The News Matrix: Friday 13 June 2014


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The Independent Online

Hospital waiting lists ‘hit a six-year high’

NHS hospital waiting lists have hit a six-year high, Labour has said. Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said that the waiting list for the number of patients waiting to see a consultant in England has reached 3 million. Data for April 2014 show that there are 2,993,108 people on the waiting list, with Labour estimating that another 125,000 patients are unreported.

MP Benton to step down at election

Veteran MP Joe Benton, 80, has fired the starting gun in the race for nomination as candidate in one of Labour’s safest seats, by announcing he will step down from Parliament at next year’s general election. He has been MP for Bootle since 1990, securing a 21,181 majority in 2010.

Emergency vote delayed by violence

Parliament delayed voting on a request to grant the prime minister emergency powers yesterday as the north slips out of government control in the face of Sunni Islamist insurgents. Kurdish forces claimed control of the oil city of Kirkuk, saying government forces had fled. MORE

May’s fast-track passport pledge

Passport renewals are to be fast-tracked free of charge in pressing cases, Theresa May promised yesterday. The Home Secretary set out the moves in an emergency Commons statement after the revelation of a 30,000 backlog of passport renewal applications. MORE

Britain ups military and educational aid

The UK will increase its military and educational aid to help Nigeria tackle Boko Haram, Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced. He said Nigeria’s army would receive extra training, especially in counter-insurgency, and a million more children would be given schooling.

Jets’ close encounter sparks war of words

China and Japan are blaming each other for a close encounter between military jets over the East China Sea. China’s defence ministry said yesterday that Japanese fighters followed a Chinese plane and got as close as 30 meters. Japan said Chinese aircraft approached its jets.

Why cheerleaders are on thin ice

Ice hockey cheerleaders face cruel conditions and low pay according to an investigation. The women must wear bikinis in ice-cold conditions and are forbidden to fraternise with the players. MORE

Legalise ecstasy call by victim’s mother

The mother of a teenager who died from taking ecstasy has called for recreational drugs to be legalised. Anne-Marie Cockburn said of her daughter: “Martha wanted to get high, she didn’t want to die.”  Martha took a pill containing an unusually high amount of the drug. MORE

Men more likely to diet successfully

Women are more likely to take up weight loss programmes, but less likely to see them through than men, according an analysis of obesity studies. While men are less likely to see their weight as a problem, they are often motivated to lose weight after discovering they have a health problem.

Lego thefts are far from child’s play

A spate of thefts of Lego building blocks has been reported across Australia, with £40,000 worth stolen in a number of daring heists from toy shops. The raids involve audacious thieves using angle grinders, removing panes of glass and cutting off CCTV cameras when breaking into stores to steal the plastic bricks.

£10,000 of whisky taken in centre raid

Rare bottles of whisky worth more than £10,000 have been stolen from a distillery’s visitor centre. The “unusual” bottles were taken from the Glenglassaugh distillery in Portsoy, Aberdeenshire, on Tuesday night. Among the bottles taken were 37-year-old and 40-year-old  Glenglassaugh malt whiskies.

Man arrested after firing at the moon

A marijuana smoker was arrested in Arizona after shooting at the moon and wrestling with officers called by his girlfriend to subdue him. Police went to a home in Prescott Valley  where the woman told them her partner had fired shots into the air after telling her and her son he had seen Halley’s Comet.

‘Bat barn’ warning as churches suffer

Bats are damaging churches and it is time for a fightback against nature lovers, a Conservative peer has said. Lord Cormack warned against turning “historic churches into bat barns”. He said the animals were “a particular menace to many old churches”, pointing to the damage caused by bat droppings.