The News Matrix: Saturday 21 January 2012


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The Independent Online


Fears of a pandemic halt bird-flu studies

Scientists have agreed to a two-month ban on researching a deadly airborne strain of the bird-flu virus over fears it could cause a global human pandemic. In a joint letter, influenza experts acknowledged public concerns about the accidental or deliberate release of the H5N1 virus. MORE

Thousands march to honour the dead

Thousands marched into Cairo's Tahrir Square yesterday to demand justice for those killed during clashes with security forces. Activists have organised a week of "mourning and anger" ahead of the anniversary of the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak on 25 January.

Cruise ship survivor lost husband's ashes

A British expat who lost her late husband's ashes in the Costa Concordia ship disaster is launching legal action against the liner's owners. Sandra Rodgers, 62, was planning to scatter the ashes during her trip but lost them as she battled to get onto a lifeboat after the vessel was wrecked. MORE

Gaddafi's spokesman captured at last

Moussa Ibrahim, spokesman for the former Libyan regime, has been captured, according to reports last night. He defended the crackdown on pro-democracy protests last year and was reportedly captured with Colonel Gaddafi last year, but his whereabouts have since been a mystery.

Baby death hospital evacuates mothers

All patients at a neonatal intensive care unit where three babies have died have been transferred to other hospitals. The deaths came after an outbreak of pseudomonas aeruginosa, which affects the lungs, skin and gut, at the Royal Maternity Hospital in Belfast. MORE

Ex-Woolworths staff to get share of £67m

More than 24,000 former Woolworths staff have won a share of £67m in compensation after the high street retailer went out of business, it was reported last night. The staff will get an average of about £2,800 each, following a campaign led by the shopworkers' union Usdaw.

'Aung San Suu Kyi could be in cabinet'

Burma's President has said that recent reforms in the country are irreversible, and even floated the prospect that Aung San Suu Kyi, pictured – once one of the world's most celebrated political prisoners – could be given a cabinet post. He said Burma was "on the right track to democracy". MORE

EU sanctions bid to avert Israeli action

Sanctions on Iran's financial institutions and oil industry will be unveiled by the European Union on Monday. The EU fears that a failure to persuade the Tehran regime to cease its nuclear weapons programme could result in pressure from Israel for military strikes. MORE

Sarkozy may pull out troops after killings

France is considering an early exit from Afghanistan after four unarmed French soldiers were yesterday killed by an Afghan army trainee. President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered the suspension of all training activities by French forces in Afghanistan after the second attack of its kind in a month. MORE

Email access delivers blow to MP Huhne

Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne could be charged with dodging a speeding fine within days after The Sunday Times agreed to surrender emails between his ex-wife and a journalist to police. Mr Huhne is alleged to have asked Vicky Pryce to accept penalty points on his behalf. MORE

Online piracy legislation delayed

Senate and House leaders said yesterday they would put off further action on online piracy legislation after a storm of protest, which included a petition by Google that attracted more than seven million participants and a one-day blackout by online encyclopaedia Wikipedia. MORE

Migrants 'make fewer claims for dole'

Government figures designed to show how immigrants arrive as "benefit tourists" were rewarded yesterday with a front page in the Daily Telegraph claiming: "370,000 migrants on the dole". However, a leading economist said the data proved migrants made proportionally fewer claims than those born in the UK.

US General urges sanctions on Iran

The US military's top General conducted talks with Israeli leaders yesterday, amid disagreements as to how to respond to Iran's nuclear programme. General Dempsey was expected to urge Israel not to attack Iran when the US was trying to rally support for sanctions.