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The News Matrix: Saturday 10 August 2013


Online travel sites investigated

Hotel customers could get cheaper deals on rooms following an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading. The probe alleged online travel sites Expedia and Booking.com agreed with the hotel group IHG not to discount prices using commissions from the company for booking rooms.

Tsvangirai appeals against poll results

Lawyers for the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have filed an appeal with the Constitutional Court against election results that gave President Robert Mugabe 61 per cent of the presidential vote. Mr Tsvangirai wants the elections to be declared void and for fresh elections to be held.

Animal abuse could close family firm

A donkey owner on Cleethorpes beach could be forced to close the business his family has run for three generations after his donkeys were abused. John Nuttall said the donkeys were kicked in the face, put in headlocks and hit with wood while resting in a nearby paddock.

Rail speed limits to be reviewed

Spain will review speed limits and security systems throughout its rail network to avoid a repeat of the train crash that killed 79 people last month. The government also proposes improving signs and introducing hands-free phone communication between drivers and the control centre.

Brown’s spin king memoirs ready to go

Damian McBride, Gordon Brown’s former spin-doctor, has finished his memoirs. Labour bigwigs will be dreading the release of Power Trip: A Decade of Policy, Plots and Spin, as McBride – nicknamed “Mad Dog” and “McPoison” – masterminded Tony Blair’s downfall. MORE

Drug lord released after 28 years in jail

A court yesterday ordered the  release of infamous drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero after 28 years in jail, overturning his conviction for the 1985 kidnap and killing of a US Drug Enforcement Administration agent. It ruled he was improperly tried in a federal court for a state offence.

Mortality reports  too much bad news

England’s public health monitor is to scrap a regular report into mortality rates, after a recent leak revealed an unexpected spike in deaths among the elderly. Labour has called for ministers to explain why the Public Health England reports were scrapped soon after the revelation.

‘Repatriation’ Tory attacks Lawrence

The vice president of the Traditional Britain Group has described Baroness Lawrence, the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, as “anti-English” and a “nobody”  and giving her a peerage was another instance of “filling the House of Lords up with spivs”. MORE

Man ‘killed wife and posted photo online’

A Florida man who authorities say fatally shot his wife – and apparently then posted a photo of her body on Facebook – has been charged with first-degree murder. Derek Medina, 31, says he shot 26-year-old Jennifer Alfonso several times at their South Miami home. MORE

Obama broke up with me, says Damon

The President has a legion of celebrity fundraisers, including the singer Gwen Stefani and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, but one famous Democrat has slammed Barack Obama in a new interview. “He broke up with me,” Matt Damon said. “There are a lot of things that I really question.”

Russian man takes the credit in court

A Russian man has turned the tables on a bank after being sent a letter offering him a credit card. Dmitry Argarkov scanned the agreement, changed the terms and returned it, giving himself unlimited credit and a zero per cent interest rate. A court ruled in his favour. MORE

Widow of news mogul Maxwell dies

Betty Maxwell, the widow of crooked publishing mogul Robert Maxwell, has died aged 92. Remaining publicly loyal to her husband long after he stole £600m from the Daily Mirror pension fund, Dr Maxwell is believed to have known nothing of the fraud and devoted herself to Holocaust research and interfaith understanding.

Major crackdown ahead of protests

Human rights activists in Bahrain say the government is cracking down ahead of a major opposition rally on 14 August, which marks independence from Britain. King Hamad’s decree last week banned protests in the capital and increased punishments for protesters.

Welcoming back The Wombles

The Wombles are to return to the TV screen and  to star in a new film. Mike Batt, the co-creator of the eco-friendly children’s TV characters, said: “We have plans for two new 26-part TV series, a feature-length movie and an interactive online Wombles World experience.”

Benidorm boom hit by builder boo boo

The 47-storey Intempo skyscraper in Benidorm, Spain, was supposed to be a striking symbol of the city’s prosperity. Sadly, the builders forgot to include a working elevator. The architects have resigned, and it remains unclear if the developers will be able to solve the problem.

Work-shy man jams airport systems

A man faces thousands of dollars in fines after affecting the satellite system at Newark Liberty International airport in New Jersey. Gary Bojczak installed a sat-nav jamming device in his company car so his boss would be unable to trace him, but it affected the airport’s systems.

‘I’m off on holidays – oh, and you’re fired’

A council boss “meant no harm” by regaling staff with tales of his wedding plans, music concerts and holidays in an email informing them of job losses. Wigan Council said Terry Dunn, its director of environment, was following a directive to include personal details in emails. MORE

Researchers home in on ‘real’ Mona Lisa

Experts trying to identify the “original” Mona Lisa are to DNA-compare remains from a tomb in Florence with bones found in a Florence convent and thought to be those of Lisa Gherardini, widely believed to be the model. An inscription suggests her family was buried in the tomb.