The News Matrix: Monday 06 February 2012


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The Independent Online


Gene mutation linked to strokes

Scientists have identified a genetic mutation that can double a person's risk of developing a stroke. A study involving thousands of stroke patients has found a link between the gene and the most common type of stroke – a blocked blood vessel leading to the brain. MORE

Key stage for health reforms

David Cameron's flagship health reforms face a crucial hurdle this week as Labour urges the House of Lords to "kill the Bill" to save 6,000 nursing jobs. Labour, Liberal Demo-crat and independent crossbench peers will back amendments to dilute the proposed changes. MORE

Film-makers perish in helicopter crash

Mike de Gruy, left, an American film-maker who worked on projects including the BBC's Blue Planet, died alongside fellow documentary maker Andrew Wight in a helicopter crash in Australia over the weekend.

Americans referred for trial over unrest

Ignoring a US threat to cut off aid, Egypt referred 19 Americans and 24 other employees of non-profit groups for trial on accusations they illegally used foreign funds to foment unrest. Egypt's military rulers had already strained ties with Washington. This move signals a big escalation. MORE

Headteachers under fire from Ofsted chief

Headteachers warned of an exodus from the profession last night after England's new chief schools inspector claimed 5,000 of them were not up to scratch. Ofsted boss Sir Michael Wilshaw said heads were to blame for unacceptably high levels of poor teaching in schools. MORE

Salmond criticised over 'Nazi' jibe at BBC

Opposition leaders have accused Alex Salmond of "bully-boy tactics" and demanded he apologise after he called a BBC adviser a "gauleiter", a term given to officials in Nazi Germany. Scotland's First Minister criticised the adviser and the BBC after his planned appearance on a sport show ahead of Saturday's Six Nations Scotland-England rugby clash was cancelled on political grounds.

UK railways are 'the worst in Europe'

Railways in the UK are the worst in Europe, according to a union-commissioned study published today. The report found that services are the most expensive and inefficient and are slower and less comfortable than in other European countries. Frequency of service was the only area in which the UK did well.

Chavez 'ready for war' with Britain

South American leaders met yesterday to discuss the escalating tension over the Falkland Islands, with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez saying his country would be prepared to go to war. The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, meanwhile said the deployment of HMS Dauntless to the islands was "entirely routine".

Supreme Court takes up Twitter

Britain's highest court will make a world first by entering the realm of microblogging today, issuing news on its latest judgments via Twitter. The Supreme Court live Twitter service will begin with the swearing-in of new justice Lord Reed, who begins work at the court today. Updates will be sent from @UKSupremeCourt.

Fireman forced to guide plane to safety

A fireman was forced to guide a plane into landing after air traffic controllers failed to turn up for work at an airport in India. The plane was flying from Hyderabad with 60 passengers on board. The fireman, named as Mr Basha, helped the Jet Airways flight land at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh on 9 January.

Boy suspended for dancing like Jackson

A nine-year-old boy was suspended last week after he did a crotch-grabbing rendition of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" at a school fundraiser in Minnesota. Principal Pat Bowlin allegedly approached the boy and his mother after the performance, saying that his actions constituted gross misconduct and suspending him.

Residents say 'cut' to filming on estate

Residents of the Aylesbury and Heygate council estates in south London, which has become a favourite location for television directors for portraying urban decay and negative storylines, including in ITV's The Bill, have banned it from appearing on screen again unless it is depicted in a positive light.

Fry up against Miss Piggy at Baftas

Stephen Fry is in danger of being upstaged at the Baftas this year with Miss Piggy of The Muppets unveiled as the official red-carpet host. Before Fry opens the awards ceremony next Sunday, Miss Piggy will be interrogating stars including the likes of Brad Pitt and George Clooney as they arrive for the show.

Guetta's Titanium goes to the top

David Guetta hit the top of the singles charts yesterday with his track "Titanium", featuring the Australian singer Sia. "Alone Again" by the 18-year-old Canadian Alyssa Reid, featuring Jump Smokers, entered the chart at number two, and "Somebody That I Used To Know", by Gotye, featuring Kimbra, rose to number three.