The News Matrix: Friday 19 December 2014


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The Independent Online

Collapse in oil price to hit Scotland

Aberdeen could suffer devastating job cuts according to analysts, after warnings that the North Sea oil industry is “close to collapse” because of the dramatic fall in oil prices. The Granite City was unaffected by the recent recession thanks to the rigs off its shores, but oil firms and service providers have started cutting staff after prices dropped to $60 (£38) a barrel.

Councils told to save further £2.5bn

New limits imposed on council spending are unfairly targeting the poor, according to analysis. The Government laid out the details of £2.5bn of further savings, with the Local Government Chronicle finding that inner-city areas were far more affected than rural ones.

Wilders faces more race-hate charges

Dutch authorities say they will prosecute politician Geert Wilders for an alleged hate speech over a chant in which he asked his supporters whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands and they shouted back “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!”

Man ‘who saw ex-MP kill boy is credible’

Scotland Yard has said that the man who came forward to claim he witnessed an ex-Tory MP strangle a boy is a credible witness. The man – known only as Nick – says he saw three killings by members of a VIP paedophile ring, by which he himself claims to have been abused. Page 11

The British public should recognise Radio 4 as a “modern” station, its controller has said. Gwyneth Williams made the comments while unveiling a collaboration with the ideas-based conference organisation TED. It is the latest initiative designed to expand the station’s digital reach.

Putin says economy will bounce back

President Vladimir Putin assured Russians yesterday the economy would rebound after the rouble’s dramatic slide this year. Putin blamed the problems on external factors and said the crisis over Ukraine was caused by the  West.

Boy’s death sentence from 1944 quashed

More than 70 years after South Carolina sent a 14-year-old black boy to the electric chair after two white girls were killed, a judge threw out the conviction, calling it a great injustice. George Stinney was arrested, convicted of murder in a one-day trial and executed in 1944.

Westwood protests in Downing Street

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and her son Joseph Corré tried to deliver a parcel of asbestos to David Cameron in an anti-fracking protest. She said fracking could become “the next asbestos or thalidomide”.

Woman stabbed after parking row 

A 45-year-old woman involved in a bitter dispute over a parking space has been found stabbed to death near her home. Police arrested a 48-year-old man after the woman suffered fatal injuries in a street in Harrow, north London, at about 7.45am yesterday.

CS Lewis letter fetches thousands

An unpublished letter penned by CS Lewis has sold for £4,600 at auction in Gloucestershire – more than three times the original estimate. The two-page note dated 19 August 1945 and addressed to a Mrs Ellis deals with the subject of joy. It was found by its owner in a copy of Lewis’s book, The Problem of Pain, bought years earlier.

Now Sherlock’s set for Broadway

The Sherlock Holmes craze on both sides of the Atlantic shows no signs of abating with producers saying yesterday that a play about the detective will come to Broadway in 2017. Sherlock Holmes is being billed as an original tale offering “a new and deeply theatrical exploration of the mind of the famous detective.”

Bristol top of tree for festive decorations

Bristol is the most festive place in the UK, with its residents buying more seasonal products, including tinsel, decorations and Father Christmas costumes than anywhere else in the country, according to online retailer Amazon. In second place was Southampton and third was Peterborough.

Balls hits all the right notes under stress

Ed Balls has passed his Grade 4 piano exam with flying colours. The shadow Chancellor took the test two days after responding to George Osborne’s Autumn Statement – and scored 17 out of 18 for sight-reading. He said beforehand that the piano exam would be “far more stressful” than his Commons appearance.

Auto-barn: hoard of classic cars found

Dozens of classic cars are set to go to auction in Paris next year after being found in a barn decades after being “lost”. Their estimated individual value  ranges from a modest €500 to many millions. Auctioneer Matthieu Lamoure said the find was “a case of waking up sleeping beauty”.