The News Matrix: Friday 20 February 2015


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The Independent Online

‘Medicinal cannibis should be legal’

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said cannabis should be available in a “straightforward legal way” where there is a “proven medicinal use”. However, speaking on LBC Radio, he said legalisation should not be extended to skunk, the stronger form of cannabis, following new research from King’s College London, which found that it tripled the likelihood of having a psychotic episode.

Pact with US to train anti-Isis Syria rebels

Turkey and the United States signed an agreement yesterday to train and arm Syrian rebels fighting Isis, said the US embassy in Ankara. The two countries have been in talks about such a pact for several months. The Turkish government has said the training could begin next month.

Turbine plan near Boathouse dropped

The High Court has quashed plans to build a 147ft wind turbine opposite Dylan Thomas’s Boathouse in Laugharne, after campaigners protested it would ruin the view from the house. Judge Andrew Gilbart, QC ordered Carmarthenshire County Council to pay £21,275.

State calls on UN to lift arms embargo

The government is seeking the lifting of an arms embargo as it faces a growing Islamist threat. The request was made at an emergency session the UN Security Council. It has raised questions about the risks of arming a country riven with competing militias.

Sharp rise in male suicide numbers

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show 6,233 people over the age of 15 committed suicide in 2013 – a four per cent increase on the previous year. The suicide rate for men is more than three times higher than for women. Austerity measures have been linked to the rise.

Muslims’ ‘ring of peace’ at synagogue

After a series of attacks against Jews in Europe, about 1,500 young Muslims plan to form a “ring of peace” around a synagogue in Oslo. Organisers said: “Muslims want to show that we strongly reject any type of anti-Semitism and that we are here to support them.”

One in four academy heads leave post

In the last year, one in four head teachers at academies left due to retirement or because they were removed by governing bodies. Brian Lightman of the Association of School and College Leaders said: “We need to provide appropriate levels of support for school leaders.”

‘Michelangelo of buttocks injections’

A rapper who performed unlicensed cosmetic surgery told a Philadelphia court that clients called her “the Michelangelo of buttocks injections”. Padge Victoria Windslowe is accused of killing a dancer in a procedure involving silicone and Krazy Glue.

Man, 19, plotted to behead UK soldier

A 19-year-old who was arrested while on his way to behead a soldier in 2014 has been found guilty of preparing a terrorist act by a jury at the Old Bailey. Brusthom Ziamani had been inspired by the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby.

Charity shop watch becomes timely find

A man in Arizona made $35,000 after selling a Jaeger LeCoultre watch he bought in a charity shop for $5.99. Zach Norris went into the shop looking for a golf cart, but bought the watch because he recognised the name. What he didn’t realise was that it was a LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm from circa 1959.

Drug trafficker admits donations

A convicted drug trafficker and former captain of the Dominican Republic’s army told a local TV station yesterday that he donated millions of dollars to former president Leonel Fernandez. Quirino Ernesto Paulino said he donated some $4.6m in cash from 2002 to 2004 that was delivered in suitcases.

Woman gets name change to order

A woman has successfully changed her name to all 26 letters of the alphabet, after a bureaucratic battle. The woman, a university art lecturer formally named Ladyzunga Cyborg, said she wanted a name that nobody else had. The Colombian National Registry refused her request several times after she first made it in 2012.

Wanted: Queen Elsa, aka the Frozen felon

The cold may not bother Queen Elsa, but it’s wreaking enough havoc in Kentucky that a police department announced a joke warrant for the Frozen character’s arrest. Police in the town of Harlan posted the Facebook message: “Suspect is a blonde female…  As you can see by the weather she is very dangerous.”

‘Crucified’ Doherty goes on display

A life-size sculpture of singer Pete Doherty being crucified goes on show in London’s St Marylebone parish church today. It is part of the exhibition Stations of the Cross designed by art curator Ben Moore. The show will go towards  a fund to help find Mr Moore’s brother Tom, who disappeared in 2003.