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The News Matrix: Friday 2 March 2012

Hacking officers links to Wapping

Two senior Scotland Yard officers who dismissed the scale of hacking at the News of the World had a close relationship with some journalists who were later arrested for alleged crimes at the paper, the Leveson Inquiry has heard. John Yates, the former Assistant Commissioner, had eight meetings with ex-deputy editor Neil Wallis. MORE

Fury after wildlife chief bags a lion

The president of a Californian wildlife commission has sparked outrage after he was photographed with the carcass of a dead mountain lion. Mountain lions are protected in California and have been off-limits to hunters for 20 years. However, it is legal to hunt them in Idaho, where Daniel W Richards shot the animal.

Head of ANC Youth League expelled

Julius Malema, the firebrand former head of the ANC Youth League has finally been expelled from the party after a history of challenging his superiors and supporting controversial policies. He has been a thorn in the side of the elders running the African National Congress for years.

Last-ditch effort to save Vauxhall plant

The Government has made a last-minute appeal to car maker GM not to close its Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, in an attempt to prevent the loss of the 2,100 jobs there. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, returned yesterday from a visit to New York, where he pleaded with GM bosses to spare the factory. MORE

It's three for tea as the royals pop by

The three royal leading ladies popped into the Queen's grocer yesterday for an English tea party. The Queen, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall, took tea at Fortnum & Mason.

Acne antibiotic may stop schizophrenia

A cheap antibiotic discovered 40 years ago is being tested as a treatment to prevent schizophrenia in a trial that could advance understanding of the illness. The Medical Research Council is funding a £1.9m trial of minocycline, normally prescribed to teenagers for acne. MORE

French journalists rescued from Homs

Two French journalists who were trapped in the Syrian city of Homs are now safely out, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said last night. Reporter Edith Bouvier, 31, and photojournalist William Daniels, 34, are now in Lebanon. Ms Bouvier was badly injured in the bombardment of a makeshift media centre last week. For more about Syria in crisis click HERE

Lifting of travel ban welcomed by NGO

A US pro-democracy NGO yesterday welcomed Egypt's decision to lift travel bans imposed on its staff, but said it remained concerned over Egypt's investigation of civil society groups and hopeful that all charges would be dropped. The International Republican Institute said it remained very concerned about the situation.

Brits speak out about Costa Allegra horror

British passengers spoke of the awful conditions on board after they finally left the stricken cruise ship Costa Allegra yesterday. The 31 Britons among the 627 passengers had to contend with no lights or air conditioning, broken toilets and basic provisions, with some surviving on bread and salami.

Economic pressure 'won't work on Iran'

Israel says the economic pressure that appears to have brought a dramatic breakthrough in nuclear negotiations with North Korea is unlikely to work on Iran. This gloomy assessment by Israel's deputy foreign minister came ahead of a visit to the White House by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Minister attacked over Sudoku affair

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has been criticised for playing Sudoku during a debate on Greece, becoming a lightning rod for the growing opposition in Germany to the latest bailout. His spokesman said Mr Schaeuble worked tirelessly for 10 days prior to the incident.

'Pink gun' comment central to sex case

A policewoman suing her force for sexual discrimination was asked if she wanted a "pink gun", a tribunal in London heard. The former firearms officer said she was asked the question by a Chief Inspector in North Yorkshire, who later apologised.

Suspected thief trapped by letterbox

A teenager who was found with his arm stuck in the letterbox of a house has been arrested on suspicion of attempted burglary. The 17-year-old was taken to a police station in Lisburn, near Belfast, with the letterbox still wedged to his hand. It was eventually removed.

Teenager facing charge for baby joke

US police say charges are pending against a teenager in Mississippi for pulling a prank on a friend when he advertised a free baby on Craigslist using the friend's mobile phone number on the contact information. Police Chief Don Byington said the posting was "a bad practical joke".

Honest mistake over gold chain

A Sotheby's expert made a "reasonable" decision when she said an aristocrat's gold chain was worth £35,000 three years before it sold for £260,000, a judge has ruled. During a High Court battle estimated to have cost £1m, Lord Coleridge argued that the auction house had misled him over its value.

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