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The News Matrix: Saturday 2 March 2013

Lib Dems to confront Clegg over Rennard

Liberal Democrat members are to confront Nick Clegg over his response to allegations that party activists were sexually harassed by Lord Rennard. An emergency motion is expected to be tabled at the party's spring conference in Brighton next weekend.

Pryce 'cooked up bullying story'

Vicky Pryce has been accused of cooking up a story with a barrister friend to protect her from prosecution by saying she was bullied into taking speeding points for her ex-husband Chris Huhne. Emails revealed she was taking advice from Constance Briscoe. MORE

Prescription charge to rise from April

Prescription charges in England will go up by 20p to £7.85 from April. Health minister Lord Howe defended the move on the grounds that 90 per cent of items are free to the elderly, children and those on benefits. But patients' organisations described the rise as "deeply disappointing". MORE

No increase in the cost of a stamp

Royal Mail is keeping the price of stamps unchanged for 2013. First-class stamps will still cost 60p and second-class stamps 50p for the rest of the year, despite Ofcom giving more freedom on setting prices. At the end of April last year, a first-class stamp soared from 46p to 60p.

Horse DNA found in more products

Horse DNA has been found in products sold by Birds Eye, Taco Bell and catering supplier Brakes. Tests showed Birds Eye Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese and Beef Lasagne, Taco Bell ground beef and Brakes spicy minced beef skewer had more than 1 per cent horse meat. MORE

Scientists raise the alarm on sharks

Scientists have called for protective measures to save sharks from extinction after it was revealed that 100 million are being killed every year. Sharks are fished for their fins for use in shark fin soup, but fishing rates are outstripping the ability of populations to recover.

Briton arrested over US 'cannibal' link

Police have dug up the garden of a man in Kent who is allegedly linked to a New York policeman suspected of plotting to torture, kill and eat women. Dale Bolinger, 57, was arrested as police try to identify the UK-based "mentor" who advised Gilberto Valle on how to cook victims.

Graffiti professor told to pay £28,000

A university professor who scratched polite graffiti on to luxury cars has been ordered to pay £28,000 compensation. Stephen Graham scrawled words including "arbitrary" and "very silly" onto 27 cars in Jesmond, Newcastle.The judge suspended a nine-month jail sentence for a year.

Ennis athletics stadium to close

The athletics stadium in Sheffield where Jessica Ennis trains is to be closed. The city council approved the cost-cutting measure despite a last minute appeal by the Olympic gold medallist. The council said the £700,000 it spent on Don Valley in 2012-2013 was unsustainable.

Andrew Marr leaves hospital after stroke

BBC presenter Andrew Marr, 53, has left hospital almost two months after suffering a stroke. A BBC spokeswoman said: "He says thank you to all the wonderful nurses, doctors and physiotherapists at Charing Cross hospital who have looked after him so well." He will return to work later this year.

Secretary jailed for £300,000 swindle

A former company secretary from west Cornwall has been jailed for four years after swindling more than £300,000 to spend on luxury cars, cosmetic treatments and a box at Chelsea Football Club. Helen Hart, 46, forged her boss's signature to back up claims of her wealth.

South Africa: Eight policemen held for van death

Eight South African policemen have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a man was dragged by a police vehicle through a busy Johannesburg street. A videotape of the incident has become a worldwide symbol of police brutality in the country. MORE

Iran: Glencore barters with nuclear-linked firm

Commodities giant Glencore supplied alumina to an Iranian firm that has provided aluminium to Iran's nuclear program, intelligence and diplomatic sources have said. The barter arrangement illustrates how difficult it is for Western powers to curb Iran's ability to trade. MORE

Venezuela: President Chavez 'battling for his life'

President Hugo Chavez is still fighting for his life, yet a recent poll says nearly three in five Venezuelans believe their president will return to power. Vice-President Nicolas Maduro, said on television that Chavez "is battling there for his health, for his life, and we're accompanying him".

New Zealand: Pilot admits falling asleep during flight

Air New Zealand has admitted one of its pilots fell into a deep sleep twice at the controls of a passenger flight between London and Los Angeles in 2011. The pilot of the Boeing 777 said he nodded off after not being able to rest properly as his London hotel rooms were "too hot or too cold".

Middle East: Palestinian PM chokes on tear gas

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad had to be treated by medics after inhaling tear gas yesterday during a West Bank demonstration against Israel's security barrier. As protesters clashed with Israeli troops at rallies held to support Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, he had to stop a speech as he choked.

United States: Broad cuts are just dumb, says Obama

President Barack Obama has said the blunt, across-the-board budget cuts known as the "sequester" will hurt the economy but the US will get through it. "This is not going to be an apocalypse," Mr Obama told reporters. "It's just dumb... and it's going to hurt the economy overall.

United States: Woman sues over 'marijuana' package

A woman in Massachusetts has sued delivery company FedEx, claiming it mistakenly sent her a package containing seven pounds of marijuana, then gave her address to the intended recipients, who later showed up at her door. Maryangela Tobin said that by disclosing her address, the company put herself and her children in danger.

Poland: Passengers rescue driverless bus

Two passengers who saved a bus that went out of control when its driver passed out near the town of Kierzemark have become local heroes. Many of the 20 people aboard the bus screamed when the driver fell off his seat and the vehicle veered across lanes and hit a car.

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