The News Matrix: Monday 20 February 2012


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The Independent Online


Cameron to force through NHS reform

David Cameron will today signal his resolve to push through health reforms as he stages a summit from which critics have been excluded. The Prime Minister believes the plans for the changes are too advanced to be halted and will argue patients can already see improvements. MORE

Arms deals blamed for reduced coffers

As Athens waits for a €130bn rescue package to be finally agreed by eurozone ministers today, some are blaming Germany and France for contributing to the country's descent towards bankruptcy by continuing to push the sale of vastly expensive weapons contracts. MORE

Santorum attacks public education

Rick Santorum, left, whose campaign for the Republican nomination continues to gain momentum, has launched a broadside against public education, saying it would be better if parents taught their children at home. MORE

Gove in bid to to stop 'term-time getaways'

Heads will no longer be able to allow families to take holidays in term time, under new plans by the education secretary, Michael Gove. Charlie Taylor, the schools adviser brought in after last year's riots, has convinced Mr Gove a tougher regime is needed to halt term-time getaways. MORE

Scientist creates first test-tube hamburger

The world's first synthetic hamburger will be publicly consumed this October. Heston Blumenthal could be asked to cook the burger, which will be made from 3,000 strips of synthetic meat protein grown in fermentation vats using stem cells. MORE

210,000 'avoidable deaths' predicted

More than 200,000 people could die prematurely from alcohol-related illnesses over the next 20 years, leading doctors have warned. Sir Ian Gilmore, former president of the Royal College of Physicians, is among a group of experts predicting there could be 210,000 avoidable deaths if current trends continue. Liver disease would cause 70,000 of those deaths, the figures indicate.

Police shoot man after weapon threat

A man was shot by police in south London yesterday. Armed officers were sent to the scene in Elsinore Road, Forest Hill, after a man threatened local police with "a large bladed weapon". Scotland Yard said the victim was in a "critical but stable" condition in hospital. The incident is under investigation.

New presidential candidate agreed

The government and the two major opposition parties last night said they have agreed to jointly nominate Joachim Gauck as Germany's presidential candidate. President Christian Wulff quit on Friday after two months of allegations that he received favours from friends when he was governor of Lower Saxony.

PM accused of dirty tricks over video leak

A video showing the former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, below, thumping a table and swearing while trying to record a New Year's greeting in Mandarin has surfaced on the internet. Its appearance at a time when he is reportedly trying to win back the top job from Julia Gillard has raised accusations of a dirty-tricks campaign. MORE

DJ Fresh is hot right now with No 1 single

The No 1 spot was handed to DJ Fresh, featuring Rita, with the new entry "Hot Right Now" in the singles chart released yesterday. It knocked "Somebody that I Used to Know" by the Belgian-Australian musician and singer-songwriter Gotye, featuring Kimbra, off the top spot down to No 3. There was also a new entry at No 2 with "Next to me" by Emeli Sande.

Widow recovers husband's medals

A widow has been reunited with her husband's war medals more than two years after floods swept them away. Honours earned by Joseph McCormick were lost in the November 2009 Cumbria floods. Marjorie McCormick, 86, was parted from most of her possessions but a clear-up later salvaged the medals.