The News Matrix: Saturday 21 April 2012


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The Independent Online

Berlusconi: ' My parties were just fun'

The former Italian premier, Silvio Berlusconi, appeared yesterday at his Milan trial on charges of paying for sex with a minor, dismissing the "bunga bunga" sessions at his mansion as "just a burlesque competition". The 75-year-old is alleged to have paid for sex with Karima "Ruby" El Mahroug.

New university is elite – and proud of it

Only one out of five places at the philosopher AC Grayling's new university have been offered to state school pupils. New College of the Humanities, which charges £18,000 a year, offered 78 per cent of places to private school students, far higher than the university average. MORE

'Bling ring' cop slated for appearing in film

A policeman who busted a gang of teenage burglars that stole from Hollywood stars stands accused of compromising their prosecution by playing himself in a film about the case. Brett Goodkin is a "technical adviser" on the set of Sofia Coppola's biopic The Bling Ring. MORE

Minicab firm boss in attack on cyclists

The head of a taxi company used by six Whitehall departments has suffered a backlash from cyclists after claiming they "leap on to a vehicle which offers them no protection". John Griffin wrote: "Cyclists throw themselves on to some of the most congested spaces in the world."MORE

Watch worth £100k stolen by thieves

Thieves snatched a rare watch worth £100,000 from the wrist of a man who was walking through London's Mayfair. Police confirmed three or four men approached the victim last Saturday and grabbed his Breguet Tourbillon watch, which had a rose gold rectangular face and a crocodile strap.

Weedon, rock gods' guitar hero, dies

Burt Weedon, the man whose guitar books inspired the likes of Keith Richards, Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton to take up the instrument, has died at the age of 91. Mr Weedon passed away peacefully at home in Beaconsfield. Queen's Brian May led the tributes. life in brief, MORE

Police 'covered up Heywood's murder'

The British businessman Neil Heywood, whose murder has caused upheaval in China, was known by police to have been murdered on the day of his death but this was covered up, it was alleged. It was also claimed he left his wife and children in a financially uncertain situation. MORE

Body found during hunt for teenager

Police looking for a missing teenager have found a body in northern Scotland. Moyra Liz As-Chainey, 16, was last seen at 8.30am on Wednesday at home in Edderton. The body was discovered in nearby woodland at 4pm yesterday. Police said it was too early to say if the death was suspicious.

Hollande closes in on election victory

The last opinion polls before tomorrow's French presidential election provided little succour to Nicolas Sarkozy. But his supporters remain optimistic, publicly at least, that a number of factors could yet give their candidate a narrow lead when the votes are counted tomorrow. MORE

Footballer jailed for five years for rape

Sheffield United and Wales striker Ched Evans was jailed for five years after being convicted of raping a woman who was "too drunk to consent" to sex. The 23-year-old footballer is now considering an appeal against the jury's verdict at Caernarfon Crown Court. MORE

Drug warning issued after teenager dies

A 16-year-old girl has died after taking a "yellowy-white" paste thought to contain amphetamine, police said yesterday. A man and a woman have been arrested in connection with the death, prompting North Yorkshire Police to issue an urgent health warning.

Demand for inquiry into Kelly death

Doctors campaigning for a new inquiry into the death of Government weapons inspector David Kelly have submitted a new application urging Attorney-General Dominic Grieve to ask the High Court to order an inquest. Mr Grieve rejected initial calls for an inquest last June.

127 feared dead in jet crash near airport

A Pakistani airliner with 127 people on board crashed in bad weather as it came in to land at Islamabad yesterday. The Boeing 737, operated by local airline Bhoja Air, was flying from Karachi. It crashed five miles from Islamabad airport. There were no reports of survivors. MORE

Record shop event offering rare vinyl

Today is Record Store Day, when music lovers are encouraged to visit independent British retailers. Exclusive releases by David Bowie, Arctic Monkeys, Kate Bush and Arcade Fire are on sale in the hope of sparking a vinyl revival. More than 230 stores have signed up so far. MORE

Rare ‘experimental’ coin sells for $1.15m

When is an American one-cent coin worth $1.15m? When it is an extremely rare experimental penny minted in 1792. The unusual coin, made from copper and incasing a small plug of silver, was last sold at a public auction in 1974, when it went for a mere $105,000.

Dummy entered as council candidate

A woman has been arrested after entering a mannequin as a local government candidate for Aberdeen in the upcoming elections. References to Helena Torry have been deleted from the Notice of Poll and her "agent", Renee Slater, has been charged under voting law. MORE

Widdecombe makes her opera debut

Former Conservative MP and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ann Widdecombe has made her opera debut. She plays Duchesse de Crackentorp in La Fille Du Regiment at London's Royal Opera House. Her ten minute cameo, described by one critic as "endearingly dreadful", has previously been played by Dawn French.

Ai Weiwei in taxing battle to sue state government

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is learning a frustrating lesson about challenging Chinese authorities – he is welcome to sue the government over a festering tax case, but must first produce a company seal confiscated by police that he has no way of recovering. Ai sued the tax authorities over a 15m yuan (£1.5m) tax evasion.

Two countries in row over sausage

A diplomatic rift has broken out over a pork sausage. Slovenia calls the spicy delicacy Kranjska klobasa and Austria Krainerwurst – variants of the same name that belongs to the border region the sausage comes from. Now, Slovenia has applied to the EU for exclusive use of the name, but Austria are having none of it.

Lack of cleaning endangers health

People are putting their health at risk by not cleaning kitchen cupboards out properly, an Asda survey has suggested. The report claims that the insides of the oven and the fridge are also likely to go unscrubbed. It's also claimed that 600,000 homes are cleaned only at Christmas.

Restaurant with the 'rudest waiter' closes

A 100-year-old Chinese restaurant, Sam Wo, in San Francisco known for having "the world's rudest waiter", the late Edsel Ford Fung, has shut its doors for the last time over health and safety issues. Fung was known for insulting customers and slamming dishes on tables.

Motorists find that beans means jams

Traffic was brought to a halt on a busy motorway for three hours yesterday after a lorry full of baked beans shed its load. The driver of the lorry was trying to avoid a car that had crashed when the accident happened on the M11 near Epping in Essex, leaving crates and tins of beans scattered across all three lanes.