The News Matrix: Saturday 5 May 2012


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The Independent Online

Water levels rise, but hosepipe ban stays

Groundwater levels are on the rise in some drought-affected areas of the UK, the Environment Agency said. River flows have been restored to normal or even above average levels and reservoirs are showing improvement but there is no immediate prospect of the hospepipe ban being lifted.

'Supermoon' zooms in for a big show

The biggest and brightest full moon of the year – a "supermoon" – arrives tonight as it passes within about 221,802 miles of Earth, about 15,300 miles closer than average. That will make the moon appear about 14 per cent bigger than it would if the moon were at its furthest distance.

Britain hits out at Falklands advert

Britain demanded an apology from Argentina, accusing it of exploiting the Olympics for political purposes by broadcasting a "tasteless" TV ad that shows an Argentinian hockey player training in the Falklands and exercising on the steps of a war memorial to British soldiers. MORE

Conrad Black leaves jail after three years

Former media mogul Conrad Black was released from a Miami jail yesterday after serving about three years for defrauding investors. Black, whose empire once included The Daily Telegraph, had his original six-year sentence reduced after after a partially successful appeal. MORE

Loss of sitcoms is no laughing matter

BBC1 has warned it faces a comedy crisis as its best writers jump ship. The channel could miss out on the next great sitcoms as ideas by leading talents like Gavin & Stacey's Ruth Jones are now pitched to rivals ITV, Channel 4 and BSkyB, according to a leading executive. MORE

Rocket attack kills two British soldiers

Two British soldiers were killed yesterday in a rocket attack on their base in Nahr-e-Saraj in Afghanistan's south. The Ministry of Defence said the pair from the Royal Logistic Corps died in an "indirect fire attack". Four hundred and twelve service personnel have died in Afghanistan since 2001.

Beastie Boy Yauch dies, aged 47

A founding member of hip-hop trio the Beastie Boys, Adam Yauch, died yesterday, aged 47. Yauch announced in 2009 that he was being treated for a cancerous parotid gland and lymph node. However, it was unclear yesterday whether the rapper's death was cancer-related.

PM wins right to see documents early

David Cameron and seven other cabinet ministers have won the right to see Leveson Inquiry documents in advance. Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief executive, is expected to hand over texts and emails between herself and Mr Cameron next week. MORE

Strauss-Kahn denies ‘gang rape’ claims

French investigators are looking into whether Dominique Strauss-Kahn was involved in a gang rape during a sex party in a Washington hotel in 2010, while chief of the International Monetary Fund. Strauss-Kahn claims he is the subject of a public "lynching campaign". MORE

Power Station may be part of stadium

The landmark Battersea Power Station in London could be incorporated into a new football stadium if a bid by Chelsea FC to buy the 39-acre site is successful. Chelsea, owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, said it plans to build a 60,000-seat stadium on the derelict site.

Al Capone's retreat goes on eBay for $2m

A hotel in Illinois that once served as mobster Al Capone's weekend retreat is up for sale on eBay. The starting bid for the Mineola Lounge and Marina is $2m (£1.2m). Pete Jakstas, the owner, said the property includes the hotel, 17 acres of lake-front land, a marina and his former home.

Teenage suicide bomber kills 20

A boy of about 15 blew himself up near a Pakistani market near the Afghan border, killing 20 people. The suicide bombing came a day after the US released letters seized from Osama bin Laden's compound that criticised Pakistani militants for killing too many civilians.

Apology at last for sacking at war's end

The Associated Press has issued a posthumous apology for the way the news agency sacked its correspondent Edward Kennedy in 1945, after he defied military censors to report a full day ahead of the competition that the Nazis had surrendered and the war in Europe was over. MORE

Hole load of trouble for New Yorkers

Manhole covers are being stolen from the streets of New York City, leaving dangerous holes in the roads and sidewalks, the authorities have said. More than 30 covers have been stolen in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, presumably by scrap metal thieves.

Elgin gas well leak to be plugged with mud

The operator of the North Sea Elgin platform that has been leaking gas for weeks has been granted government approval to "kill" the well by pumping heavy mud into it. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has approved the company's operation, which could start next week.

Warning on bailout ahead of election

Greece's Socialist leader has warned that the country faces default and mass poverty if voters back anti-bailout parties in tomorrow's general election. Opinion polls suggest that there may be no clear winner but the majority Pasok party will sustain heavy losses. MORE

'Naked' body scans are safe to use

Body scanners that produce "naked" images of airport passengers have been declared safe. The European Commission halted trials at Manchester Airport amid fears that they could emit harmful radiation. But a report concluded that radiation doses were "very low".

Clinic fined for lipo without a licence

A private clinic has been fined £40,000 for performing cosmetic liposuction surgery without being registered, in the first prosecution of its kind. The Care Quality Commission took action against The Northern after an anonymous tip-off.

Aled Jones to front Daybreak on ITV1

Former choirboy Aled Jones has been unveiled as one of the new presenters of ITV1's breakfast show Daybreak. He will will join Lorraine Kelly on the sofa. The pair will take up their new jobs later this year, replacing Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley who left in December.

Shivering serpents! Snake takes out grid

A snake that slid into an electrical substation knocked out power to nearly 14,000 homes in Oklahoma. The snake, probably seeking shelter after heavy rain, touched a live component that caused a cutout switch to trip. Power was soon returned but little was left of the snake.

School sends boy, 6, home for ‘sexy’ lyric

A six-year-old boy has been suspended from his Colorado school for three days for sexual harassment after quoting a line from a song to tell a girl: "I'm sexy and I know it." Officials at Sable Elementary school in Aurora said the boy was sent home. The school said it defines sexual harassment as any unwelcome sexual advance and there is no age limit.