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The News Matrix: Monday 9 January 2012
PM apologises over Tourette's comment
David Cameron said he was sorry if he offended anyone by describing heckling by Ed Balls as like "having someone with Tourette's sitting opposite you". His jibe has sparked criticism from campaigners who said he did not understand the inherited neurological condition. MORE
Hawking turns 70 and thanks his dad
Stephen Hawking missed his 70th birthday party yesterday at Cambridge University on doctor's advice – but still appeared in a pre-recorded message. The physicist spoke movingly of the role his father played in picking him up from his diagnosis with motor neurone disease at 21. MORE
ANC reaches 100 but there's little rejoicing
The African National Congress stumbled into its second century yesterday with little rejoicing, amid a clampdown on speeches and after international dignitaries stayed away from commemorative events. MORE
Sea France slips into bankruptcy
Sea France, one of two ferry operators on the Dover-to-Calais route, is expected to be declared bankrupt by a court in Paris today. The empire goes under amid allegations of fraud and threats of violence. It is alleged to have fallen under the control of a rogue trade-union branch. MORE
Oil spill ship breaks apart in storm
New Zealand braced for a new oil spill last night after a storm broke up a cargo ship that caused the country's worst maritime environmental disaster. The Greek-owned Rena, which has been wedged on a reef off North Island for three months, split in two yesterday. MORE
Mitt Romney rivals brand him dishonest
Republican front runner Mitt Romney took some flak in a final Republican presidential debate yesterday ahead of tomorrow's key primary vote in New Hampshire as his rivals branded him "timid", "pious" and dishonest. Mr Romney is the favourite in the state, where he has a holiday home and is well known to voters after his four-year term as Governor in neighbouring Massachusetts. MORE
Man, 50, killed by police car on 999 call
A 50-year-old pedestrian died after he was hit by a police car answering a 999 call, a force spokesman said yesterday. The collision happened in South Shields, South Tyneside. The man was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. MORE
Labour criticises fingerprint decision
Ministers have been accused by Labour of encouraging illegal immigrants by ending the practice of fingerprinting those caught trying to enter the UK via vehicles using the Channel Tunnel.
BA jet in emergency Heathrow landing
A British Airways jet was forced to make an an emergency landing at Heathrow after both pilots became "unwell" at the controls. The Air Accident Investigation Branch is now investigating the incident.
Christmas showers, new year flowers?
The Woodland Trust has had reports of daffodils already in bloom and hazel buds bursting, which was confirmed by the National Trust who also said fields were green compared with last year. MORE
Scientists sound the alarm over edelweiss
Alpine plants such as the edelweiss, famously sung about in The Sound Of Music, are under threat, scientists have warned. They are being squeezed out by plants that thrive in warmer temperatures.
Bungee jumper lives after cord snaps
An Australian tourist miraculously survived after her bungee cord snapped over the crocodile infested waters of Zimbabwe's Zambezi River. Erin Langworthy, 22, said everything went black when she hit the water and described how she had to swim down and untie herself from the cord which was still attached to her legs.
Former fighter pilot told plane 'unsafe'
A Second World War fighter pilot has condemned "ridiculous" health and safety concerns that prevented him from sitting in the cockpit of a Spitfire on show at a museum. Eric Carter, 91, was told he could not clamber aboard the plane because paint with a radioactive substance had been used on its instrument panel.
Coin fetches 138m times its face value
A one-cent coin from the earliest days of the US Mint has sold for a record $1.38 million at a Florida auction. The coin was minted in Philadelphia in 1793, the first year the US made its own coins. The price is believed be the highest ever for a US copper coin sold at auction. The unnamed buyer was said to be a "major collector".
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