The News Matrix: Friday 20 June 2014


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The Independent Online

Labour to cut tax relief on pensions

Ed Miliband launched a blueprint for a “good society in tough times” yesterday, which included a  plan to reduce tax relief on  pensions by £2bn a year. The proposal follows a report by the IPPR think tank which argued that the £24bn a year spent on tax relief on pension contributions “disproportionately benefits those on higher incomes”. MORE

Teacher stabbed with a pencil

A 10-year-old schoolboy has been arrested after a teacher was stabbed with a pencil at a school in Wolverhampton on Wednesday morning. Police reported that the teacher “suffered a minor puncture wound to his arm” during an “altercation with a pupil”.

New President set to sign EU deal

The new president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, will sign an association agreement with the EU on 27 June. Viktor Yanukovych, his predecessor was overthrown in February after refusing to sign the same deal. Fighting continues between troops and pro-Russian rebels.

1 in 8 women smoke during pregnancy

One in eight women still smoke during pregnancy, new figures suggest, despite health guidance urging them to quit. While the overall figures dropped to an eight-year low, around 12 per cent of mothers-to-be in England classed themselves as smokers in 2013/14.

Felipe VI crowned in Madrid ceremony

Crown Prince Felipe has been crowned Felipe VI, King of Spain, following King Juan Carlos’ abdication. The new king was crowned in military uniform at a ceremony in Congress, followed by a procession through the streets of Madrid. MORE

Vancouver engulfed in transgender row

The Vancouver school board is introducing gender-neutral pronouns ‘xe’, ‘xem’, and ‘xyr’ to help support transgender students. Meanwhile, controversy is raging over its plans to introduce separate bathrooms for transgender students in all schools, including kindergartens.

Wales First Minister warns UK could end

The First Minister of Wales has warned that Scottish independence could prompt England to quit a union with the “expensive” Welsh and Northern Irish. Carwyn Jones called the possibility a “great danger”.

Police fight war in cannabis village

Over 10 tons of marijuana has been seized by police in Europe’s “cannabis capital”. Around 800 policemen are engaged in armed fighting with gangsters in the village of Lazarat, which is believed to produce 900 tons of the drug every year, worth around €4.5bn (£3.6bn).

Mortuary refuses body of 31 stone man

A funeral director was forced to store the body of a 31 stone man in her car overnight after a mortuary refused it because it was too large. Joanne Cummings dismissed claims that the body couldn’t fit in the hospital mortuary, saying: “I could probably put a baby elephant in one of those fridges.”

Council bans ‘wrong kind of bunting’

A town in the Yorkshire Dales has been ordered to remove lengths of knitted bunting by the local council because of health and safety fears. Residents of Masham were told to take down the decoration, which was put in place to celebrate the Tour de France, in case the wool gets wet in the rain and “bends” the lamp posts.

Woman hounded over ‘gecko baby’

A woman has been accused of witchcraft after allegedly giving birth to a gecko. Debi Nubatonis from Oenuntono was threatened by a mob after her midwife filed a report at the local health centre, claiming she had given birth to the reptile. Officials have been sent in to clear up the allegations.

President caught napping on TV

One of the country’s main television stations has been banned from covering presidential events after it aired footage of President Museveni snoozing in parliament. The government media centre manager denied that Mr Museveni was asleep, saying: “The President has habits: he meditates and they know it.”

Flamingo chicks  in the pink

A record number of flamingo chicks are being reared in Gloucestershire. A total of 35 baby birds are being raised at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge. The wetland centre’s flock is the largest in Europe with 245 birds, and the number of newborns has helped smash the previous record of 25 set in 2010.