The News Matrix: Friday 27 March 2015


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The Independent Online

Firms ‘misled’ MPs on payout plan

Construction companies have been accused of “misleading” MPs over a compensation scheme for blacklisted workers. The Scottish Affairs Select Committee said firms were more interested in minimising damage to their reputation and finances than in tackling the scandal.

Standoff between Islamists and police

Thousands of Islamists held a standoff with riot police in Morocco’s capital Rabat yesterday when they were prevented from burying the widow of their spiritual leader. The Islamist Al Adl wal Ihsan (Justice and Charity) movement staged a sit-in after police prevented the burial of Khadija al-Maliki.

Most phone-hacking victims not famous

More than two-thirds of the News of the World phone-hacking victims were not celebrities, a new report has found. Most of the 591 people who settled claims with the newspaper’s parent company, News International, either knew a public figure through work, family or being in a relationship with them.

At least seven die in severe flooding

Communities in a desert region of northern Chile struggled yesterdayto cope with flooding that has claimed the lives of at least seven people. Torrential rains moved into the Atacama region on Tuesday, causing the Copiapo River to overflow. Thousands were evacuated amid mudslide fears.

Ombudsman faces ‘serious questions’

The NHS ombudsman has caused “pain” by its reluctance to admit mistakes when investigating patients’ complaints, an MPs’ report has found. “Serious questions” have been raised about the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, the report by The Public Administration Select Committee said.

The Pope plays tour guide with homeless

Pope Francis made a surprise personal visit to 150 homeless people on a special tour of the Sistine Chapel yesterday, in the latest nod to his vision of creating a church for the poor. Francis greeted the visitors in the chapel where he was elected Pope. “This is everyone’s house, it is your house,” Francis said.

Brown’s farewell fear for future of UK

Conservative plans to introduce English votes for English laws could undermine the UK’s “shared foundations”, Gordon Brown has warned. The former Prime Minister expressed his fears that the ties binding the UK together were fraying as he delivered his last commons speech yesterday.

Saudi Arabia steps in to fight Shia rebels

Warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck at Houthi forces in Yemen yesterday, which have taken over much of the country in their campaign to oust President Abed Rabba Mansour Hadi. The Saudi-led intervention marked a major escalation of the crisis, in which Iran supports the Shia Houthis.

Folk guitarist John Renbourn dies at 70

The influential folk guitarist John Renbourn has died aged 70. The musician was found at his home in Hawick in the Scottish Borders yesterday after a suspected heart attack. Renbourn helped to form Pentangle, who had success towards the end of the 1960s. His manager, Dave Smith, said Renbourn was “a huge character”.

First-ever vegan Chianti is produced

The world’s first certified vegan Chianti has been produced in Italy. The new wine will not filter grape juice through agents such as gelatin from fish-bladder membranes and “the grape is traced every step of the way”, according to Alberto Cenni,the manager of Fattoria Casabianca near Siena.

What a dopey move by Jakarta police

Indonesian police accidentally got West Jakarta residents high after setting on fire a three-tonne pile of seized marijuana outside their office. After being engulfed by the fumes, residents reportedly had headaches and felt “dizzy”. The police had anticipated the powerful fumes and wore gas masks.

Bats follow sonar ‘airway code’

Bats obey an “airway code” to avoid collisions as they dive at high speed, scientists have discovered. The sonar-based traffic rules ensure there are no accidents, according to researchers from the University of Bristol. The research is published in the journal Public Library of Science Computational Biology.

Get well soon... but get rich quicker

A Pennsylvania man recovering in hospital after surgery has won $7m (£4.7m) on a lottery scratchcard tucked into his get-well card. Joseph Amorese got the ticket from his father. “It was a good thing I was already sitting down. I was, and still am, in complete disbelief,” Mr Amorese said.