The News Matrix: Monday 19 December 2011


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The Independent Online


Time running out to avert further strikes

Talks to resolve the bitter dispute over public-sector pensions will be held today as time runs out for reaching a deal to avert further strikes. One union source said a deal for town hall staff looked close, saying ministers were adopting a "divide and rule" approach to negotiation. MORE

Ten people dead after clashes in Cairo

Pro-democracy activists and government troops clashed for a third consecutive day in Cairo, pelting each other with rocks in skirmishes near the parliament building. In the most sustained crackdown yet, at least 10 protesters have been killed and 441 others hurt in the violence. MORE

Manning had gender issues, hearing told

Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of leaking thousands of government secrets to WikiLeaks, struggled with emotional problems and gender issues, a military hearing was told at the weekend. MORE

Armed clashes point to possible civil war

At least 14 civilians and six government troops were reportedly killed in armed clashes yesterday, the latest sign that Syria's uprising may descend into civil war. Battles were also reported in villages near the Turkish border, where many army defectors are operating.

Gorman avoids trial over Florida incident

A Scottish millionaire who was expected to go on trial in Florida for taking part in an alleged sex act and possessing cocaine has agreed to undergo community work to avoid going to court. Mary Gorman faced charges of resisting arrest and possession of cocaine.

Flash floods death toll rises to 652

The number of people killed in the Philippines by floods triggered by Tropical Storm Washi has risen to 652. Soldiers and volunteers are still searching for another 808 people who have been reported missing. Most of the victims were women and children, who were asleep when the devastating flash floods hit on Friday night. MORE

Pilot dies in light aircraft collision

A man has died and two people have been treated for minor injuries after two light aircraft collided near an airport in Leicestershire. The planes crashed in mid-air in the Great Stretton area just after 2pm yesterday. Police confirmed that one of the pilots died, while the two men travelling in the other plane were injured.

Athlete secures his sponsorship on eBay

A top UK athlete who turned to eBay to find sponsorship to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games has managed to beat his target. James Ellington, 26, from Lewisham in south-east London, received an anonymous bid of £32,500 on the online auction site – more than £2,500 above the original target.

Most under-threat birds land in the UK

The world's most threatened birds took up residence in Gloucestershire at the weekend, when a captive flock of young spoon-billed sandpipers began a new life at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. There are now fewer than 100 pairs of the Asian waders, their population having dropped by 90 per cent in a decade.

Anonymous donor gives $2,000 ring

An anonymous donor has dropped a diamond and sapphire ring worth $2,000 into a Salvation Army collection bin in Miami. The ring, tucked inside a $50 bill, had a note that read: "They need more than I. Do good! A Friend." Earlier this month, a 3/4-carat diamond was dropped into one of the charity's bins in Kansas City.

King of Pop's possessions net $1m

The contents of the home where Michael Jackson died sold at auction for nearly $1m (£645,000). Among the items for sale was a chalkboard where Jackson's children wrote "I love daddy", which sold for $5,000, and a mirrored armoire, upon which Jackson wrote a message to himself, which fetched $25,750. MORE

Pedigree pooches may be born to suffer

Owners of pedigree pooches are unaware their "handbag dogs" could be "born to suffer", the RSPCA says. Research by the animal charity revealed many people believe pedigree dogs and puppies are healthy animals from good stock. But the dogs are primarily bred for their looks and are vulnerable to disease.

Smurf town keeps blue period going

A Spanish town temporarily painted blue to promote the new Smurfs film voted in a referendum yesterday to keep it that way, following a tourist boom. Tens of thousands of visitors have flocked to the previously-white Andalucian town of Juzcar, below, near Malaga, since its blue makeover six months ago. MORE