The News Matrix: Saturday 28 March 2015


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The Independent Online

Rotherham child sex inquiry is expanded

An investigation into how police handled child sexual exploitation in Rotherham has been expanded after a watchdog received complaints involving more than 100 allegations against 42 officers. The IPCC has been examining 10 officers’ actions in incidents highlighted by the Jay Report, which described how at least 1,400 children were raped, trafficked and groomed in the town from 1997-2013.

Details of Sarkozy’s funding released

The highest administrative court is allowing journalists to access files regarding Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidential campaign in 2007, which is suspected of having received illegal funding from the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The Council of State asked the commission in charge of the campaign funds to release details of its exchanges with Sarkozy.

Top Gear producer won’t press charges

Oisin Tymon, the Top Gear producer physically and verbally attacked by Jeremy Clarkson, has said he does not want to press charges.

The 36-year-old suffered swelling and bleeding to his lip in the altercation in a hotel in North Yorkshire. In a statement Mr Tymon’s lawyer, Paul Daniels, said: “Mr Tymon has informed the police that he doesn’t want to press charges.”

Man charged over black statue insult

A former University of Mississippi student has been indicted on civil rights charges accusing him of draping a noose and a Confederate flag around the neck of a statue of the school’s first black student. Graeme Phillip Harris conspired with others in February last year to hang the rope and flag around the neck of the statue of James Meredith.

Taxidermist guilty of rhino horn trade

A Texas taxidermist faces up to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to participating in the illegal sale of rhino horns. John Brommel will be sentenced on 3 June for his part in the sale of horns from black rhinos, an endangered species whose horns are subject to US and international trade restrictions. More than 1,200 rhinos were killed in South Africa last year.

UK to give £5m to fight Boko Haram

Britain is to provide £5m to help the fight against Boko Haram, which is terrorising north-eastern Nigeria. The Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, said the money would support a new regional task force to beef up the war against the Islamist extremists. Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin will contribute personnel to the task force.

NOTW reporter’s conviction quashed

A former News of the World reporter who was found guilty of paying a prison officer for information has had their conviction quashed. The journalist, who cannot be identified, was the first to be found guilty under Operation Elveden and was given a six-month suspended sentence in November. The prison officer and his friend also won appeals against their convictions.

Egypt may send troops to Yemen

Egypt and Saudi Arabia were considering sending ground troops into Yemen yesterday as they continued their air strikes, aimed at enabling the former President to return to the country. The coalition is backing Sunni tribesmen to fight against Shia rebels and their allies. A battle is looming as Houthi rebels are advancing toward the Sunni-dominated south.

Survivor’s praise for ‘incredible clinicians’

Army Reservist Anna Cross, 25, who contracted Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone, has been discharged from hospital after becoming the first patient to be treated with an experimental drug. Corporal Cross said she had been treated by an “incredible bunch of clinicians” at the Royal Free Hospital.

Old Israeli bomb wounds six boys

A cluster bomb left behind by Israeli forces wounded six boys in south Lebanon, close to the Israeli border, one of them seriously, state news said. Local TV stations aired footage of the boys being treated at a hospital. According to the UN mine centre, more than 30 Lebanese civilians have died in cluster bomb or land mine blasts in Lebanon since the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

Rise in pupils with mental health issues

Forty per cent of teachers have seen an increase in the number of pupils in the past two years dealing with mental health difficulties such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and substance misuse. Just over two-fifths of those questioned for a survey conducted by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said that between 10 per cent and 25 per cent of pupils have mental health issues.

North Caucasians join Isis militants

A senior Russian official says about 1,500 residents of Russia’s North Caucasus are fighting alongside Isis militants in Syria and Iraq. Sergei Melikov, President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to the North Caucasus, says at least five militants who came back after fighting in Syria were killed in security sweeps last year. Mr Melikov said on Thursday Isis poses a “very serious threat” to the North Caucasus.

Town plan for cheap parking  in the rain

Councillors in Brighton and Hove are proposing to charge motorists “significantly less” for street parking on summer days when it rains . The scheme, which would be unique in Britain, is modelled on flexible parking charges used in San Francisco and Madrid. But critics described the scheme as “nutty” and said it resembled an early April Fool’s joke.

Book censorship app cleans out its library 

The author Joanne Harris has hailed a “small victory for the world of dirt” after an app that covered up rude words in electronic versions of novels and offered “politer” alternatives removed all titles from its online catalogue. The apparent retreat by the Clean Reader app comes after protests from writers.

Navajo Nation first with junk food tax

The semi-autonomous Navajo Nation in the western US has imposed the country’s first junk-food tax: an extra 2 per cent sales tax on foods with minimal or no nutritional value. The tax will affect pastries, crisps, soft drinks, desserts, fried foods and other processed or refined foods, according to Mother Jones.

Pandas can bear to be around others

A glimpse into the secret life of pandas suggests that the reclusive animals are more sociable than previously thought. Scientists tracked five wild pandas at the Wolong Nature Reserve in south-west China. One of the biggest surprises was how much the animals enjoyed spending time together.

Darkness to fall on City of Light

The Eiffel Tower is set to go dark tonight between 8.30pm and 9.30pm as Paris flicks the off switch to mark Earth Hour. The tower will go dark for only five minutes for security reasons, but Parisians are encouraged to dance on a special floor at the foot of the monument to turn the lights back on.