The News Matrix: Friday 22 March 2013


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The Independent Online

Holy Switcheroo! Batman takes control

One of the Vatican's Twitter accounts and its communications office website had stories about Batman yesterday with the headline "Holy Switcheroo!". But two Vatican officials said the site hadn't been hacked by pranksters – the reason for the unusual posting was an "internal system failure".

Teacher found dead after sex change

A primary school teacher who changed sex to begin the new term at St Mary Magdalen's Church of England Primary School in Accrington, Lancashire, as a woman has been found dead. The death of Lucy Meadows is not being treated as suspicious.

Grandma banned from rugby club

A grandmother has been banned from her village rugby club for loutish behaviour. Lillian Mort, 74, a fan of Pyle Rugby Club, near Bridgend in south Wales, won't be able to watch her team's matches for three months. The pensioner has tried to get around the ban by peering through the steel railings around the field.

Kurdish rebel leader calls for ceasefire

In an important step toward ending one of the world's longest insurgencies, the jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan has called for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of thousands of his fighters from Turkey. MORE

Gillard unchallenged in power struggle

Australia's government further damaged its public image yesterday with an internal power struggle in which Prime Minister Julia Gillard was forced to open her job to challengers only to find that no one from her party would run against her. MORE

Deadly mamba missing from zoo

The Pretoria Zoo is going to use infrared cameras to search for a two-metre-long black mamba snake that escaped from its enclosure a week ago. The zoo said the missing snake was probably in the roof of a service building behind its terrarium. The mamba is one of the world's fastest and most venomous snakes.

iPlayer to host its own original dramas

The BBC's iPlayer will soon play host to its own original dramas. Six short films, commissioned especially for the online streaming service, will be screened over the next two years to showcase "up and coming talent". House of Cards, a drama created for the pay-to-view site Netflix, was a recent critical success.

Stroke puts Duke of Kent in hospital

The Duke of Kent, the Queen's cousin, has suffered a mild stroke, Buckingham Palace disclosed yesterday.

The 77-year-old royal was taken to an undisclosed London hospital in the early hours of Monday where he was assessed by doctors.

Cardinal 'admits' gay sexual relationship

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the disgraced former head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, has reportedly confessed to a "longstanding physical relationship" with one of the men whose allegations led to his resignation. The length of the relationship could explain why he referred to his time as a "priest, bishop and cardinal" when he apologised earlier this month. MORE

Zip zip hurray for biggest ride

Visitors can fly at 95mph on a mile-long zipwire, up to 700ft above the ground, at Penrhyn Quarry in Snowdonia, when Zip World officially opens to the public tomorrow. It is the largest such attraction in the northern hemisphere. Views on a clear day include the Isle of Anglesey and even the Isle of Man.