The News Matrix: Saturday 28 February 2015


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The Independent Online

Scientists find cause of chronic fatigue

Scientists have announced  that chronic fatigue syndrome  has a biological cause and is  not just psychological. Causes  of the disease are sometimes thought to include viral infections, hormone imbalance and  psychiatric problems such as trauma and stress. Around a  quarter of a million people in the UK are affected.

Missouri gunman leaves seven dead

Police in Missouri were trying to unravel what led a gunman, 36, to embark on a late-night killing spree in which he made his way to at least four homes and shot dead seven people. His body was later found in a car, where he appeared to have shot himself. Police said they were trying to determine what lay behind the killings in the small rural community of Texas County.

Ukip will bleed Scots to finance tax cuts 

Ukip’s plans to abolish subsidies paid from Westminster to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to secure tax cuts for English voters to woo voters. David Coburn, Ukip’s only Scottish MEP, defended the plans: “People have got to understand that they are getting a lot more money than folks in England. The present system is unsustainable.”

Germany extends Athens bailout

The German parliament reluctantly voted to extend Athens’s controversial bailout for an extra four months yesterday, but commentators warned that the move might just be putting the Greek debt problem on hold. Members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s  conservative-led coalition insisted that the measure did not amount to another big taxpayers’ handout for Athens.

Government pledges to fire suspect spies

Argentina’s government will purge spies it no longer trusts from the state intelligence agency as part of a major overhaul of the security body. The move comes after politicians approved a law disbanding the Intelligence Secretariat, or SI, parts of which President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner portrayed as sinister and out of control, and established a new agency.

Mirren gets a black mark for maths

After a challenge by National Numeracy, L’Oreal Paris will change an advert in which Helen Mirren says: “Age is just a number. And maths was never my thing.” Mike Ellicock, chief executive of National Numeracy, said: “Throwaway remarks about being ‘no good at maths’ are so easy to make and so damaging in the way they normalise negative attitudes.”

Mining sparks fears for seabed species

Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to put Britain at the forefront of the seabed mining industry that could be worth up to £40bn to the UK economy over 30 years, has raised concerns among scientists and campaigners that sea species could be at risk. Dr Douglas McCauley said mining could  escalate the danger of habitat degradation.

Sturgeon marks 100 days in office

First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon, has marked 100 days in office by visiting GlaxoSmithKline in Irvine, North Ayreshire. She said: “Everything I have learnt over the first 100 days has made me more determined than ever.”

Ivory imports banned for next year

A year-long ban on ivory  imports has been introduced  by Beijing to reduce demand for the tusks and help protect elephants. The ban was introduced with immediate effect and has come  in the wake of widespread  criticism that trade in ivory in  China has fuelled the poaching  that threatens the future of African elephants.

‘Postcode lottery’ hitting life chances

A report from the Commission on Social Mobility and Child Poverty has found that people’s ability to improve their life chances through education and work is a “postcode lottery”. The research found areas with poor prospects included the East of England around the Wash, coastal areas of the South-east of England and parts of the North of England and Midlands.

Protests in wake of blogger’s death

The death of author and blogger Avijit Roy triggered protests in central Dhaka yesterday. The outspoken secularist who frequently criticised Islamist tendencies, was hacked to death on a city street. Bangladeshi in origin but a US citizen, Dr Roy and his wife Rafida Ahmed Banna, were walking home from a book festival when a mob ambushed them.

Gang leader with $2m bounty arrested

Servando “La Tuta” Gómez,  leader of the feared Knights  Templar syndicate in the western Mexican state of Michoacán  and one of the country’s most wanted men, was arrested. The government had offered a $2m  (£1.3m) bounty for anyone helping  to lead to his arrest. He is  wanted in the United States  for distribution of illegal drugs.

Snatched baby girl found after 18 years

A teenager who was kidnapped as a newborn baby from a Cape Town hospital in 1997 has been found after she became friends with her younger biological sister when they attended the same school. A 50-year-old woman was arrested and appeared in court yesterday on charges of kidnapping

Congressman pays for ‘Downton’ decor

A US politician has repaid the government $40,000 from his personal account for redecorating his congressional office in the style of the TV show Downton Abbey. Illinois Republican Aaron Schock paid $35,000 earlier this month to the owner of the decorating firm Euro Trash and $5,000 more this week.

Where your body is a temple...

People stripping off at Cambodia’s biggest tourist attraction – the ancient temple complex that includes Angkor Wat – have triggered anger. The reasons  for tourists’ nakedness remain unclear; apparently, some do it as a prank, others in an attempt at spirituality.

Grubs up: bugs are next luxury treat

Edible bugs, traditionally a working-class snack, are being given a more upmarket appeal in a new brand for high society. Panitan Tongsiri, a Thai entrepreneur, plans to stock his seasoned insect snacks at gourmet food markets around the Thai capital, Bangkok, serving them in seaweed and barbecue flavour.