The News Matrix: Friday 3 June 2011

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The Independent Online

World authority says ‘help, not jail terms’

Urging “fundamental reforms”, the Global Commission on Drug Policy has stated that drug users should be given education and medical help, rather than prison terms and that greater efforts should be made to hunt down the traffickers. MORE

Tornadoes kill four in Massachusetts

More than a week after tornadoes ripped through Missouri, at least four people have now been killed as twisters hit Springfield, Massachusetts. It is unusual for tornadoes to hit urban areas, but the spate of freak weather in the US has caused millions of dollars of damage. MORE

Decision expected on Formula One bid

Bahrain will learn later today if Formula One bosses are prepared to let it stage a Grand Prix, after a race in the Gulf state scheduled for February was abandoned when the government launched a crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. MORE

Jaycee captor is jailed for 431 years

Phillip Garrido who kidnapped, raped and held captive Jaycee Dugard for 18 years – fathering two children with her – was yesterday sentenced to 431 years in prison.

UK’s ‘shoot first’ arts policy criticised

Former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion last night accused ministers of adopting a “shoot first, aim later” policy towards cutting the arts. At an Oxford lecture, he said culture minister Ed Vaizey had “a genuine love of the arts but no ideas about how to defend them in difficult times”. MORE

Immigration ‘chaos’ boss earned £1m

The civil servant who presided over “chaos and shambles” in the immigration system earned £1m during her spell in charge of the UK Border Agency, it emerged yesterday. Lin Homer earned about £200,000 a year, as well as bonuses.

Mitt Romney joins presidential race

It was one of Washington’s worst kept secrets, and yesterday Mitt Romney finally announced that he wanted to challenge Barack Obama for the presidency. Romney joins what is viewed as one of the weakest Republican fields for some time. MORE

Londoners take longer to get to work

Three out of four Britons commute for less than half an hour – but fewer than half of those travelling to work in London report journeys quicker than 30 minutes. Some 16 per cent of Londoners’ journeys took over 60 minutes, against a nationwide average of five per cent. MORE

Civil war fears as bloodshed goes on

Yemen has moved closer to civil war as fighting broke out in the capital Sanaa when troops loyal to president Ali Abdullah Saleh clashed with tribal fighters in battles that left many dead. Saleh has consistently refused to step down, a key requirement of pro-democracy demonstrators, who have been protesting against his rule since January. MORE

Queen’s anniversary means two days off

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 is to result in the country enjoying two days’ extra holiday on 4 and 5 June. The celebrations will also feature numerous events, including a Buckingham Palace concert and a flotilla on the River Thames.

Senator’s cat calls at minister spark fury

A meowing Australian senator, Liberal Tasmanian David Bushby, has sparked a political row in Canberra after his cat imitation directed at Finance Minister, Penny Wong, brought accusations that the opposition were sexists, goons and feral.

Toasted cheese forces road closure

A lorry containing 24 tons of cheese caught fire on a rural road in Somerset yesterday morning. Four fire crews fought the blaze, which forced the closure of the A359 at Galhampton Hill, near Castle Cary. Police and firefighters spent three hours clearing the mess up.

Students are asked to do the impossible

An impossible question in an AS-level maths paper forced the exam board OCR to apologise to almost 7,000 baffled students who sat the paper last Thursday. The question, worth 11 per cent of the total marks, could not be solved because it did not provide enough information.

Korean tap-dancers face shoeless future

Italy has foiled an attempt by North Korea to import tap-dancing shoes in breach of a ban on the sale of luxury goods to Pyongyang, according to a UN report on the enforcement of sanctions against the North. The report said that many banned goods reach North Korea via China.

‘Bulge’ scandal has nation a-twitter

It is hard to know how things can get more awkward for Anthony Weiner, a congressman from New York, who is immersed in a scandal that is silly and serious. Why, the US asks, was a picture of a man’s bulging crotch sent to a woman student last week via his personal Twitter account?