The News Matrix: Friday 5 August 2011

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The Independent Online

Armed police raid medical charity

The Bahraini authorities have defended an armed raid on the offices of Médecins Sans Frontières, saying it lacked permission to work in the capital, Manama. The group condemned the raid as “unwarranted and unacceptable”. One of its employees was arrested in the search. MORE

Search for bomb hoaxer continues

Sydney police searched for clues yesterday to the identity of a man who strapped a fake bomb to 18-year-old student Madeleine Pulver’s neck, subjecting her to a terrifying 10-hour ordeal. The one lead they have is the note that the intruder left containing a list of demands. MORE

Lib Dems plan to call for decriminalisation

The Liberal Democrats are to call for the Coalition Government to consider the decriminalisation of all drugs. The party’s conference is expected to back the call to attempt to cut levels of addiction. Deputy PM Nick Clegg is said to be relaxed about committing his party to the proposal. MORE

Virginia Tech in new gun scare

Students and staff at Virginia Tech, the university where 33 people were killed in a 2007 shooting spree, were ordered to stay inside and lock their doors yesterday after children attending a summer camp said they saw a man holding a gun. It turned out to be a false alarm.

New images suggest water on Mars

Pictures from Mars contain the strongest evidence yet that there is water on the planet. Nasa said images from its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showed lines extending down slopes, which could indicate the flow of water.

Man dies in London police shooting

One man was killed and a police officer injured in a shooting in north London yesterday. It is understood that the dead man was shot by police while the officer was also shot – but only wounded – during the incident in Tottenham Hale. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been called to investigate the matter.

Demand for new plant at Sellafield

The government is under pressure to build a new nuclear fuel plant at Sellafield, a day after a decision to close a failing plant. Local politicians want the new plant to reprocess the huge amounts of plutonium left behind at the old plant, which otherwise might have to be buried.

Call for Morgan to answer Mills’ claims

Piers Morgan is facing demands to return to Britain to answer questions on alleged phone hacking. The Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman has called for police to look into claims by Heather Mills that the Mirror Group listened into messages left on her phone by Paul McCartney. MORE

Babies die in power cuts in Hama

Eyewitnesses have described appalling conditions in the besieged Syrian city of Hama, with relatives forced to bury bodies in parks and newborn babies dying in their cots due to power cuts. Their stories come a day after the UN Security Council condemned events in Syria. MORE

Ticket sales fall for first time in a decade

Ticket sales for pop and rock gigs fell for the first time in more than a decade last year, according to a new report. One of the reasons for fans spending 12 per cent less than 2009 was that The Rolling Stones and Take That were not on tour.

New IMF chief in £350m forgery probe

Judges decided yesterday there was reason to investigate the new IMF chief, Christine Lagarde, for “complicity in forgery and embezzlement” for approving a €400m (£346.4m) legal settlement to a controversial businessman in 2008. MORE

US embassy divided over fate of felines

Diplomats in the US embassy in Kabul are at loggerheads over what to do about the semi-domesticated cats. Health and safety types ordered the extermination of the feline population after one mauled an employee, and ever since staff have been engaged in a fierce row over their fate. MORE

Council apologises for ‘crazy man’ tweet

Monmouthshire County Council has apologised for a controversial tweet made by its tourist board after a tense siege between police and an armed man in Chepstow. A tweet on the “visit wye valley” account said “an armed crazy man is not only reason to visit Chepstow,” only for a later tweet to apologise for any upset caused.

British girl crowned spreadsheet queen

A British teenager has won $5,000 (£3,000) at a ceremony in San Diego, California, after being crowned the world’s best user of Microsoft’s Excel. Rebecca Rickwood, 15, beat 228,000 competitors from 57 countries to claim the title, which required her to perform timed spreadsheet tests.

Car used to issue fines illegally parked

A council has been accused of double standards after a camera car it uses to give people parking fines was spotted parked on double-yellow lines. The white Vauxhall car with council markings was seen on a side street by a shopkeeper in Plymouth. The city council has refused to apologise.

Police Academy actor found dead

The former US football star and actor Bubba Smith has died. Smith, 66, who played the gentle giant Moses Hightower in the Police Academy series, was found on Wednesday at his Los Angeles home.

Cops tell bunny man to stop dressing up

Police in Idaho have told a man to stop wearing a bunny suit in public after residents complained he was scaring their children. William Falkingham, 34, occasionally wore a tutu with the rabbit suit and sometimes wore a cowboy outfit. Police said he has agreed to tone down his dress.

Rogue gene wipes out fingerprints

A defective gene has been found to cause people to be born without fingerprints. The condition adermatoglyphia has been linked to a mutation in the gene SMARCAD1. DNA of affected and unaffected members of the same family was analysed by scientists investigating its cause.

Invading shellfish given the biobullet

Invasive mussels that block water pipes, causing millions of pounds of damage, are being tackled using “biobullets”. The pellets contain a toxin that will poison zebra mussels, a species from the Black and Caspian Seas which has colonised the UK after hitching a ride on ships’ hulls.

Feathered fugitive hands himself in

The latest zoo runaway to capture the hearts of Americans is a peacock with a sense of adventure. But luckily for New York’s Central Park Zoo, he also has a sense of direction and returned on Wednesday, a day after he escaped. In March, a cobra went missing for a week from Bronx Zoo.

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