The News Matrix: Friday 17 February 2012


Paediatricians urge scrapping of new Bill

More than 150 paediatricians are calling on the Government to scrap its Health Bill, saying it will have an "extremely damaging effect" on the health of children. The UK's Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said there was "no prospect" of improving the Bill.

Life sentence for underpants bomber

A Nigerian man who attempted to blow up a US-bound flight on behalf of al-Qa'ida has been sentenced by a US court to life in prison. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab detonated the bomb in his underwear on Christmas Day 2009 but it failed to go off, causing a small fire which badly burnt him.

Britain and France in 'fighter drone' plan

Plans to build a new generation of "fighter drones" that can wage war by remote control are set to be agreed today by Britain and France. David Cameron and President Nicolas Sarkozy are preparing to put their recent tensions behind them to launch the proposals in Paris. MORE

Tax avoidance may be rife in Whitehall

Paying senior officials' salaries into limited companies could be a widespread practice at Whitehall after it emerged last night that 25 "contractors" are paid in the same way at the Department of Health. This method of payment potentially allows for lower tax bills. MORE

Teenager faces jail for attack on student

A teenager faces jail for attacking a Malaysian student during the summer riots. Ashraf Rossli, 20, was set upon during looting in August. Beau Isagba, 17, was found guilty of grievous bodily harm at Wood Green Crown Court.

Amanda Knox signs lucrative book deal

The exchange student cleared of murdering Meredith Kercher last year has signed a "seven-figure" book deal with HarperCollins to tell the story of her four-year incarceration in Italy. "[Amanda] Knox will give a full and unflinching account of the events that led to her arrest and of her struggles with the Italian judicial system," the publisher said in a statement yesterday.

Leaders swallow sixth austerity diktat

Greek leaders have expressed frustration at the erosion of sovereignty by German and eurozone leaders, but see no alternative but to accept quasi-colonial control in return for the €130 billion rescue package. Greeks are about to be hit by the sixth austerity package in five years. MORE

Nurses suspended after baby restraint

Five nurses have been suspended from a hospital's children's ward after claims that a baby was restrained, according to reports. Police and NHS chiefs confirmed they are investigating an incident at Scunthorpe General Hospital in Lincolnshire. MORE

Honeymoon dive husband weeps

A man broke down in court yesterday as he watched images of his wife drowning on the first day of their honeymoon in Australia, which were produced as evidence that he killed her. American Gabe Watson is accused of murdering his bride Tina by staging a fake scuba diving accident. MORE

Bus driver jailed for lurching into cyclist

A bus driver who used his bus like a "weapon" to knock over a cyclist in Bristol has been jailed for 17 months. Gavin Hill was shown on CCTV in an exchange with cyclist Phillip Mead before he lurched the bus sharply into the cyclist's path.

Guards accused by prison fire survivors

Survivors of the worst prison fire for more than 100 years which killed more than 350 inmates this week have accused guards of leaving prisoners to die in their cells, and even firing on others as they tried to escape. MORE

Chinese men charged for eating tortoises

Four Chinese nationals have been arrested on cruelty charges after they killed and ate rare Bell's Hinged tortoises, according to an animal rights group. Villagers in rural southern Zimbabwe told authorities they sold tortoises to the men, who later admitted killing 40 of the animals for food.

Four in five drivers led astray by satnavs

Misleading satnavs have caused more than £200m of damage to cars in the past 12 months. Four in five drivers have been misled by their satnavs, a survey found. Of those, half said they had ended up screaming at their devices, while seven in 10 said they'd clocked up unnecessary miles.

Air passenger fined for opening exit door

A man who opened the emergency exit of a plane to help a mother and her screaming child get off faster faces a $1,000 (£630) fine. Le Van Thuan, 29, released the emergency slide onto the tarmac at Ho Chi Minh City airport on Tuesday, when the woman asked him for help.

Doggie bags for winning dogs

Future winners of the annual Westminster Dog Show won't be awarded their traditional victory meals in New York restaurants because health authorities will no longer allow pets in restaurants.

Hand-reared sloth finally goes on show

A sloth has finally gone on show at Bristol Zoo Gardens after 10 months of hand-rearing. The mammal – named Sid after a character in Ice Age – was born last April, weighing just 500g. Her mother, Light Cap, was taken ill after giving birth, which prevented her from caring for her baby.

Bakewell turns her fire on Oliver

Jamie Oliver has been accused by Dame Joan Bakewell of not doing enough to help save his local Chalk Farm library, which is threatened with closure. "Jamie Oliver's children use Chalk Farm Library. He won't join the appeal to save it. Shame!" Dame Joan tweeted.

Man survives after boulder crushes car

A man has survived after his car was crushed under the weight of a 20-ton boulder which fell onto the roof as he was driving through the Arly Gorge in the French Alps this week. "I remember the impact of the rock... I immediately lost consciousness," said Ludovic Masciave.

£5 coin released for 100th anniversary

The Royal Mint has released a £5 coin to mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's doomed maiden voyage in 1912. Lee Robert Jones's design depicts Thane, the female figure depicted in the Titanic Memorial in Belfast, looking down at the ship sailing through the Atlantic Ocean.