The News Matrix: Friday 15 February 2013


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The Independent Online

Teenager killed in anniversary protest

Security forces killed a teenager and injured dozens of protesters, an opposition website said, during clashes on the second anniversary of a failed uprising to demand reforms in the Gulf state. Witnesses said the protest turned violent after police opened fired on the crowd. MORE

Furious passengers offered 15% discount

Passengers left furious after their ship Triumph was disabled by a fire in the engine room have been offered a 15 per cent discount with Carnival Cruise Lines. Holidaymakers will be refunded the full amount after they suffered urine-soaked carpets and a food shortage during their voyage.

Shooting range woos gun-toting lovers

A Las Vegas shooting range is bucking the trend of avoiding gaudy gun promotions, offering Valentines "take a shot at love" packages. Punters enjoy 50 free sub-machine gun rounds and can pose for photos with Uzis. The broken-hearted are welcome to destroy photos of their exes.

Amazon 'used guards with neo-Nazi links'

Amazon is at the centre of a deepening scandal amid claims it employed security guards with neo-Nazi connections to intimidate workers. A documentary filmed distribution offices, showing omnipresent guards wearing black uniforms. MORE

Council tax to rise at a fifth of authorities

Almost one fifth of local authorities in England are planning to increase council tax this year, despite the offer of government money if they freeze the charge. A survey for the Local Government Chronicle found 65 councils are planning a rise.

Firms appreciate the joy of fax

Nearly 90 per cent of Japanese businessmen still consider the fax machine a vital business tool. Last year, 1.7 million of the machines were sold to Japanese customers, many were to replace those lost in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. MORE

Prisoner X 'rational' on day before suicide

Ben Zygier, the suspected Mossad spy previously known only as Prisoner X, was "rational" and "balanced" the day before he apparently hanged himself in an Israeli prison, one of his lawyers has said. Zygier killed himself while under 24-hour surveillance in a "suicide-proof" cell. MORE

Teach baby to eat well... before birth

Pregnant women can help their unborn child learn to like healthy foods by eating lots of vegetables, scientists have found. "Babies and their palates can learn very early on about good food, even before their first mouthful," said Julie Mennella, a developmental biologist. MORE

Children face new, tougher maths tests

Eleven-year-olds will sit tougher maths tests as part of the Government's new plans for the national curriculum. The new SATs exams will be based on the higher standards already demanded in Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and Finland.

Harry Potter's Ron finds latest role

Daniel Radcliffe starred in the blockbuster The Woman in Black, Emma Watson found roles in prestigious arthouse films, and now Harry Potter star Rupert Grint, aka Ron Weasley, will play a nerdy comic book fan in Super Clyde, a CBS comedy show from Family Guy producer Greg Garcia.

Faster memory? Install a chimp

Chimpanzees have a faster working memory than humans according to a Japanese study. Tetsuro Matsuzawa, pictured, showed that chimps can identify the precise position and correct sequence of up to nine numbers on a computer screen in half a second – a task that takes humans several seconds.

Peppa Pig costume was a 'sound idea'

The decision to spend £1,610 on a Peppa Pig costume as part of Mary Portas's bid to revive British high streets was financially sound, according to the leader of Dartford Council. The town was one of the areas that shared the £1.2m cash boost last year. MORE

Nurse struck off for demeaning patient

A former nurse at Stafford Hospital has been struck off after dragging an elderly dementia patient around by his pyjamas and calling him an animal. During the incident, which took place in July 2010, Bonka Kostova told the 73-year-old patient: "You are no longer a human being but an animal." A Nursing and Midwifery Council tribunal ruled that fitness to practice was impaired.

'We were sure that Dorner would kill us'

The couple held captive by Christopher Dorner said he was calm and alert as he bound their arms and legs with plastic locks, gagged them and covered their heads with pillowcases. Jim Reynolds, 66, and his wife Karen, 56, said they were convinced he would kill them. MORE

Captain Cook's pistol sold at auction

A pistol owned by British explorer Captain James Cook, who in 1770 discovered Australia , sold yesterday for £146,437. The flintlock pistol was made by a Dutchman in the early 18th century and had remained in the Cook family for more than two centuries.

'Life of Pi' film effects company goes bust

The Bafta-winning firm behind the dazzling visual effects in Life of Pi has filed for bankruptcy protection. Rhythm & Hues Studios, which has a workforce of 1,400, hit difficulties after several projects were cancelled and delayed. "It's a sad day," said one visual effects head. MORE

Young people told to skip Valentine's Day

Muslim clerics called yesterday for young people to skip Valentine's Day, saying it was just an excuse for engaging in premarital sex. People in the province of Aceh, where celebrating is already banned, were told they were not allowed to buy Valentines gifts.

Fitness plan drawn up for obese police

Seventy per cent of police in Cyprus are overweight, and 40 per cent obese, a report has shown. Plans have been drawn up to include gym time for all the force's 5,256 officers as part of a daily fitness regime, after concerns that cops can't cope with the physical demands of the job.