The News Matrix: Monday 13 February 2012



Cameron plans anti-racism summit

David Cameron will hold a summit to discuss racism in football. UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the Liverpool forward Luis Suarez's failure to shake hands with Manchester United's Patrice Evra was "incredibly depressing". Luis Suarez has apologised. MORE

Call for Arab-UN

Leaders of the Arab League called for a joint Arab-UN peacekeeping force yesterday, saying Syria's neighbours could no longer stand by and watch the bloodshed as President Bashar al-Assad attempts to crush dissent. The call signals a far stronger Arab League stance. MORE

Move on from Health Bill, urges Hughes

The Liberal Democrats yesterday broke their silence on the Government's health reforms. Deputy leader Simon Hughes said: "I'm clear we need to move on from this Bill". Asked if Health Secretary Andrew Lansley should be replaced, Mr Hughes said he should. MORE

Experts say 'legal ketamine' is unsafe

A legal high misleadingly marketed as a safe substitute for ketamine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, the charity DrugScope has warned. Methoxetamine, known as MXE or "mexxy", can be purchased legally but experts say it carries the same risks as ketamine. MORE

Referendum plans must have 'no strings'

Alex Salmond will discuss plans for an independence referendum today with the Scottish Secretary, Michael Moore. The Scottish First Minister's advisers insisted that plans must have "no strings attached". MORE

Last British inmate asks for 'old torture'

After 10 years in Guantanamo Bay without being charged, the prison's last British inmate has pleaded: "Please torture me in the old way ... here they destroy people mentally and physically without leaving marks." Shaker Aamer's plight was again raised with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week. A British source called his detainment "unconscionable". MORE

Sex-change 'man' gives birth to child

A man is believed to have become Britain's first "male mother" by giving birth after sex-change surgery. It is possible for transgender men who were born women and still have functioning ovaries and a uterus to become pregnant. The man had the child last year.

Romney attempt to woo voters misfires

Mitt Romney's latest attempt to woo the Republicans has misfired, as popular figures lined up to ridicule his description of himself as "severely conservative". Keen to dispel critics who derided him for being too liberal, he said conservative or conservatism 24 times in 20 minutes. MORE

Nun, 18, dies after setting fire to herself

An 18-year-old Tibetan nun has died after setting herself on fire in protest against Chinese rule, activists said yesterday, the latest in a series of self-immolations. Tenzin Choedon from Sichuan province died on Saturday and was the 22 Tibetan in year to set themselves on fire.

Police launch new hotline for public

The Metropolitan Police has launched a counter-terror campaign urging people to report suspicious behaviour by calling a special hotline. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne said: "The terrorist threat... remains real and serious."

Overeating can lead to memory problems

Memory problems in old age are exacerbated by overeating, new research suggests. Studies by US scientists have shown that a high calorific intake can increase the risk of mild cognitive impairment, a syndrome that can precede dementia.

Bogus BBC Twitter feed causes mischief

A mysterious Twitter account called The Killing Station is parodying the BBC's cafeteria, The Filling Station. Its author, who poses as the canteen manager, has accused the BBC's economics editor of being a kleptomaniac and its business editor of bringing down banks for kicks. MORE

A hot date in the asparagus bed

An English asparagus grower has broken the record for the country's earliest crop, ensuring the delicacy will hit shelves in time for Valentine's Day. S&A Produce of Worcestershire said efficient growing methods meant their first crop was available 10 weeks before the season starts.

Cowell gives dad-to-be a plane ride

Simon Cowell gave a father-to-be a lift on his private jet to the birth of his child. The Britain's Got Talent judge flew John Hagenstede, 44, from auditions in Edinburgh to Luton airport on Saturday.

Snow go: Winnipeg has to import winter

While Europe is shivering, temperatures in the Canadian city of Winnipeg have been so unseasonably warm that the city has had to truck in snow for its annual snow sculpting competition. "Winterpeg" had its third mildest January for 100 years – a balmy average of 10.8C.

Officers prevent 70 sham marriages

Seventy sham marriages were prevented in one month after immigration officers monitored a Leeds registry office. The UK Border Agency swooped on two illegal weddings. And by questioning those who planned to marry there they stopped a further 68 sham weddings going ahead.

Twin brothers suffer the same blindness

Twin brothers who both lost their sight to a rare condition have told of their devastation but determination to continue normal lives. Michael and Dan Smith, 20, have both been left almost totally blind by Leber's Optic Neuropathy, within a year of each other.


'Not enough female comedians on BBC'

The BBC has admitted its failure to give female comedians opportunities on television. Announcing female talent to be given on-air slots this year, the BBC's Mark Linsey told i: "We don't have enough female comedians on television – that's something we are aware of and trying to do something about."