The News Matrix: Friday 20 January 2012

 

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The Independent Online

Fewer offences but murder rate soars

Crime fell by 4 per cent last year, but the number of knife attacks and murders rose sharply, figures show. In the year to 30 September, 15,300 knifepoint robberies were recorded, an increase of 10 per cent on 2010. Half of the country's muggings took place in London. MORE

Online piracy bill loses key backers

Eight US lawmakers have withdrawn support for the online copyright infringement bills that prompted the temporary shutdown of the Wikipedia website this week. Among those backing away from the plans include two key sponsors of the Senate's "Protect Intellectual Property Act". MORE

Rick Perry drops out of Republican race

The field of contenders for the Republican Party's nomination for the US Presidential elections narrowed yesterday after the Texas Governor, Rick Perry, dropped out ahead of the next primary in South Carolina. MORE

Two explosions in Londonderry

There were two explosions at separate locations in Londonderry last night, police confirmed. The blasts were reported close to a tourist centre in Foyle Street and at Strand Road, close to the DHSS office. There were no reports of any injuries.

President's link with corruption debated

Pakistan's government has bowed to a Supreme Court demand to debate whether the President is immune from a past corruption case. It came after PM Yousuf Raza Gilani was threatened with contempt charges for failing to reopen a case against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Juror says online slip was not deliberate

A juror who searched online for details about a defendant accused of causing grievous bodily harm has claimed that she did not "deliberately" disobey the judge's instructions. Dr Theodora Dallas found out that Barry Medlock had previously been acquitted of rape and spread the news to her fellow jurors, leading to the trial's collapse. Judges have reserved their judgment. MORE

Bomb attack kills six people in Mogadishu

A bomb blast killed two police officers and four refugees close to a camp for displaced people in Mogadishu yesterday. A senior police officer said the explosion happened in the capital's Wadajir district, targeting a police checkpoint.

Lithuanian suspect appears in court

The man charged with murdering a Birmingham couple found dead in their home has appeared in court. Rimvydas Liorancas, 37, from Lithuania, used an interpreter to confirm his name and address. MORE

Big Chill's cold feet after Olympics clash

The Big Chill festival has been cancelled this year as it clashed with the Olympics and was short of bands. An organiser said the Hertfordshire event wasn't able to move its date, and that "the artist availability and confirmations we were achieving led me to conclude that I couldn't risk going ahead with the event this year."

Robin Gibb to make Titanic album

Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb is making an album to mark the centenary of the Titanic disaster. Gibb, who was diagnosed with cancer last year, said it had put him "on the road to recovery".

Voltaire's letters link to British aristocracy

Letters by the French philosopher Voltaire have shed new light on his interactions with the British aristocracy. The letters – one of which is the first to have been signed with his name – explain how he was exposed to ideas of the Enlightenment while in Britain, according to Oxford University's Professor Nicholas Cronk.

Who needs an iPad... RedPad drives state

Communist party members in China have an alternative to the bourgeois iPad: the Android-based RedPad Number One is loaded with software to meet the needs of party officials, bureaucrats and managers of China's state-owned companies. But at £1,025 a time, non-capitalist technology doesn't come cheap. MORE

Mystery of 'Poe Toaster' unsolved

It appears the annual visits to Edgar Allen Poe's grave in Baltimore by the so-called Poe Toaster have come to an end. The anonymous man, who for decades left roses and cognac on the author's birthday, failed to show for the third year in a row yesterday.

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