thomson Airways is to fly customers on sustainable biofuel in what is thought to be the first UK flight of its kind. The flight will be from Birmingham to Palma, Majorca, on 28 July, with weekly biofuel flights to follow on the same route from September.

Celebrities flock to Prince’s wedding

Showbiz stars and royalty are expected in Monaco this week for the marriage of Prince Albert II and former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock It’s the first wedding of a reigning prince in the principality since Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier in 1956.

Flights grounded by turtles on runway

Flights at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York were delayed when 150 diamondback terrapins began crossing a runway. Staff took to the tarmac between take-offs and landings to hurry the turtles towards a wildlife refuge, next to the airport, to lay their eggs.

Hearts player faces more allegations

Police have confirmed they are making inquiries into fresh allegations against Hearts footballer Craig Thomson, who was suspended after being placed on the sex offenders register. Officers are looking into information suggesting evidence of another victim.

Medvedev’s show of driving force

President Dmitry Medvedev took his “Forward, Russia!” motto a bit too far in an incident captured on video. He stepped from the driver’s seat of a black Mercedes and then frantically tried to hold the vehicle back as it kept moving towards the crowd. Burly bodyguards swiftly came to his aid.