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The News Matrix: Friday 20 April 2012

Regime accused of flouting peace plan

Bashar al-Assad's regime was accused of flouting the Kofi Annan plan for ending the violence in Syria yesterday, with the Foreign Secretary William Hague warning that punitive action can be taken if it is in breach of the United Nations resolution on the crisis. MORE

Ryanair to charge a take-off tax

It's no secret that booking your flight on a low-cost airline comes complete with costly extras, but Ryanair has warned passengers who have booked tickets to Spain that they could be charged a take-off tax. The company said the tax was down to "ludicrous" measures in Spain's budget. MORE

Life sentences for men who shot girl, 5

Three gang members who showed not one "sliver of remorse" over shooting a five-year-old girl, leaving her paralysed, were jailed for life at the Old Bailey yesterday. Nathaniel Grant, Anthony McCalla and Kazeem Kolawole, aged 19-21, face a total of 45 years. MORE

Killer boasts of plan to behead former PM

Anders Behring Breivik yesterday boasted of his plans to behead former prime minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland and post a video of the crime on the internet. It also emerged that Breivik, 33, "trained" for the attacks by playing the computer game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. MORE

President threatens South Sudan with war

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir all but declared war against his newly independent neighbour yesterday, vowing to teach South Sudan a "final lesson by force" after it occupied a disputed oil field. MORE

Chaotic start toriot killings trial

The murder trial of eight men accused of driving at and killing three men trying to protect the streets of Birmingham from rioters last summer descended into chaos yesterday after a heated argument in the public gallery. Mr Justice Flaux ordered that the court be cleared when the screening of CCTV footage of the incident from 10 August led to an altercation. MORE

Don't vote for Ken, says Lord Sugar

Labour peer Lord Sugar has urged his 1.85 million Twitter followers to snub Ken Livingstone in the London mayoral elections on 3 May. "I don't care if Ed Miliband is backing Livingstone," he tweeted. "I seriously suggest NO ONE votes for Livingstone in the Mayoral elections."

Rock legend Helm loses cancer battle

Levon Helm, singer and drummer for rock group The Band has died at a New York hospital, aged 71. He was battling throat cancer and died "with dignity", said guitarist Larry Campbell. Mr Helm was the drummer with Bob Dylan's backing band before a celebrated career with The Band.

Child abuse victims start new campaign

Victims of child abuse by Anglican and Catholic priests have called for an independent inquiry that could order the release of documents held about clergy linked to sexual exploitation. Members of the Stop Church Child Abuse campaign include abuse survivors, lawyers and charities. MORE

30 die in anti-Shia bomb attacks

Bombs ripped through 10 Iraqi cities yesterday, killing at least 30 people and shattering a month of relative calm. Minority lawmakers decried the violence as a tragic but inevitable result of the Shia-led government's attempts to dominate Iraqi politics.

Far-right Le Pen rising in the polls

Two days before the first round of the French presidential election, the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen is rising in the polls. But she is behind Nicolas Sarkozy, on 24 to 28 per cent and the favourite, François Hollande, polling between 27.5 and 29.5 per cent. MORE

Brand to tell MPs about addict days

Comedian Russell Brand will draw on his own experiences of addiction in giving evidence before a Select Committee on drugs policy. The comedian will appear before a panel of MPs on 24 April, alongside Chip Somers, chief executive of detox centre Focus 12.

Surgery by torchlight as power shuts down

A health board is taking legal advice after a surgeon had to finish an operation by torchlight when maintenance workers switched off the power. Two operating theatres at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary were affected by the incident, which happened on 29 March.

Anti-racism exhibition opens

America's largest public collection of artifacts spanning the segregation era, from Reconstruction until the civil rights movement, is to go on display. The exhibition at Ferris State University in Michigan "is all about teaching, not a shrine to racism," said founder and curator David Pilgrim.

Putin won't put up with Pussy punks

Three female punk rockers who mocked Vladimir Putin in a protest inside Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February will be kept in jail. Members of the feminist band Pussy Riot seized the pulpit and chanted: "Mother Mary, drive Putin away."

Vienna drives racist mayor off the map

The name of an anti-Semitic mayor of Vienna is being removed from part of the city's Ringstrasse ring road in a move praised by Jewish leaders. The section called Dr Karl Lueger-Ring will be renamed Universitätsring (University Ring) after the university located in that section of the street.

British butterflies come fluttering back

Some of Britain's rarest butterflies have received an unlikely boost to their numbers thanks to the clement spring weather. The duke of Burgundy increased its population by 65 per cent in one year. However, other species fared less well. The white admiral recorded a 51 per cent fall. MORE

Space shuttle is handed to museum

NASA has handed the space shuttle Discovery to the Smithsonian Institution. Astronauts including John Glenn and thousands of spectators greeted the orbiter as she arrived at the museum in Washington DC. The craft will represent the 30-year shuttle programme.

Starkey under fire for Hitler remark

Controversial historian Dr David Starkey described Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond as a "Caledonian Hitler" at a think-tank debate on Wednesday, sparking cross-party condemnation. A spokesman for Mr Salmond said: "This offensive nonsense is actually an insult to Scotland."

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