The News Matrix: Friday 28 March 2014


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The Independent Online

Cameron ‘running scared’ of debates

David Cameron is “running scared” from live televised debates in the run-up to next year’s general election, Labour and Liberal Democrat officials have claimed. The Conservatives plan to pull the plug on the discussions first seen in the UK at the 2010 election, although a Downing Street source insisted last night that Mr Cameron wanted them to go ahead. MORE

Drug-driving limits are approved

Plans to bring in drug-drive limits have moved a step closer. Following consultation, recommended limits for 16 different drugs have now been approved. This means eight mostly prescription drugs and eight illicit drugs will be added into new regulations this autumn. MORE

Pilot’s son: my father would not down jet

In his family’s first public statement, the son of Malaysian Airlines MH370 pilot Zaharie Ahmad defended his father and told the media that his dad would not have deliberately crashed the plane. Ahmad Seth told the New Straights Times: “I know my father was better.” MORE

Twitter to let users tag friends in photos

Twitter has updated its photo-sharing in a move designed to compete with Facebook. Users will be able to “tag” friends in photos they post, as well as share more than one image at a time. Facebook-owned Instagram has passed 200 million users, closing in on Twitter’s 240 million.

UN launches war crimes investigation

The United Nations has begun an inquiry into war crimes allegedly committed by Sri Lankan forces and Tamil rebels during the conflict that ended in 2009. Sri Lanka has rejected the resolution and says it has made progress in addressing accountability. MORE

Death-row inmate freed after 48 years

The world’s longest-serving death-row inmate, Iwao Hakamada, was released yesterday after a court ruled evidence against him was fabricated. The former boxer, 78, was convicted in 1966 of murdering a family. MORE

Operations in Syria discussed on ‘tape’

An anonymous YouTube account posted what it said was an audio recording of Turkey’s intelligence chief, foreign minister, and deputy head of the armed forces discussing possible military operations in Syria. The authenticity of the recording has not yet been determined.

Mortality rates  fall to 10-year low

Armed forces personnel are significantly less likely to die prematurely than the general population, new figures suggest. Last year saw a 10-year low as mortality rates fell from 107 per 100,000 service personnel in 2009 to 50 per 100,000 in 2013. Those in the RAF had a 76 per cent decreased risk of dying.

If you want my Lamborghini...

A rare Lamborghini Miura P400S once owned by Rod Stewart is being sold for nearly £900,000. The singer bought the car in 1971, when it did 0-60mph in 6.7 seconds with a top speed of 171mph, making it the world’s fastest road car. The pristine four-litre blue sports car recently underwent a £100,000 restoration.

New tattoo? This teenager’s lovin’ it...

Stian Ytterdahl of Norway had a McDonald’s receipt tattooed on his arm after friends said he was “too active with the ladies”. They gave the 18-year-old the option of getting a Barbie tattooed on his bottom or a fast food purchase on his arm. The receipt includes a drink, cheeseburger, and a “nonstop flurry”.

State sedans up for sale on eBay

Italy’s government has set up an eBay page to auction off non-essential government sedans, which have become a symbol of the state’s wasteful spending. Premier Matteo Renzi has pledged to sell 151 vehicles by 16 April. Among the offerings, according to Il Sole 24 Ore: a 2007 Alfa Romeo, at €5,000.

The singing nun breaks record

A video of an Italian nun singing Alicia Keys’s hit song “No One” has broken YouTube records. Sister Cristina Sciuccia, 25, performed the song on the Italian version of The Voice and the video has surpassed Korean pop star Psy’s “Gangnam Style”. It’s had 30 million hits in seven days and been re-tweeted by Keys herself.