The News Matrix: Friday 13 February 2015


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The Independent Online

Sex abuse reports to ChildLine rise 168%

The number of children counselled by ChildLine about online sex abuse has risen by 168 per cent since 2012 to nearly 3,000 sessions last year. It also advised 87 per cent more young people who reported bullying. The charity’s founder, Dame Esther Rantzen, said: “We must… face up to the reality that far too many of the nation’s children seem to be struggling alone and in despair.”

Secrecy over inquiry chief’s pay criticised

The Commons Home Affairs Committee has criticised Theresa May, Home Secretary, for not disclosing the salary of Justice Lowell Goddard, the New Zealand High Court judge who has been appointed to lead the inquiry into historical child sex abuse.

Leaders hammer out new truce

Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine agreed a deal offering hope for an end to conflict in eastern Ukraine yesterday. The announcement was followed swiftly by allegations from Kiev of a new, mass influx of Russian armour into rebel-held eastern Ukraine.

HRT increases risk of ovarian cancer

Research carried out by Oxford University has revealed that women who take hormone replacement therapy while they are going through the menopause are at a slightly higher risk of getting ovarian cancer. But experts have said that women should not stop taking HRT.

‘Terror’ journalists freed on bail

A court ordered two Al Jazeera journalists free on bail yesterday after a year in custody on terrorism charges. Al Jazeera called the decision to release Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed “a small step in the right direction”. The trial continues on 23 February.

Maduro’s friends and foes on march

Supporters and opponents of the socialist government braved pouring rain yesterday to stage marches on the anniversary of the protest movement that racked the country last year.

Visage front-man Strange dies aged 55

Pop singer Steve Strange, a pioneer of the 1980s New Romantic movement, has died of a heart failure in Egypt aged 55, his record label said last night. Strange, who was born in Wales, fronted the group Visage, best known for the 1980 hit “We Fade to Grey”.

Fat lady may sing for ENO funding in 2017

The Arts Council has revealed it has “serious concerns” over the English National Opera, and has given it two years to improve its business model or lose its funding. It follows the recent departure of the chairman and executive director.

Toxic cloud rises from factory blast

Spanish authorities ordered the residents of Igualada and four other northeastern towns to stay indoors for several hours yesterday after a chemical explosion at a warehouse spread a large, orange toxic cloud over the area. The order lasted longer for vulnerable people.

Smile! Your dog could be watching

Dogs can tell from facial expressions whether humans are angry or happy, scientists say. “They can do this not for only people they know well but even for faces they’ve never seen before,” said Ludwig Huber, an Austrian expert. Dogs associate a smiling face with positivity and an angry face with negativity, he added.

Modi ‘appalled’ by temple in his honour

Fans of Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, yesterday scrapped plans to open a temple in his honour after he said he was “appalled” by the idea. Hundreds of Mr Modi’s followers in the city of Rajkot in his home state of Gujarat donated funds for a temple to feature a seated statue of him.

Young sea lion goes walkies in food hunt

Officials say that an emaciated young sea lion that was probably looking for food was rescued from  a major San Francisco road, more than 300m from the ocean. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the young male had dragged itself uphill, through shrubbery and over the busy road.

Facebook offers ‘memorial’ contract

Friends or family members will be able to take over the Facebook accounts of loved ones who have died, the social network has announced. “Legacy contracts” will enable a profile to be “memorialised” and a designated trustee will be able to post a message and change photos.

Talking Head is taking charge

David Byrne, the former frontman of Talking Heads, will be organising this year’s Meltdown Festival at London’s Southbank Centre. Byrne said: “I plan to invite performers I’ve seen… and others I’ve missed or have dreamed of seeing.” Others to take charge of the event include David Bowie and Patti Smith.