The News Matrix: Monday 24 March 2014


Priest admits civil partnership sham

A Catholic priest has been suspended after admitting he entered into a sham civil partnership so a Pakistani national could obtain a British passport. Father Donald Minchew went along with the arrangement in 2008 while he was an Anglican vicar.

Break up threat to Big Six providers

The Big Six providers could be broken up as the regulator refers them to the competition watchdog. The move is the latest effort to rein in soaring customer bills and address alleged profiteering. Ofgem is expected to consult on a full review of the sector.

New fees system is a waste, says Denham

For every £1 invested in teaching in universities, £7.50 is spent on cancelling students’ debts, parliamentary research has found. Labour’s former Universities minister, John Denham, will tonight accuse the Government of being “scandalously irresponsible” over higher education. PAGE 5

British teenager in ‘suicide death pact’

A British teenager who emigrated to Florida and her boyfriend are believed to have killed themselves after a police officer who stopped to question the pair was murdered. Alexandria Hollinghurst, 17, originally from Manchester, and Brandon Goode, 18, were found dead in an Orlando suburb.

Hamas supporters in show of strength

Thousands of Hamas supporters marched in a show of strength as the militant group faces its deepest crisis since seizing power seven years ago. It is dealing with a severe financial shortfall.

BBC wants to make arts mainstream

The BBC must broaden its coverage of the arts to avoid it becoming marginalised, its director general will say this week. Tony Hall will argue that more must be done to get young people interested in the arts earlier in life. Unveiling the corporation’s “new approach to the arts”, Lord Hall will outline new commissions, including greater coverage on Radio 2 and BBC One.

British police assist over rape allegation

Hampshire police are assisting the investigation into the alleged rape of a British businesswoman in a luxury hotel in Egypt. The woman, aged in her 40s, reported that she was sexually assaulted by a guard  who was escorting her to her room in a five-star hotel at the Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh.

Prosecutor accuses police of ‘excesses’

A top state prosecutor has said security forces had committed “excesses” in breaking up nearly two months of opposition protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, that have left at least 34 dead. In an interview yesterday, Luisa Ortega said prosecutors are “investigating” the issue.

Man to set sail in giant pumpkin

A New Zealand man is planning on sailing the 550kg pumpkin he has grown across a local lake. Tim Harris will tomorrow hollow out the oversized pumpkin and aim to sail it across Hamilton Gardens Turtle Lake – a unique feat in the country.

And they called it puppy love...

Claire Johnson, 50, and Mark Gaffey, 51, were married in Stoke-on-Trent after their guide dogs “fell in love” at training two years ago. The guide dogs, Venice and Rodd, took the happy couple through the service and even acted as ring-bearers.

Police in plea over sex with prostitutes

Police are urging lawmakers to preserve an exemption in Hawaii law that lets officers have sex with prostitutes. The notion has shocked advocates, with legislators looking to change the rule. MORE

D-Day aircraft back for anniversary

A US aircraft that took part in the D-Day landings will again drop paratroopers over France as part of the 70th anniversary commemorations. The  Douglas C-47 has been invited to mark the anniversary in June.