The News Matrix: Friday 4 April 2014


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The Independent Online

‘Give families skills checklist for school’

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, has said that families  should be issued with a “checklist” of things their children should  know before the first day of school. Vital skills would include going to the toilet, recognising their own name and understanding the words “no” and “stop”. Parents should also ensure youngsters are ready to learn. MORE

Cameron: BBC must be original for fee

The BBC should produce more home-grown dramas and comedies if it is to justify the continuation of the licence fee, David Cameron has suggested. With the corporation’s Royal Charter due for renewal in 2016, the Prime Minister said he was still a supporter of the TV licence.

Red Cross responds to Ebola crisis

The British Red Cross has deployed workers to Liberia in response to the increasing cases of Ebola in the region. The current outbreak started in neighbouring Guinea and has so far resulted in 83 deaths and 127 suspected infections, according to the World Health Organisation.

Footballers held over alleged spot-fixing

Seven Football League players, aged 18 to 30, in North-west England have been arrested over alleged spot-fixing in matches, the National Crime Agency said. Six other men arrested in December on suspicion of involvement in spot-fixing and later bailed have been re-arrested.

Yanukovych ‘knew protester hit plan’

Authorities in Ukraine claimed yesterday ousted President Viktor Yanukovych was involved in drawing up plans under which police snipers shot dead 100 anti-government protesters in Kiev in February. They also hinted at a Russian role in the violent crackdown. MORE

SeaWorld visitor numbers take a dive

In the wake of a damaging documentary about its treatment of orcas, and claims about killer whales being drugged, the theme park group SeaWorld has reported a 13 per cent drop in visitor numbers. MORE

Motive sought for Fort Hood shooting

One day after a US Army specialist killed three people and then himself at Fort Hood, Texas, the Pentagon was struggling to understand what may have motivated the fatal rampage by Ivan Lopez, 34. Investigators appeared to be focusing first on the mental health of the accused shooter. MORE

Miller’s 31-second apology sparks ire

The Culture Secretary Maria Miller apologised after a damning report which accused her of trying to thwart an investigation into her parliamentary expenses claims.  Lasting just 31 seconds, her statement exacerbated calls for her to be removed from her post. David Cameron said he stood  by her. MORE

Suits you... unless you’re a politician

Social Democrat politicians in Sweden have been ordered to roll up their sleeves for photo calls by the party’s spin doctors in a bid to appear like “working people”. The dress guidelines have also recommended that politicians avoid items such as suit jackets and wear “happy colours”.

Contactless payment ‘becoming the norm’

Britain is well on its way to becoming contactless in relation to making payments, according to new research. Barclays found the number of contactless payments has trebled since 2012, with more than 90 million transactions expected this year alone. Mobile phone payments also doubled in the last year.

Sea on Saturn’s moon ‘could support life’

An ocean that could support life lies deep under the icy surface of Saturn’s tiny moon Enceladus, scientists have confirmed. Buried beneath 18-24 miles of ice, it could be larger than the biggest of North America’s Great Lakes. It was discovered by Nasa’s Cassini spacecraft, which has spent 10 years studying Saturn.

‘Dubya’ has painted world leaders

Former President George W Bush will today unveil 24 portraits of world leaders he has painted. In an interview with The Today Show, Mr Bush will discuss his love of painting and previous works. The portraits include ones of Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin and the Dalai Lama and will go on display in Dallas next month.

Rundell wins £5,000 book prize

Katherine Rundell has won the £5,000 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for her novel Rooftoppers. An expert on the poet John Donne, she said the book was inspired by her own late-night explorations of her Oxford college’s rooftops. It tells the story of a girl searching for her missing mother with the help of the “rooftoppers”.