The News Matrix: Friday 24 June 2011

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The Independent Online

Obama’s Afghan pull-out under fire

President Barack Obama’s decision to pull more than 30,000 US troops out of Afghanistan by 2012 ran into criticism yesterday, including a thinly veiled warning from the Pentagon that it could endanger the hard-won gains of nearly 10 years of war. MORE

Thousands still hit in Tesco Bank IT glitch

Tesco Bank customers remained unable to access their online accounts for a fourth day yesterday after a major computer fault. It follows the switching of 605,000 accounts from the Royal Bank of Scotland last weekend.

Teen superhacker appears in court

A teenager accused of a hacking attack on the website of the Serious Organised Crime Agency was remanded in police custody yesterday. Ryan Cleary, 19, from Wickford, Essex, made no plea to five charges at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Apple pulls plug on ‘anti-Israel’ app

The US computer giant Apple has pulled a Palestinian app at the request of Israel, which said it incited people to violence against the Jewish State. The Arabic-language app, ThirdIntifada, provides details of upcoming anti-Israel protests. MORE

Agencies criticised over infant’s death

Fourteen agencies missed the chance to save a three-year-old boy killed by those meant to be looking after him. Ryan Lovell-Hancox died from a brain injury in 2008. MORE

FBI gets its man as mob boss is caught

One of America’s most wanted men is finally behind bars, after an FBI manhunt ended with the arrest of James “Whitey” Bulger, the gangster boss whose amazing life story inspired several books and Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning film The Departed. The 81-year-old was living quietly alongside fellow retirees in Los Angeles. MORE

Former rail chief is given £1.6m pay-off

The former head of Network Rail was granted a pay-off of more than £1.6m last year despite criticism of the high wages at the organisation. Iain Coucher received a compensation package of £1.075m, salary of £359,000, pension of £214,000 and benefits of £9,000.

Labour plan to ‘sack’ failing ministers

Underperforming Labour ministers could be booted out under plans Ed Miliband is putting forward this week. Sources in the Labour party have told i that the leader is planning to remove the direct election of cabinet members by MPs.

Habitat maybe sold to Homebase owners

Home store Habitat could soon be sold to the owners of Argos and Homebase. Home Retail Group is said to be in talks to buy the firm, which has 35 UK stores. But another bidder is said to be in the hunt.

Question was posted online before exam

An investigation has been launched and legal challenges have sprung up after a question in a French maths exam appeared online the day before 165,000 students sat the test. Pupils say the marks for the question must be awarded to all, but the education minister has refused. MORE

‘Planking’ on rail line lands teen in trouble

A14-year-old has been charged with trespassing after a picture which allegedly shows him lying down on a railway was published on the internet. This is supposedly part of the trend for “planking”, in which people publish photos of themselves lying down in unusual places.

Challenge to West Ham move rejected

Bids by Tottenham and Leyton Orient for a judicial review over West Ham’s move to the £486m Olympic Stadium were rejected today by a High Court judge. The legal battle started after the Olympic Park Legacy Company board chose the Hammers to move in to the stadium.

Dinosaurs found to be warm-blooded

Some large dinosaurs were warm-blooded, with body temperatures similar to those of present-day mammals, a new study has found. Analysis of fossilised dinosaur teeth has revealed that many dinosaurs were in fact warm-blooded and regulated their body warmth.

Sex museum is for freedom of speech

A former Russian mayor has opened a sex museum – not for titillation but to promote freedom of speech, he says. Alexander Donskoi was once a popular mayor, but was jailed on charges of falsifying his qualifications. The newventure is his challenge to the political system.