The News Matrix: Monday 12 March 2012


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The Independent Online


£1bn plan to help first-time buyers

Up to 100,000 first-time buyers could have their chances of owning homes boosted under a £1bn government scheme. New Buy, which the Prime Minister announces today, will encourage the banks to lend mortgages at 95 per cent of home value at low rates.

MPs seek to block new code of conduct

MPs will today seek to block a revised Code of Conduct which rules politicians should not do anything to "cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons". The cross-party group fears individuals could be punished for private actions.

Sarkozy chases votes with lurch to right

French President Nicolas Sarkozy lurched towards protectionism and Euro scepticism yesterday in an attempt to rescue his presidency, during an address to a crowd of 40,000 supporters near Paris. MORE

One in 10 women 'has been raped'

One in 10 women has been raped, and more than a third subjected to sexual assault, according to a major survey by Mumsnet, which also highlights just how frightened women are of not being believed. The site is launching a campaign to dispel the myths surrounding sexual violence. MORE

TV game shows may be breaking the law

TV game shows Red or Black and Deal or No Deal are being investigated and could be banned for breaching gambling laws. It is illegal to run games that require no skill without a gambling licence. The Gambling Commission will publish advice next month on television gambling. MORE

Annan fails to broker deal with president

After two days of talks with President Bashar al-Assad, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan left Syria empty-handed yesterday. Mr Annan said he had proposed an initiative which "will have a real impact on the ground" but opposition groups and the Syrian government rejected the proposal. President Assad rejects any political solution while "terrorist groups" are still operating. MORE

Government's £200k bid to boot out racism

The Government is giving £200,000 to a charity that uses football stars to fight racism. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the money for Show Racism the Red Card will cover lessons for 9,000 teenagers and help stop football being "perverted" by the "insidious influence of the far right".

Dear school nurse, can you see me l8r?

Pupils will be able to book appointments with the school nurse by text message and email, the Government announces today. Young people sometimes feel too embarrassed to approach teachers and health professionals directly, it added. MORE

UK author is top of US best-seller lists

A little-known UK author has topped the New York Times bestseller list with her novel Fifty Shades of Grey, described in the US as "mommy porn". E L James, a TV executive and mother of two, has signed a deal with publisher Random House.

Longer holidays? No, thank you

Swiss citizens have voted against raising the minimum holiday from four weeks to six. The plans had been criticised by most political parties and businesses, who warned that they would make labour costs too high and harm the economy. MORE

Jubilee barge put through sea trials

The Queen's former yachtsmen carried out sea trials on the royal barge yesterday, before takes a role in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations this year. The Queen gives her Commonwealth message today.

Child smokers burnt down castle

A historic gothic castle has been burnt down – most likely by two children trying to light cigarettes, police said yesterday. The boys, aged 11 and 12, are said to have set fire to grass at the foot of Krasna Horka castle on Saturday.