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The News Matrix: Saturday 22 February 2014


Farage and Clegg to debate EU on TV

Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg are set for a televised debate after the Ukip leader accepted the Deputy PM’s invitation to discuss Britain’s membership of the EU. Several broadcasters are understood to have already expressed their interest in hosting the confrontation. MORE

Alps murder suspect cleared

A French former police officer held in the investigation of the killings of three members of an Iraqi-British family and a passing cyclist in the Alps will not be charged. The prosecutor said Eric Devouassoux, 48, would be held temporarily on suspicion of trafficking weapons. MORE

Angry passengers call the police

Passengers aboard a Ryanair flight say they were forced to call the police after being stuck on the plane for three hours without food and water. The flight from Stansted to Porto was delayed for a total of 11 hours. Ryanair issued a statement defending the actions of the captain. MORE

Eta decommissions part of its arsenal

International inspectors say the armed Basque separatist group ETA, has put some of its weapons “beyond use”. The International Verification Commission in Bilbao says a small part of the Eta arsenal is under seal. The Spanish government called the move “theatrical”.

Schools help parents reduce their tax bill

Teaching leaders have criticised deals which have save wealthy parents thousands in their tax. As many independent schools are registered charities, advance payments of fees are tax exempt. The £30,000-a-year Radley College says one in six parents use  the scheme. MORE

New Prime Minister unveils cabinet

The centre-left leader Matteo Renzi unveiled his cabinet. Mr Renzi confirmed the OECD chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan would take over the key economy ministry portfolio in the 16-minister cabinet, half of whom will be women. He said his government would begin work immediately.

New mums guilty over return to work

Most women feel guilty about returning to work after having a baby, according to a poll released today. Four out of five female respondents reported such feelings, compared to 39 per cent of men. The research was conducted by "The Work and Family Show".

Eight convicted of rioting against Putin

A Moscow judge yesterday convicted eight anti-government protesters of rioting during a 2012 protest against Vladimir Putin, that took place on the eve of his inauguration for a third presidential term.  Sentencing was postponed until Monday.

16-year-old jailed for fatal punch of retiree

A 16-year-old who bragged about his “first knockout” after landing a fatal punch from behind on a frail 63-year-old man has been jailed for three years. After hitting retired council worker David Hutchinson in an unprovoked attack, Lukas Karpavicius turned to his friends laughing.

‘Anchorman’ gets a joke transplant

Paramount Pictures said yesterday it was releasing an alternative version of Anchorman 2 with 763 new jokes. Director Adam McKay found that he could swap out practically every joke in the film for an alternative, and recommended die-hard fans see the new version.

UN report rejected as ‘provocation’

North Korea has dismissed a UN  commission’s report that it committed crimes against humanity, as a dangerous political provocation. A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said the panel was US-orchestrated and Washington should mind its own business.

I’ve changed, says playboy criminal 

Sean Bradish, one half of a notorious sibling crime team who spent his spoils on Caribbean holidays, champagne and fast cars, claims to have learned the error of his ways. His playboy lifestyle contrasts sharply with the previous 10 years in prison. MORE

Villagers discover 50-ton jade boulder

An enormous jade boulder that could weigh up to 50 tons has been found half buried in northern Burma. The jade was discovered by villagers and miners in the gem-rich area of Hpakant just over a week ago; the government has sent troops to protect it.

Honour for two Resistance heroines

Two men and two women of the French Resistance in the Second World War will join those interred in the Pantheon in Paris next year, President François Hollande has said. Germaine Tillion and Genevieve de Gaulle-Anthonioz will join only two other women buried there.

Six charged over online dating scam

Five men and a woman have been charged over an alleged online dating scam. Hampshire Police arrested the suspects following a “lengthy investigation”. The alleged fraud involved women being asked to hand over “significant amounts of cash” to men they met on the match.com site.

Tetris stops cravings for food and alcohol

Playing Tetris for three minutes can reduce cravings for food, cigarettes and alcohol, according to a study. Psychologists say the visual stimulation provided by the computer game could provide a “quick and manageable” fix and reduce cravings for long enough to ward them off.

Corks popping in rhubarb country

Farmers in Yorkshire’s “rhubarb triangle” say they are facing “astronomical” demand for their product as this weekend’s annual Wakefield Rhubarb Festival gets under way. Rhubarb grown in the triangle has the same protection under European law as Champagne.

Obama meets Dalai Lama in Washington

Ignoring strenuous objections from China, President Barack Obama went ahead yesterday with a planned meeting at the White House with the Dalai Lama, his third since taking office. The morning meeting, focusing on human rights in China, was held in the Map Room.

Last man on estate refuses to move

Merseysider Charlie Wright has refused to leave his home, despite the fact the 600 houses that made up the community have been demolished. The 62-year-old has resisted many attempts to force him from the property near Birkenhead, saying: “This is my home.” MORE

Cricketer Kaneria  at hearing in London

Former Essex and Pakistan cricketer Danish Kaneria, who was given a life ban after he encouraged a team-mate to under-perform, is involved in legal action with the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB). A High Court judge heard his case behind closed doors in London.

Bavarian pretzels win protected status

The Bavarian pretzel has been elevated to the same status as champagne and Cornish pasties by being added to the EU’s “protected origins” list. That means only pretzels produced in the southern German state can be sold as bayerische Breze, or Bavarian pretzels.

Elephant is first arrival at Bristol

An elephant has become the first to arrive at northern Europe’s largest purpose-built elephant habitat. Female African elephant Buta was transported to the new 20-acre site at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, near Bristol, where keepers hope to establish a stable herd.