The News Matrix: Friday 11 February 2011

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The Independent Online

Twitter sale talks value site at $10bn

Twitter has been holding early stage talks with potential buyers, including Facebook and Google, which are said to value the site at roughly $10bn (£6bn). The site currently does not turn a profit but has more than 200 million registered users. MORE

Diamonds singer attacks song theft

Singer Marina Diamandis has hit out on her blog at “grim and unworthy characters” who have leaked her new material online. She described the leaking as an invasion of her privacy.

Investigation into air crash launched

An investigation has been launched into the aircraft crash at Cork airport in the Irish Republic yesterday which killed six people and injured six others. The daily commuter flight from Belfast flipped over during the accident on the runway, flattening part of the aircraft. MORE

Congresswoman on road to recovery

Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is speaking “more and more each day”, according to her aides. She recently spoke for the first time since being shot in the forehead last month in a mass shooting in Tucson – a significant step in recovery from a traumatic brain injury. MORE

N Korea tells envoys to ask for food aid

North Korea has asked its embassies to plead with foreign governments for aid to feed its population, which is close to starvation. China, which has long served as its food supplier of last resort, faces its own food crisis as a result of a sustained drought. MORE

Suicide bomber kills 31 soldiers and cadets

A suicide bomber wearing a school uniform who was believed to be in his teens slipped into a Pakistan military base yesterday and detonated a device killing at least 31 soldiers and cadets. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Judges may decide if prisoners get vote

The decision over whether prisoners should be entitled to vote could be handed to judges after moves to allow some offenders to take part in elections were rejected by MPs. The Government had originally suggested allowing inmates serving sentences of up to four years to vote – but David Cameron said this proposal made him feel “physically sick”. MORE

Blogging key to get boys writing

Blogging may have solved a problem that has perplexed the education world for years – how to get boys to write properly. A school in Bolton used blogs as an exercise to improve test scores. MORE

Clerics find ads hard to swallow

A brewery has withdrawn an “insulting” poster campaign featuring Franciscan monks holding up brimming glasses of beer following protests in the largely Catholic Baltic country.

Ex-rough sleeper in line for literary prize

A former homeless person is set to win a literary prize for romantic novelists. Tom Gamble is on the shortlist for the Romantic Novelists Association Novel of the Year Award for his fiction debut. Gamble, who lives in France, stopped living onLondon’s streets when he met an American woman who put him “back on the road to recovery”.

Fleas tip-toe their way to a great height

Using high-speed photography, researchers have found that fleas are able to jump so high – up to 200 times their own body length – by using their hind legs as multi-jointed levers to transfer large amounts of energy into the ground through their toes.

‘Top Gear’ Mexican racism cut in US show

Scenes in which Top Gear presenters poked fun at Mexicans will be cut before the show is broadcast in the United States next week. The Mexican ambassador complained to the BBC after Richard Hammond said Mexican cars reflected national characteristics, saying they were “just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent”.

Smartphones to project holograms

An American company says it has the technology to allows holograms to be projected from smartphones and tablets such as the iPad – much like the famous scene from Star Wars. MasterImage 3D plans to demonstrate it next week.

Gough bowled over by PM’srequest

David Cameron called the former England cricketer Darren Gough to encourage him to become a Tory MP, it emerged yesterday. The party said the Yorkshireman, a Tory supporter, turned down the chance to stand in next month’s Barnsley Central by-election but would support its efforts to win.