The News Matrix: Friday 30 September 2011

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The Independent Online

Former IMF chief meets his accuser

The former IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was confronted yesterday by the French writer who accuses him of attempting to rape her in 2003. Mr Strauss-Kahn did not apologise to Tristane Banon, his lawyers said, as he insists the allegation is “imaginary”. MORE

Guilty plea over murder in woods

A man has admitted murdering a woman as she walked home through woods in Derbyshire. David Simmonds, 21, of Heanor, pleaded guilty to murder at Nottingham Crown Court. Jia Ashton, 25, went missing after leaving work in October. Simmonds is due to be sentenced on 7 October.

Knox defence says media ‘crucified’ her

A defence lawyer argued yesterday that Amanda Knox was wrongly convicted of killing her British roommate and has been “crucified” by the media. The verdict in the appeals case is expected on Monday. MORE

Medics jailed for treating protesters

Bahrain’s military court has jailed 20 doctors, nurses and paramedics for up to 15 years after they treated protesters injured during pro-democracy rallies this year. The defendants said that they had been tortured during interrogation to extract false confessions. MORE

Headteachers vote on strike action

Headteachers began voting on strike action yesterday over the Government’s threat to their pensions. The National Association of Head Teachers started balloting members on the first strike in their 114-year history. The result will be known early in November.

Theresa May leaves diary in concert hall

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was in the middle of a major security row yesterday after her work diary was left in a concert hall. The diary, which contained her private secretary’s phone number and contact details of people she was due to meet, was found by the deputy editor of the magazine Police Review. Appointments included a meeting with the Chief Constable of Warwickshire.

Man survives after shark bites leg off

Quick-thinking witnesses saved the life of a Briton whose leg was bitten off by a great white shark after he ignored warnings to swim. Michael Cohen was attacked off Fish Hoek beach in Cape Town, South Africa. The lower part of his right leg was completely bitten off.

‘Heavenly Palace’ spacecraft blasts off

China successfully launched an unmanned spacecraft yesterday, bringing the Asian power closer to matching the United States and Russia with a manned outpost in space. Tiangong 1 or “Heavenly Palace” blasted off from a remote site in the Gobi Desert. MORE

UK Coal in court over 2009 death

UK Coal, the company which runs the Kettingley Colliery, where a miner died this week, will appear in court tomorrow over charges that it failed to prevent the death of another man, Ian Cameron, at the North Yorkshire pit in 2009.

Former PM: I’m the victim of a vendetta

Ukraine’s former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, told a court trying her for abuse of office yesterday that she was the victim of a “lynching trial”. Ms Tymoshenko claims she is the target of a vendetta by President Viktor Yanukovich.

Children ‘struggling with the three Rs’

Too many children are still struggling with the three Rs by the age of seven, ministers said yesterday. Results of national assessments in reading, writing, speaking and listening and mathematics showed little change this year – the fifth year in succession they have stagnated.

Plane nose-dives as wrong button is hit

A Japanese airline says one of its jets nose-dived and rolled almost upside-down this month because the co-pilot hit the rudder controls while trying to open the cockpit door so the captain could return from a toilet break. The All Nippon Airways Boeing 737-700 had 117 people on board. MORE

£1m banknote sells at auction – for £69,440

A £1m banknote printed in 1948 under the Marshall Plan sold at auction yesterday for £69,440 – 11 per cent less than was paid for an identical note in 2008. They are the sole survivors of nine notes printed and were given as mementoes to the US and UK treasury secretaries.

MP’s career stalls after link to biker

A top Danish Social Democrat politician dropped out of the running for a cabinet job after failing to get security clearance owing to his links with a motorcycle gang member. A tabloid pictured Henrik Sass Larsen with a member of the Bandidos biker gang in July.

Dylan ‘copied art show paintings’

Bob Dylan is facing awkward questions after it emerged that more than half the 18 paintings in his latest New York art show were copies of photos that any would-be artist could easily find on the internet. MORE

Al-Qa’ida attacks President over 9/11

Al-Qa’ida has criticised Iran’s President for his “ridiculous” suggestions that the United States government was behind the September 11, 2011 attacks and not al-Qa’ida. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed explosive material and not planes brought down the World Trade Centre.

Whale washes up on East Yorkshire coast

A young whale has been found washed up near the East Yorkshire village of Skeffling – about 800 metres from the shoreline. Thought to be a rare sei whale, she is believed to have been stranded on the salt marsh after being carried in by an exceptionally high tide.

Erotica show is Strictly a no-no

The BBC has threatened to sue an erotic lifestyle show featuring two of Strictly Come Dancing’s ex-dancers. Advertising for Strictly Erotica shows Hanna Haarala and Andrew Cuerden below a glitter ball. The BBC says association with the event damages Strictly’s family reputation.

Rollercoaster ride is given supersize seats

Thorpe Park has introduced supersize rollercoaster seats for its overweight customers. The extra-large, double-buckled chairs have been installed on its Nemesis Inferno ride and are designed for people with a chest of 51 inches or more. The seats will be installed on other rides next year.