The News Matrix: Saturday 28 January 2012


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Boris angry at failure to stop Hester bonus

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has attacked the Government's failure to block the "absolutely bewildering" £963,000 bonus to be given to Royal Bank of Scotland chief Stephen Hester. Downing Street said the 83 per cent state-owned firm had gone through "proper process". MORE

Costa passengers offered €11,000

Costa Cruises offered surviving Concordia passengers a minimum €11,000 (£9,200) yesterday in an bid to limit legal and financial fallout from the disaster that left the cruise liner wrecked off the Italian coast. Codacons, a consumer organisation, advised passengers to reject the offer. MORE

British soldier killed during foot patrol

A British soldier from the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment has been killed in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said last night. The soldier was a member of an International Security Assistance Force on foot patrol to disrupt insurgent activity when he was shot.

Russia likely to block move to oust Assad

European and Arab powers are backing a new draft resolution reflecting Arab League demands that President Bashar al-Assad step aside to allow a political transition to a democratic, pluralist system of government. However, Moscow signalled that it would block it. MORE

Clinton ready to retire gracefully

Hillary Clinton, left, the Secretary of State, has said she wants to step off the "high wire" of US politics after two decades in the spotlight. "I have made it clear that I will certainly stay on until the President nominates someone and that transition can occur, " she said.

Tycoon to sell 250,000 freeholds

A property portfolio amounting to one per cent of the UK's total housing stock is being put up for sale. Vincent Tchenguiz is selling the freeholds of 250,000 homes. The businessman's suspected role in the collapse of Iceland's Kaupthing bank is being investigated by fraud officers. MORE

UK falls in press freedom  rankings

The News of the World phone hacking scandal made last year a difficult one for the national media, and Britain has duly fallen nine places in a league table for press freedom. Reporters Without Borders put the UK at number 28, below Slovakia and Namibia but above France and the US.

Sarkozy announces troop withdrawal

President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that French troops will resume training Afghan soldiers this weekend, despite suffering four casualties this month. But he added that France will pull out most of its forces from the country by the end of 2013 – a year earlier than the deadline set by Nato.

Footballer in Terry case is sent bullet

The footballer at the centre of allegations the England captain John Terry mouthed racial abuse has been sent a bullet in the post. The package addressed to Anton Ferdinand was delivered to Queens Park Rangers in west London. Police declined to say if the bullet was live. MORE

Romney woos Latino voters in Florida

Mitt Romney courted Florida's Latino community yesterday ahead of Tuesday's primary, and accused Newt Gingrich of misrepresenting his position on immigration. The two rivals know they must win over Hispanics, who make up one in 10 of all likely Republican voters. MORE

Gay actors afraid to come out, says Equity

Almost 40 per cent of gay actors keep their sexuality hidden from their agents, and one in ten have been discouraged from coming out by their representatives, according to Equity. The union hopes to agree a global charter to protect the rights of gay members later this year. MORE

Diplomat to head blood diamonds body

The United States has taken over leadership of the blood diamonds monitor, known as the Kimberley Process, in a move seen as the last chance to restore the credibility of the body set up to prevent the sale of gems linked to conflict and human rights abuses. Gillian Milovanovic, a US diplomat, takes the chair.

Asteroid misses Earth by 60,000km

An asteroid hurtled past the Earth in what was considered a relative near-miss yesterday – 60,000 km, about a fifth of the distance to the Moon. "It's one of the closest approaches recorded," Gareth Williams, of the US-based Minor Planet Center, told the BBC. "It makes it to the top 20."

Eight cuppas a day can cut heart disease

Drinking large amounts of tea could reduce heart disease by 10 per cent, a study suggests. Researchers found that consuming around eight cups a day would result in a 10 per cent reduction in high blood pressure and a 7 to 10 per cent reduction in the risk of heart disease.

$22m for suspect forgotten in jail

A New Mexico man who was arrested on a drink-driving charge has been awarded $22m (£14m) after being "forgotten" and left in solitary confinement for two years without charge. There, he lost a third of his body weight, grew a beard to his chest, and suffered from bed sores. MORE

Waterstones gets a Russian flavour

First, the apostrophe disappeared, but billionaire Alexander Mamutt, the Russian owner of Waterstones, has not finished making changes to his new acquisition. The flagship central London bookstore will hand over 1,200sq-ft of its floor plan to a Russian-language bookshop. MORE

Punk girls take on  Putin in Red Square

An all-girl Russian punk band has become an internet sensation after holding an impromptu performance in Moscow's Red Square to protest against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Wearing brightly coloured balaclavas, the band screamed "Riot in Russia!" before taunting the premier.

Military strike on Iran 'is an option'

Sanctions by the EU and the US can only be allowed a limited period to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear arsenal before a military strike must be contemplated, Israeli leaders have said. There are however differing signals on the readiness of the Israeli military to carry out an attack. page 6