The News Matrix: Friday 21 November 2014


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Labour will scrap benefits targets

A Labour government would scrap any targets for Jobcentre Plus staff to reduce or stop a certain number of  benefit claims, the party announced yesterday. An  increase in such “benefit sanctions” has been cited as one reason why more people are visiting food banks, although the Government denies setting a national target to cut a proportion of handouts.

Obama immigration amnesty unveiled

Barack Obama was last night preparing to press ahead with overhauling the enforcement of immigration laws. In a TV address, he was expected to unveil executive orders protecting as many as five million undocumented immigrants from threat of deportation.

Comprehensives just as good as grammars 

Working-class pupils are just as likely to obtain a degree after attending a comprehensive school as a grammar school, according to new research. The findings contradict claims that bringing back grammar schools would improve social mobility.

Innocent man served 39 years

A judge has exonerated a man convicted of aggravated murder after the only prosecution witness in his trial admitted his testimony was false. Ricky Jackson, 59, is expected to be released today after spending 39 years in prison for the killing in Cleveland, Ohio, in May 1975.

Russian site shows live UK webcams

The head of Britain’s data privacy watchdog has admitted that a Russian website streaming footage from 584 webcams and video-streaming devices installed across the UK cannot be quickly shut down. Owners have been advised to urgently reset passwords.

Florida gunman shot by police was lawyer

The gunman who shot three people at Florida State University’s library early yesterday before being killed by police was a lawyer who graduated from the school. Myron May was killed after he shot three people. Two are in hospital and one has been released.

Club retracts Ched Evans training offer

Sheffield United have retracted their offer to former player and convicted rapist Ched Evans to use their facilities for training purposes, the club said last night. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is MP for Sheffield Hallam, tweeted: “A sensible decision.”

‘Graduate’ director Mike Nichols dies

Mike Nichols, the Oscar-winning director of the 1967 film The Graduate, died on Wednesday from a cardiac arrest at the age of 83. The director was a winner of all four major US entertainment awards: an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

President may pardon journalists

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi may pardon two of the three Al Jazeera journalists jailed for “spreading lies” to help the Muslim Brotherhood. Mr Sisi issued a decree allowing him to repatriate foreign prisoners. Peter Greste is Australian  and Mohamed Fahmy is Canadian-Egyptian.

Science lessons ‘need to go with a bang’

Explosive experiments should be used to engage children in science at school, the Fast Show creator Charlie Higson has argued. A “neurotic” attitude towards health and safety is restricting children’s curiosity, said Higson, who has adapted the Professor Branestawm stories for a new BBC1 Christmas drama.

Permission to grow moustache granted

Colombian police no longer have to wait until they reach the top ranks to grow a moustache. Since 1997, a code of conduct gave only officers above the rank of lieutenant the right to sport a little hair above their top lip. Rather than shave, lower-ranking officers decided to sue and Colombia’s state council has sided with them.

Duchess of Alba dies aged 88

The world’s most-titled aristocrat and Spain’s richest noble, the 18th Duchess of Alba, has died aged 88. She is said to have owned so much land that she could have walked from one side of the country to the other without stepping off her property. She was admitted to hospital with pneumonia.

World’s fastest digger clocks 72mph

A JCB has been crowned the fastest digger in the world after reaching 72mph. The Staffordshire-built specially-modified JCB GT construction vehicle took the title of fastest backhoe loader during an attempt at Bathurst, near Sydney, Australia, Guinness World Records confirmed yesterday.

All-star version of Lennon’s Imagine

Hot on the heels of Band Aid 30, actor Idris Elba, singer Craig David and model Suki Waterhouse (below) are among UK celebrities who have recorded an interactive version of John Lennon’s Imagine as part of a Unicef campaign. The single has been launched to celebrate 25 years of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.