The News Matrix: Saturday 17 December 2011


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The Independent Online


Bradley Manning  appears in court

After 19 months in solitary confinement, Private Bradley Manning, who is accused by the US military of passing secrets to the WikiLeaks website, finally appeared in court yesterday. His pre-trial hearing was marked by tight security and intermittent news blackouts. MORE

Gaddafi's death 'may have been war crime'

There are "serious suspicions" that the death of the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, in October was a war crime, the International Criminal Court said yesterday. It has asked the new Libyan government whether it will investigate alleged war crimes by rebels. MORE

Gingrich compares himself to Reagan

The Republican frontrunner Newt Gingrich has likened himself to Ronald Reagan at the latest debate, insisting that he can defeat Barack Obama in 2012. Mr Gingrich added that it was laughable for his rivals to challenge his conservative credentials. MORE

The polemicist Hitchens dies

The writer Christopher Hitchens has died from pneumonia, a complication of his oesophageal cancer. He was 62. Salman Rushdie paid tribute to his friend and Tony Blair said he "was a complete one-off, an amazing mixture of writer, journalist, polemicist, and unique character". MORE

Met trawls through 20 computers

Nearly 20 computers belonging to private investigators are being examined for evidence of computer hacking on behalf of newspapers. The Metropolitan Police's Operation Tuleta is poring through hundreds of thousands of documents and messages on the machines. MORE

Dagestan journalist was shot 14 times

The dangers faced by Russian journalists were laid bare yesterday when the bullet-ridden body of Khadzhimurad Kamalov was found. Shot 14 times in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, Mr Kamalov established Dagestan's only independent newspaper. MORE

Honeymoon killers spared execution

Two men who murdered a British couple on honeymoon in Antigua avoided the death penalty yesterday. Kaniel Martin and Avie Howell, who shot dead Ben and Catherine Mullany in June 2008, were each given three consecutive life sentences at the island's High Court.

Cameron: Church has a role in politics

The Prime Minister has said that religion needs to have a place in politics, describing himself as a "vaguely practising" Christian. In a dig at the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, David Cameron said the Church "must keep on the agenda that speaks to the whole country".

Assange wins right to appeal extradition

Julian Assange has been granted permission to appeal against his extradition to Sweden over sex-crime allegations by the Supreme Court. The WikiLeaks founder's two-day hearing, which was said to be "of general public importance", will begin on 1 February.

Church failed to help sex-abuse victims

Thousands of children suffered sexual abuse in Dutch Catholic institutions, according to a long-awaited investigation. The report also found church officials knew about the abuse but failed to address it or help the victims, to whom Archbishop of Utrecht Wim Eijk apologised. MORE

Women sue over undercover 'trauma'

Eight woman who entered into "deeply degrading" relationships with undercover policemen are taking legal action against police chiefs. The women said they were left traumatised after long-term relationships with the five men, who "deliberately and knowingly deceived" them.

Sacked oil workers clash with police

At least 10 people were killed in clashes between sacked oil workers and police in the city of Zhanaozen yesterday. "Ten people were killed as a result of mass disorder," Askhat Daulbayev, the prosecutor-general, said. "There are also some wounded, including police officers." MORE

Spouses entering UK must learn English

Husbands and wives who want to join their spouses in the UK will have to learn English first. A High Court judge has ruled that the new "pre-entry" test introduced in June 2010 did not interfere with the human rights of three couples who launched the legal challenge.

Wedding strip show lands father in jail

Chinese police have arrested a man who hired two strippers for his son's wedding after the performance was mobbed by villagers. Zhang Cheng, from eastern Jiangsu province, was advised he could get performers whose show would have "special features", the Global Times reported.

Karen Gillan to leave cast of Doctor Who

Actress Karen Gillan is leaving her role as Amy Pond in Doctor Who. Steven Moffat, the BBC1 show's boss, said Gillan will be written out in a "heartbreaking" storyline during the next series. Her on-screen husband Rory – played by Arthur Darvill – will also leave the sci-fi drama.

Comedy double for Stewart Lee

Stand-up Stewart Lee, known for his vituperative style, scored a surprise double triumph at the British Comedy Awards last night, winning Best Male Television Comic and Best Comedy Entertainment Programme. Miranda Hart was named Britian's Best Comedy Actress.

Drug sales to be ended to foreigners

The reputation of the Netherlands as the go-to country for a legal joint will go up in a puff of smoke next year as sales to foreigners of cannabis and hashish in coffee shops are banned. The government has been clamping down on the sale of soft drugs since 2007 because of gang-related crime.

Judd is the favourite to win 'Strictly'

The McFly drummer Harry Judd is the runaway favourite to win tonight's Strictly Come Dancing final in Blackpool. Bookmaker William Hill puts Judd at 1/3, while his nearest challenger, actress Chelsee Healey, is 11/4. More than 10 million viewers are expected.