The News Matrix: Friday 11 May 2012


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Government jets U-turn to cost £250m

The Government has scrapped its decision to acquire F-35C fighter jets, instead reverting to the previous government's plans to buy F-35B planes for the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers. Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said the U-turn left Britain open to "international ridicule". MORE

I did not bully gays at school, says Romney

The Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney was forced to deny claims that he bullied gay classmates at school. The accusation came as the gay activists welcomed Barack Obama's televised interview on Wednesday, in which he backed same-sex marriages. MORE

Merkel campaigns in biggest state election

Chancellor Angela Merkel took to the stump in Germany's most populous state yesterday as she campaigned ahead of the election in North Rhine Westphalia on Sunday. Ms Merkel's conservatives argue the election amounts to a referendum on their leader's performance. MORE

Danger of racist abuse at Euro 2012

Police have warned of the potential for unrest at the Euro 2012 championships this summer with right-wing extremists targeting England's black footballers and fans for racist abuse. Ukrainian extremists have reportedly made threats against England fans. MORE

55 killed in bomb blasts in Damascus

Two suicide bombs exploded in Damascus yesterday, killing at least 55 people in the single worst atrocity since the start of the nationwide uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's rule last year. MORE

Tanker drivers urged to reject latest offer

The long-running dispute between tanker drivers and fuel distribution firms could result in renewed threats of strike action. Members of the Unite union have been urged to reject the latest offer from their employers. Earlier this year, the threat of industrial action from the same group of workers led to panic buying of petrol across the country.

Two hunger strikers on verge of death

Two Palestinian men imprisoned as "administrative detainees" for two years without charge are on the brink of death, relatives said. Tha'er Halahleh and Bilal Diab are now facing what critics call a "death sentence" after Israel's highest court rejected an appeal for their release. MORE

Arrests after baby found in holdall

A man and a woman have been arrested on suspicion of child abandonment after a newborn girl was found in a holdall on a doorstep. A note written in Polish was left with the baby, who was dumped opposite the Polish Centre in London Road, Reading, on 3 May.

Botox to be given to migraine sufferers

Botox could soon be available on the NHS as a migraine cure. The NHS drugs watchdog is expected to recommend next month that those with chronic symptoms should be given botulinum toxin. It is believed that 6 million people in the UK suffer with migraines. MORE

Signed Picasso print was a lucky find

An unemployed man who spotted a Picasso poster in a second-hand shop in Ohio has sold it for $7,000. Zachary Bodish paid $14.14 for the print, which he later discovered had been signed by the artist himself, upping the value considerably. "A pretty darn good return," he said.

Visitors flocking to UK in 2012

2012 is set to be a record-breaking year for British tourism, according to the Office for National Statistics. Overseas visitors made 6.32 million trips to the UK between January and March this year, a 4 per cent increase on the same period in 2011. Their overall spend rose too, by three per cent to £3.22bn.

Henry's 40ft fishtank plan angers Conti

Shirley Valentine actor Tom Conti has criticised his neighbour Thierry Henry's plans to demolish his Hampstead home to make way for a 40ft fish tank. The actor suggested that the former Arsenal player simply buy a new home, and warned that if London's Camden Council approved the plan, it would cause "nightmare disruption".

New mayor admits polling accident

The new mayor of Cimolais in northern Italy has revealed that he was appointed to the post by accident. Fabio Borsatti stood as a last-minute favour to his friend, the only candidate, who had been worried that people would not vote if he stood unopposed. The plan did not work and Mr Borsatti won the poll.

Once upon a time there was a Bard...

Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale is a romantic comedy with very adult themes, but a new production is aiming to introduce the Bard to children as young as two. The Royal Shakespeare Company is producing a "multi-sensory" adaptation for toddlers, with food, touch and smells to enhance the story.