The News Matrix: Monday 20 October 2014


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Prison system ‘in crisis’, says charity

The prison system in England and Wales is in “crisis”, a new report by the Howard League for Penal Reform has said, and the number of prison officers has been slashed by 41 per cent in less than four years. But the Ministry of Justice insisted the figures were incorrect.

Air strikes increase in battle for Kobani

Fighting continues to rage in Kobani, close to the Turkish border, as Kurdish militia battled with Isis fighters who have laid siege to the town for a number of weeks. Western air strikes have intensified in recent days to “degrade and destroy” the militant group.

MH17 crash family: end Ukraine fighting

The family of three children killed when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot out of the sky have called for an end to fighting in Ukraine in honour of their memory. Mo, 12; Evie, 10; and Otis, eight, along with their grandfather Nick Norris, were among the 298 dead.

West Africa’s  ‘lost generation’

Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the economic impact of Ebola in her country and other nations in the region threatened to leave a “lost generation” of young West Africans.

40 per cent jump in liver disease cases

New figures show there has been a “shocking” 40 per cent leap in the number of people dying from liver disease, which is preventable, in the past 12 years, and there is a stark north-south divide. It is the only major cause of death in England still on the rise.

£1m wasted on free school proposals

The Government has spent over £1m of taxpayers’ money on proposals for free schools that never opened, new figures have revealed. A dossier given to i also shows that £50m has been spent on free schools either declared inadequate or requiring improvement by Ofsted.

Woman in fatal fast ‘had no alternative’

A grandmother who starved herself to death said before she died that she had “no alternative” given the UK’s laws against assisted suicide.Jean Davies, 86, died on 1 October, five weeks after first embarking on a fast to end her life – even though she was not terminally ill.

Protesters in further clashes with police

Violent clashes erupted in Hong Kong again yesterday, deepening a sense of impasse between a government with limited options and a pro-democracy movement increasingly willing to confront the police. Talks between the two sides are set for tomorrow.

Tories pressured Nesta, report says

A number of people with links to the Conservative party pressured the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta), a public body, to give taxpayers’ money to a charity that later folded, leaving a string of failed projects, a new report has found. Nesta agreed to give grants worth nearly £500,000 to the Big Society Network.

Status Quo shift their millionth pint

Rock veterans Status Quo have achieved their first million-seller for decades – as their beer brand struck a chord with drinkers. The group’s Piledriver ale – named after one of their classic albums – has shifted its millionth pint after seven months.

Tear gas used at pumpkin punch-up

Violent disturbances near Keene State College in New Hampshire during an annual pumpkin festival lasted until early yesterday and involved dozens of arrests and injuries, as well as police in riot gear using tear gas to disperse crowds. AP

Toy firm sells out of Ebola dolls

Giantmicrobes Inc of Connecticut, which makes a line of plush toys based on viruses and other microscopic organisms, has sold its entire Ebola stock, including the small Ebola doll for $9.95 and Gigantic Ebola doll for $29.95. AP

Chef wants to poach scotch egg record

John Feel, a chef from Cumbria, is hoping an ostrich egg covered in meat and deep fried for three hours could be the biggest ever scotch egg, at 11kg (24lbs). The current world record was set in 2008 with a scotch egg weighing 6kg.