The News Matrix: Saturday 24 September 2011

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The Independent Online

Sarkozy aides in corruption scandal

The Elysée Palace was said to be in a “panic” after a day of leaks on a scandal involving two of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s colleagues. Another of Mr Sarkozy’s oldest friends, Brice Hortefeux, was dragged into the controversy over alleged kickbacks from arms deals in the 1990s. MORE

Man arrested in Nurofen Plus case

A London man has been arrested by police investigating contamination of the over-the-counter painkiller Nurofen Plus. Scotland Yard was called in last month after five boxes of the medicine were found to be contaminated with anti-psychotic and epilepsy medications.

New high for prison population figures

The prison population in England and Wales has reached an all-time high for the third week running, figures show. The total number of prisoners hit 87,214, 94 higher than last week’s record and about 1,600 short of the operational capacity of 88,818, Ministry of Justice figures showed.

Ignore media, says Knox prosecutor

The prosecutor contesting Amanda Knox’s appeal against her conviction for the murder of her British flatmate Meredith Kercher urged the jury yesterday not to be swayed by a media campaign in favour of the American. The comments echoed remarks by the sister of the victim. MORE

Strauss-Kahn faces legal ‘confrontation’

The former International Monetary Fund chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is to be confronted by a French woman who has accused him of attempted rape. The “confrontation” in the presence of investigators and lawyers has been requested by his accuser, Tristane Banon, 32. MORE

Man spontaneously combusted and died

A coroner in Ireland has ruled that a pensioner found dead at home perished as a result of spontaneous human combustion. It is believed to be the first such case in Irish history. Michael Faherty’s charred remains were discovered in his living room in Ballybane, Galway, last year. MORE

TV licence workers in vote for strike

Workers at TV Licensing in Bristol have voted to go on strike in a dispute over a below-inflation pay offer of around 2.6 per cent. Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), based at Darwen in Lancashire and Bristol, backed industrial action by 301 votes to 89.

Woman, 62, in second bid for Cuba record

Endurance athlete Diana Nyad is to make a second attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida and set a world record at the age of 62, after falling short last month. Choppy seas, an asthma attack and shoulder pain forced her to call off the previous bid halfway into the 103-mile journey.

McCartney no expert on the art of ballet

Sir Paul McCartney unveiled his first ballet score in New York, but revealed a lack of knowledge about dance. Sir Paul, 69, who wrote the score to the New York City Ballet’s production of Ocean’s Kingdom, told the BBC: “I don’t know much about ballet.”

Stolen £1,500 alpaca sparks police hunt

A one-year-old alpaca worth £1,500 has been stolen from a farm, police said. Britney was taken from a garden at the farm in Bewdley, Worcestershire, according to West Mercia Police. The female alpaca is described as being 3ft to 3ft 6ins high at the shoulder, with a white fleece.

Sprinter Lewis won’t run for state Senate

Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis has given up his legal fight to run for office. An appeal panel ruled he was ineligible to run for the New Jersey state Senate because he did not meet a four-year residency requirement. Mr Lewis, a Democrat, has never run for office before.

‘Tortoise sanctuary must get zoo licence’

The owner of a Cornwall tortoise sanctuary has been told she must get a zoo licence or face prosecution. The Tortoise Garden, in St Austell, Cornwall, is home to around 400 animals. But Joy Bloor, 63, who has run the sanctuary for 12 years, has been told the tortoises are “wild animals”.