The News Matrix: Friday 14 March 2014


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The Independent Online

‘Britain would be happy with gay PM’

Voters would be accepting of a gay person as Prime Minister, according to Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband. Deputy Prime Minister Mr Clegg said people would judge a  potential prime minister on their ability to lead rather than if they were gay, while Labour leader Ed Miliband says he expects there to be a gay PM in the future thanks  to social change.

Pistorius trial looks at blood spatter

Photographs showing blood stains on the stairs and walls of Oscar Pistorius’s Pretoria home were shown to the court yesterday. The pictures gave a fragmented picture of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp’s violent death on 14 February 2014. The trial continues today. MORE

‘Give all students an A in first term’

Giving every student an A grade at the start of the school year may help drive pupils to do well, research suggests. A new study argues that there is a natural tendency for people to be more motivated to hold on to a good mark than they are to try to achieve something.

Osama bin Laden’s  son-in-law on trial

Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law and al-Qa’ida spokesman said he heard “something big was going to happen” before the 9/11 terror attacks but he did not know what it was, an FBI agent testified in court. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is the highest-ranking   al-Qa’ida figure to be tried on US soil.

Cameron’s support for Palestinians

Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday sought to appeal to Palestinians during a trip to the West Bank. The move signalled a change of gears after he identified with the Israeli position during a speech to the country’s parliament on Wednesday. MORE

Paxman’s fresh First World War salvo

Jeremy Paxman has fired the latest salvo in a growing debate over how schools should commemorate the start of the First World War. The topic has divided politicians and historians alike. MORE

At least 69 people killed in attacks

At least 69 people have been killed in an attack on villages in Katsina state, north-western Nigeria, officials said yesterday. Witnesses said the attackers rode motorcycles into villages and killed whoever they found. The attackers appeared to have been ethnic Fulani cattle herders who have a history of tension with local farmers.

Suspect YouTube videos to be axed

British security has been granted the power to instantly remove YouTube videos if they are deemed to be a threat to national security. The Home Office confirmed it had been given the new “super flagger” powers by Google amid concerns about the proliferation of jihadist videos on the internet.

Many hands make light work (at last)

How many local council workers does it take to change a light? Forty, according to Cambridge resident Andrew Watton-Davies who said he spent three years trying to make the local council repair the light outside his home, with more than 40 council  workers becoming involved.

Kim Jong-il’s ‘nasty book for kids’

Former leaders Kim Jong-il and his father Kim Il-sung wrote “ultra-violent” stories for children, according to Australian academic Christopher Richardson, who is researching North Korean children’s literature. One of the books, Boys Wipe Out Bandits, told the story of children punishing intruders with “merciless violence”.

Man proves he’s  nutcracker sweet

A Pakistani martial arts expert has head-butted his way through 155 walnuts in one minute. Mohammad Rashid cracked a long line of walnuts while surrounded by a crowd at the annual Punjab Youth Festival in Lahore. Mr Rashid broke his previous record of smashing 44 walnuts in one minute.

Foreigners need not apply for this job...

Two Australians have applied in vain for Sri Lanka’s hangman job after the island nation’s last official executioner got upset on seeing the gallows for the first time and quit, according to Reuters. But Chandrarathna Pallegama, the commissioner general of prisons, said: “[we] do not have any provisions to recruit foreigners”.

Lagerfeld boutique opens in London

Fashion supremo Karl Lagerfeld was in London yesterday to launch his first eponymous boutique in the UK. Shoppers can now treat themselves to a range of goods featuring the face of the head designer of labels Chanel and Fendi, with products bearing his face ranging from £25 iPhone cases, to £129 tokidoki toy dolls. MORE