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The News Matrix: Saturday 1 March 2014

‘Independence a plus for British Airways’

Scottish independence could be a “positive development” for BA, according to the boss of the firm’s owner. Willie Walsh said the Scottish government recognised the “huge impact” passenger duty had on the economy. The Scottish government has pledged to reduce the duty.

Lecturer helped murderer boyfriend

A university lecturer has been found guilty of assisting her boyfriend and two others in their bid to escape after they “executed” a rival to their drugs gang. Rachel Kenehan, 35, who taught at the London Metropolitan University, has been described as “throwing away her promising career.”

Sick Pope advised to rest

Pope Francis skipped a planned visit  to student priests at a Rome seminary last night because he is suffering from a fever and has been advised to rest. It was the first time since his election nearly a year ago that the 77-year-old pontiff has cancelled a public engagement.

A third of workers are older than 50

A record number of older workers are in employment after a big increase in recent years. The Government said almost nine million people over the age of 50 are now in work, almost a third of the workforce, and a rise of 8.5 per cent since 1992.

Confidential Clinton documents released

The US National Archives has released about 4,000 pages of confidential documents involving former President Bill Clinton’s administration. The papers could shed light on Clinton’s presidency and provide insight into a possible future presidential candidate: Hillary Clinton.

Farage: UK no longer fit for our children

Britain has become unrecognisable in recent years and is no longer a community fit for passing to our children, Nigel Farage claimed today in a rallying cry to his party ahead of the European elections. The Ukip leader was speaking in his conference speech in Torquay. MORE

Flood victim, 91, thought she was safe

A 91-year-old woman who died during severe flooding told emergency workers she believed she was safe, a coroner heard. Margaret Hughes was found drowned in her home during floods at St Asaph, Denbighshire, in November 2012, a pre-inquest hearing in Ruthin was told.

Handover to head new ‘change’ fund

The former chairman and chief executive of WH Smith, Richard Handover, has been appointed as chairman of the new Power To Change fund. The fund will award £150m of Big Lottery Fund grants to support community enterprise across England.

Trial of alleged Bin Laden son-in-law

A man prosecutors say is Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law will go on trial next week in New York despite claims by his lawyers that the government may have charged the wrong person. Judge Lewis Kaplan denied a request to delay the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith.

Mafia tried to kill Rudy Giuliani

According to reports that emerged yesterday, Salvatore Riina, the jailed Sicilian Mafia leader, allegedly ordered the assassination of Rudy Giuliani, later mayor of New York, when he was a state prosecutor and cutting a swathe through the mob.

Former SS guard ‘unfit to stand trial’

A 94-year-old man deported from the US for lying about his Nazi past is unfit for trial on allegations that he was an accessory to thousands of murders as an SS guard at Auschwitz. The Ellwangen state court said Hans Lipschis is suffering from “worsening dementia” and couldn’t be tried.

Racist slur to ambassador

A Chinese government news service used a racist slur to describe the departing US ambassador in a mean-spirited editorial yesterday that drew widespread public condemnation. The article described Gary Locke, the first Chinese-American to hold the post, as a “rotten banana”.

New beer tastes of Welsh lamb

A brewer has created a new beer with Welsh lamb to mark the  celebration of St David’s Day.  Conwy Brewery said its Sunday Toast has infused slow-roasted lamb in the brewing process, combining the aromas of a Sunday roast  with a dark ale. The brew is kept warm for a week.

Vikings set to invade cinema screens

The Vikings are coming to cinemas across the country as part of a major new exhibition. The British Museum show has been captured on film and is introduced by museum director Neil MacGregor and presented by TV historians Michael Wood and Bettany Hughes.

Great grandfather picks up wrong child

A 79-year-old man in Connecticut accidentally brought the wrong child home from school believing him to be his own great grandson. When he got the child back to his house his wife pointed out he had picked up the wrong boy. The child was then sent home on an empty school bus.

Venetian gondoliers submit to drug tests

Venetian gondoliers have this week begun taking voluntary drug tests  to prove their boats are safe. Last summer, a German tourist was hit by a boat while he was enjoying a gondola ride with his family.

Cigar smokers vie to create best ash cone

Hundreds of cigar aficionados from around the world took part in a competition to see who could create the longest unbroken cone of cigar ash. The competition was part of the week-long Cigar Festival in Havana.

The cats who got the cream tea

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, London’s first cat café officially opens its doors to the public today after more than a year of preparations. Demand was through the roof, with over 3,000 bookings made in the first four-and-a-half hours. MORE

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