The News Matrix: Friday 18 January 2013


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The Independent Online

Police study claims of MPs' child sex ring

Scotland Yard has launched an inquiry into claims that a paedophile ring including Conservative MPs abused children in care in the 1980s. Operation Fernbridge will study allegations that offences were committed at Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London. MORE

Sun's crime writer is arrest No 22

The Sun's crime correspondent was arrested yesterday as part of Scotland Yard's investigation into corrupt payments to public officials. Anthony France is the 22nd Sun journalist arrested under Operation Elveden. His arrest sent shockwaves through the Sun newsroom. MORE

Pilot may have been 'changing channel'

The pilot who died when his helicopter crashed in London on Wednesday may have been trying to switch frequency on his radio at the time, experts said. Pete Barnes, who had 20 years of flying experience, was collided with a crane in thick fog at Vauxhall. The crash took place at the point where pilots nearing Battersea heliport were asked to change air-traffic-control channels. MORE

Father walks out of McCluskie trial

The father of the former EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie walked out of court yesterday as details were given about her murder. Tony McCluskie Sr was not present as it was revealed his son Tony , 35, cut his sister's body into six pieces with a cleaver. He admits killing her but claims he has no memory of it.

Badgers 'attacking' flood defences

Badgers are putting villagers at risk by digging through flood defences, parish leaders have claimed. Residents of Congresbury, Somerset, called on the Environment Agency to stop the badgers attacking the riverside defences, which constantly leak water despite a concrete bank and the use of metal sheeting.

Allergic vicar forced to leave his parish

A vicar has been forced to leave his job because he was allergic to the lilies used in floral tributes at funerals. The Rev Ian Gobey has bid farewell to parishioners at St Peter and St Paul in Westbury-on-Severn, near Gloucester, on doctor's advice. "It's a shame because I enjoy so many aspects of the job," he said.

Just desserts for Oscar-less Cotillard

She may have missed out on an Oscar nomination for her performance as a double amputee in the drama Rust And Bone, but Marion Cotillard has been awarded an equally famous acting prize. She will collect Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatrical Society's Woman of the Year award later this month.

India: Gang rape trial to start next week

The gang rape and murder case that shocked India has been moved to a fast-track court for trial. Lawyers for the defendants, accused of brutally killing a 23-year-old woman in Delhi, say the case will start on Monday. A sixth suspect, thought to be 17, will be tried in a youth court if it is confirmed he is a minor.

Pakistan: Cleric agrees to end mass protest

Tahirul ul-Qadri has agreed to end his mass protest against the Pakistani government. Demonstrators who joined the cleric's sit-in at Islamabad have called for the resignation of the government, which was thrown into chaos following a court order to arrest the Prime Minister.

USA: Mystery of severed heads is solved

A shipment of 18 human heads intercepted at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport came from bodies donated for research and were being transported for disposal, investigators have determined. They arrived on a flight from Italy on Monday. They were sent to the Cook County Medical Examiner for safekeeping.

Russia: Fear of mafia wars after boss is killed

The assassination of one of Russia's biggest mafia bosses in Moscow could lead to the return of the bloody gangland wars of the 1990s, it is feared. Aslan Usoyan, 75, was shot in the head on Wednesday. MORE

USA: School for hunting drug lords is set up 

America is setting up a special operations headquarters to teach Mexican security forces how to hunt down the drug cartels that have terrorised the country's northern states. Agents will be taught to target criminals in the same manner as US forces track al-Qa'ida.

Australia: Gold-digger finds £200,000 nugget

An amateur prospector has found a gold nugget worth almost £200,000. He discovered the 5.5kg nugget using a handheld metal detector in Ballarat, in Victoria state. "We are 162 years into a gold rush and Ballarat is still producing nuggets – it's unheard of," said the owner of the local mining exchange shop.