The News Matrix: Saturday 24 March 2012


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Seven-week-old app sells for $113m

A Pictionary-style app that became one of Apple's top sellers has been bought for more than £113m, a remarkable sum given that it launched only seven weeks ago. Draw Something, made by OMGPOP, has been purchased by Zynga, the firm behind Facebook game Farmville. Page 8

Russian banker in coma after shooting

A Russian banker was in a coma in hospital last night after being shot in a suspected assassination attempt in east London. Scotland Yard said it was "too early to speculate" on Russian reports that it could be linked to a murder attempt on another banker, Alexander Antonov, in Moscow. MORE

Missed chances by police to catch killer

The political recriminations surrounding the police pursuit of Toulouse gunman Mohamed Merah, which ended in his death after a 32-hour siege, spread yesterday as more details emerged of missed opportunities to catch him before he killed eight people.  MORE

President Mugabe 'will never retire'

Zimbabwe's finance minister has said President Robert Mugabe, pictured, "will never step down" while portraying him as a lonely man who cannot give up politics. Tendai Bita, of the MDC party in coalition with Mugabe's Zanu-PF, said the 88-year-old "would never want to retire". MORE

Musician charged over dog attack

A musician has appeared in court been charged under the Dangerous Dogs Act after five officers were mauled during a raid. Symieon Robinson Pierre, 25, is accused of "allowing the dog to be dangerously out of control" outside his home in Newham, east London. MORE

Church abuse victim gains 'confession'

An Italian man, who suffered what he claims was sex abuse as a 14-year-old, has secretly recorded his alleged attacker, now a senior Sicilian cleric, appearing to admit the crimes. The case has thrown the spotlight on the issue of clerical paedophilia in Italy.

Dietetic justice for restaurant critic

Frank Bruni, the restaurant critic of The New York Times, has been forced to change his gourmand ways after being diagnosed with painful gout. Mr Bruni revealed his condition – "a cruel joke" caused by his consumption of red meat, alcohol and foie gras – in a blog last week. MORE

Cameron accused of alcohol 'diversion'

David Cameron was accused yesterday of rushing out his strategy to combat binge drinking to distract attention from unfavourable coverage of the Budget. His plan for a minimum price of 40p a unit for alcohol was brought forward amid mounting criticism of the "granny tax". MORE

Woman blackmailed with 'deadly virus'

A former butler has been found guilty of trying to extort millions from a wealthy philanthropist by telling her she had been injected with a deadly virus. He led a gang of three men who injected Anne Bass with the substance and said the antidote would cost $8.5m (£5.3m). MORE

End to death row organ donation

China will abolish transplanting organs from executed prisoners within five years and try to encourage more citizens to donate, a health minister has said. Rights groups claim the Chinese government executes more people than any other nation, and puts pressure on them to donate organs.

11,000 sue Shell for oil spill damages

A group of 11,000 Nigerians have initiated a court case against the oil giant Shell in pursuit of tens of millions of dollars compensation for two oil spills in 2008. The Niger Delta's Bodo community says it is entitled to a giant payout for spills which they claim destroyed their livelihoods.

Wealthy daughter 'chaffeured looters'

A millionaire's daughter voluntarily drove looters through London on a late-night crime spree at the height of last summer's riots, a court heard yesterday. Laura Johnson, 20, offered no resistance when asked to chauffeur the group through the capital . She rejects the claims. MORE

Communism doesn't work, Pope tells Cuba

Pope Benedict has said communism no longer works in Cuba and the Catholic Church was ready to help the island find ways to move forward. The pontiff, who is visiting Mexico and Cuba, said: "It is evident that Marxist ideology in the way it was conceived no longer corresponds to reality."

Cornish to fight new tax on pasties

A campaign has been launched to oppose a proposed "pasty tax" which could see the cost of Cornwall's favourite food rise by 20 per cent. Thousands have joined a Facebook campaign urging the Government to rethink plans to add VAT to hot bakery and supermarket takeaway food.

Snake slides to halt in New York station

A prehistoric monster snake slid to a halt in New York's Grand Central Station. A replica of the Titanoboa, at almost 15m long, was unveiled ahead of an event at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. The real fossil was found in 2005 in Colombia.

Barbie gets in on the Hunger Games 

The buzz around The Hunger Games brings with it the launch of a Barbie doll based on the film's heroine, Katniss Everdeen. Played by Jennifer Lawrence and aged 16 in the first book adapted for the film, feisty teen rebel Everdeen is said to be a popular choice of figurine for doll collectors.

Brazil event is most popular in the world

Purists laud New York, Paris and Madrid, but the world's most popular event of 2011 was in Rio de Janeiro. Almost 10,000 people crowded The Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil daily to see works by Max Escher. The top UKshow was Gauguin at the Tate Modern, with 4,000 visitors. MORE

Police station in grenade evacuation

A police station had to be evacuated yesterday after a well-meaning member of the public handed in potentially live grenades. Staff evacuated the station in Weston Favell, Northampton, while bomb disposal experts were called to the scene to remove the grenades.

Rush for chia seeds set to hit Britain

It's the food no health-conscious denizen of Los Angeles or New York can be seen without, and the rush for chia seeds could soon hit Britain. Experts claim that the seeds – which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids – have real health benefits and could be helpful for people suffering from diabetes. Page 23

Windsor trespasser banned from all pubs

A man who trespassed on the grounds of Windsor Castle while drunk has been banned from every pub in Britain for a year. Robert Pennefather, 32, from County Tipperary in Ireland, scaled the 8ft gates surrounding the royal residence in November last year. MORE

Town prepares to put name up for sale

A town in Japan is prepared to rename itself Mitsuibishiville, Sonytown or Seiko City after it offered its naming rights up for purchase to the highest bidder to rescue itself from financial strife. Izumi-Sano has said that it will look into any means possible to pull itself out of bankruptcy.

Jessica Simpson pic offends shoppers

A photo of a pregnant Jessica Simpson on the cover of Elle magazine was apparently too much for some customers of an Arizona Safeway store, where a worker covered it with cardboard. The April edition features the singer with one hand over her breast and the other over her nude belly.

'No hugging school' ordered to end ban

US education chief David Healey said no pupils would be disciplined for hugging after head teacher Tyler Blackmore told children at Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School in New Jersey they were in a "no hugging school" after some "incidents of unsuitable, physical interactions".