The News Matrix: Friday 11 March 2011

Critics say hearings on Islam are racist

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Republican Peter King, opened controversial hearings yesterday into what he calls the radicalisation of Islam in America. Critics say the hearings are racist and recall McCarthyism. MORE

Tchenguiz yacht party goes ahead

A yacht party organised by Vincent Tchenguiz, the entrepeneur arrested with his brother Robert in connection with the collapse of the Icelandic bank Kaupthing, went ahead in Cannes last night in an effort to show that business went on as usual. However, the host was said to have stayed away.

NHS puts teen cancer patients under stress

A quarter of teenagers with cancer, who present symptoms such as a lump or pain, are forced to make repeat visits to their GP before being referred to a specialist, according to new research from the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Patten warns of ‘hell’ if he gets Trust job

Lord Patten expects there will be “all hell let loose” if he is confirmed as the new Chairman of the BBC Trust, he told MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. MORE

Earth quake kills 24 and flattens homes

Rescue workers scoured collapsed buildings for survivors yesterday after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake left 24 people dead and at least 200 others injured in a remote area of China near the border with Burma. Chinese television reported that at least 1,200 homes were flattened.

Free mental-health helpline for troops

Troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will have access to a free mental-health helpline from today. The charity Rethink, funded by the Government, will provide the 24-hour service which will also provide help to soldiers’ families.

Alert prompts Heathrow closure

A security alert that prompted a partial evacuation of London’s Heathrow airportwas resolved with no arrests yesterday. A small section of the departures area in Terminal 5 had been evacuated while police spoke to an individual and investigated an item.

Cocaine lab sign of drug trade growth

Officials in Honduras expressed concern yesterday after the first cocaine lab was discovered about 100 miles north of the capital Tegucigalpa. The country’s security minister said it was a worrying sign that Colombian-dominated production of the drug was moving north. MORE

Dalai Lama to give uppolitical duties

Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has announced his intention to give up his political duties in an apparent bid to force the community of exiled Tibetan Buddhists to become more democratic. He believes the move will boost the fortunes of a new generation of Tibetan leaders in pressing their demands for autonomy from China. MORE

Bono nominated for Gorbachev prize

Bono, the U2 lead singer, has been named alongside Sir Tim Berners- Lee, the inventor of the Web, Martin Cooper, the inventor of the mobile phone, and Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, as a nominee for the inaugural “Mikhail Gorbachev: the man who changed the world” awards.

Joint-puffing hippies beat smoking ban

Actors playing joint-puffing hippies in a Spanish adaptation of the musical Hair breathed a sigh of relief after officials said they did not violate a new smoking ban. A spectator had complained they were smoking tobacco but they were puffing on herbs.

UN puts ban on edible bird nests

Tens of thousands of birds cultivated for edible nests made of their saliva will have to be removed from the capital of Penang after the UN warned they put historical buildings in Georgetown at risk. The ban was put in place to maintain the city’s status as a World Heritage site.

Ref shows imaginary yellow card to player

Referee Peter Walton had to make do with imaginary cards on Wednesday night when he left the vital accessories in the dressing room. The official showed Birmingham midfielder Jordon Mutch an imaginary yellow at Goodison Park as Birmingham played Everton.

Kinect outstrips iPad with 10m sold

The Microsoft Kinect game system has sold more than 10 million units since its launch in November, outstripping Apple’s eight month iPad sales and earning a place in the Guinness Book of Records and a further 10 million sales of associated games. MORE