The News Matrix: Friday 25 February 2011

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The Independent Online

Hopes of finding more survivors fading

The chances of any more survivors being pulled from the Christchurch rubble receded yesterday. The death toll from Tuesday’s quake is expected to risewell above the official count of 103. But authorities said they had not given up hope. MORE

Assange attacks extradition system

Julian Assange criticised the European legal system and claimed he was being “dragged to an uncertain destiny” last night after a judge ruled that he must return to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault. MORE

Voters seek payback in the polling booths

Irish voters go to the polls today with a change of government certain after the country’s catastrophic financial collapse. The outgoing prime minister Brian Cowen is leaving politics as his party is about to be unceremoniously booted from power. MORE

Still too few women in the board room

Areport on gender equality at boardroom level has called for firms to review the number of females in executive roles. Former banking executive Lord Davies’ report recommends that a minimum of a quarter of board members at FTSE 100 companies be female by 2015. MORE

Hot flushes ‘may cut heart attack risk’

Hot flushes and night sweats may be a blessing in disguise for millions of women beginning the menopause, research suggests. A new study shows women plagued by the nuisance symptoms have a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes. MORE

Inquiry into Afghan ‘psych-ops’ mission

The US commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, has ordered an inquiry into allegations that a psych-ops team targeted dignitaries to beg for troops and money. MORE

Inmate charged with strangling sex killer

A 35-year-old robber has been charged with the murder of child sex killer Colin Hatch at one of Britain’s most secure jails. Damien Fowkes was arrested after Hatch was strangled at Full Sutton prison near York on Tuesday night.

Dewani’s father fears for his safety

The father of Shrien Dewani, accused of murdering his wife on their honeymoon in South Africa, broke his silence yesterday. “I know he is innocent.” Prakash Dewani said. He fears his son would be “tortured” if extradited to face trial. MORE

Dogsget Shanghai-d in canine crackdown

Shanghai is to extend the one-child policy to man’s best friend after tens of thousands of people complained of being bitten last year – and to prevent dog mess spoiling the city. Dogs bigger than 3ft will be excluded from the city centre and so-called “attack dogs” will be banned totally.

School bans use of leather footballs

A primary school in the heart of an area known for producing footballers has banned leather footballs from its playground for health and safety reasons. The Malvern Primary School in Huyton, Merseyside, has told its pupils they will only be allowed to play with soft sponge balls.

BBC radio plays gain more time on iPlayer

Some BBC radio dramas and documentaries will be available to listeners for longer on iPlayer after the BBC Trust backed the move. It gave the green light to “series stacking”, which means that some shows will remain on the iPlayer i for a week after their final broadcast.

New gold envelopes to be used at Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has unveiled revamped envelopes, which will be opened on Sunday to reveal this year’s Oscar winners. For 70 years, the envelopes used were plain white, but organisers hope the gold ones will shine on screen.

Bieber’s new barnet causes Twitter blip

Justin Bieber reportedly lost 80,000 of his Twitter followers after ditching his blow-dried bowl cut for a shorter, spikier hair-do this week. But the Canadian pop star, who turns 17 on Tuesday, still has 7.5 million fans following him and has decided to sell off some of his hair for charity.