The News Matrix: Friday 19 August 2011

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The Independent Online

Teenagers arrested over stabbing

Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with the murder of a 14-year-old boy who was stabbed to death in north London. Leroy James died from a single stab wound in Enfield. His father said he did not know why anyone would want to hurt his “quiet” son. MORE

Four killed in storm at music festival

A storm hit an open-air music festival in Belgium last night, killing at least four people. Video from the site showed stage equipment dangling in high winds as rain-soaked concertgoers ran for cover. The storm hit the Pukkelpop festival near the town of Hasselt.

Ministers splash out £50,000 on offices

The Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, spent nearly £5,000 of his department’s money re-upholstering four sofas and a chair in his ministerial office, it was revealed yesterday. The bill is part of a total of almost £50,000 for ministerial office refits since the Coalition came to power.

Nutritionists attack children’s diet book

A diet book for six-year-olds with a cover featuring a plump child holding a skinny frock in front of the mirror has been attacked by nutrition experts. Maggie Goes On A Diet by Paul Kramer is due for publication in the US in October but is already listed on booksellers’ websites. MORE

Rebels claim to have captured oil plant

Rebel fighters in the key Libyan town of Zawiyah last night claimed to have taken its oil refinery, the one remaining functional plant in Libya. Fighting in the town has claimed at least 85 lives as troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi fight to hang on to one of the last centres on the road to Tripoli. MORE

Jihadist ‘cut tongue’ threat to Letterman

US talkshow host David Letterman should have his tongue cut out, according to a contributor to jihadist websites, who has taken offence at the CBS star’s jokes. Umar al-Basrawi said he was reacting to what Letterman did after the US killed al-Qa’ida leader Ilyas Kashmiri. MORE

Diana Lamplugh dies from a stroke

The mother of murdered estate agent Suzy Lamplugh has died. Diana Lamplugh, OBE who dedicated her life to campaigning for safety after her daughter went missing in 1986, suffered a stroke. She was 75.

Railway spokesman exiled to Poland

It’s “more relaxed” in Poland, which is where Wang Yongping, the former spokesman for China’s railway ministry, has been “transferred”, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Wang’s botched efforts to explain the high-speed crash that left 40 dead enraged the Chinese public. MORE

Border attack kills at least seven soldiers

At least seven member of the Israeli Defence Force were killed yesterday when the bus they were travelling in was attacked by suspected Islamic militants near the border with Egypt. The Sinai peninsula, which was the scene of fierce fighting between the two countries during the Yom Kippur war, has become increasingly lawless since the Egyptian uprising earlier this year. MORE

Cliff-plunge car ‘driven at high speed’

A car which plunged off a 330ft precipice on the Isle of Wight, killing a man and woman inside, was travelling so fast that it did not hit the cliff wall on its way down, coastguards said yesterday. The blue Renault Scenic was seen to drive off the edge of Culver Down cliffs.

Smuggled bees cause panic on jet

A hive of bees smuggled on to a plane by an airport official escaped in mid-flight – sparking panic among passengers. The insects were stashed in a box in a coat locker on the trip from Blagoveshchensk, Eastern Russia, to Moscow, a spokesman for Yakutia Airlines said. He added: “The passengers were in shock.”

Bonham Carter signs up for Gervais show

Helena Bonham Carter is to appear in Ricky Gervais’s new BBC sitcom about a dwarf. The actress joins a growing list of star names, including Liam Neeson and Johnny Depp, who have said they will appear in Life’s Too Short, which will air on BBC2 in October.

Return of Goods Act no dog gone good

A judge has ruled that a man who gave away his pet sausage dog after it bit his granddaughter cannot have the animal back. After regretting his decision, he tried to recover the dog under the Return of Goods Act.

Beau passes Lab test for numeracy

Beau, a black Labrador from Montana, is winning acclaim for his maths skills. His owner says if he tells Beau there are six dogs at the park and three leave, and asks how many are left, Beau replies: “Woof, woof, woof.”

Girl, 15, is youngest to get bionic fingers

A15-year-old girl from Swindon, Wiltshire, has become the youngest person in Europe to be fitted with bionic fingers. Chloe Holmes has never been able to pick up objects for herself after losing all her digits to septicaemia as a toddler.

Golden Girl Betty is most trusted star

Former Golden Girls actress Betty White really does have the Midas touch. The 89-year-old is the most popular and trusted celebrity with Americans and the person most likely to drive up the business of a brand, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

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