The News Matrix: Saturday 13 October 2012


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The Independent Online

Rise in strays is down to recession

Unemployment and the rising cost of living is resulting in more pet owners abandoning their cats. Cat Protection have said the high number of strays has hit an all-time high since the recession and the RSPCA has also reported an increase in reports of stray animals. MORE

Monti says Spain can calm markets

Italy's Prime Minister, Mario Monti, said yesterday that any request by Spain for ECB support to lower its borrowing costs would calm financial markets. His Spanish counterpart, Mariano Rajoy, is thought to be waiting for regional elections and may delay a decision further if bond yields remain manageable.

Hacker 'suicidal' if sent for trial to US

Hacker Gary McKinnon, who broke into Pentagon and Nasa computers, has been given hope in his 10-year extradition battle. Home Office-appointed psychiatrists warned that McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger's, is very likely to attempt suicide if sent for trial in the US. MORE

Plans to extend leave for new fathers

Plans to introduce "flexible parental leave" are to go before Parliament next year. The new system will mean that either the mother or father can claim parental leave and the allowance after two weeks. Currently, mothers can only transfer leave to partners after six months. MORE

Biden debate puts Obama back on track

Joe Biden's performance in the vice presidential debate has set the stage for President Barack Obama to regain his footing during a rematch with Republican challenger Mitt Romney next week. Biden challenged Paul Ryan on taxes, healthcare and foreign policy. MORE

European Union wins Peace Prize

The European Union has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for helping "transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace". The EU is one of 24 organisations to receive the award, including the UN and Médecins Sans Frontières. MORE

Street battles in Cairo as rivals clash

Opponents and supporters of President Mohamed Morsi clashed in Cairo yesterday in the first street violence between rival factions since the Islamist leader took office in June. Both sides threw stones, bottles and petrol bombs, and some fought hand-to-hand.

Search for survivors as storms kill 24

Dozens of fishermen are missing after storms lashed coastal Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal, killing at least 24 people yesterday. The coastguard and fellow fishermen are searching for those missing. The storms swept through hundreds of villages, destroying homes.

Laptop porn probe led to Marine arrests

The seven Royal Marines arrested on suspicion of the murder of a Taliban fighter were identified after an investigation into the possession of pornography. The probe found footage of the soldiers discussing whether to provide aid to the injured Afghan in Helmand. MORE

Zuma's extravagance costs taxpayers £14m

President Jacob Zuma has been criticised for additions to his home that cost taxpayers more than £14m. They include extra security, a medical clinic and a helipad. Millions of his countrymen still lack running water, electricity and access to health and education. MORE

Police could face criminal charges

Police involved in the Hillsborough disaster could face criminal charges, including the current chief constable of West Yorkshire, Sir Norman Bettison. The news comes at the start of the Independent Police Complaints Commission's inquiry into the collapsed stadium stand in 1989. MORE

Customers in limbo as bank deal fails

Plans to sell 318 branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland to Santander have collapsed after the Spanish bank pulled out of the deal. RBS had been working on the sale for over two years, but it is thought there were potential problems integrating the two banks' IT systems. MORE

Two fighters sent to Syrian border

Turkey sent two fighter aircraft to the Syrian border yesterday as tension between the two countries persisted. Russia insisted an airliner bound for Syria that was grounded by Turkey contained parts for radar systems, not weapons, as had been indicated by the Turks. MORE

I'll fight welfare cuts, promises Clegg

Nick Clegg says he will fight to stop Chancellor George Osborne making a further £10bn of cuts to the welfare budget. The Deputy Prime Minister said he was "flatly" against the plans, which would hit the poorest. Mr Osborne wants extra spending cuts totalling £16bn by 2017. MORE

Feather favour for American Indians

The US Justice Department has decided to allow members of federally recognised American Indian tribes to possess eagle feathers. Killing bald and golden eagles, and possessing their feathers, is illegal, but tribal members can pick up feathers if they do not disturb the animals.

Thousands flee backyard bomb

More than 10,000 people were evacuated from a neighbourhood in the German city of Potsdam yesterday after the discovery in a garden of a 250kg bomb from the Second World War. Residents were able to return several hours later after experts successfully defused the bomb.

Apple to licence use of station clock face

Apple has ended a copyright battle with Swiss Federal Railways by agreeing to license the use of its iconic station clock design for the iPhone and iPad. The dispute had been over Apple's use of round clock faces with black indicators except for the second hand, which is red.

Dutch monkeys are bananas for cocaine

A major cocaine seizure turned out to be good news for the monkeys at Rotterdam's zoo. Dutch authorities say the seizure was the biggest ever in the Netherlands or Belgium. The drugs were hidden in boxes of bananas which have been sent to the creatures at Blijdorp Zoo.

Balding to move into Sunday 'faith' slot

Clare Balding is to join BBC Radio 2, replacing regular Sunday morning host Aled Jones in January. Balding, who came to the fore during the Olympics, recently signed a deal with Channel 4 as a result of the BBC losing rights to horse racing. She is continuing to work on BBC projects.

Everett to go Wilde in the West End

Rupert Everett's acclaimed performance as Oscar Wilde is to transfer to the West End. The Judas Kiss, by David Hare, which examines Wilde's relationship with his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, had a sell-out run at the Hampstead Theatre. It will open at the Duke Of York's on January 17.

Smugglers caught with 56 puppies

A second attempt within a week to traffic puppies bred in illegal Irish puppy farms to Britain has been foiled. Some 56 dogs were discovered in a van at Dublin Port. The find brings the total number of pups seized to 92 in only three days.

Controversial pastor barred from Canada

Canada has denied entry to US pastor Terry Jones, whose congregation held a Quran burning ceremony in March 2011. Jones was denied entry because of a fine he received in Germany almost 20 years ago for using the title "doctor", having received a merely honorary doctorate in 1993.

Scientists' fears for itchy Stinky

The sight of Stinky the dolphin off the Cayman Islands may delight tourists, but scientists say he is becoming a danger and could hurt himself. The dolphin has a fondness for boat propellers and likes to rub against anchors, channel markers and mooring buoys, injuring himself in the process.

Doctor sacked over flight infection risk

A consultant lost his job at an NHS hospital in Norfolk after carrying a sample of HIV-infected blood in his hand luggage while flying from Nigeria to the UK. Tubonye Harry, a genito-urinary specialist, should have packed the sample in the aircraft's hold, a High Court judge said.