The News Matrix: Friday 30 March 2012


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The Independent Online

Solution for storing organs contaminated

The solution used to keep organs fresh during transplant operations could have been contaminated since last July, sparking a global alert. The product, Viaspan, has been recalled, and patients awaiting liver and pancreas transplants could risk infection as there is no other solution.

Playwright hits out at legal ticket touts

One of Britain's leading playwrights has attacked agencies running "legal ticket touting websites". Richard Bean, whose hit play One Man Two Guvnors is showing in London's West End, said tickets were going for "twice the price of what they should be". MORE

Baby the elephant packed his trunk...

A 2.5-ton elephant named Baby escaped from a circus in southern Ireland this week. The 40-year-old pachyderm bolted away from his handlers and galloped through a retail park in Blackpool, County Cork. Baby was eventually caught by his keepers.

Spanish national strike has widespread impact

A nationwide general strike fuelled by anger at crippling unemployment and severe austerity cuts caused parts of Spain to grind to a halt yesterday. At least 58 people were detained and nine were injured in clashes between protesters and riot police across the country. MORE

Azerbaijan may offer bases for Iran strike

Israel's military may have negotiated access to air bases in Azerbaijan that could be used in an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, US officials have said. The unconfirmed report suggested a deepening military of co-operation between Israel and the Caucasian republic, which shares a border with Iran. MORE

Rising obesity level link to kidney cancer

The huge rise in the number of kidney-cancer cases is down to a corresponding increase in Britain's obesity levels, a charity has claimed. Cancer Research UK said there were more than 9,000 cases in 2009, up 135 per cent since 1975. The charity advised that while giving up smoking is the best way to lessen the risk, maintaining a healthy diet is also important. MORE

PR chief resigns over Wallis contract

Scotland Yard's head of communications resigned yesterday which means he will avoid a disciplinary hearing over awarding a lucrative contract to the former deputy editor of the News of the World. Dick Fedorcio, who took the job in 1997, agreed to give Neil Wallis's company, Chamy Media, a £24,000 contract for public relations advice. MORE

Victim of sex crime dies in hospital

The victim of a horrific sex crime that prompted a bout of national soul-searching in Ukraine has died. Oksana Makar, 18, was left for dead by three attackers. The case caused fury as two of the suspects – relatives of local government officials – were initially released, apparently due to a lack of evidence. MORE

Zimmerman claim seems groundless

Claims by George Zimmerman that he was viciously assaulted by Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teen he shot on a Florida street five weeks ago, were cast into doubt after video footage of him being escorted into the local police station showed no sign of blood or struggle. MORE

£113,000 stolen from police HQ

A police force has admitted more than £100,000 has been stolen from a "secure storage area" at one of its stations. Warwickshire Police said £113,000, which was seized from criminals, had disappeared from the designated site at its former headquarters in the village of Leek Wootton.

Hammond's balls receive a kicking

Richard Hammond's Saturday night TV series Total Wipeout is being axed due, apparently, to budget cuts. The BBC1 show will be dropped after one last series. Contestants are flown to Buenos Aires to take part in a series of challenges including the much-loved "big red balls".

Extradition treaty 'must be changed'

The public's "disaffection" for current laws on extradition could grow unless the Government renegotiates Britain's "unbalanced" treaty with the US, a committee of MPs will report today. The Select Committee claims that the current treaty does not protect British citizens. MORE

Restored da Vinci a hit at the Louvre

A controversial face-lift given to Leonardo da Vinci's final masterpiece was unveiled to the public at the Louvre in Paris yesterday. The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne has been restored to what may be its original 16th-century colours. Most French art critics and members of the public liked it. MORE

Judge tells Lohan to stop clubbing

A Los Angeles judge has lifted formal probation on Lindsay Lohan, telling the actress to grow up and stop nightclubbing, as she was released from five years of supervision. The 25-year-old was commended by the judge after completing community service at a Los Angeles morgue.