The News Matrix: Monday 5 September 2011

Darling: ‘We should have ditched Brown’

Labour ministers should have done more to remove Gordon Brown from office, his former chancellor Alistair Darling said yesterday. Mr Darling told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show that a sense of loyalty prevented him from acting decisively in prompting the PM’s removal. MORE

Plan to offer exiles a place back at home

British diplomats are negotiating a deal to ensure that vacancies for staff at the Chagos Island base of Diego Garcia, are available to islanders forcibly removed from the archipelago more than 40 years ago. Phillippa Gregory, a supporter of the Chagossians, is interviewed in today’s i. MORE

Call for chipping as canine attacks grow

Attacks on guide dogs by other dogs have more than doubled in 12 months, the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said. On average, there are more than seven such attacks each month. It has called for compulsory microchipping of dogs in England and Wales and more police action.

Chirac ‘not well enough to stand trial’

As France prepared for the trial of the former President Jacques Chirac today, his family said that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s so severely that he would not be able to follow the embezzlement case. A judge was due to decide this morning on whether to go ahead with the trial. MORE

Man arrested for pensioner’s murder

A man wanted in connection with the murder of Northumberland pensioner Judith Richardson, 77, has been arrested in North Yorkshire. Graeme Jarman, 47, was found in a library in Filey after a tip-off by staff.

School beat to guard pupils from muggers

A thousand police officers will protect children as they travel to and from London schools, because street robbery has become so common, Scotland Yard has said. High-value smartphones and media players have been increasingly targeted. Police and community support officers will provide a visible presence to reassure young people and give them tips on how to stay safe until half-term.

Clegg tells parents to back up teachers

Parents will be urged by Nick Clegg today to back up teachers by imposing discipline in their children. In a speech the Deputy Prime Minister will argue: “If you don’t take an interest in your child’s education, teachers cannot make up the shortfall.”

No backing down by Netanyahu

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday refused to back down in a continuing row with Turkey over an attack on a flotilla bound for Gaza. Mr Netanyahu told his naval commandos: “We will defend you in every place and at every forum.” MORE

Man charged with murder of imam

A man has been charged with the murder of an imam killed at a mosque after morning prayers. Ziani Aissa, 24, will appear before magistrates today charged with murdering Sheikh Maymoun Zarzour, 39, at the Muslim Welfare House, Finsbury Park, north London, on Friday.

Surfer savaged in attack by great white

A shark attacked a surfer off the coast of Western Australia. The shark, believed to be a great white, attacked as the man bodyboarded. His legs were bitten off in what was said to be the first shark attack in the area for more than 20 years.

Big firms with public contracts avoid tax

Unions have called for action after a report claimed 13 of the 20 biggest companies awarded public-sector contracts have subsidiaries in tax havens. Tim Hunt, of the Ethical Consumer, said such companies should not be allowed to “use tax havens”.

McDonald’s helps to count the calories

Self-denial over how bad that McDonald’s takeaway is for your waistline will be a thing of the past from Wednesday. The fast-food chain will publish the calorie content of all items on its menu so customers will know how many a Big Mac or a milkshake contains.

Adele reschedules UK tour dates

Singer-songwriter Adele has been forced to cancel the first two dates of her British tour because of illness. The 23-year-old Grammy award-winning soul superstar has had to reschedule planned shows at Plymouth Pavilions and Bournemouth International Centre.

Ross gets his second chance

Jonathan Ross’s new chat show was a ratings hit for ITV1 on Saturday, with 4.6m viewers tuning in, giving it a 21 per cent audience share. His cancelled BBC show had an average audience of 3.1m in its last series.

Strong wind keeps giant kite grounded

An attempt to break the world record for the biggest kite ever flown was called off at an event in Bristol yesterday because it was too windy. Two previous attempts to launch the kite, which is bigger than a football pitch, failed on Saturday when a tear was found in the fabric.

Happy Feet makes a return to the wild

Three months after becoming a celebrity when he washed up in New Zealand, thousands of miles from his Antarctic home, Happy Feet the penguin was released back into the wild yesterday. He was coaxed back to health after becoming ill when he ate sand, mistaking it for snow.

Brits get a taste for low-fat ice cream

A low-fat version of ice cream is scooping up the British dessert market. Gelato stores have started opening across the UK, with customers looking to satisfy their sweet tooth but without necessarily piling on the pounds. MORE

Drunk man chomps on pet python

Police in California were scratching their heads yesterday after a man bit a pet python snake in a drunken incident. The animal was so severely hurt that it needed stitches. David Senk, the suspect in the case, explained that he was drunk and had no memory of the incident. MORE

Oscars organisers ‘to play it for laughs’

After experimenting with A-list straight-actor hosts, Oscars producers may ask Eddie Murphy to bring comedy back to the ceremony. Mixed reviews for February’s double-act by James Franco and Anne Hathaway may have prompted the decision.