The News Matrix: Friday 21 March 2014


Click to follow

RMT leader Crow’s funeral to be private

The funeral of rail union leader Bob Crow will be held on Monday, with the service being private, and a bigger event planned on May Day. The Rail, Maritime and Transport union said Mr Crow’s family has asked for the service at the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium to be private. But friends and colleagues will be invited to line the route of the funeral procession.

Junk food plugged 11 times an hour

Young people who watch prime-time TV are being “saturated” with junk food ads, the British Heart Foundation has warned. People who watch television between 8pm and 9pm can see as many as 11 junk food adverts an hour – up to 22 per cent of all adverts.

Sanctions imposed on 20 Russians

President Barack Obama has imposed sanctions on 20 Russian citizens, including members of President Vladimir Putin’s family, in retaliation for Moscow’s move to annex Crimea, and threatened broader economic penalties if Moscow moves further into Ukraine. MORE

Death claims against UK troops dropped

Claims that British soldiers unlawfully killed Iraqi civilians have been dropped after lawyers representing their alleged victims’ families admitted to a public inquiry there was no evidence it happened. The £22m Al-Sweady Inquiry has already heard more than a year of evidence.

War rape victims to receive benefits

Kosovo’s assembly has voted to allow about 20,000 victims of rape during the 1998-99 Kosovo war to receive health, housing and employment benefits. The move is the first attempt to deal with the thorny issue of Serb forces engaged in the systematic rape of ethnic Albanian women.

Netanyahu’s wife ‘verbally abused me’

A former member of staff  at the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has filed a lawsuit alleging he was verbally abused by the Israeli leader’s wife, Sara. MORE

Pistorius sells home to pay legal fees

Oscar Pistorius’s lawyer says the athlete is selling the Pretoria villa where he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to raise money for his legal bills. He is on trial charged with premeditated murder. Lawyer Brian Webber said he has not returned to the house since he shot Ms Steenkamp on 14 February last year.

Man avoids jail for euthanasia attempt

A 50-year-old man has avoided jail for trying to murder his terminally ill mother in an act of “attempted euthanasia”. Iain Harrison, from Weymouth, Dorset, pleaded guilty to attempted murder after he tried to smother Hope Harrison, 74, in her hospital bed. He was given a suspended two-year sentence.

The big cheese of the cheese world

A Swiss Emmental maker has won the 2014 World Championship Cheese Contest in Wisconsin. Gerard Sinnesberger took the top honour for his Schweizer Rohmilch Emmentaler, a large wheel of cheese which scored 97.85 out of 100. There were more than 2,600 entries from 22 countries.

#endoftheroad  for the hashtag?

Hashtags (#) and at-signs (@) may soon be phased out on Twitter for fear they put off new users, a company executive has hinted. Vivian Schiller, head of news at Twitter, said: “We are working on moving the scaffolding of Twitter into the background.”

Rare African lamb born in Kent

A British animal charity has welcomed the arrival of one of the world’s rarest breeds of sheep, normally found in Africa. The male Cameroon lamb weighed in at 1lb 4oz at Artisan Rare Breeds in Dartford, Kent this week. There are just over 650 of the domesticated animals  left in the world.

Library’s treasures to go online

A Japanese IT company has agreed to digitise 3,000 Vatican manuscripts in a deal to make some of the Catholic Church’s most historic documents available online. The Vatican Library, founded in 1451, is one of the world’s most important research libraries. It has 180,000 manuscripts and 1.6 million books.

Hytner swansong with new Stoppard

Sir Nicholas Hytner (below) will direct a new Tom Stoppard play as his farewell production at the National Theatre before stepping down in 2015. Details of the play – Sir Tom’s first at the National in more than a decade – are closely guarded, but Sir Nicholas said he had spent years “nagging” the playwright for new material.