The News Matrix: Saturday 14 March 2015


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The Independent Online

Gove ‘still in control of education policy’

Michael Gove remains in charge  of the Conservatives’ education policy, despite the appointment of his successor Nicky Morgan,  the MP David Laws has revealed  in an interview with i. “The  people who control education policy in the Conservative Party are still Michael Gove, David Cameron and George Osborne,” Mr Laws said.

Indonesians trying to join Isis detained 

Turkish border officials have detained 16 Indonesians trying to cross into Syria to join Isis. Eleven  children are believed to be among the group. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that police were looking for another group of 16 Indonesians missing in the country. The authorities are also questioning a man who allegedly helped three British schoolgirls cross into Syria.

Cairo plans new city for five million

Egypt has revealed ambitious plans for a new business and administrative district planned to house up to five million residents on the outskirts of Cairo. Cairo Capital, as the project is dubbed, is intended to relieve congestion in the metropolis of around 18 million people. The plans reportedly included 1.1 million homes and 1.75 million jobs.

Ministers urged to stop revenge attacks

A prominent Iraqi Sunni preacher urged authorities yesterday to prevent Shia militias from carrying out revenge attacks on Sunnis in Saddam Hussein’s hometown. The militias are fighting alongside government forces against Isis extremists in Tikrit. Sheik Abdel Sattar Abdul Jabbar said that if the government failed to stop such attacks, sectarian tensions in the country would build up again.

Top executives are egg-theft suspects

Cuban prosecutors are seeking long prison terms for nearly two dozen people suspected of conspiring to pilfer millions of eggs for sale on the black market. The suspects include several top executives of the state-run egg distribution company in Havana. Communist Party newspaper Granma said more than eight million eggs were diverted to the black market in 2012.

Scarlet-fever cases double in England

Cases of scarlet fever reported in England since the start of the current season, in September, have more than doubled compared with the same period last year, health officials have warned. Public Health England said this was the second year in a row of “exceptional activity”, after last year saw the highest levels of the illness since the late 1960s. Since this season began, 5,746 cases have been reported.

Eight engines at Surrey school blaze

Firefighters confirmed last night that all children and staff at a Surrey primary school had been accounted for following an explosion at a building site there. Eight fire engines and 40 firefighters attended the blaze in the grounds of St George’s School in Weybridge yesterday afternoon. A Surrey Police spokesman said no injuries had been reported.

Polar bear danger for eclipse watchers

Norwegian authorities are reminding visitors who want to view a total solar eclipse from the remote Arctic island of Svalbard this month to be aware of polar bears, dress warmly and make sure they have a place to stay before coming. The island’s governor said in leaflets and online that visitors should note that the average temperature in March is -15C (5F). Accommodations have been booked for years, he added.

Murphy backtracks on glue remark

Jim Murphy has denied that he sniffed glue as a teenager, despite admitting to students that he could not recall whether he had tried it. Speaking at a debate in front of students at Glasgow University, the Scottish Labour leader said he could not remember whether or not he had sniffed glue.

Oil-rich state orders Lebanese to leave

The UAE has ordered more Lebanese to leave the country in the latest wave of deportations from the oil-rich state, Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry – and a former deportee – said yesterday. Hundreds of Lebanese, mostly Shia Muslims, have been quietly deported since 2009. Deportations of Shia from Gulf states rose in 2013 after the Shia militant Hezbollah joined Syrian government forces in Syria’s civil war.

Greens’ fundraiser ticket costs £1,000

The Green Party is to host a fundraising event to generate cash for its election campaign, with the cheapest tickets costing £1,000 – double the price that standard ticket holders paid to attend the Conservatives’ black-and-white ball last month. The event will feature a three-course dinner, a speech by the party’s leader, Natalie Bennett, and a “stimulating Q&A”.

World’s first penis transplant a success

South African doctors have performed the world’s first penis transplant on a 21-year-old man, who lost his three years ago after a botched circumcision. The nine-hour operation, which took place in December, was part of a pilot study by Tygerberg Hospital and the University of Stellenbosch. About 250 young South African men lose their penises each year after coming-of-age rituals go wrong.

Arts centre severely damaged by blaze

Battersea Arts Centre, where Ed Miliband launched the Labour arts manifesto a fortnight ago, was severely damaged yesterday by fire. Flames burst through the roof of the Victorian Grade II listed building in south London as firefighters battled to contain the blaze. No one was hurt, but parts of the building are thought to have collapsed. Mr Miliband described the fire as “terrible”.

Pope wishes for a slice of anonymity

Pope Francis said yesterday that while he does not dislike being Pope, he really misses the freedom to get pizza. “I’d like to be able to go out without anyone recognising me and go get pizza,” the Pope said during an interview with Mexican TV. He also suggested he would only be Pope for “four or five years”.

Charity ‘gunman’ sparks security alert

A charity fundraiser sparked a police manhunt yesterday after donning full camouflage and carrying what appeared to be a gun. Armed police and a helicopter scoured Norwich city centre after the man, who was wearing fancy dress for Comic Relief, prompted a number of calls.

Militants mocked for Hamas hashtag

An attempt by Islamic militant group Hamas to build support in the West backfired yesterday. The group, which governs Gaza, launched a Twitter campaign #AskHamas so its leaders could tell the “truth” about the organisation. But one respondent asked if a masked Hamas gunman was “single and ready to mingle”.

World’s best cuppa comes from Scotland

The creators of a Scottish tea have seen off competition from around the globe to be awarded the prestigious Salon de Thé Gold Award. Dalreoch Estate white smoked tea, produced by The Wee Tea Plantation in Amulree, Perthshire, was yesterday named as the winner of the accolade in Paris.