The News Matrix: Friday 1 June 2012


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The Independent Online

Private homes ban for vulnerable kids

Vulnerable young people should no longer be sent to Rochdale's private children's homes as their safety can't be guaranteed, the council leader says. The former mill town is currently host to 41 children's homes, at least 18 of which are owned by a private equity firm. MORE

Pressure increases on Spain and Italy

The currency zone's debt crisis continued to rage on yesterday, with the focus on Spain and Italy, as the interest rate that investors demand to lend money to the two countries moved towards bailout levels. This came as Spain came under attack for failing to rein in its banking sector. MORE

Sport Relief breaks the £60m barrier

This year's Sport Relief has raised £62.5m, almost £20m more than in 2010. Contributions included proceeds towards an edition of i edited by David Walliams, and the "Week of Hell" for comedian John Bishop.

Give us a break, say angry hospital staff

After helping Torbay Hospital win a prestigious national prize, its 4,000 staff thought they deserved a token of appreciation. Instead, they got a voucher for a free Kit Kat, worth 60p. Staff felt "insulted" by the gesture from South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, recently named Healthcare Organisation of the Year.

Labour urges doctors to abandon strike

Doctors were urged by the Labour leadership yesterday to abandon this month's planned strike because of the harm that industrial action could have on the seriously ill. Andy Burnham, the shadow Health Secretary, called for a rethink over the walkout set for 21 June.

US condemns Russia for risking civil war

The US warned Russia over the Syrian crisis yesterday, saying it would be responsible for unleashing a full civil war unless it sides with Western powers in pushing for Bashar al-Assad to step down. Despite continued bloodshed, Moscow has twice vetoed UN resolutions on Syria. MORE

Iraqis to make sweet music in Scotland

A performance by the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq will be one of the highlights of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe after the Scottish Government helped finance the musicians' debut UK visit using the seized proceeds of crime. The orchestra was formed in 2009 by Zuhal Sultan, a then 17-year-old pianist.

Insurance market is 'dysfunctional' – OFT

The motor insurance market is "dysfunctional" and competition between firms is actually forcing British drivers to pay more, a watchdog has said. Insurers are deliberately ramping up repair and replacement car costs after accidents in order to leave rival firms with higher bills, according to the Office of Fair Trading. This means motorists are forced to pay higher premiums. MORE

Downloads surpass number of CD sales

Income from digital music has surpassed that of CD sales for the first time. In the first quarter of this year, revenues from downloads and streaming services comprised 56 per cent of the £156m total consumer spend. The figures suggest that the industry is slowly winning the battle to convince listeners to pay for music.

Outrage over stoning sentence for woman

A Sudanese woman, believed to be around 20 years old, has been sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery and is being held near Khartoum, shackled in prison with her baby son, rights activists and lawyers said yesterday. Campaigners condemned the ruling, saying it violates international standards.

Locals caught up in web plates scrum

The World Wide Web has inspired a bidding war in Malaysia – on licence plates. More than 18,000 people submitted bids to have the prefix "WWW" on their plates, with the Road Transport Department revealing that the most coveted combination – "WWW1" – had sold for a record 520,000 ringgit (£106,000).

Mother of three sets fire to herself

Chinese forces have cracked-down in Tibetan-dominated regions after three more people set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule. One of the victims included a 33-year-old mother of three who set herself on fire outside the Jonang monastery in the Aba region of Sichuan. She died at the scene. MORE

Bramble cleared of sexual assault

Premier League footballer Titus Bramble said his "awful ordeal is finally over" after he was cleared of sexual assault. The Sunderland defender, 30, was found not guilty by a jury at Teesside Crown Court following a four-day trial. He thanked family and friends for supporting him since the allegations were made last September.