The News Matrix: Monday 16 May 2011

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The Independent Online

Blood test ‘could predict lifespan’

A blood test that could estimate how long you have to live is to go on sale in Britain later this year. The test measures structures on the tips of chromosomes, called telomeres, which, scientists say, indicate how fast someone is ageing. MORE

Huckabee’s heart says ‘no’ to race

Mike Huckabee has announced that he will not seek his party’s presidential nomination in 2012, adding uncertainty to the race to pick a Republican challenger to President Barack Obama. “All the factors say ‘go’, but my heart says ‘no’,” he said. MORE

Police examining claim against Huhne

Essex Police confirmed they have been handed information which may lead to an investigation into allegations Energy Secretary Chris Huhne avoided a driving ban by entering another person’s name on a speeding fine. He denies the allegation. MORE

Mao’s grandson cuts actress from epic film

Chinese actress Tang Wei may be edited from the country’s propaganda epic The Founding of a Party after Mao’s grandson complained about her role in an erotic thriller. MORE

Prince sets up army of mercenaries

Erik Prince, the founder of the security company Blackwater, is setting up a paramilitary force of foreign mercenaries in Abu Dhabi, it has been claimed. Mr Prince has reportedly arranged a $529m deal to form an 800-strong battalion. MORE

Scientists identify ‘cause’ of depression

Scientists from Kings College London have established a genetic cause for depression, identifying a chromosome called 3p25-26 as the cause. They will next try to find the gene responsible, understand its function, and see if it is treatable. MORE

Marine killed by bomb during search

A Royal Marine from 42 Commando was killed by a bomb in Afghanistan yesterday, while searching a compound in Nad Ali in Helmand. His family has been informed. The fatality takes the total of British deaths in Afghanistan since 2001 to 365.

Two charged with 15-year-old’s murder

Two teenagers have been charged with the murder of 15-year-old Temidayo Ogunneye, in south London last Wednesday. Kieron Carew-Donaldson, 18, of Brixton, and Darius Kwakye, 18, of Camberwell, appear at Sutton Magistrates court today.

Security heightened for the Queen’s visit

Security is tight in Ireland ahead of the Queen’s historic state visit. Around 8,000 police officers and 2,000 Irish soldiers will police the four-day tour, which begins in Dublin tomorrow. The visit has been subject to threats from dissident republican groups. Armed royal-protection officers from the Met will also accompany the Queen. MORE

Rise in hayfever drug sales after dry spell

Sales of hayfever treatments have risen 40 per cent after one of the driest springs for 40 years. Extra supplies have been ordered for the 10 million sufferers in Britain.

Woman ‘molested’ by Donald Duck paid off

April Magolon, who claims she was molested by a Disney World Donald Duck, has settled her lawsuit with Disney after suing for $50,000 (£30,900). She says the employee grabbed her breast when she asked for an autograph.

Dizzee hits new heights in film world

Rapper Dizzee Rascal has turned his talents to photography, with shots of east London cityscapes joining rural vistas captured at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, in a collection commissioned by Microsoft. MORE

Charity launches free abuse helpline

The NSPCC has launched a text number, 88858, to encourage more people to report cases of child abuse. The charity said the free number was intended to help the public be the “eyes and ears” of social workers. It is part of a pilot scheme, and is available 24 hours a day.

Study reveals butterfly recovery

Some of Britain’s most threatened butterflies are showing signs of recovery after decades of decline. A programme run by Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology saw rare species, including the wood white and the marsh fritillary, record large increases last year.

Dylan speaks out about ‘censorship’

Bob Dylan has denied speculation he allowed government censors to remove subversive songs from his set during his recent tour of China. In a message released on his website, the usually reclusive singer told fans he wanted to “clarify a few things about this so-called China controversy”.

Competitors face a hairy time in Norway

Competitors from more than 15 countries have descended on the Norwegian city of Trondheim for the World Beard and Moustache Championships. All the competitors will be vying for the overall top prize – gold in the Best Facial Hair category.

Big Brother knows if you are greedy

The next time children in some Texas primary schools try to sneak extra french fries on to their tray at lunchtime, the eye in the sky will be watching them. Using a $2m grant from the Department of Agriculture, schools are installing sophisticated cameras that monitor what types and quantities of food children are eating, with the aim of improving nutrition.