The News Matrix: Friday 21 February 2014


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The Independent Online

Britain faces fine over city pollution

Fines of up to £300m a year may be levied against the UK over its failure to cut levels of a gas believed to cause premature death and affect children’s lung growth. The European Commission said yesterday that it was taking legal action against Britain because it had not managed to reduce the amount of nitrogen dioxide to agreed limits. MORE

Families reunited after decades apart

Families torn apart during the Korean War were reunited yesterday at Diamond Mountain Resort in North Korea. The event is a first since 2010. Many of those reunited had gone decades without communication and the majority are in their 80s and 90s.

Cancer drug extends lives of women

A drug that cuts blood supply to tumours can extend the lives of women with advanced cervical cancer, a study shows. Avastin increased the number responding to therapy from 36 per cent to almost half, and life expectancy increased from 13.3 months with just chemotherapy to 17 months.

Fukushima water leak was contained

Radioactive water that leaked from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in 2011 did not reach the Pacific, the Tokyo Power and Electric Company says. The operator said 100 tons of contaminated water escaped from a drainage pipe, but workers contained the leak.

UK military second most LGBT-friendly

The UK military is the world’s second most LGBT-friendly in the world, according to a think tank. The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies has ranked over 100 armed forces by its inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender personnel. New Zealand came in at number one.

Beauty queen dies  in Caracas violence

A beauty queen in Venezuela died from a gunshot wound as a result of political unrest. This is the fifth fatality in Caracas after opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez urged protesters to oust the government. MORE

New war of words at Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park, the estate where codebreakers helped to win the Second World War for the Allies, is the scene of a dispute over a fence nicknamed the “Berlin Wall”. Andrew Spencer, of the National Museum of Computing, said the fence, put up by Bletchley Park Trust, was “no ordinary fence”. MORE

Alleged death camp guards arrested

The homes of nine elderly men have been raided on suspicion that they served as SS guards at the Auschwitz death camp. Three of the men were arrested on allegations of accessory to murder. The raids come after authorities said they would investigate former guards at Nazi death camps.

Play with Snowden and Assange is creating action figures of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. Snowden’s head will be placed on a 12-inch action figure costing from $99 (£59). All profits from the Snowden figure will go to the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Proceeds from the Assange figure will go to Wikileaks.

Order a pint while watching rugby

The days of half-time queues may be over from tomorrow as rugby fans at the Six Nations England vs Ireland match will be able to pre-order refreshments using their mobile phones for the first time. The Rugby Football Union hopes the system will “enhance the match-day experience for fans”.

Three, two, one... you’re a Barbie

A woman in California is using hypnotherapy to decrease her IQ. Blondie Bennett, 38, told the  Huffington Post she hoped to become the “ultimate Barbie doll” and desires to be “completely plastic”. Ms Bennett has spent £25,000 on five breast augmentations and has three hypnotherapy sessions each week.

Binned cookie art mistaken for crumbs

A cleaning woman in southern Italy unknowingly threw out pieces of modern art that were part of an exhibition. The woman believed the works, which included pieces of cookies scattered on the floor, were left behind by those setting up the exhibition and proceeded to throw them in the bin. The cleaning company is using its insurance to pay for the rubbished works, which were valued at an estimated €10,000.

Is 50p in your pocket worth £120?

People all over Britain are being advised to check their small change after an “incredibly rare” 50p coin, worth up to £120, was identified by the Royal Mint. The Kew Garden commemorative coin – which is believed to be just one in 300 – bears the dates 1759 and 2009 and the word “Kew” at the bottom.