The News Matrix: Friday 5 October 2012


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The Independent Online

'Vampire' dinosaur comes to light

A cross between "a bird, a vampire and a porcupine" has been identified from a piece of rock from South Africa. The palaeontologist who discovered it named the strange-looking species Pegomastax africanus, or "thick jaw from Africa". It is thought to have lived 100-200 million years ago.

Twitter users go Gaga for singer

Lady Gaga has become the most followed Twitter user in the world. The 26-year-old pop star has reached 30 million followers and gains 30,000 new ones each day. She is followed closely in the Twitter charts by Justin Bieber, who has 28 million followers, and Katy Perry, who has 27 million.

Fresco restorer gains Halloween fame

It could prove to be one the most popular Halloween costumes this year. Inspired by an elderly woman who failed to restore a 19th-century painting of the face of Jesus, a US internet user known as "Spinjump" has crafted a costume dubbed "Ruined Spanish Fresco Monkey Jesus", a picture of which has gone viral.

Abba's Agnetha back in the studio

Agnetha Faltskog, one of the former members of Swedish pop band Abba has returned to the recording studio after more than eight years of musical silence. She is working alongside Swedish songwriter Jorgen Elofsson, who has previously penned and produced songs for Celine Dion and Westlife.

Security checks are a piece of cake

A man triggered an alert at Stansted Airport after a birthday cake in his luggage tested positive for explosives. Justin Barret was on his way to Spain when the Sainsbury's 'Wiggles the Caterpillar' cake, a present for his son, was flagged up. After further checks by guards, Mr Barret and the cake were given the all clear.

Boris warns of airport 'catastrophe'

The London Mayor, Boris Johnson, has launched his strongest attack yet on Government aviation policy, saying delays making firm decisions set a course for "economic catastrophe". He described the Government as paying "lamentable attention" to the pressing issue of more airport capacity, but said that a third runway at Heathrow airport was not the answer. MORE

Presidential race heats up after debate

President Barack Obama's campaign was rushing to regroup yesterday to protect its momentum following a fiercely belligerent debate performance by the Republican challenger Mitt Romney, as the presidential contest seemed to have travelled from nearly foregone to competitive overnight. MORE

Britain faces heavy rain and floods risk

Homeowners have been warned to brace themselves for more floods ahead of heavy downpours over the next two days. The Environment Agency has flood warnings in place in 11 areas – mainly in the north-east of England – but warned that other parts of the country were also likely to see adverse weather conditions. MORE

MPs authorise action against Syria

Turkey's parliament authorised the country's troops to carry out cross-border operations inside Syria yesterday, over clashes which drew Syria's neighbour into its 18 month long civil war. The political and diplomatic moves came after the shelling of the town of Akcakale on Wednesday. MORE

Ex-banker named as suspended official

A former Goldman Sachs banker in charge of private contracts for the Department for Transport was named yesterday as one of the officials suspended for their alleged role in the West Coast rail franchise fiasco. Kate Mingay, head of commercial at the DfT, is believed to be the most senior of three staff suspended. MORE

King Abdullah calls early elections

King Abdullah II issued a royal decree to dissolve parliament yesterday in a move that paves the way for early elections in Jordan, the state's official news agency said. He has promised political reform after anti-government unrest following the Arab Spring demonstrations last year.

Clubbers' drug may beat depression

Horse tranquiliser ketamine, also used by clubbers, could be about to enjoy a renaissance as a front-rank treatment for depression. Researchers say small amounts can provide immediate relief to patients for whom existing antidepressants do not work.  MORE

Imran Khan march puts safety at risk

The cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and a group of human rights activists yesterday vowed to brave a risky march into the Taliban's heartland in Pakistan to highlight the civilian cost of the US drone missile programme. MORE

Third man in Savile case cited for sex abuse

A well-known television personality has become the third man to be accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Jimmy Savile's BBC dressing room. The entertainer, who denies the allegation and cannot be named for legal reasons, is accused of sexually assaulting the girl while Gary Glitter and Savile abused others nearby. MORE