The News Matrix: Saturday 18 February 2012


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The Independent Online


Huge fines for too many admissions

Record fines have been levied against universities after they admitted more students than their quotas. It is estimated an extra 25,000 students were recruited above target numbers, with London Metropolitan University alone fined £5.9m. MORE

Iraq war veteran found in mountains

A man who was found frostbitten and unable to speak coherently in the Tatra Mountains in Poland last week has been identified as an Iraq war veteran. The man, who was living in a shed, was unable to tell police his name, but his family came forward after they saw his photo in the press.

Masked thieves raid museum in Olympia

The Greek Culture Minister attempted to resign yesterday after two armed and masked robbers broke into a museum at Olympia in southern Greece, site of the ancient Olympics, and stole dozens of precious artefacts. Police set up roadblocks but failed to locate the thieves. MORE

May to visit Jordan for deportation talks

Home Secretary Theresa May will fly to Jordan within days in an attempt to break the deadlock over the deportation of radical preacher Abu Qatada. He is currently blocked from returning to Jordan over fears he would be tortured, but Mrs May hopes her visit can resolve the issue.

Craigslist 'killer' pleads not guilty

Brogan Rafferty, the teenager accused of killing one man and trying to kill a second in a Craigslist robbery scheme targeting single out-of-work men, has pleaded not guilty at a court in Ohio. Mr Rafferty also has been charged with three counts of aggravated murder in juvenile court.

Diesel hits record price of 143.1p a litre

The price of diesel has reached record levels. The AA said yesterday the average price was now 143.1p a litre. The motoring organisation said the cost of filling a commercial van's 80-litre tank had risen from £90.90 in February 2010 to £110.07 last July and to £114.44 now.

Lingerie boss wins privacy injunction

Lingerie boss Jacqueline Gold has obtained a High Court privacy injunction against her former nanny, who was jailed last year for trying to poison her. Mr Justice Tugendhat made the order against Allison Cox and another former employee, Leanne Bingham.

Firms leave work experience scheme

The Government's unpaid "work experience" scheme for job seekers has been abandoned by firms and charities. Matalan, Oxfam and Shelter have left the programme and Tesco told the Department of Work and Pensions it would only participate if no one taking part lost their benefits. MORE

FBI foils would-be suicide bomber

Police in Washington DC arrested a man as he prepared to launch what he expected would be a lethal suicide attack inside the grounds of the US Congress. In fact, he was wearing a vest packed with inert materials supplied to him by FBI agents who had posed as members of al-Qa'ida.

Councils regain power of prayer

Councils today regain the power to say prayers before meetings following a Government intervention that it trumpeted as a victory over political correctness. The move came a week after a High Court ruling that Bideford town council in Devon had broken the law.

Students arrested in police crackdown

A police raid on the University of Khartoum yesterday resulted in the arrest of hundreds of students, as police cracked down on anti-government protests, activists said. The university has been closed since students protested over rising prices and unemployment two months ago.

Performers threaten to boycott Hyde Park

The future of live music in London's Hyde Park was in doubt last night after big-name performers threatened a boycott over proposals to limit sound levels. Westminster Council plans to reduce the number of major concerts, cut crowd numbers and dramatically reduce noise.

Poaching epidemic threatens elephants

At least 200 elephants have been killed for their ivory in the past five weeks in a patch of Africa where they are highly endangered. Conservationists say many calves are being left orphaned by the poachers in Cameroon, and could soon die of hunger and thirst.

Dog's barking stops jail break prisoners

Three inmates of a Paraguay prison who were about to escape from jail after fleeing along a tunnel they had built from their cell to the street, were caught when a dog spotted them and barked, which alerted guards. Hilario Villalba, who is serving a 30-year term for murder, called the dog "stupid".

Row erupts over collapsed soufflé

The BBC has denied suggestions that it faked scenes on Masterchef. Contestant Tom Rennolds reportedly presented a fallen soufflé to John Torode and Greg Wallace before the latter was shown tucking into a properly risen dessert. The corporation said producers chose to cut to an earlier shot.

Newcastle fan directs anger at arena name

A Newcastle United fan angered by the decision to change the name of St James' Park to the Sports Direct Arena has been charged with criminal damage after daubing "St James" on a wall at the stadium. Michael Atkinson, of Newbiggin Hall, will appear in court on 7 March.

Rare frog extinct in wild put down by zoo

A rare tree frog whose species is now believed to be extinct in the wild had to be put down after it became ill, Atlanta Zoo officials said. The Rabbs' fringe-limb tree frog was euthanized to stop it suffering and to preserve its genetic material for research. The rare frog was found in Panama in 2005.

Foie gras butcher leaves Selfridges

Selfridges' former "celebrity" butcher Jack O'Shea has parted ways with the London department store after he was caught selling banned foie gras to customers under the counter. Selfridges stopped selling the controversial foodstuff after pressure from animal rights groups. MORE