The News Matrix: Friday 6 February 2015

 

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The Independent Online

Lansley reforms ‘damaged NHS’

NHS reforms under the Coalition have been “damaging and distracting”, experts have said in a highly critical report. The King’s Fund think-tank added that changes introduced by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the brainchild of former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, amounted to the “biggest and most far-reaching legislation in the history of the NHS”

PwC promoting tax avoidance, say MPs

Tax avoidance by multinationals is being promoted on an “industrial scale” by PricewaterhouseCoopers, MPs have said. Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said ministers should consider banning PwC from government contracts.

Rescue crews poised for Syria response

The US military has moved search-and-rescue crews to northern Iraq, following an uproar over the killing of a Jordanian pilot captured in Syria by Islamic State fighters. The action is intended to shorten response times in Syria for search-and-rescue teams.

Cells not right for  mentally ill, say MPs

MPs have condemned the use of police cells as a “place of safety” for more than 6,000 mentally ill people, including 236 children, a year. Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons’ Home Affairs Committee, said: “These people are not criminals, they are ill.”

Arrests at protest over church attacks

Police in New Delhi detained hundreds of Christian protesters preparing to march to the Home Minister’s residence to demand an investigation of recent attacks on churches. A mysterious fire gutted a church in the Indian capital and several others have been vandalised.

Israeli ambassador criticises Netanyahu

The Israeli ambassador to Switzerland has been called home over comments critical of Benjamin Netanyahu. “Every time one thinks Netanyahu has taken the relationship with the White House to the lowest point ever, he manages to take it even lower,” said a tweet by Yigal Caspi.

Skip silly meetings,  says Microsoft chief

Microsoft’s new boss told staff to stop “wasting time in pointless meetings” during his first year in the job. The company has been restructuring since Satya Nadella took over the role in February 2014.

One in 10 have a ‘secret escape fund’

Nearly one in 10 people in a serious relationship has a secret “escape fund”, new research suggests. The average amount was £7,500. Of the 2,000 people surveyed last month by the Money Advice Service, 11 per cent of men and 8 per cent of women admitted to hiding money.

State appeals against block on foie gras ban

An appeal has been filed in California against a federal judge’s ruling that deemed the state’s ban on the sale of foie gras to be illegal. The ban, which took effect in 2012, had prevented restaurants and stores from selling the fatty liver that is viewed as a culinary delicacy by some and a product of animal cruelty by others.

Chimps tweak accents to fit in

Two sets of chimpanzees have “changed accents” to fit in with each other at Edinburgh Zoo. After chimps from Holland were introduced to the Scottish zoo, they changed the grunt they used to ask for apples, scientists found. The ability to modify vocalisations to fit in was believed to be a human trait until now.

Boris and Anne get on wheelie well

The London mayor Boris Johnson promised yesterday to ride a tandem with the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, when she crosses the Channel next month. The pair, who have slagged off one another’s cities in the past, launched Paris London Tandem 2015, a cultural festival embracing both capitals.

Klass blasts mums’ call for gift donation

Myleene Klass has taken to social media to lampoon mothers of girls at her daughter’s school who sent an email asking for donations towards their children’s birthday gifts. The emails, which Klass called “bonkers”, stated the two girls wanted a desk and a Kindle and money could be put in envelopes or into school bags.

Giant snow Vader weighs 3,500 tons

A giant Darth Vader ice sculpture has been carved in Japan at Hokkaido’s annual festival of all things cold. The Sapporo Snow Festival is held annually over seven days in February. The Star Wars villain was built by 400 volunteers who spent a month piling up 3,500 tons of snow and carving it into an artwork of 15m in height.

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