The News Matrix: Friday 15 March 2013


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The Independent Online

Charles has lessons in Arabic

The Prince of Wales has been having Arabic lessons for six months in an attempt to read the Koran in its original form. But on a visit to Doha, in Qatar, he said the language "goes in one ear and out the other". The Prince also speaks some French, some German and – thanks to his 55 years as the Prince of Wales – has also had some lessons in Welsh. MORE

Austerity protests target EU summit

Some 10,000 workers from across the EU protested outside a leaders' summit in Brussels yesterday, demanding they end years of austerity and focus on curbing runaway unemployment. Standing in frost and snow outside EU headquarters, protesters vented their frustration over spending cuts and tax rises imposed by the bloc's governments to deal with the debt crisis.  MORE

Scientists confident Higgs boson found

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva have claimed the new sub-atomic particle they found last year is almost certainly the Higgs boson. The so-called God particle could explain one of the great mysteries of the Universe – why matter has mass. Researchers said the particle does not spin like others. MORE

Self-build homes could solve crisis

Self-build homes could help solve the nation's housing crisis, a new study has claimed. The centre-right think-tank Policy Exchange suggests that councils failing to achieve targets for building new properties should be required to release land to local residents who wanted to design and build their own homes.  MORE

Cop delivers baby after stopping car

A police officer in Iowa pulled over a speeding car, only to then help the driver and his passenger deliver a baby. Officer Kevin Wolfe said the driver jumped out of the car and said: "Sir, we're delivering a baby right here, right now." After a successful birth, the officer escorted the new family to hospital.

France and Britain 'ready to arm rebels'

France and Britain are ready to arm rebels in Syria even without full support from the European Union, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said yesterday. UK Government sources said no decision has been taken, but stressed that "all options" remain on the table. MORE

Obama makes Iran nuclear warning

President Barack Obama has said the US has significant capabilities to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. "We think that it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon but obviously we don't want to cut it too close," Mr Obama said.

Private landlords fail to pay rent tax

At least a million private landlords do not pay tax on their tenants' rent, costing around £550m. An HMRC insider said there is "widespread abuse". Small-scale landlords and those who let out a property to supplement their main income are the main culprits. MORE

House fire father 'had not washed'

Mick Philpott, the father accused of killing six of his children in a fire last year, has said traces of petrol found on his clothes were not suspicious, claiming that he had not showered in the 12 weeks prior to the blaze. He rarely changed his clothing "because I don't do a lot of work". MORE

Want to buy back this stolen Picasso?

A man attempting to sell paintings by Picasso and Monet back to the Dutch gallery from where they were stolen has been arrested in Germany. Thieves made off with seven paintings worth more than €50m (£43m) from the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam in October. A 46-year-old man has been arrested.

Protester wins court battle over database

A protester has won a legal battle to have his name removed from the National Extremism Database. The Court of Appeal ruled that John Catt's human rights were breached when he was put on the list. MORE

Red Bull faces contamination threat

Red Bull has been targeted in a blackmail attempt by someone who had threatened to contaminate its energy drinks. The extortionists had threatened to taint beverage cans with faecal matter if they were not paid off, the Austrian firm said. "We are close to the perpetrators and they will be found," the firm warned.

Poll debunks myth of the miserly Scots

The English have long derided the Scots for being miserly, but an Ipsos Mori poll showed that Scottish households with incomes of less than £150,000 gave away an average of £356 to charity last year while Londoners, despite earning 25 per cent more, donated just £268. The national average was £303.