The News Matrix: Friday 20 March 2015


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The Independent Online

Half our children have bad teeth

Nearly half of eight-year-olds have tooth decay, according to new research. The first Children’s Dental Health Survey since 2003 also found that more children in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are brushing their teeth than 10 years ago but fewer are having check-ups.

Coalition has ‘made a fairer society’

Liberal Democrats have played a key role building a “stronger economy” and a “fairer society” as part of the Coalition, Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish Secretary, will say today. He will also insist the Liberal Democrats can retain all 11 of their Scottish seats at Westminster in May’s election.

Netanyahu U-turn on Palestinian state

Newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backtracked from hard-line statements against establishing a Palestinian state, in an apparent effort to contain a diplomatic backlash yesterday. “I want a sustainable peaceful two-state solution but for that circumstances have to change,” he said. AP

Government told to address air pollution

The Government must step up its efforts to combat air pollution, doctors have insisted, following another day of warnings over the heavy smog cloaking many areas of the UK. The polluted air could cause fatal asthma attacks, said experts, who advised the elderly and the unwell to be cautious.

Polar bear injures man in eclipse party

A polar bear injured a foreign tourist on an Arctic island off Norway as thousands of visitors prepared for today’s solar eclipse. The bear was shot dead, and the man was flown to hospital in Longyearbyen, the main settlement on Svalbard, a police spokesman said. The injuries were not life-threatening, he added.

Former premier to stand trial

Thailand’s Supreme Court has announced that former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will stand trial for her role in a rice subsidy programme spearheaded by her ousted government that lost billions of dollars. The move is likely to deepen the long-running political crisis in the military-ruled nation.

Top firms want cycling prioritised

Leaders of Britain’s main political parties have been urged to “make cycling a priority” in future transport strategies by several of the country’s major businesses. Representatives from Orange, National Grid and Santander are among the signatories of the letter which states that cycling helps business.

Kremlin says Putin will visit China

President Vladimir Putin is to visit China in September, the Russian news agency Interfax reported yesterday, citing the Kremlin’s  chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov. A Russian government delegation  had been invited to visit to mark 70 years since the end of the Second World War.

Homeless teens ‘let down’ by councils 

Thousands of homeless teenagers are being turned away by councils, putting them at risk of exploitation and crime, a charity has warned. The Children’s Society said that councils were “breaking the law” by failing to follow statutory guidance and assess 16 and 17-year-olds who present themselves as homeless.

We’re fond of Royal Family, says Obama

President Barack Obama says the American people are “quite fond” of the British Royal Family and like them more than their own politicians. He whispered this to the Prince of Wales in the Oval Office yesterday as the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall paid a courtesy call during a four-day visit to the US.

Mushroom glows to attract insects

A type of mushroom glows to attract insects that can spread its spores, a new study has found. The green light of the Brazilian forest fungus, Neonothopanus gardneri, acts like the petals of flowers. The Greek philosopher Aristotle noted the phenomenon and was the first person to question why it occurred.

Man hatches plan to post prehistoric egg

An Italian man has been caught trying to send a giant prehistoric egg worth more than £65,000 to the United States, Italian customs officials said. Authorities at Bergamo Airport in the country’s north-east discovered the  20inch-long egg in a parcel  destined for Los Angeles.

Wizard addition to topical news quiz

Daniel Radcliffe has been lined up to host an episode of the long-running satire show Have I Got News for You next month. The actor, who shot to fame playing Harry Potter in the films based on JK Rowling’s books, will take the hot seat in the first episode of the 49th series of the  BBC show.