The News Matrix: Saturday 3 March 2012


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Cameron invites mounting criticism

David Cameron has admitted that he rode Raisa, the retired Metropolitan Police mount loaned to the former chief executive of News International Rebekah Brooks. The revelation prompted calls for him to "come clean" on his relationship with the newspaper stable. MORE

Protests over plans to amend constitution

Demonstrators gathered in central Bangkok yesterday to protest at the Thai government's plan to amend the constitution, which critics say is a ruse to allow ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to return from exile. Yingluck Shinawatra became Prime Minister last July.

Putin says he will not suppress rivals

Vladimir Putin denied he plans a crackdown on opposition groups if he returns to office, as expected, in a presidential vote tomorrow. The country today enters an official "day of silence" when campaigning is forbidden before the presidential vote. MORE

BBC unveils the John Peel wing

The BBC is to name a wing of its newly refurbished Broadcasting House after the late John Peel, the DJ renowned for discovering new bands The section of the central London building, currently known as the Egton wing, was home to Radio 1 for around a decade. MORE

Tornadoes wreak havoc in Alabama

Tornadoes destroyed houses and tore the roof off a jail in Alabama yesterday, two days after storms killed 13 people in the Midwest and South. Forecasters said strong storms could hit other parts of the US later in the day and thousands of schoolchildren in several states were sent home.

Livestock virus cases now at 92

Nine more farms have reported cases of a disease which causes birth defects and miscarriages in livestock, taking the total to 92. The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency said the Schmallenberg virus had been detected in 85 sheep and seven cattle in the south and east of England.

Comic Bishop's week in hell raises £1.6m

Liverpool comic John Bishop has completed a "Week from Hell" challenge, including a 185-mile Paris to Calais bike ride, rowing across the channel and three marathons on three consecutive days. He raised more than £1.6m for charity. He said: "That money is going to change lives."

Public sectors cuts 'put women at risk'

Public sector cuts have placed women's lives at risk, campaigners have warned. A 31 per cent cut in Government funding means refuges for women suffering physical violence and mental abuse are closing and specialist counsellors are losing their jobs. MORE

Harry ready for reggae or a rumble?

Prince Harry is to meet Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, who has called for Jamaican independence from the crown, when he visits the Commonwealth nation next week. However, locals appear to have only one thing on their minds: where Prince Harry will party. MORE

Travellers lose relocation appeal

Travellers evicted from the UK's largest illegal settlement in Essex have lost their bid for permission to live on a new site. Former Dale Farm residents launched an appeal against Basildon Council's decision to refuse planning permission for 12 pitches on land at Church Road, Laindon.

Mubarak aide to be extradited to Egypt

A Spanish court ordered a close aide of Egypt's ousted president, Hosni Mubarak, to be extradited to Egypt. Hussein Salem. who was arrested in Madrid in June, will also face charges of money laundering and corruption. Investigators froze £27m of Salem's assets and seized homes worth £9m.

Voters take part in parliamentary poll

Iranians went to the polls yesterday for the first time since the 2009 elections which sparked protests over accusations of vote rigging to return President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power. Parliamentary polls yesterday were largely a battle between supporters of the president and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. MORE

Radiohead's 'ethical' set-up just the ticket

Radiohead have set up an "ethical" ticket exchange after discovering that fans were paying touts up to £630 to see them on a recent US tour. Fans will be able to exchange their tickets for close to cost price and a small handling fee by going through the ticket trust. MORE

Beatle's son to play Cavern Club gig

Sir Paul McCartney's son will follow in his footsteps by playing Liverpool's Cavern Club – where the Beatles made their name. Musician James McCartney, 34, will play the Cavern Club next month, as part of a short series of dates. He has performed on several of his famous dad's albums.

Text from 'gunman' was schoolboy error

A teenager accidentally sent his school into lockdown after his phone's automatic spell-check changed the word "gunna" to "gunman". The recipient of his text message alerted the police, who closed West Hall high school in Oakland, Georgia, while they investigated.

Pop stars take the Argentinians' side

First it was Sean Penn who voiced his support for Britain relinquishing sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. Now singer Morrissey has told the crowd at an Argentinian gig that they "belong to you". This week, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters also said the islands should belong to Argentina.

Scotland pipped to sheep-shearing title

After a nail biting battle of the blades New Zealand won the world team machine shearing title on their home turf of Masterton last night. The Scottish team were runners-up in the Golden Shears championships in which around 4,600 sheep were sheared.

Clooney: nothing wrong with being gay

George Clooney has responded to speculation over his sexuality. The Oscar-winner told a gay magazine he "doesn't give a s***" if people think he is gay, saying he was "not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing." The actor is dating former wrestler Stacy Keibler.

Blinded matador goes back to bullring

His face is partly paralysed, he cannot chew food, his balance is shaky and he is blind in his left eye – but less than five months after a horrific goring, matador Juan José Padilla is to make a triumphant comeback. He will be back in the ring tomorrow in the town of Olivenza. MORE