The News Matrix: Saturday 18 January 2014


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The Independent Online

Corsica tops the Gallic Viagra league

France produced its first Viagra rankings yesterday, with the Mediterranean island of Corsica recording the highest use of the blue pill, The Local reported. In second place were the Alsatians of Alsace and in third those living in Paris. Limousin and Auvergne came bottom of the table.

Rhino killings up by 50 per cent to 1,000

The number of rhinos killed for the value of their horns soared to more than 1,000 last year, a 50 per cent jump on 2012 and up from just 13 in 2007. South Africa's environment agency said 1,004 animals were killed in 2013, mostly in Kruger National Park. MORE

A show for laughing your head Hoff?

Europhile actor David Hasselhoff will present a new talk show in Sweden. The 61-year-old, known as "The Hoff", started filming the "talk entertainment show" yesterday. It will reportedly include "pranks, laughs and undercover vignettes".

Family to sue over 25-minute execution

The family of a prison inmate whose execution by lethal injection took almost 25 minutes plan to sue the state of Ohio. The killing of Dennis McGuire, 53, convicted of raping and murdering a pregnant woman in 1989, was described as a "failed, agonising experiment". MORE

Doctors' personal details are stolen

Someone has stolen personal details of all licensed doctors in Puerto Rico, said officials. The president of the island's Association of Surgeons said the thief can now engage in identity theft and submit fake prescriptions. The association added that its electronic system was recently hacked.

Briton feared dead in Kabul suicide blast

A Briton was feared to be among at least 13 people killed yesterday evening in a suicide bombing in Kabul – at the Taverna du Liban restaurant, in the diplomatic quarter. The Foreign Office said it was "urgently" looking into reports of "the death of a British national".

New subway trains too big for tunnels

Stretches of Berlin's underground will be rebuilt after the city ordered new trains too wide for its tunnels. The extra 10cm means the carriages breach safety rules, which call for a 50cm gap between trains and tunnel walls. Bosses said they had planned to rebuild the tunnels anyway.

Apostrophe ban upsets grammarians

Grammarians have criticised Cambridge City Council for banning apostrophes from the city's street signs for fear they could lead to mistakes. City councillor John Hipkin said: "This is a regrettable erosion of the quality of the English language."

Four siblings share the same birthday

A family have had four children with the same birthday at odds of more than 133,000 to one. Parents Emily Scrugham and Peter Dunn, from Cleator Moor, Cumbria, were amazed when their newborn son arrived on 12 January, the exact same date as his brother and sisters.

'Smart lens' could help diabetics

Google says it is testing a "smart contact lens" that measures glucose levels in tears. The device, intended to help diabetics, uses a tiny wireless chip and glucose sensor. It could also incorporate minute LEDs to indicate that glucose levels have crossed certain thresholds. MORE

Prince Harry quits the air for games role

Prince Harry has quit his job as an Army helicopter pilot to focus on bringing America's Warrior Games to London. The Paralympic-style games last year saw close to 300 injured servicemen and women from the UK and the US compete in archery, cycling and wheelchair basketball. MORE

Footballer charged over match-fixing

A third footballer has been charged as part of an investigation into alleged match-fixing in Britain. Moses Swaibu, 24, a former Conference South footballer from Croydon, south London, is accused of conspiracy to defraud. He is the fifth person to be charged.

The last woman 'Oz' Munchkin dies at 95

Ruth Robinson Duccini, the last female Munchkin from the 1939 Wizard of Oz film, has died aged 95. The news was broken by Stephen Cox, author of The Munchkins of Oz and a friend of Duccini, who he described as "a sweetheart". Only one Munchkin actor now survives.

Obama reins in electronic spying

President Barack Obama announced curbs on electronic surveillance by intelligence agencies, including an end to mass storage of phone data and to eavesdropping on friendly leaders. He admitted that after 2001, the risk of government overreach "became more pronounced". MORE

Pope defrocks 400 priests

Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests in two years for molesting children, a document obtained by the Associated Press revealed. The statistics for 2011-12 was the first time the Vatican had provided details on the number of priests who have been defrocked. MORE

Bill Roache was 'like an octopus'

The Coronation Street star Bill Roache was like "an octopus" with "hands everywhere", an alleged sex assault victim told detectives. In a video recording played to Preston Crown Court, she said the actor groped her in a room at Manchester's Granada Studios.

Author Doyle to pen new Keane memoir

Roddy Doyle, author of The Commitments, is to help Roy Keane pen his latest autobiography. The book, called The Second Half, is described as a blend of "memoir and motivational writing in a manner which both disquiets and reassures in Roy Keane's own original voice". MORE

Schools are exam factories, warns CBI

Schools risk becoming "exam factories", churning out teenagers unable to cope with real life, the Confederation of British Industry has warned. It was responding to Ofqual's proposed changes to GCSE and A-levels which will disregard practical science experiments. MORE

Soldier jailed for killing his daughter

A soldier has been jailed for six years for killing his 20-month-old daughter. Lance Corporal Liam Culverhouse attacked Khloe Abrams 18 months after surviving a rogue attack in Afghanistan. Culverhouse told doctors he feared being left alone with her, the court heard. MORE

Space science GCSE is launched

The UK's first space science technology qualification has been launched. The GCSE, available in Northern Ireland, covers the diet and health of astronauts, mapping and geology, and provides insight into an industry which supports tens of thousands of jobs.

UB40 reformed to record new material

The three original members of the Birmingham reggae band, UB40, have announced they are reforming. Vocalists Ali Campbell and Astro and keyboardist Mickey Virtue, who started the band in 1978, said on their website they were recording new songs.

Young's older body causing concern

Former chart-topper Paul Young is worried about appearing in swimwear on the TV contest Splash!. The singer, who tasted chart success with hits such as "Wherever I Lay My Hat", said his body was past the stage where he feels comfortable stripping for the cameras.